Interlude – Enter the Land of Drawings…

One of the classic children’s British TV programmes from the 1970s was Simon in the Land of Chalk Drawings, a “meta-animation” in which the lead character, Simon, is able to enter the (animated) land of chalk drawings though his magic chalkboard.

On one reading, we can view the land of chalk drawings as a virtual reality experienced by Simon; on another, we can imagine the chalk board as a forerunner of an augmented reality colouring book.

“Drawn” and “real” worlds have also combined in other culturally significant creations, such as in the well known Take on Me music video by Norwegian 80s pop group Ah-ha.

ACTIVITY: what other TV programmes or videos do you remember from the past that either hinted at, or might provide inspiration for, augmented or mixed reality effects and applications?

At the time, the Take on Me video was a masterpiece of video compositing. But as photo- and video-manipulation tools develop, and as augmented reality toolkits become ever more available, the ability to produce similar styled videos may become commonplace.

For example, creating “pencil drawn” images from photos can be easily achieved using a range of filters in applications such as Adobe Photoshop:

And the Pencil Sketch tool in Adobe After Effects will apply a similar effect to videos.

The Pencil Sketch effect is a applied as the result of processing a video image directly. But a similar sort of end effect can also be created by applying a texture transformation to a motion-captured model.

By manipulating a model, rather than a video frame, we are no longer tied to purely re-presenting the captured video image. Instead, the capture can be manipulated and the performance transformed away from the original motions, as well as the original textures.

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