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Matt Ditton at Designplaygrounds

This time Designplaygrounds brings you Matt Ditton a digital artist which is making very interesting works regarding interactive and digital art he shares with us some of his thoughts , interests and ideas so enjoy and don´t forget to keep an eye on his work.


-When and where you were born?
Brisbane Australia 1977.


Many years ago I got a Bachelors degree in Photography. This was in the late nineties and it was on the beginning of digital imaging at the university and not a lot of people were doing it. And even fewer liked it. I was one of the weird ones who really liked it. So in the end I stopped using cameras and film and my graduating folio was all done in 3D. I would make these objects and render them, and print them onto photographic stock. I got full marks but it did nearly get me kicked out.

-Some projects in which you have been involved
A lot of the bigger projects I’ve been involved in were games. I’ve been making computer games in Brisbane for about a decade. Five years of my life went into the TY the Tasmanian Tiger games http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ty_the_Tasmanian_Tiger. They were very big in the under 12 market. I was the environment specialist on the project, but by the end I was the lead artist. I then moved to Pandemic studios and worked on the Destroy All Humans games. That was really the tipping point where it finally dawned on me how much the art in games is just data.

-Personal interests
art, code, and pretty much everything in between.

-Describe your design style
My style is often very calculated, even the mistakes are there on purpose. And everything is firmly grounded in iteration. Anything I do usually starts with a simple idea or technique, I’ll put the broad strokes in and then start chipping away at the details. I do like leaving parts unfinished. Leaving some hints for the viewer on the creation of the work is a favorite trick of mine.

– What are you currently reading?
For my birthday I’m getting this complete collection http://www.faceoutbooks.com/40952 which is awesome. I’ve just finished reading Ringworld and it was a great book. There is something impressive about early scifi novels, they way that you can see the lineage of ideas is really amazing. A great example is “The Stars My Destination” by Alfred Bester. It’s a cyberpunk novel written in the 50’s!

-How many years have you been working with generative design ?
In code for about 4 years now, before that I was always a fan of letting a process run and seeing where it would go. I was always impressed by the work of Joshua Davis when he had the Preystation site. But it wasn’t until I stumbled on the Complexification site www.complexification.net/ from Jared Tarbell that all the pieces clicked. His space invader work was just brilliant. And as a guy in games it was almost like a light bulb went off.

-Which is the best hour of the day to start coding?
Some days it’s easy and 8am is perfect. Other days it’ll take till 8pm to get going. A lot of it has to do with getting your mind right. Getting the first idea out or the framework for how something will work is often the hardest part. But it’s almost impossible to work with a lot of distractions. I work from home now but when I was working in an office I had these massive headphones that would block out all the sound and just let the brain relax and concentrate.

-What kind of music do you like to listen while working?
One of the easiest tricks I’ve got to get into a programming head space is to put on an instrumental album. I’ve got a couple that I fall back on but I think my favorite is Aphex Twin’s DrukQs album http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drukqs. Clint Mansell’s Fountain soundtrack and the NIN Ghosts album are also pretty good.

Years ago when I had to shut down the brain and just get a lot of repetitive stuff done and fast (like optimizing mesh) I’d listen to a lot of Squarepusher. Like a lot. to the point where I can’t listen to his early stuff anymore because it takes me back there.
I’ve always found music to be the perfect mood setter. Getting set in the wrong mood though really sucks. Once I got really depressed while working till I realized that I just had this one Red Paintings album on repeat by accident. They are great live but really crap to work to.

-Where do you find inspiration for your projects?
Everywhere and anywhere. I think it’s mostly a result of letting the brain tick away. But I do find that the best inspiration is to do more work. Just the process of making can fuel a desire to want to play with the work and see where it goes.

-How long does it takes you to develop a project approx?
I’ve been at this for a while so I can get ideas down quickly now. So knowing something will work or having a visual example can be done in a short amount of time. But if the project is for other people to use then the interface can take up a lot of time. And the more people who use it the more careful you need to be. Exposing all the variables, laying out the GUI, tweaking the way you interact with it can take a lot of time. It’s worth spending the time on it though because it’s the window into the work. It they have a good experience working with something that I’ve made then that helps a lot.
As a more concrete example. The Heightfield project http://www.vimeo.com/2335316 took about 2 days, but the XSI CGFX editor http://www.vimeo.com/3686484 took 3 months, spread over 6. It was so complex and had to do so much behind the scenes that it was one of those things that never ended.

-In what are you currently working right now?
I’ve got about four projects on the boil. But the two that I’m really excited about are two games that I’m making. The first is using openFrameworks on the iPhone to create a game with a working title of “Swarm”. And the second is using Unity3D. It’s been a great experience because I’ve only ever made games with a team. It’s a lot harder when you can’t hand over the tricky stuff. But it’s a lot more rewarding.

SBS ONE, First Australians from Matt Ditton on Vimeo.

-Did you use Processing as the final production tool for SBS animations , if not Buy Generic Viagra Online wich was the process you follow for the creation of this project?
My part was all in Processing. I created a series of Apps that took sound input and an image pallet and went from there. In there end there were 6 separate apps, made over about 2 months. And maybe another 6 that were quick tests to see if ideas would work.

-Whos work are you currently following?
Eskil Steenberg and his LOVE mmo http://www.quelsolaar.com/ you can read his blog here http://news.quelsolaar.com/ . LOVE is an incredible looking game and some of his ideas on the process of making games are genius. If he can maintain the momentum of his creativity then it will become a classic. I find it really inspirational, track down gameplay and tech video. It’s just awesome to watch.

-How do you see the future of interactive and digital art?
The future is a tricky thing to predict. I want to see the day when you go to art school and right after life drawing class you go to a programming class. Every single design package on the market has a scripting language. Processing and openFrameworks are both free and limitless in their potential. We are all working in a world where code is the building block on how we work. But there is still a lot of ignorance and confusion around it. A lot of that has to do with the traditional education system for programming, it really isn’t art friendly.

The best thing that can happen is that people get a higher level of understanding on these kinds of techniques. The more Art Directors and agencies are educated about the possibilities the better it will get. Eventually it will be very normal to make art with code. One day it will be just another medium for expression.