Golan Levin and Collaborators

Flong Blog + News

Yellowtail app for iPhone and iPad!

29 December 2010 / announcement, project, thanks

I’m delighted to announce the immediate availability of Yellowtail, a mesmerizing, family-friendly iPhone/iPad app for drawing animated, wiggly lines. Just drag your finger to draw an ever-changing display of lively, worm-like textures. The software repeats your marks end-over-end, allowing you to author a line’s shape and its quality of movement at the same time. A simple menu lets you clear the screen, or choose between two different animation styles. The app is available through the App Store ($0.99) for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, and currently requires iOS 3.2 or later.

I’ve been developing Yellowtail in various versions since 1998. At its core, it is an interactive software system for the gestural creation and performance of real-time abstract animation. Using a playful animated transformation of the user’s gesture, the software produces an ever-changing and responsive display of lively, worm-like textures. More general information about Yellowtail is available here, and a whole heap of really technical and historical context is here.

Yellowtail was originally developed as a skunkwork project at Interval Research Corporation (1998) with support from Michael Naimark, and later at the MIT Media Laboratory (1999-2000) with support from John Maeda’s Aesthetics and Computation Group (ACG). The iOS ports were developed in openFrameworks and were created with the assistance of Max Hawkins, Lee Byron, Jonathan Brodsky, and enabling support from the OF iPhone crew (Memo Akten, Zach Gage, Theo Watson, Zachary Lieberman, and many others). Thanks to all who have supported this project.

Some common UI words in various languages

28 December 2010 / code, reference

Here are some common user-interface terms (Clear, Cancel, Continue, Quit, Initializing) translated into various languages, including Arabic, Chinese, Czech, Danish, English, Finnish, French, German, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, and Ukrainian. This kind of localization information can sometimes be difficult to find, and may be helpful for iPhone/iPad developers seeking to internationalize their apps. I’ll take additions if you’d like to send them to me. Note: No warranties about the accuracy of this information are provided.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!-- Edited from ftp://tdata.atu.edu/Alice.Batch/Adobe%20CS4/resources/main.xml -->
<Localization xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" exportTime="String">
	<String stringID="Clear">
	<String stringID="Initializing">
		<fr_FR>Initialisation de</fr_FR>
		<fr_CA>Initialisation de</fr_CA>
		<ko_KR>초기화 중</ko_KR>
		<nl_NL>Bezig met initialiseren</nl_NL>
	<String stringID="Cancel">
		<ar_AE>إلغاء الأمر</ar_AE>
	<String stringID="Quit">
	<String stringID="Continue">
		<tr_TR>Devam Et</tr_TR>

Article keywords: user-interface, UI, GUI, common, terms, words, buttons, clear, cancel, quit, initialize, continue, localization, translation, translations, various languages, internationalization, iOS, app, text.

Keeping Yourself Fed after Graduating

11 October 2010 / external, life, pedagogy, reference

Here’s a short list of digital tools which may help graduating fine arts students bridge the transition to adult working life.

I’m currently co-teaching a Senior Project course for approximately 40 Fine Arts undergraduates in the Carnegie Mellon School of Art. In just a few months, these seniors, most of whom work in traditional 2D media, will be plopped out into the world and expected to feed themselves. To help them, I’ve drawn up this list of Web 2.0 services which can help a talented young artist connect to their worldwide audience and maintain a sustainable artistic practice out of school. Of course, this list is (a) hardly exhaustive, (b) rapidly changing, and (c) already well-known to digerati. Still, many students working in non-digital media seem unaware of these important tools, which have revolutionized the ways in which an artist can make a living from their work. Thus I present a list of resources to help you…


Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/how_selling_works.php
An online marketplace for buying and selling all things handmade.
We connect buyers with independent creators and shop owners to find the very best in handmade, vintage and supplies. Examples: Lightexture, Liane Tyrell aka Enhabiten.

MakersMarket: http://makersmarket.com/
“A curated market place of wonderful science, tech and artistic creations created and sold directly by some of our favorite Makers from around the World.” [Update: I’ve learned that MakersMarket is slated to be shut down. Use Etsy instead.]


CreateSpace: https://www.createspace.com/
“Our free online publishing tools and community can help you complete and sell your DVD or CD.
Distribute on Amazon.com, your own website, and other retailers without setup fees or inventory.”

Blurb: blurb.com
“All the tools you need to make your own photo book, whether you’re making a personalized wedding album, cookbook, baby book, travel photo book, or fundraising book.”

Lulu: http://www.lulu.com/publish/
“Tools and services to make publishing simple and the most options to sell your books.”


The key behind these sites is that they provide print-on-demand (or fabricate-on-demand) services. You don’t have to maintain an inventory of unordered products, and your products can be customized for your customers.

Spreadshirt: http://www.spreadshirt.com/
Create, buy and sell your own apparel with designs, photos or text.

Zazzle: http://www.zazzle.com/
Create a wide variety of custom objects such as apparel, mugs, and posters.

CafePress: http://www.cafepress.com/
Create custom apparel, stickers, and mugs

Qoop: http://www.qoop.com/
Publish & sell photos & photo products.

Shapeways: http://www.shapeways.com/
“Your personal fabrication service, using 3D printing.”

Tenbills: http://www.tenbills.com/
Design & buy T-shirts.

Ceramic glaze decals:

Custom Printed Fabric:

Postcards to promote your work:


Mechanical Turk: https://www.mturk.com/mturk/welcome
“Artificial Artificial Intelligence”
Complete simple tasks like transcriptions, categorizations, and spell-checks to earn small amounts of money.  It doesn’t give you much but it’s something!

Freelancer: http://www.freelancer.com/
“The world’s largest outsourcing marketplace”

Guru: http://www.guru.com/pro/index.aspx
“Find freelance jobs at the world’s largest online marketplace”

Elance: http://www.elance.com/
“A platform for flexible employment, Elance helps businesses hire and manage online instead of onsite.”

Clickworker: http://www.clickworker.com/en/
“Work independently, whenever and wherever. All you need is a computer, Internet access, and interest in writing, translating, researching, or data processing.”

SwapASkill: http://www.swapaskill.com/
“Swap what you can give or can do for what you need. Get what you want – do something you’re good at, or give something you don’t need.”

oDesk: http://www.odesk.com/jobs/
Freelancing site for small tasks.

99Designs: http://99designs.com/
Competitive graphic design freelancing.

Fiverr: http://www.fiverr.com/
“The place for people to share things they’re willing to do for $5”


Crowd funding (sometimes called crowd financing, or crowd sourced capital) describes the collective cooperation, attention and trust by people who network and pool their money together, usually via the Internet, to support efforts initiated by other people or organizations. Crowdfunding occurs for any variety of purposes, from disaster relief to citizen journalism to artists seeking support from fans, to political campaigns.[1]

Kickstarter (http://www.kickstarter.com)
“A new way to fund creative ideas and ambitious endeavors.”  Upload text and a video introducing a project you need help funding and see if your readers like your project enough to donate. Here are some examples of successful Kickstarter campaigns:

Indiegogo (http://www.indiegogo.com)
“A collaborative way to fund ideas.” Oriented towards indie films.

The Point (http://www.thepoint.com/)
“Easy and effective group action.” Oriented towards social causes.

Givemeaning (http://www.givemeaning.com/)
Give-or-take fundraising community. Oriented towards social causes.


Tools for Sharing and Storing…
You can make your workflow much more efficient with better tools to manage your data. You’ll also never lose your data again.

Tools for Other Activities:

Staying informed informed with Twitter: http://Twitter.com/
Most of you have Facebook accounts, which embeds the “social graph” — the network of people you know (or used to know) in real life. Twitter, on the other hand, embeds the “interest graph” — the network of people interested in what you’re making, and the network of people and organizations that are doing things you find interesting. So here’s another argument for why you might find Twitter to be a good tool for keeping informed about the latest arts opportunities — and developing a (global) audience of people interested in your work, even though they may not know you personally. In the words of Naval Ravikant and Adam Rifkin, Twitter is:

  • Built on one-way following rather than two-way friending
  • Organized around shared interests, not personal relationships
  • Public by default, not private by default
  • Aspirational: not who you were in the past or even who you are, but who you want to be


Places to make things:

Real-world places to take workshops in new skills:

Sites where people share instructions for doing and making things;

Punto y Raya Animation Festival at CMU, October 12

6 October 2010 / announcement, event, studio

Tuesday October 12, 2010, 8pm
McConomy Auditorium, CMU [map]
This event is free and open to the public.

The STUDIO for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon University will bring the Punto y Raya (Dot and Line) animation festival to campus on Tuesday, Oct. 12 at 8pm in McConomy Auditorium. Admission is free. This festival, which has toured more than 30 cities and is considered “the most abstract film festival in the world,” explores the creative possibilities of dots and lines in various spheres of science, art and thought. Punto y Raya features no figuration – just dots and lines as ends in themselves.

Presented by its organizer and curator, Nöel Palazzo of the Barcelona-based artist collective, Moviment d’Alliberament Digital (MAD), Punto y Raya goes back to basics in our representation of space and time to gain an insight into the world beyond perception. Palazzo is a feature film, TV, movie, animation and science fiction writer. Her films have been internationally awarded and she occasionally lectures and writes as a film critic. Palazzo will be present at the screening to introduce and discuss the festival.

Larry Cuba, a featured animator in the Punto y Raya festival, will also be present at the screening to discuss his work. Cuba is a pioneering and well-known computer animator; he worked as John Whitney’s assistant in the early 1970s on classics such as Arabesque, and later produced the well-known “star field” animations for George Lucas’s Star Wars. Cuba currently directs the Iota Center, a Los Angeles based archive and distribution center for computer animation and 20th-century abstract animation.

For more information about the Punto y Raya festival at CMU please visit
Poster design by David Yen.

Thursday September 23: The Pittsburgh Gigapanorama Photo Shoot!

20 September 2010 / announcement, project, studio

What: Participate in a citywide, high-resolution panoramic photo!
When: Thursday, September 23, 2010, 11:00am-2:00pm
Where: Anywhere that’s visible from the U.S. Steel Tower, Pittsburgh!
How: Follow @creativeinquiry on Twitter or Facebook for moment-to-moment updates!

People of Pittsburgh! You are invited to appear in an enormous 360° panoramic photograph of Pittsburgh — the Pittsburgh Gigapanorama — that will be photographed with an ultra-high-resolution GigaPan camera from the top of the U.S. Steel Tower, Pittsburgh’s tallest building. Wear a costume, make a sign, or strike a pose at the right time during the two-hour process — and then enjoy finding yourself in this monumental portrait of our city, which will be accessible online before the end of October!

Here’s how you join the fun:

  1. Check out the 30-gigapixel First Pittsburgh Gigapanorama (http://www.gigapan.org/gigapans/47373), which we photographed from the top of the U.S. Steel Tower last year. Try zooming “all the way in” until you can see street signs and individual people, just to get an idea of the amazing resolution of GigaPan images. On Thursday, we’ll shoot a new version — during the Pirates game at PNC Park — with even higher resolution than before!
  2. Choose a place where you’ll be visible. Use the first panorama to help choose a place that has good visibility from the top of the tower, and which is legally accessible for you. Remember: the closer you are to Downtown, the more visible you’ll be.
  3. Note your orientation to the Tower and save time. Starting at 11am, we’ll broadcast updates every 5 minutes on Twitter and Facebook to let you know which direction the GigaPan camera is pointing! We recommend you use the Google Map of the U.S. Steel Tower (http://bit.ly/USSteelTowerMap) to determine whether you’ll be North, East, North-East, North-North-East (or whatnot) in relation to the Tower. Our team will make announcements in 10-degree increments, so it will help if you understand the numbers on a “compass rose diagram” like this one.
  4. Do your thing. Wear a funny costume, make a sign, show civic pride, or strike a pose in your chosen location. (Keep it legal and school-suitable, please, or we may have to edit you out.)
  5. Let us know what you’re up to! Drop us a line on Twitter, Facebook or regular email at studio-info@andrew.cmu.edu to let us know where to find you!

This project was initiated by David Bear during a fellowship at the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon University, with support from the Sprout Fund and the Heinz Endowment. The GigaPan Camera, related panoramic imaging tools, and imaging support for this project were developed and provided by the Create Lab at the CMU Robotics Institute. Got questions? Reach us on Twitter, Facebook or regular email at studio-info@andrew.cmu.edu.