Alle Beiträge von Benjamin Rabe

Kreative Apps & Digitale Lesewelten – 4 Tage Seminar an der HAW Hamburg

Im April durfte ich im Tandem mit Heike Roegler an der HAW und im Rahmen des Themas Digitale Lesewelten etwas über mobile Kreativität und Apps erzählen. Heike hat das drüben auf It's All About The Stories schon wunderbar zusammengefasst; für mich war es eine tolle Gelegenheit, mit den Studenten Apps wie zB. Puppet Pals zu spielen, dabei gemeinsam zu verstehen, wie der explorative Umgang mit Digitalität im Umfeld Bibliothek aussehen kann.

In April Heike Roegler and me ran a 4-day workshop about reading and creativity on tablets at the HAW; a great opportunity to explore and discuss all things digital in the realm of libraries with the students.

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Tagtool workshop at Kidsbit-Festival in Perugia

💓 #kidsbit

The KIDSBIT is a week-long summer school with two festival days on the weekend for kids aged 4-14. The aim if for the kids to explore new technology and discover its creative potential. The organizers managed to create a wonderful atmosphere within the walls of a former monastery, where the kids would code robots, create animations, explore fab-labs and raspbery-pi's, and – which was my part – animate monsters and robots in two tagtool-workshops.


It am extremely happy and honoured having been part of the first instance of the festival; it felt very much like going to the my first reboot in 2007: Great vibes, interesting topics, and all the people I met were there becasue it was a matter of the heart.

My special thanks go out to the Istituto Tedesco Perugia, who made this trip possible; and to all the good people at KIDSBIT, Giulia, Elisa, Luca, et al!

Going on tour with Walter Lemonface Live Cartoon for Kids

All photos by Yvonne Roberts

All photos by Yvonne Roberts

Last week we spent 8 days on the roads of England, delivering The Adventures Of Walter Lemonface to kids and their parents in towns like Barnsley, Huddersfield, Doncaster or Southport, to name a few. Now we are all on a break.

For me the first week was an experience I never had before and it will take time to sink in and be computed. It is fantastic to play for the audience, and maybe that is one of the key learnings: it is always the audience, not an audience.
Every Audience, though seemingly similar from its mixture, is unique. You simply can't say beforehand how and in which way it will connect to what you do.
And that makes me think how in software devlopment we define our 'audience' as the 'users' and make ourselves belief that we can actually understand them before they use our products. But hey-ho, that's a subject for another post, another time.

For now I am getting ready for the last two shows this weekend in Derby and Manchester before I head back home to Hamburg to get ready for the next adventure: the Kidsbit in Perugia.

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Prepping for the Big Carrot Tour

Last week I was spending my time in Halifax to join the team of Walter Lemonface for rehearsals. If you never heard of the show, it's best described as

"a live cartoon that the audience controls (with a magical mix of music and storytelling)"

And as you can see below, we had a lot of new gear sitting around, just waiting for us to get our hands dirty with, with a special focus on the new video mixer. We are now able to work tagtool on four iPads during the 60mins show, super smooth. The live show on Friday amused kids and their grown-ups same time. I am very much looking forward to join the band again for our Big Carrot Tour (10 cities in UK) in June.


Using modul8 with tagtool

Last night, Jan and I performed as at the eBookCamp 2015 here in the Hamburg betahaus. It was the 5th eBookCamp (always a great experince, hat tip to the organizers!) and our 3rd time we participated as the night gig performers.

It was also the first time for me to try using modul8 in conjunction with tagtool. I basically used overlays and blend modes, and the edge filter. Also I used the Black Magic ultra Studio to feed the iPad signal to my MacBook Pro. I was a little nervous about it because I still wanted the live painting to be at the center of everything and not for it to become a visual effect fiasco. So here's a litlle video of what we did (thx to Heike for the footage).

Animations for Under The Bed, a theatre play

For the past weeks, I spent most of my creative off time working for a theatre play called Under The Bed, which is about the young girl Alice, who when she

"is stolen away in the middle of the night by her mum has no idea what is happening. Scared, confused and angry, Alice finds herself in a strange house, forbidden to leave, arguing with her mum during the day and hiding under her covers from the strange noises at night."

Under the Bed is a co-commission between ARC Stockton and Theatre in the Mill Bradford supported by Arts Council England.

Told using performance, music, live animation and film, Under the Bed is a compelling new play about childhood trauma and what happens when nightmares are indistinguishable from reality.

In my own artistic work I have been slowly moving towards storytelling and motion, so I was more than happy when the 154collective asked me to contribute some animations and artwork.

A rather rigged wolf.

A rather rigged wolf.

Animating in Anime Studio Pro

ASP was the tool of choice and I had to learn a lot about creating characters, riggging them (which means creating the bone structure that is the base of the animation) and doing the actual animation. A very fascinating and iterative process.

Rather rigged wolf during lunch break.

Rather rigged wolf during lunch break.

Eventually we had distributed roles in the animation process: many of the characters were designed by Jonathan Grauel and Matthew Watkins (mostly using procreate on the iPad), it was then my part to cut them to bits and create the rigs, so that up next Fabric Lenny (the visual mastermind in the whole production of the play) would be able to animate the hell out of those beasts.

The wolf you see here is one of my own creations and I was quite happy with the outcome. It's amazing how easily you can ruin a whole walk cycle by one slight change to a bone (or make it really good, but that doesn't happen all too often).


Additionally, my addiction to painting clouds paid off and some of my static artwork also found its way into the final score.

Under The Bed will be shown in theatres in Stockton, Bradford and London.

Live Tagtool and Beats at So Coded 2015


So Coded is one of those rare conferences that manage to fuse great talks with a beautiful setting and much love and attention to detail. The talks ranged from how to let go of things and live in a bus for a year, to postgres wizardry.

Together with Jan Krutisch and performing as, the after-party was ours. Many thanks going out to the team for having us, and a special hat tip to Chris 'Gizmo' Mütze for the awesome video wizardry!

Caution: long video, takes some time to build up :)

Pico Projections: The Nimble Visual Household Intervention Series

When I found out I can hook my Pico Projector to my battery booster pack, I started doing pico tagtool projections again. Basically projected onto anything I could find. Enjoyable.

Tagtool projection on Charleville Castle in Ireland, take two

Projecting on buildings is always good fun, so I was quite happy by the invitation from the shakefest and my favourite stylus, The Maglus, zu return to Charleville Castle. Even better, this time fellow chap Fabric Lenny was able to join, so Bunny & The Beardman got ready to take on the castle again.

Enjoy this fabulous video, edited by Lenny.

Extra: Worskhop at the Tullamore CoderDojo


As an add-on we delivered a 2hr workshop at the Tullamore CoderDojo, here's a good wrap up about it. The kids used Brushes to create a set of animations that we were able to then project on the castle later that night as well. Here's a short video of the projection.

Overall a lovely time in Dublin and Tullamore, big thanks to the shakefest for the invitation and to everybody at applydea for the support. Extra hat tip goes out to Luke Brennan, who not only took all the photos above, but also was super supportive throughout the whole gig: you rock, Sir!