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Japan Cultural Affairs Agency Media Entertainment Skills Festival

Today I went to the “Japan Cultural Affairs Agency Media Entertainment Skills Festival” which is at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography in Ebisu. I wasn’t really sure what would be there but it was much more interesting than I expected.

All 4 floors of the museum were being used for the festival making it relatively large as these things go. On the first floor is a theatre. We didn’t wait for it but they are screening all kinds of stuff from anime to cg shorts for the duration. Here’s a list.

The 2nd, 3rd and basement floors were all exhibits. The 2nd floor included a few video games including Nintendogs and Shadow of the Colossus. Some things were web based like Flipbook. There was a manga section as well. This animation was pretty amazing in that it the human was entirely hand drawn, all 1500 frames. I didn’t actually get to see as much as I wanted as the person I was with seemed barely interested in most of the festival.

The 3rd floor had more interactive stuff. Including some giant stereoscopic viewing display. An electronic pendulum that drew pictures in virutal sand, and many other things.

Probably the coolest thing on the 3rd floor was called “Virtual Brownies“. Brownies (as in small elfs). There was a table with a small metal tea container on it. In front of the table was an LCD display connected to a camera viewing the table. On the display you should see three 3d rendered elfs superimposed over the camera’s view of the table and the container. The elfs would walk around the tea container and start pushing it around, as they pushed it around the actual container on the table would move. You could push the container on the table and the elfs would react on the screen. It was certainly something that could AND SHOULD be done with the eyetoy. The first 2 movies on this page kind of show it off.

The basement had several amazing things as well. These VR tiles were there with a demonstration every hour. Cool but also scary was a display showing a map of Tokyo. If you swiped your suica train pass it would show you everywhere you had gone and highlight the stops you used with a circle. The bigger the circle for that stop the more you used it. This is not actually that hard to do, they sell the card readers and you can pull the data off to your computer but still, seeing in infront of me plotted on map was both cool and a little scary to know that info exists.

The most amazing thing in the basement was this strange device that created these strange realtime shapes in real space. It’s very hard to describe. The one at the exhibit was a cone, about 8 inches tall and about 2 inches at the base. It was in a pool of, if I was to guess, oil mixed with metalic power. Using controlled magentic fields they could get the oil to stick out from the cone in small spikes up to an inch in length. There’s a picture on this page but no movie. You can take a look at some of their other creations to get an idea. Here’s a movie of a similar but smaller device.

The festival only runs until March 5th or next weekend. Admission is free so if you can make it I suggest you go ASAP! The Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography is in Ebisu on the back side of Yebisu Garden Place. GO! NOW!