Jamie Carmichael

The Final Stage

Little Plymouth October 20, 2009

Filed under: IDAT309 Digital Media Environments — Jamie Carmichael @ 02:22

OK so I got carried away with the little planet tutorial, here is what I did.

Some came out better than the others, it’s all down to the quality of the original shot. My favourite is Little Mall, I think this is a nice new way to visualise landmarks. If there is a way to recreate one of the images above using something like 3DS MAX the user could walk around and view a landmark from a different perspective. A collection of these little planets could be made of different landmarks and be clickable to reveal specific information about the history or function of the landmark. This could be an exciting new way for the local tourist board to promote the city.


To Do October 19, 2009

Filed under: IDAT309 Digital Media Environments — Jamie Carmichael @ 13:13

Before I go too far down the wrong path I need to take a look at some existing digital media environments. I plan to do some mini experiments to help me realise my project also.

Below is a tutorial I followed on making a little planet from a photograph whilst I was on placement. I shall put my version up as soon as I find it (just re-imaged my laptop).

This I think is a good way of visualising a space, although it does distort the image beyond recognition. To prove this I will make another one rather than try to find the older one I made, I’ll use a shot of a familiar local landmark and see if the final piece is recognisable. If it is then I could look at recreating a 3D version that is navigable. Something like this would be educational and entertaining, keeping with the theme of what I discussed in my previous post. Could I produce something for the local tourist board? Something that educates and entertains on the landmarks/attractions of Plymouth? Little Plymouth?


Initial Thoughts

Filed under: IDAT309 Digital Media Environments — Jamie Carmichael @ 12:59

Digital Media Environments are getting ever more popular. There areĀ  already a number of environments that are in place to both educate and entertain. Google Earth for example is as much fun as it is educational, I found myself many a time casually searching the world and thinking ‘wow I didn’t realise that that country was so close to this country!’

There are environments such as Second Life, again more for entertainment but ever increasingly used by educational organisations to provide somewhere for people to find course/uni related information. I visited University of Plymouth’s space which was worryingly close to the sexual health clinic where I had a tour of the Testes and how sperm is made. It was quite a surreal way to learn something, I’m in what essentially is a game, immersed in this world where pretty much anything goes. Riding on the back of a giant sperm with five other curious people flying towards a huge testicle in the sky. Then through a range of audio description and animations you are taken on the journey of the birth of a sperm.

As surreal as it is I actually did learn something. It is a subject that some people may be uncomfortable to bring up or talk about but with Second Life you are not so shy, you can remain anonymous and say and do things that you normally don’t have the confidence to say in real life. I think that this is a huge advantage of digital media environments. It is able to work as a middle man. A go between, something that allows someone to be something that they are not.

There are disadvantages to this approach also. Not everyone is computer ‘savvy’ so to make something that is just computer based could alienate those who are scared to touch one. It needs to be intuitive to use, not just intuitive for people in general but intuitive for those who are not computer ‘savvy’ , this is potentially the most difficult bit. Being computer savvy myself, could I make something that someone who does not know computers well understand how to use it? My mother for example, not computer savvy to the point where she finds using a computer a chore instead of fun. She would never understand Second Life in a million light-years. One of her problems, she doesn’t like using a mouse. She finds it awkward and difficult to use.

Nintendo are on the right lines with their Wii. It uses a remote control like controller. Something that my mother find’s more natural to use (just like the TV remote!) You just point and click. This type of controller helps get people with disabilities involved too. My girlfriends sister sadly lost the use of her right arm after suffering a stroke. Normally when we play consoles she is limited to the games she can join in on depending on the complexity of the buttons used. Too many buttons not enough hands! Not so with the Wii, most of the games require one hand so for once she can join in without her disability being an issue, the Wii has broken down a barrier. One thing that would be better than a Wii remote? No remote as promoted by the development of Microsoft’s ‘Project Natal‘ for the X-Box, here the user is the controller, using a range of movements with their arms or legs.

I’m jumping the gun a bit here with the controllers but it is something worth thinking about when designing a digital media environment, how to navigate without alienating those who are not computer ‘savvy’.


What is Expected of Me October 16, 2009

Filed under: IDAT309 Digital Media Environments — Jamie Carmichael @ 00:34
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At the end of the module students will be able to:

Demonstrate an understanding of the applications of computer technologies to a range of environments.

Demonstrate practical design skills in the planning and building of digital environments.

Demonstrate an understanding of the historical and contemporary theory surrounding digital environments.

At the end of the module students will be expected to demonstrate an understanding of:

a variety of existing and future digital media environments including integrated ones,

principles of the design and construction of digital virtual environments,

3D-based and 2D-based environments,

the issue of integrating different environments,

concepts andĀ  techniques of 3D design,

different types of Virtual Reality,

the navigation of virtual environments,

multimodal communication within 3D virtual environments,

3D Studio MAX,

Macromedia Director and 3D-related Lingo,

VRML (Virtual Reality Modelling Language),

X3D (Extensible 3D Graphics),

Apple QuickTime including VR Panoramas and Objects.

This is not an exclusive list.


It is important that you address the issues of the module by engaging in a conceptual critique of integrated digital media environments and related discourse.

Working individually, you are required to set the problem and provide a solution. Projects are to be negotiated with your tutor through an initial project proposal. It is essential that the production work is informed by critical debate underway in seminars and individual surgeries. The proposal must include illustrations, diagrams, timelines, interface layouts, etc. This proposal will contribute an important component of the overall mark, as it will set out aims and objectives against which the project will be assessed. It should be professionally presented.

To realise the project you can use any available software and hardware, but the use of 3D Studio Max is strongly recommended. Assessment will focus on imaginative, creative and critical aspects of your project.


To accompany your practical project you are required to submit a critique of your project (approx. 2000 words). It should contextualize (historically, culturally, practically) your production, discussing production techniques, conceptual and practical strategies, ideas and inspirations, and your work. This should not be an essay format although footnotes and bibliography etc should be included. This should be a professional presentation.