Alle Beiträge von Benjamin Rabe

Feeding The Gap – online live performance fusing animation + words

One thing I dearly miss during this pandemic situation is live tagtool performing. Naturally I was happy to get a chance to participate at this year's reconnect festival. Together with my collaborator Dirk from mentalreserven we created a story-telling setup using tagtool, a text editor and, where people watching on twitch could direct the path of the story through chatting with us.

Online Digital Painting Classes

remote streaming setup

As I am slowly beginning to lean towards helping people to learn, I have recently developed and delivered art classes for the Volkshochschule Hamburg, focussing on creating digital art on tablets. This is also quite the exercise in setting up OBS properly, eventually my setup is a floating camera on top of my iPad, so participants can see the interface and my hands. Good fun and great people to work with.


Using 3D in Vectary to create 2D artwork


I always struggled to go into 3D. Many many times I downloaded blender, opened it, looked at it. Deleted it. A mumbo-jumbo of functions and option that I found hard to look at.

Vectary changed that. It is a browser based tool that let’s you create – and even collaborate on – 3D objects. Similar to figma in its approach, it offers a compact yet powerful feature set to let you easily dive into creating three dimensional worlds.

So when I was commissioned to create a set of artworks for a show in UK end of 2020, I decided to explore how I could use 3D in my 2D painting process.

The concept

My idea was to create four pieces of work, each in the color scheme of the four seasons. I also knew I wanted to create a scenery inhabited by a bunch of creatures. I was aiming for some realistic seasonal light situation, too.

First Step: create a simple scenery

My basic setting was a straight camera angle at some simple hills. For that I used just three lenghty boxes, with a bevel and a bend wrapper. I also started creating simple body shapes using a capsule in a linear array.

Next: Create the light setting

Now with an idea on how my landscape would look like, I wanted to create a realistic seasonal sun-light setting. First I considered to simply create 4 different Vectary projects, but then I thought: maybe I can create a single ‘world’ using just one point-light as my light source (aka sun). Since I was going for a portrait format output, I started to simply duplicate, rotate and interweave my ‘hills’.

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That little white dot is the light source, positioned right on top of the summer part. This was the basic result. I had to adjust the light source here and there, but overall I felt the idea could work.

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Last thing 3D: creature time

Before switching over to painting, I had to try and use the power of instances to create a mass of random bodies that would populate my four landscapes. I must say I came to love the array function in 3D. Utilising it with a dash of randomness and noise, I quickly had the bean like bodies floating everywhere.

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The final act: procreate

Now it was time add some happiness to the faceless mass of creatures. I rendered the four views of my 3D setting in maximum dimensions (as I was going for a A2 print eventually) and imported the results to procreate on my iPad. Then I added lots of faces everywhere.

Here’s the final result.


Or, actually, not the exact final result. After creating those faces, I went back to vectary and changed some colors and light settings. The actual final results will be on show in UK in April.


Looking back I think the process - using 3D to quite quickly create a consistent visual quality over a series of works - felt quite stimulating. And vectary was the perfect companion on that path.

applause – animation and projection in lockdown

When we started to lock down our city during the first wave of covid-19, I wanted to contribute to the nightly applauding for the frontline workers. During those first four weeks, I created a short animation each night and projected it onto the walls outside my appartment.


I used a new app called looom to create these animations. Looom lets you easily create looping frame-by-frame animation, spotting a beautiful simple interface. All weaves / layers in looom can have their own number of frames and speed set individually. You can also paint in play mode, which in the example to the right I did for the red fly.

I screenrecorded the example here and converted it to a gif, but another beauty of looom is that it uses SVG as its source format. So you can pull the file from your iPad and it use it on the web directly.


When creating those animations, I knew it should be a starting line and resource for further exploration of the subject. As a first step I remixed them all for the online edition of the Shakefest in Ireland, which I had the chance in previous years to contribute to already.

Magic Forest – an interactive tagtool installation for kids


Magic Forest

An interactive tagtool installation for kids

For the fourth Kidsbit Festival I was asked to create an interactive installation within the theme of 'environment'. It was my first endeavour into using processing with the kinect sensor. And it turned out to be the most wonderful experience watching the kids and parents growing trees and interact with each other. Big thanks to the Kidsbit team for once more creating a wonderful space for kids to play with and explore technology. The project was also sponsured by the Istituto Tedesco Perugia.


Tagtool Toilet Art at the Millerntorgallery #8


Tagtool Toilet Art

Millerntorgallery #8 2018

I was invited to run a workshop at the Millerntorgallery (an international art | music | culture festival beneficial to supporting the human right to have access to clean water) for kids aged 10-14 yrs.

As it was a bright day, the final presentation of the project had to take place in a dark enough room for the projection to work. What place better to choose than a public bathroom!

The kids developed a whole bunch of toilet monsters, bathroom poetry and general trumpisms that all looked faboulous projected onto the tiles of the loo.

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And here's evrything in motion.

Kidsbit 2018 immersive playground and live projection

This year‘s Kidsbit - The Kids&Family Festival for Digital Creativity, has immersed itself into the beautiful city of Perugia, with not a single hub (as in previous times) but many different satellites at museums, galleries, co-working spaces and other public spaces, and so becoming an integral and present part of the city culture over the course of three days.

This time I was invited to create an immersive space for the kids to play in and with.  The idea was to use cardboard to create a landscape that you could walk into and play with. The first scribble shows the basic idea. 

Those scribbles turned into three simple shapes that would be used to create the final cardboard elements, all 300cm wide, with different heights, so they could be arranged as a landscape. 

The place for all of that to happen would be the Sala Binni, built 1372-75, a former church, now part of the local library, where the families could rest, dance or even paint with light themselves. 

For ambient sound I brought my JBL Flip with a big battery and used whitenoise+ to create some different soundscapes.




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image from wikipedia


It was a wonderful opportunity to be able to create this experience for the kids of all ages, who would run around and chase the bees, laugh about the hills that have eyes. Over the course of the days more and more people would come and it would turn into the Amazzonia Rave 4 Kids Party, a lovely project by Lucia Di Pietro. At nighttime we would then move on to the Palazzo Priori to have a large scale live tagtool session for all to be part of. Big fun. Big times.
Photos by Giorgia Fanelli


Here's a quick and rough edit of it all. Enjoy!

tagtool in Bangkok | riverlation | Übermut Project


Bangkok, Dec 13

tagtool session @ übermutproject

From 10-15 Dec I was invited by the Übermut Project to participate in their riverlation instance in Bangkok.

"Übermut Project is an initiative of visitBerlin and Hamburg Marketing, funded by the German Federal Foreign Office. Its aim is giving the German arts and creative scene a global stage." - from the Übermut Website

Initially I was due to work with a local group of projection artists, but for reasons that didn't came to be. So once I was there I tried to connect with other übermut-people which resulted in a short but very inspiring collab with Sophie Camille Brunner and Ulrich Gottlieb, who were leading the dance workshops during the projects.

There was also great urban screenings by A Wall Is A Screen, fantastic short films via interfilm, rioty live music by Bonsai Kitten, and much much more greatness. Big love and thanks going out to the übermut crew, espesh Maike Wacker, for making this all happen.

All Stills by Kevin McElvaney | Beats by halfbyte