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Project turns people into paint (pictures)

It's not easy to visualize how you interact with light, but the art collective Anticlockwise mixes together infrared, a camera, and some open-source software to turn your silhouette into a kinetic painting.

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Seth Rosenblatt

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Watercolor Walls turns people into paint

"Watercolor Walls," the latest project by San Francisco-based art collective Anticlockwise, combines light, cameras, and audience participation to turn your silhouette into a flowing pattern of projected colors. At the Academy of Sciences' weekly NightLife event last night, Ilana Siegelman dances to create silhouette trails of herself on the screen. She said it was "easy to play with," once she figured out that she could change the colors by using a projected palette.
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How Anticlockwise turns you into paint

Watercolor Walls uses some basic tech tools and audience participation to give new life to the stodgy old silhouette. The system includes a projection screen, infrared lights, an infrared camera, and a computer running some unique software.
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Infrared filtering

This second camera helps translate the infrared light around the bodies of participants into the light on the screen.
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Controlling the color palette

When your silhouette comes in contact with one of the colors on the palette, it changes color, and brings that new color down into the rest of the screen. That new color then interacts with the differently colored silhouettes of others, which gives participants a unique ability to control both the on-screen colors and flow of the silhouettes.
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Silhouettes light and dark

The computer runs a piece of software that performs "blob detection," a type of visual object tracking. Implemented with the open-source software toolkit openFrameworks, and connected to the camera, projector, and infrared filters, it creates the light show around your body.

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