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art-a-hack

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Over this past summer, I participated in Art-a-Hack, an art and software residency run by Thoughtworks that combines artists, designers and technologists to create in a way. I spent the month working on a project called Oculus Fiber, along with Jessica Graves, Greg Dutcher and Nina Mirahabibi. I promise myself that I’d thoroughly document the process, but alas I did not so now I find myself trying to do a quick and dirty recap of all the trials, errors, learnings, failures, successes and everything I learned over the course of that month.

While working on the project, I gravitated toward working with microscopy and experimenting with different ways to create a 3-dimensional representation of an object from 2-dimensional images. Luckily, I’ll be exploring this more in my classes this semester (Computational Portraiture, In Their Shoes, etc.) but I got a very quick and cursory sense of all the options that exist for doing this. Following the guidance of Eric Rosenthal (and now-ITP resident Julia Irwin, who has done a lot of her own work on modeling from microscopic images), I experimented with focal stacking in Helicon Focus and Image-J to try and make height maps from a series of microscopic images with tiny, incremental differences in the focal range. You can see the one example of the products of a focal stack below (on the right).

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