Testing next Cloud9 release


This stage of software development is exciting, testing that new developments for the next release of Cloud9 combine well with existing functions. The additions for Version2.1 include improvements to Boolean (uniting 2 objects into 1, subtracting 1 from another, and subtracting both objects to leave the area in which they overlapped as a new form), slicing an object with a flat plane, wire mode, sub-meshing and reducing mesh, and controlling moving an object in x, y, and z axes.

Anarkik3D has 2 methods for testing its haptic software package.

The standard one is methodically ploughing through all the functions and features, testing one main one against all the others, separately, then in scenarios, recording anomalies and  bugs plus noting inconsistencies and usability issues.

As Cloud9 is for applied artists, designers, makers, artists, etc, a sector known for a ‘what if’ approach to concept development and for whom serendipity has value as an aid in ‘out-of-the-box thinking, Cloud9 has these as default settings. So strange combinations of functions are going to be used. We therefore wisely test Cloud9 under as many designing/ sketching/ exploring/ playing situations as possible.

I mentioned in an earlier blog that I use my experience as a designer maker and jeweller as the pre-pre alpha tester, use exhibition themes or requests as the brief, and the deadlines for focus. Just occasionally the brief is my own, something that has been mulling away and just needs the little window to get on and do it. Today was such a day as for a few hours I wasn’t able to access either my emails or the internet, and I needed to re-test part of a test scenario.

With the test completed and no more to add to the report, and Cloud9 running, I had a fabulous 90 minute slot designing the candlestick above. All that’s needed now is the dimension of a standard candle to scale the candlestick and hole to fit it. And I didn’t come across any bugs

to block my flow and to report. What bliss!

A good New Year Resolution will be putting aside a block of time each week when emails and internet are firmly switched off. Is there an app out there that can be set to perform this task – or keep at me and remind me of the benefits of doing this?

I have just thought of another NY resolution ……..


Anarkik3D’s 2 websites

The most relevant Anarkik3D website for you to see first is probably http://www.anarkikangels.co.uk as this is about Cloud9, the haptic 3D sketch/modelling product, with info about release of version2, videos and pics, tutorials and an .stl file to download, play with and 3D print. http://www.anarkik3d.co.uk is our more corporate business site.

Using Cloud9 to create work for InsideOut

I have this piece of work in the Inside Out exhibition (http://www.insideoutexhibition.com/) which is a compelling international touring exhibition which opened in Australia last June and features forty-six miniature sculptures produced in resin using 3D printing technologies. The Exhibition illustrates how developments in virtual computer visualisation and integrated digital technologies are giving contemporary makers new insight and opportunities to create objects and forms which were previously impossible to produce or difficult to envisage.

I used Cloud9 (version 1) to initially explore ideas and had 3 different streams/themes and not particularly struck by one enough to take it further. But on my bike going home something went ‘click’ – which was to bring two of these together as the basis on which to form my mini sculpture.

I have since recycled this idea/piece for a bookend competition and now re-working it for a piece of jewellery. This intensive time I have had using Cloud9 has highlighted a couple of very interesting advantages our combined soft/hardware has, re. haptics and 3 degrees of movement (as against 6 degrees of movement – x,y,z and rotation in x,y,z). The default material ‘feel’ is rubberyness so that not only do you have touch to let you know where you are in the 3D space, the fact that the form you touch flexes with contact with the cursor gives a strong visual cue to see your exact position- and 2 cues are always better than 1.

The other insight is more interesting for me and I hope generally! From our Tacitus Research Project it seemed that 6 degrees of Freedom (6DoF = x,y,z and rotation in x,y,z) is superior to 3DoF and for some interactions this is true. With having only 3DoF, using the more affordable Falcon haptic device, we focused on programming and adding shortcut keys to provide greater usability. What I experienced during designing and creating my sculpture is that the combination of dominant/non-dominant hand actions for 3 degrees of movement and 3 degrees of rotation was sufficiently intuitive for working fluidly AND brought just the right measure of control to the process. So for working intensively there is an excellent degree of immersion experienced as well as effective control for reflective and purposeful actions. So I am feeling very elated by the progress we have made with version2 of Cloud9. I hope you can try it sometime!

(The InsideOut exhibition is the result of collaboration between the Art Technology Coalition, the University of Technology Sydney and RMIT University in Australia along with De Montfort University, Manchester Metropolitan University and Dartington College of Arts at University College Falmouth in the United Kingdom.  The exhibition opens in the UK in Sept and opened in Australia on June 4th.)

Farah’s jewellery: organic forms extending the CAD aesthetic

'Parasite' bangle1 by Farah Bandookwala

'Parasite' bangle1

This is the same blog that I have posted on our anarkikangels website forum – except is has a photo! This is about Farah Bandookwala, an MFA student, who has used Cloud9 and Rhino to design the range of jewellery that she is presenting at the Edinburgh Degree Shows (12 – 20 June 2010). All the work is 3D printed (at Shapeways) in different materials, finished, coloured by hand and very wearable. Here is her web site www.farahb.com where she has photos of all her pieces and statements about the concepts behind the designs.

Her work illustrates how Cloud9 can be used to advantage in combination with CAD to develop concepts to a high level of professionalism, to execute through 3D printing very exciting and wearable jewellery with a different aesthetic from that of the mainstream of digitally designed artifacts.

Here is a statement by David Poston, one of the participants in the DrawnReality Project, using the original proof of concept haptic sketchmodelling software that used touch, 6 degrees of freedom and ‘3D vision’ that has morphed into Cloud9 (haptic, 3 degrees of freedom, and very affordable). This was made after approximately 4 days using the DrawnReality application and an output of 9 designs which can be seen here with work by other designers and applied artists http://www.anarkikangels.co.uk/PhotoGallery.aspx?a=0):
‘Using a CAD system for design work generally requires that a clear idea of the output has already been established before starting to use the system, since to a significant extent the drawing process has to be planned in relation to the intended outcome.

By contrast, DrawnReality (DR) requires little or no preconception prior to beginning to work with it.  The process closely resembles the designer’s normal drawing process, but rapidly, in 3D.  Saving objects at different stages makes the process more tolerant of experiment and risk, because there is less economic imperative to commit to a particular avenue or train of thought at an early stage. 
If the 2D drawing of design ideas amounts to synthesizing approximations of the possible outcomes then the virtual reality of DR greatly speeds and advances this process.
Whereas CAD is a primarily intellectual tool involving an extensive learning curve, DR exploits instinctual capacity and tacit knowledge, allowing significant creative freedom from an early stage.
The comparative advantages of CAD and DR are quite distinct and complementary; each is an extremely important tool.’  Dr David Poston PhD FRSA 20.06.08

I look forward to a healthy discussions on this topic about Cloud9 being a valuable addition to the range of tools that designers can use to provide a new aesthetic to designing on computer to differentiate their work.

Is this work!

This work is fun!

Cloud9: great for exploring forms

So now Anarkik3D is in the middle of debugging version 2 of Cloud9 for release in June and I am working late testing the latest iteration and writing up a report. On the coding side, to me it seems that all the functions etc are like a set of standing dominoes laid out 3 dimensionally. Tip over one and the question is, will they all stay standing? SoI am testing the latest debugged one. Next week Tom, a designer, and Lynn, an artist will be testing the next iterations.

In this session I’ve explored a different combination of functions that result in really exciting forms. It is the serendipitous things that happen that make this such an enjoyable application and experience and I have enjoyed myself this evening! Did it crash? Not this combination!

Fun hands-on presentation in Amsterdam

19th June, BNO/Adobe BeamLab at Pakhuis de Zwijger in Amsterdam: live hands-on demo of Anarkik3D’s Cloud9 sketch/modelling application beamed onto big screen. Audience invited to have a try. Lots of takers, lots of fun. Great evening too, with friends Suzanne, Birgit and Brian. See pics in blog ‘Cloud9 demos in Amsterdam’

Anarkikangels as crowd sourcing

I had an interesting email from RHINO announcing that they are beginning ‘public development’ of their CAD software, i.e. using the crowd for iterative development via their feedback. This is mostly what AnarkikAngels is about and our website covers the main reasons for adopting a crowd sourcing model for developing Cloud9 as a haptic sketch/modelling application, plus funding the development. We spent the best part of 18 months investigating how best to do this, listening to both detractors, advocates and enthusiasts.

So it is very gratifying to read that Rhino are to use this type of model to develop their next version of their great CAD software from prototype to Beta to release. 


Also, on the 4iP website ‘38minutes’, where I have joined 2 groups, one of these groups, ‘Crowdsourcing for Crowdsourcing’, started a discussion last November. One stream is about the value of developing a tool for crowdsourcing. I am kind of sceptical about this as there are so many different reasons for crowdsourcing and therefore various ways of doing this – can one tool cover all the methods needed for different types of crowdsourcing without getting overly complicated (I am a great advocate of ‘slow’ everything …. but what has slow got to do with complexity, hey!)?


I have been mulling over this idea of a tool as we are going to have to develop tools for our website to enable us to efficiently and fairly manage the feedback. This is not just about information to inform development but also needs to be the communication channel for a) digging deeper into the why’s and where fore’s within the feedback received and b) reasons behind how we select to develop one feature over another. Maybe the forum format is the best method, with blogs to cover other issues that are pertinent.


It will be interesting to see how this pans out as I also think that there are so many tools already out there it is just a matter of how these are pulled together under one ‘roof’ as it were, hoping there is enough compatibility between them to avoid the domino effect where one crashes, they all crash!

All comments gratefully received!   See www.anarkikangels.co.uk