Client: Tate Kids


Our long-heralded webcam art tool for Tate Kids has gone live. You may have already heard about it if you’ve been following our Twitter feed or the Tate Kids blog . We took a leap with this one and decided to open up our development process, blogging as we went along via a series of posts to demonstrate: how we came up with the design, early experiments with our innovative webcam technology and how we involved our audience by getting them to test the app. We even had a competition going for choosing the name and finally, after many favourites being considered and discarded, landed with AirBrush.

AirBrush sums up the application completely as it literally allows you to ‘paint with air’, using our state-of-the-art, browser-based motion-tracking technology. You can explore a diverse range of different art effects, choosing your paint colour, shade, brush size and finally affecting the type of mark you make on the ‘canvas’. The effects have all been painstakingly created by our lead developer Alan cleverly using a particle generator system within Flash to replicate the kinds of paint effects used by artists as diverse as Monet, Van Gogh and Jackson Pollock.

Tate Kids is all about getting children aged between 6 and 12 interested in art, and our application will be joining others in the awesome, cool game section of the Tate Kids website. Once you’ve created your masterpiece, there’s an opportunity to learn a little bit more about the works of art that feature within the Tate’s collections, as we show you what paint effects you’ve used and demonstrate how original artists have used the same effect, with actual paints of course!

The main feature of Airbrush is the webcam interaction, and we had loads of fun during the kids testing sessions watching their imagination run riot with this new technology. We watched in amazement as the kids worked out how to paint with their heads, their feet, even dancing around to create some brilliantly abstract creations. The kids also quickly caught onto the idea of painting over your own webcam image to create new clothes, hair cuts, alien appendages… something nobody at Plug-in had even thought about! We can’t wait to see where they take the application next and there’s plenty of opportunity to see what they’re up to: as with other art applications on the Tate’s website, there’s an opportunity to send in your creations to the My Gallery section.

To read about our development process, check out the Tate Kids blog but to have a go yourself, make sure you have your webcam working and click here

A walkthrough of Airbrush is available to watch below.

IMA award 2011: Kids category

Shortlisted for NHK Japan Prize 2011

Shortlisted for Lovie award 2011


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