More selected projects

Expectation & Isolated Thinking 

                                                                                         There is no Spoon

produced by: Jess Gould 


I am an artist and I am at my most comfortable and creative with a paintbrush in my hand. I usually do not have a problem bringing my ideas into fruition; however, my coding abilities do not match up with my artistic ambition. This project has brought me to tears more times than I’d like to admit this term. I have named this piece after the pain it had caused me, Expectation and Isolated Thinking. 

Concept and background research

Initially my project was about having a moment of mindlessness, I had hoped to create a program that was satisfying to either participate in or to watch. I wanted to combine two things that I get great enjoyment from, the art of studio Ghibli and the art of Calligraphy. I wanted to take the satisfying rhythmic flow of calligraphy and the ethereal and whimsical nature of the Soot Sprites in Spirited away and combine them into a moment of mindlessness. 


For this project I was using the ps3Eye camera and the following addons, ofXOpenCV and ofxPS3EyeGrabber. I used the ps3Eye camera because I wanted to position it over the desk and get a bird’s eye view of the person writing. Despite having a clear image in my mind about how I wanted this project to look, I found it incredibly difficult to materialise it. 

I use the term isolated thinking because this has been my new reality, being in lockdown has caused me major problems. I now see the matrix and not for the right reasons. It’s not the case were Neo sees the matrix within and suddenly knows how to manipulate every fibre around him, it’s the case where I have spent so long looking at my code, I now see it when I close my eyes. 

My biggest challenge was my head. I kept getting in my own way, I am not confident in my abilities with openframeworks and it often leads to hours of researching while only amounting to a couple lines of simple code. I’ve struggled at every stage of this project and it’s still not where I wanted it to be. 

I’m using code from Daniel Shiffmans computer vision series (Shiffman D, 2016), colour tracking and  I’ve made a particle system that reacts to the colour tracking algorithm. 

Self evaluation

This project doesn’t work the way I had intended, and I don’t think it works well. The particle system doesn’t react smoothly to the colour tracking algorithm, so in order to make the particles move more interestingly I had to introduce a sine wave to the formula, but I got the maths wrong and the particles aren’t displaced evenly around the object instead they are thrown off to one side. My vision of the camera following the pen didn’t work out well either, I think this is down to a couple of reasons, the pen colour wasn’t bright/intense enough for the program to easily identify it so when it started moving it kept finding other positions on screen that were similarly coloured. Saying that I realise I should have readjusted the threshold after changing the lighting in the room. 

Given the circumstance of the situation I have to be content with the fact that I was able to make this in the end, it wasn’t what I had hoped for, but it compiles at least… 


Daniel Shiffman. (5th July 2016). ComputerVision ColorTracking. Available: Last accessed 7th May 2020.

Soot Sprites -