Posts tagged as 'technology'
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Last year, tech-trend forecasting studio Envisioning Technology created a lovely infographic of where they felt tech was heading in the next 18 years and beyond. 'Augmented reality' and 'virtual currencies' are just a couple of technologies that are predicted to arrive in the next few years. The size of the white circles in the visualisation indicate importance, the size of the shaded outer circle/shape show how much consumer impact a technology would have and a jagged outline demonstrates a cluster of different technolgies that would be working together. As this graphic was created in 2012, it's interesting to reflect on how things have moved on a year later and see if any of their predictions have, or are becoming a reality. For 2013, Envisioning Technology felt that 'inductive chargers' would be the only step we would be making. These were actually already around in 2012 but are now becoming a part of the mainstream (my recently purchased Nokia Lumia smartphone charges itself in this way.) Most interestingly, a couple of predictions heading into 2014, such as 'Gesture recognition' and '4G' are already here ahead of schedule in the form of Xbox Kinect and telecommunicator EE respectively.
It's an incredibly exciting infographic with what seems like plenty to look forward to, with my particular favourite being 'Vertical farming' arriving in 2025.
Here's hoping for more science fact than fiction in the very near future!
The full infographic along with other visualisations can be found here.
Ben Lavender, UK office
We all know the challenges of tabletop photography are only enhanced when you bring motion into the mix. Getting that perfect pour, drip or splash can prove quite difficult, if not impossible at times. But now, one creative studio in Hamburg has upped the ante.
They are called The Marmalade and they have taken the static out of high-speed images, setting them in motion. Their process involves generating sketches, developing storyboards, incorporating animation and finally a great deal of research and testing in the studio to give their customers “the unseen”. The result is a unique image for a brand that no one else has created.
To accomplish these innovative feats, they have assembled a team of specialists who work together to create the tools and tricks needed for each particular effect. Most importantly, their collaboration brought life to Spike, a new software innovation that could be handled cinematically and programmed to track, spin, turn, roll, tilt, orbit and pull focus.
With Spike, they are able to not only catch a beautiful image at one point and then another, but create a seamless work of art through the entire process, from all angles. Spike provides them with the ability to harness the previously uncontrollable. See the collection of screen grabs below showing a wine glass as it falls from a table to the floor:
You may have unknowingly seen Marmalade’s work already in brands like Pepsi, Bounty, and Braun, but you probably never thought about the process behind each gliding frame. Some still examples of their work can be seen below, but to get the full effect, watch the video here.
Images from: www.themarmalade.com.
Kaitlin Fencl, US office
Josh, Sam and I, from the Sydney studio recently took a tour of TrendPac. We were there to approve the application of our Tandil labels, however we also got to discover just how involved the process for a product to make it to the shelf really is. In the end our label was just a small piece in a much larger puzzle, (of course the most important and best looking piece!)
TrendPac is a full range manufacturing, packaging and product developing company, and a major supplier of ALDI Stores. They currently reside in a modern, spacious facility 1 hour north of the Sydney studio. To begin we looked over some examples of bottles having been created using a 3D printer. It's amazing to see just how sophisticated these printers have become. The range of examples we looked over showed just how quickly the technology is advancing.
1). Tandil bottle (actual product) 2). Tandil bottle (3D print).
3). Bottle manufacturing 4). Plastic colouring pellets.
5). Bottles being filled online 6). Temperature controlled testing 7). Label application 8). Formula mixing vats 9). Product creation 10). Bottle orientation software
11). Screen printing control panel
Peter Bradley, Sydney office
In January 2012, Gent, Belgium was taken over with its second festival of light for four days over winter. The theme for this year was ‘happiness’ which was spread throughout the city as a free tourist route. With 29 different installations in the festival, one of the aims was to bring attention to energy consumption, with many of the installations using energy efficient bulbs and lamps. The Romanesque cathedral was lit up by Italian lighting experts Luminarie De Cagna and used over 55,000 lights. However surprisingly, the Romanesque cathedral installation only consumed 20 kilawatts per hour. With so much creativity and innovation with lighting, I’m sure there will be another exciting display in 2013, I’m ready to book my flights!
Some images by Getty Images. Map by Google Maps.
Anna Takarangi, UK office
In the early '90s, the graphic design industry began a revolutionary relationship with computers.
Those of us who remember that archaic world before computers, when digital meant using our fingers and the latest high-tech gadget was a new Agfa stat camera have witnessed the exponential dizzying speed in which design is being implemented. Naturally this follows the pace of our current world where decades-long changes are compressed to monthly, daily or even hourly occurrences.
We have created a world where we now fast forward to the next hip thing, rewind to find something we lazily don't bother put to memory and instantly form a previously unheld position with a matter of a few mouse clicks - it's good from time to time to step back and see where all this has gotten us.
In our own little designers corner of the world, the godly power to define beauty and stretch the bounds of physics through photo manipulation is in our hands. We can now create man in our own image! However, the rush to quickly complete our godly tasks often results in overlooked visual mistakes and the constant reminder that we are not gods contrary to how some view their Photoshop skills. We still have to rules to follow and there are watchful eyes making sure we do. What follows is a fun and comical look at the subsequent folly of self-deification.
There's even a website dedicated to keeping us honest... and humble!: www.psdisasters.com
Proper lighting is difficult when working with a giant...
Which is his bigger problem... shopping for shoes or trousers?
Jeff Tischer, US office
Over the course of history, many great innovations have been made in the field of photography as we have steadily perfected the art of freezing time. Dreamers like Joseph Niepce and Louis Daguerre used their respective camera obscura and daguerreotype processes to produce some of our first great steps into the medium in 1826 and 1839:
1877 brought us the first photograph sequence to capture motion, bringing on the early explorations of modern day cinematography:
But one of the next biggest steps came in 1880 when George Eastman began commercial production of gelatin dry plates, leading to the advent of the Eastman-Kodak Company. Just a short eight years later, the first Kodak camera was released to the public with the marketing slogan, “You press the button, we do the rest.” It made photography accessible to the masses, and opened up a new world of opportunities.
Since then, we have seen cameras capable of more and more amazing things come onto the market. They have been used to document war, politics, fashion, pop culture and beyond. Photography has developed into a key component to advertising and design, yet, we have also seen it become effortlessly user friendly with point and shoot models that fit in our pockets. Today, even smaller devices are planted right in our personal phones. So what innovations will come next?
Maybe this: Lytro Light Field technology. The Lytro is the small, strange looking little camera you see below:
It utilizes a touch screen interface and presents the notion of living pictures... living, because after you take a photo, you are able to heavily manipulate it. With Lytro, it is actually possible to shift the focus of an existing image with the flick of a finger. Never before was it possible to select the perspective or depth of a photo in post-production.
This is achieved through their Light Field technology, which in layman’s terms means that it works by utilizing a different kind of sensor than a traditional camera. It records the light with a light field sensor, called a microlens array, which captures the color, intensity and direction of light rays. Lytro then analyzes the light and converts it to data, which when used in conjunction with their software, allows an image to be processed in multiple ways, without another click of the shutter. Take the photos below featured on the Lytro website (www.lytro.com). There, you can see for yourself how the focus can be shifted from the girl in the foreground to the guy in the background—or anything else in the frame you choose. The company is also working on a software update that will allow the angle of a picture to be adjusted after the shot is taken.
Now, the Lytro is far from perfect. In fact, at this stage in the game, I would not urge anyone to rush out and buy it. Their models range from $399-$499, and this price seems to be a bit steep considering the camera lacks in resolution and features a very small screen. The physical design of the camera also seems a bit odd, and looks as if it would feel awkward in your hand. A more traditional camera body would make it much more appealing in my opinion. Another downside is that it has to be used with their software, as opposed to a well-known editing tool like Photoshop or Aperture. At present, their software is only compatible with Mac, but a Windows-friendly version is on the horizon. Lastly, there is no flash feature included on the Lytro, so shooting in low light would prove rather difficult.
As of this moment, the Lytro seems to be more of a fun toy, capable of producing image quality on par with some lower priced alternatives on the market. However, if harnessed correctly, this technology could revolutionize the field. Imagine if it were transplanted not only into the hands of consumers, but incorporated into the most sophisticated DSLR and Medium Format cameras used in the industry today. It has the potential to be a game changer and this day is probably not that far off.
Kaitlin Fencl, US office
Whenever I can I like to do my own illustrations for projects. As well as helping to push my skills further, it makes a nice break from the day to day design process. You can plug your headphones in and immerse yourself in a slice of creativity for a good few hours. A lot of my previous illustration work has started with a pencil sketch which gets scanned and then redrawn in Adobe Illustrator to create a nice, easily scalable, vector illustration. But, one of my latest pieces required something with a more 3D feel to it, meaning it needed to be done in Photoshop.
To help speed up the process and allow me to work with a much more natural feel, I managed to get a new toy to play with at work – a Wacom Intuos 4 graphic tablet. After the geek-gasm of unpacking, peeling off the protective plastic (the best part of any gadget unpacking according to Howard from Big Bang Theory) and installation it was ready to go. I can’t show the final results for that project yet, but with a new tool on my desk, and the new bristle brushes in Photoshop 5 now available to use at their full potential, I couldn’t help but try it out some more.
So, over a few lunch breaks I started my first digital painting. It’s of Thom Yorke from Radiohead. It’s not finished, but the result so far is this…
Here’s part of the process, firstly a sketch with a pencil brush....
Then blocking in some light, dark and colour...
Then, bit by bit, more detail....
As I said, it’s not finished yet, but I think I could have just found a new hobby. The combination of a Wacom tablet and the Photoshop bristle brushes has certainly created a much more natural look and feel to digital painting, and hopefully one that I will be able to take advantage of in future packaging design projects.
Sam Masters, UK office
If you are looking for a gift or something pretty to display in your home, you could always head over to your local mall. However, many times I think things outside the norm are much more cool than what lies within the white-picket fence confines of most American stores.
Instead of hopping in your car and driving to the store, find a comfy chair and head to www.incrediblethings.com. The site is fantastic in that it contains wacky, weird and insanely cool items… For inspiration and/or for purchase! It really has something for everyone. The site proclaims, “If it’s incredible and it’s on the Web, we’ll cover it.” And they do!
For the Artistic
Need artistic inspiration? Check out the balloon art (also known as “Airigami”), by New York artist Larry Mos and based on famous masterpieces.
For the Beautiful
Tired of ho-hum mascara? Paperself Lashes by London designer Chunwai Liao resemble doilies for your lashes. And although winter is coming to an end, and thus chapped lips, Unicorn Farts Lip Balm by Etsy – which tastes like spearmint and pink cotton candy – offers magical protection for your mouth.
For the Morbid-Minded
Incrediblethings.com features grotesque gartered leg-prosthetics from Special FX Artist Meaghan O’Keefe. Ladies, slap these on for your next night out on the town! And most people know you can purchase books on how to survive should zombies walk the earth, however, I personally learn by doing… Enter Chris Zombies, which serve as great target practice and are made from biodegradable flesh that “bleeds” on impact. The tomboy in me thinks this is seriously awesome!
For the Eaters
Working for a company where food samples are constantly floating about, it can be hard to curb your cravings. Vaportrim allows you to smell and taste a variety of flavors, like Caramel Frappe, Pina Colada, Cinnamon Bun and Blueberry Muffin – tricking your brain into thinking its full without the calories! On the other hand, if you don’t care about the extra poundage and want the real thing, L.A.’s Sprinkles cupcake shop offers a Cupcake ATM, distributing fresh cupcakes 24/7.
For the Athletic
After stuffing your face with cupcakes, you might want to exercise…Or not. Just strap on a pair of electric roller skates from Peter Treadway and let a machine do all of the work.
For the Thrill-Seekers
Franky Zapata has invented the “Flyboard,” (above) which allows the user to leap out of water 30-feet into the air and lean forward to power dive… Flipper might even be jealous of this one!
For the Tree-Huggers
And finally worth mentioning, is the Swap-O-Matic. This vending machine is free AND environmentally-conscious. Simply donate an unwanted item for credits and get someone else’s garbage, errr…donated item, in return.
The photos below speak for themselves… More info on these products can be found at - you guessed it - incrediblethings.com.
Courtney Cavanaugh, US office