Author Archives: Susann

About Susann

After kites, hotairballons and parts of an airship now something delicate like a theater costume under my sewing machine – super, as long as I do not have to crochet or knit! I'm a Computer Science & Media student at the Bauhaus university Weimar.

Feasibility of the living canvas

Original: Naef, M. & Boyd, C. (2008). Feasibility of the Living Canvas – Restricting Projection to a Performer on Stage. Proceedings of the 16th ACM international conference on Multimedia, p. 589-598

Authors: Martin Naef, Cathie Boyd

Keywords: Projection systems, dynamic projection surface, virtual costumes

Summary: The idea for the living canvas is to capture the posture, silhouette and position of the actor and then use that as a projection along with a canvas as a stage background. For the reaction was divided into two area: the technical feasibility and the cooperation with stakeholders persons (such as actor, director). The developers of the living canvas presented as other future projects, so that they many new developed and evaluated.

Main Contents: In the paper the test environments and their results will be described in great detail. Here are just detailed information on stage and clothing, as they are for our interactive costumes most interesting.

Stage: It is so described that it consists of a regular projection screen and the actor is positioned in front of it. The technique for recording and projection will be installed in front of the stage. For the development was first worked on a small stage model with dolls as a performer on a table. Next, a laboratory environment has been created. This one had original size and could make calibrations.

Clothes: In this environment, they also tested various garments and fabrics, to see if they are suitable and how they look in the projected state. The clothes of the actor should preferably be diffuse pattern and no strong highlights to clearly reveal the silhouette, so you can well separate it from the background. The materials used should be matte white so that highlights are minimized. Different substances were illuminated, to see which is the best. Velvet was one of thefavorite. There are fewlimitations onthe design.

In order to develop the system, so that it can be used on a right theater stage, was the next step to test it with real actors. This was done in a week-long workshop in Glasgow. So the criteria of the developers could be tested under real conditions. There were mixed opinions of the people. At next followed more experiments, to get the system ready for a theater production.

Ideas for costume evaluation: The paper employ with costume, stage, lighting and much more, so that we can orient only on parts. In view of our evaluation, the idea is very good, only in scale and then to work in original size, so can errors discovered in small size. The many different tests and their approach (e.g. for the fabric) very interesting for us. Also the test in a workshop with the people who have to work with it later.

Oxygen display of the diver

First test for the display on the arm of the diver, it shows the amount of oxygen.
The display consists of two red, three yellow and seven green LEDs each with 150 Ω resistors.

The meaning of the colors:
green – enough oxygen
yellow – the oxygen content is critical
red – not enough oxygen, the diver has to press a button to activate the other tank on his back. At the end blink the the last red LED as a kind of alarm.

oxygen tank for the Crew Diving Suit

The diver´s breathing oxygen is supplied by a tank that he wears on his back. It will have these features:

_ a tank with two separate chambers
_ the tanks ‘communicate’ with the oxygen display on the arm of the diver
_ the display fluctuate, according on the oxygen content and production by the plants
_ display classified in several areas, red area = too little oxygen
_ if too little oxygen the diver pushes a button to switch between the tanks
_ soap bubbles symbolize the waste gases- they are released from time to time
_ the aktive tank is probably lit in the colors blue, green, yellow, like water

first sketches for the tank:

P1040890      P1040896


possibly the tank will look like an egg of a ray:

P1040898   eikapsel-rog


Susann brought an example oxygen tank for us, that is generally used by fire fighters. It´s been a great help to figure out attachment points to the body as well a weight distribution. Also important to find out was how far the diver can reach by him/herself. Where does it make sense to attach any buttons, etc. that might need to be pressed.

first test with the light for the tank:

clear material

transparent material


News on the O² backpack:

I built a metal basis as backpack that rests on the actor´s shoulders. Not only that, but it also holds up the helmet! Next step was, to built the two chambers, almost like two lung wings via thermoforming.

1. step: shape two solid forms (left and right) from solid clay.

2. step: place clay shapes on a thin wood board, trace the outline with a pencil; drill 1,5mm holes with a distance of about 30mm from the other, around the line you just traced

3. step: cut the clear thermoplast sheet (we used vivak) into the size you need (about 50mm large in each dimension than you wooden board)

4.step: place the board with the clay form positioned on top into the thermoforming machine. Let it do it´s job ;-)

5.step: cut out your shapes, make sure to leave a 10mm wide rim. That leaves the form more ridgid and you have a flat space to attach it to the backpack frame.

We decided to matt the clear plastic to distribute the LED light better by sanding the inside and outside surface.

I punched holes into the rim of the plastic and placed the two lungs inside the metal frame, attaching it with wires.

Next step was to pad the entire structure. The whole thing is going to be quite heavy. Especially when the helmet is attached. To make it more comfortable to the actor, I padded the shoulder and back parts. I doubled the padding textile to make it thicker, but also to create a bag on the inside of it. The battery packs, Arduino and other technical utensils will be stored there, hidden. It has a zipper on the backside. The entire padding can be slipped onto the shoulder parts, streched around the frame, overlapped and secured on the bottom with press buttons.

One thing left is to cover the entire pack with the especially prepared silicone sheet that I made.



Initially I wanted to use a specific type of polyurethane that would have been perfect: Flexible, ridgid, clear, but in a brownish, skin toned colour. But with a kg price of 60€ and more – nope! So I decided to use the mold silicone that we have in stock at the Synthetic materials workshop at the Bauhaus Uni WeimarIn the end it´s been perfect since I decided to pour in a cut up cable envelopment.

Since the backpack wasn´t quite done for our final design acting workshop we were able to use it to create the perfect underwater lighting mood! With some blue plastic, an old overhead projector and the silicone sheet we created this:

by Marko Schmidt_7_2014(24)

potential solutions for the smoking costume

  • Tiny FX fog maschine

“The smallest fog machine of the world!” (L = 9,8 cm, B = 4,4 cm, H = 3,4 cm), but is very expensiv (819,-€) and doesn’t produce enough smoke-pressure.


  • ‘Smoke EL’

That is something from a modell airplane. It produces 1,5 minutes of constant smoke, uses 1600mAh batteries, 150mL of RedOil smoke liquid and is it a other option next to normal fog maschines, with a higher pressure.


  • ‘Norbert Klima Rakentenmodellbau’

That are very cheap Smoke Pellets, but they need to be set on fire.
Because they are get really hot, you need for example a large tin with another smaller one in it for the insulated. To distribute the smoke, a ventilator would be good.

picture: Susann Luge
picture: Susann Luge
picture: Susann Luge
picture: Susann Luge



For the pipe you can use tube from the building supplies store, but it must be heat-resistent and the tube should not sit directly on the fog mashine so that the machine gets air.
The smoke can flow well, when the tube has a diameter of 4 cm and more.