Ottawa in Colour

I was at Chapters talking to a friend about local arts philanthropy and how difficult it is to find arts grants in Ottawa, and we were in the (now massive) colouring book section when a bolt of inspiriation hit me and I declared “I’m going to make an Ottawa colouring book with my artist friends and sell it to benefit local arts projects!”. Ottawa in Colour was born.

So a few short weeks later we are well into production and I somehow ended up on a stage in front of the Soup Ottawa microgrant organization. We didn’t win, but it was great to be able to share my idea with an excited crowd and we made lots of amazing connections – we have really fantastic artists rolling in with amazing ideas for their pages. I can’t wait to start sharing it all with you!

The Soup Ottawa Crowd

Ottawa is beautiful!

Telling everyone how beautiful Ottawa is

Global Game Jam 2016

I was invited to join a dream team of game industry veterans for this year’s Global Game Jam event in Ottawa. The idea is you have 48 hours to create a video game based on a secret theme revealed Friday night. The theme this year was “Ritual”.

Sunday afternoon (after many cups of coffee) my team demoed our final product – “Fire Whisperers”. You play one of (up to) four fire worshippers, co-operatively trying to appease the fire gods by dancing around the fire at night. But shadowy monsters are out to get you, so during the day you rush to harvest rocks and trees to build defensive walls and burning effigies. The end result is pretty fun and manic – there’s a DDR-style button-mashing mini-game to keep the fire burning, and we tuned it so there’s enough monsters to tempt one of the team members to jump into the fire as a sacrifice. 🙂

Not bad for 2 days!

Neural Networks + Recognition

I’m working on a lightweight computer vision algorithm for Robotgrrl’s Robot Missions project, and I’ve been exploring neural networks and learning machines on low-power hardware. This is a simple regression tool that breaks an image down into 64 samples and tries to determine which pixels are Jason (blueish) and non-Jason (reddish). It works surprisingly well in ideal situations!

The end goal is to create a feature identification tool that could help a robot navigate around rocks or branches or penguins.

The status feature also seems to be working correctly. (I may have hardcoded that)

JC_NeuralNet

Snow Sculpting

My maker team (The notorious OMG) and I got together over the first week of Winterlude to carve a gigantic 10 foot tall Godzilla out of a cube of snow!

The cube started like this:

before_Snow

Our original plan included a cityscape, but when we saw how high the peak of the snow cube went, we knew we had an opportunity to do a familiar landmark – Parliament Hill.

OMGZilla

Our first couple of nights were tricky because of the warm melty weather, so we only had a few days with all hands on deck to carve it in to shape.

JCCarvingOMGZilla

Saturday morning, the final OMGodzilla could be spotted mingling with the crowd of admirers who came out to see what we’d been working on. Super proud of this project – I think it turned out pretty well, and I learned a lot about co-ordinating artistic projects among a team.

IMG_6305
FinalGZ