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Creating a hand drawn virtual art exhibition

A virtual exhibition for Easterly Artists

The “In Isolation” virtual exhibition for Easterly Artists was put together over a period of about two weeks from a standing start with no prior knowledge or experience of creating virtual experiences other than a curiosity about the way Google Street View works.

Google Streetview

The initial focus was on understanding Google Street View. Downloading the Google Street View App ( Android and iPhone) made me realize that many of us have the ability to create the raw data of virtual experiences in our hands every day. The capture function in Google street view allows mobile phone users to capture 360-degree photographs by automatically stitching together upwards of 30 or so individual photographs taken standing in a single spot.  It’s impressive but you do quickly realize the limitations. It’s difficult to rotate the phone about a consistent position so inevitably some of the stitching struggles to work. However, there are specialist cameras that simultaneously take just two fisheye lens views to create 360-degree images in a single shot. Surprisingly entry-level cameras such as the Ricoh Theta start at only £250.

File Formats

As I wanted to be able to create virtual experiences outside of the Google Street View project I wanted to understand what file format is used. It turns out it’s both very simple and a bit clever. The simple bit is that it’s just a jpeg file,( like every other photo in your digital world)  but one that needs to meet some specific criteria. Firstly it has to be a landscape format rectangle with a size ratio of 2:1. It also has to fit within quite a broad range in terms of the number of pixels ( generally more is good but there is a limit). But most importantly the image has been mapped onto the rectangle as an equirectangular projection. You may think you know nothing about equirectangular projections but wait. You all will have seen large rectangular wall maps of the world. Well, they are equirectangular projections of the surface of the earth. 

A Paper Template

Software or cameras composing equirectangular projections use lots of fancy maths but a quick google of equirectangular projection and you find template drawings that transpose a grid of horizontal and vertical lines within a space and lay them out as an equirectangular projection. Armed with this it is possible with a fair degree of spatial imagination to draw directly in equirectangular projection in a not dissimilar way that you might draw in a perspective projection. 

Creating the image file

So armed with a printed out grid, some tracing paper, and a pencil you can create an equirectangular projection drawing of a 360-degree view. All you need to then do is photograph it with your mobile phone ( take care to align it up as straight as possible). The photograph then needs to be edited down to an exact 2:1 ratio ( I use Photopea its a free online image editing tool that has been designed to replicate the full capabilities of Photoshop. To get the software to recognize that the jpeg is intended to be interpreted as a 360-degree view rather than just a rectangular image you need to then add a little tag into the file. 

Exif Editing

All cameras automatically add lots of information into jpeg files. 360-degree cameras and stitching software add a special tag and this is what needs to be replicated to complete the creation of a hand-drawn 360-degree view.  Initially, a bit stumped but then I came across a help page on Facebook which quickly clarified that the required additional tag is an Exif XMP tag which specifies that the “ProjectionType=equirectangular”. Also, the article recommends Exifier (https://www.thexifer.net/) a web-based tool for editing the tags in image files which makes the job very simple to do.

Testing the experience

Next test your 360-degree drawing. The simplest way is uploading it to Facebook. As long as you have fulfilled all the criteria set out above then the platform immediately recognizes your file as a 360 virtual image and displays it appropriately with the usual navigation and control functions. Hey, presto you can experience your own hand-drawn virtual environment. You can also view the image with specific 360-degree viewer apps for computers, Android, or iPhone.

Authoring on WordPress

I wanted to be able to host my virtual space on a website and enrich the experience with content embedded into the space. I already knew that there is a whole world of great and geeky plugins available to the WordPress community so I looked. Sure enough, there is a plugin that has been developed for authoring virtual tours within WordPress sites ( and to think it started off as a text blogging tool) The plugin is called WP VR. There is a limited functionality free version and the paid version is $45 per year for a single site.  It’s not the most intuitive of interfaces but with a lot of trial and error and a fair few late nights I was able to create the “In Isolation” exhibition. I took care to test the experience on laptops and a series of different mobile phones. Over 50% of visits to websites are now from mobile phones so I wanted to make the experience as accessible as possible.  It may have 48 hotspots with on hover links and on click pop up images but the exhibition is just 1 scene.  Creating multiple linked scenes would allow an experience that moves through the imagined space rather than standing still and looking around. There are more sophisticated options than WPVR available. The potential to create an even richer experience is there to be tried. Watch this space!

Contact Hugh Davies at paper-works to find out how we could help you create hand-drawn virtual spaces.

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Paper-works* @ The Ness

Paper-works* led  two free workshops for The Ness project at unit 22 The Britten Centre.

Participants were invited to two separate printmaking workshops. In the morning Linocut and in the afternoon Drypoint.

Within each 3 hour workshop participants were given instruction to create and print their own prints in each technique. The results were brilliant!

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Paper-works* @ First Light

Paper-works* led Cyanotype workshops at the First Light Festival on Lowestoft Beach on the 23rd and 24th of June

Participants were invited to make prints using driftwood and sunlight using paper treated with iron salts.  Operating from a beach hut on the beach the workshops werw provided from 12noon til 5pm on the Saturday and from 8pm til 12 noon on the Sunday.

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Paper-works* @ The Scores

Paper-works* working with Hilary Barry led a full day linocut course as part of the Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust Scores Project in Lowestoft.

Participants were invited to explore the Scores making sj=ketches and then return to the Lowestoft Heritage Centre to develop their designs into unique linocut prints.

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Hand printed edition from an antique woodblock

paper-works* was recently been commissioned to create an edition from an original antique woodblock. The woodblock, thought to date from the early 19th century, was of substantial size and thickness. It remains true and flat so with careful adjustment, a thick blanket and a flexible pressure plate the block was carefully passed though our large manual press . The resulting prints reveal a delicacy and fine detail in stark contrast to the dark heavy nature of the block itself. Using our  water washable vegetable oil based inks the block was cleaned with vegetable oil only to avoid moisture movement in the block

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Dry Point Day Course at the Fisher Theatre

 

On the last day of our exhibition at the Fisher Theatre we held a dry point day course in the Gallery space. Following on from other events held away from our studio we’re getting quite used to providing a portable printmaking experience.

Our participants had a very productive day and printed great work. Many thanks to everybody who came along and to Nicholas, Leila and all the staff at the Fisher for making it happen.

 

 

 

 

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Paper-works* print exhibition at the Fisher Theatre

Exhibition at the Fisher Theatre ends 25th August

An exhibition of works on paper by Lisa Hurcum and Hugh Davies. Working individually they share a wide ranging exploration of techniques in their printmaking studio in Lowestoft. Lisa’s work takes inspiration both from her writing and the domestic realm. Hugh’s architects training fuels his interest in space and form in marine, urban and architectural environments.

The exhibition space includes- the Café, the Ramp & the Gallery.

Entry to the exhibition is free and it can be viewed between the hours of 10am and 3pm Monday to Saturday, and again from 6pm on show nights. Occasionally the gallery may be in use and not open for viewing. If you are travelling any distance please call the Box Office: 01986 897130 to check availability..

Prints are available for sale at the exhibition.

jug

Trawl dock linocut

 

Fisher Theatre, Bungay, Suffolk

 

 

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Linocut at Fisher Arts and Social

Another great morning today with all the folks at Fisher Arts and Social Club

We brought our press along again, this time to do linocut printing. After a quick demonstration of the technique everybody got stuck in. Two hours later all the folks had finished their designs and printed off at least two prints!

Many thanks to Sophie for inviting us back and to all the participants who made it so enjoyable.


To find out more see their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/fisherartsandsocialclub/

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Easterly Artists Open Studios Trail

Easterly Studio Trail Weekend

For one weekend only the Easterly Artists Trail is a collaboration between five artists in the Lowestoft and Waveney area who are coordinating their Suffolk Open Studio days on the weekend of Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th June to provide visitors with the opportunity to visit every studio on the same day.

If you can’t make it on the weekend of the 16th and 17th of June the other weekends in June when the artists studios will be studios will be open are as follows:

  • Hilary Barry June 2nd/3rd and June 9th /10th
  • Hugh Davies & Lisa Hurcum June 23rd/24th
  • Nina Roffey June 9th/10th
  • Fiona Shreve June 2nd/3rd and June 9th /10th

Download Easterly Artists Leaflet

Please Note : Access to the studios may involve stepped access. Please call the artist beforehand  to check access arrangements

Hilary Barry

I left the Welsh mountains at 17 to go to art school, but the landscape and its history continue to influence my painting. My work is often a combination of the real, the remembered and the imagined: I aim to evoke the memory of landscape and experience.

Copperfields, Beach Road, Kessingland, NR33 7RW.

Tel: 07800 643117

hilarybarryartist.com

Hugh Davies

Drypoint study of net covered upturned fishing boat, Pakefield, Lowestoft 2017

I am interested in drawing and mark making on paper as a means of exploring imagination, form and space. I use a range of printmaking techniques including linocut drypoint and cyanotype as a means of moving beyond recording and observation into abstraction.

29 Lyndhurst Road, Lowestoft NR32 4PD

Tel: 01502 580912

paper-works.co.uk

Lisa Hurcum

Working with linocut printing gives me the ability to retain a spontaneity and immediacy to the images I create. My inspiration comes from the domestic and the everyday, both observed directly from life and from the imagined details of the short stories that I write.

29 Lyndhurst Road, Lowestoft NR32 4PD

Tel: 01502 580912

paper-works.co.uk

Nina Roffey

I have been working on found wood for several years making sculptural assemblages. I also use found or discarded, items and place in boxes as well as paintings and collages. I often write small books to go with some larger works which are included in the sale price. Found objects are my weakness!

52 Park Drive, Worlingham, Beccles, NR34 7DL

Tel 01502 715118

ninaartmaker.info

Fiona Shreve

Brutalist architecture influences my ceramic designs. I create sculptural forms with under-glaze transfer prints: both are inspired by images of buildings such as The Barbican or Park Hill in Sheffield, or the iconic buildings on the Southbank.

9 Marsh Lane, Somerleyton, NR32 5QX

Tel: 01502 730837

fionashreeve.com

 

Suffolk Open Studios

Suffolk open studios

Every year all across Suffolk over 100 Artists open their studios during weekends in June. You are invited to see how and where they work and get the opportunity to enjoy paintings, drawings, prints, ceramics and other works of art outside a gallery setting.

For information on the full range of open studio events please see www.suffolkopenstudios.org or pick up a printed brochure from participating studios, local libraries and visitor information points.

 

 

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Grit Fest 2018

Brilliant Day at Grit Fest. Sparrows Nest Park was looking at its best with a big turnout and  beautiful sunny weather.

Our free drop in linocut printing workshop was busy non stop from 10.30 am till 4pm. Lots of enthusiasm for having a go from all ages four to four score plus! Lots of interest in what we are doing and our upcoming open studios in June . Hope to welcome you all then . Really rewarding day, lots of new people and old friends. A friendly atmosphere, people sitting out on the grass listening to the bands and some dancing!.

Thanks to Paula White for allowing us to include her quick sketch.

A big thank you to all the organisers who made Grit Fest happen. See you at the next one !

For anybody who missed being able to print their own we have some artists proof copies of our grit prints available in our online shop