Confessions of a researchaholic

April 13, 2024


Filed under: Imaginary,Real — liyiwei @ 1:42 pm

I recorded a woodpecker pecking on a utility pole and would like to create an animated sketch in sync with the sound.
I started with a rough manual drawing by Adobe Fresco and used it as the structure reference for Adobe Firefly.
I then selected the bird as the foreground object into another layer and generatively filled the background via Photoshop.
I imported the psd file into After Effects and control the rotation of the bird via the sound of the captured video (following this example).

April 7, 2024

Full self-driving

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 6:44 pm

I tested an electric car’s full self-driving today and found it impressive.

After entering the destination, the car planned the route and drove itself, including turning, signaling, changing and merging lanes, observing traffic lights and signs (stop, speed limit), and avoiding pedestrians and cyclists.
I can manually change the default behaviors by signaling and setting a different speed target, and the car will automatically change lanes and pass slower cars.

I haven’t tried auto-parking yet, given that I doubt if the car can figure out where I want to park and the orientation of the car.

The self driving capability could augment human sensors, motors, and cognition and thus make driving safer and more efficient barring moral hazards (e.g., encouraging drunk or distracted driving).

April 5, 2024


Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 5:38 pm
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This “creative entity” has an impressive Behance portfolio and messaged me to connect.
We had an half-hour Zoom call on Friday afternoon, during which he remains anonymous and faceless.
From his voice I can figure out that he is a young European male whose is on an early stage of architecture design day job.

April 1, 2024

Street pianist

Filed under: Imaginary,Real — liyiwei @ 7:47 pm

This is an attempt to depict the visuals appearing in my mind while listening to this podcast about a guy who played the particular piano piece “Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence” by Ryuichi Sakamoto outdoors to express his personal and shared public sorrows.

Roughly speaking, the visuals are inspired by the scenes in the 2002 film “the pianist” but with the guy playing the piano on the street within a ruined city.
(It seems less dramatic in reality.)

I could draw the scenes out of my head but it might take too much time (which I don’t have right now), so I decided to give generative AI (in particular, Adobe Firefly) a try.

March 27, 2024

Hands on – quick short abstract

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 5:44 pm
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An intern collaborator thanked me for a quick editing of the abstract of an upcoming paper submission, which reminded me of the the following story reflecting how our PhD advisers (or senior collaborators) could influence our work styles:

A few days before the SIGGRAPH 2002 paper deadline, while trying to submit the abstract from a paper draft, I received an error message saying that it was over the length limit (maximum 600 words, if I remember correctly). I could do a quick trim of the abstract but worried that I might not be able to preserve the content in such a short form, and thus sent a message to the paper advisory board asking whether I can have a longer abstract in the paper file.

Several minutes later, my PhD adviser emailed me a shortened version of the abstract, with perfect content and length.
I thanked him for his (astonishing) quality and speed, and wondered if he could read my mind (or, more likely, network traffic). He said that he happened to be on the advisory board and thus saw my message.

A few hours later, I received a reply from the paper chair clarifying that the abstract for the submission form was mainly for the paper sorting process and can differ from the abstract in the submitted paper file.

March 17, 2024

Loving Vincent

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 4:32 pm
Tags: ,

I absolutely love the hand-painted oil effects of this film which I watched on hoopladigital.
The backgrounds are mostly flat and static and thus can be painted more sparsely while the foreground characters and objects are rotoscoped over (green-screen) captured live actions.
The actors were chosen to resemble the subjects in the original paintings which were used as style references for the painting process.

March 11, 2024

Buddha’s hand citron

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 4:14 pm

I received one buddha’s hand citron in this week’s food delivery, and did a quick sketch of it before zesting its unique aroma into tea, salad, and yogurt.

March 3, 2024

Day jobs

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 6:35 pm

I visited the opening exhibition of day jobs in Cantor today and found it fascinating.
The descriptions, as quote from the exhibition website, can be applied to other creative fields such as scientific research and product development as well:

This exhibition examines the overlooked impact of day jobs on the visual arts. Success for artists is often measured by their ability to quit a day job and focus full time on their practice. Yet, these jobs can often spur creative growth by providing artists with new materials and methods, hands-on knowledge of a specific industry that becomes an area of artistic investigation, or a predictable paycheck and structure that enable unpredictable ideas.

By examining the impact of day jobs on artists, the exhibition seeks to demystify artistic production and overturn the romanticized concept of the artist sequestered in their studio, waiting for inspiration to strike. Conceived as a corrective to traditional art historical narratives, Day Jobs encourages us to more openly acknowledge the precarious and generative ways that economic and creative pursuits are intertwined.

March 2, 2024

Fun versus job

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 6:30 pm
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Academic research can be a day job for some people, including reading, writing, and reviewing papers, coding prototypes, conducting experiments, advising students, and interacting with collaborators.
But it is a leisure activity for me, more intellectually satisfying than managing and communicating about products which is my current day job, which, in turn, I wonder might be a fun activity for others.

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