The Top Talks from Reasons to be Creative 2014


On Monday 1st September 2014, scores of designers, developers and creatives descended upon Brighton for what would be three days of creative fun and learning. AnalogFolk London’s James Miller (a Technical Lead) and Judit Greskovits (a Creative Technologist) went to further their knowledge on cutting edge frameworks and techniques. During their three days inside the iconic Brighton Dome, these were their top five presentations and their thoughts on each.

James: Javascript workout - Wouter Verwierder

Wouter’s talk was around the use of hardware and mixing this with JavaScript (Node JS) to extend the digital experience beyond the browser. The focus was to take a look in simple terms as the kind of kit you can get (arduino, tessel, spark core) and perform demonstrations from the simple, to the highly entertaining.

The title was literal. This was intended to be a workout, not just for himself, but members of the audience. We participated in real time games via our phones to decide who had could shake their phone the most within a set time limit. The winners got to participate in a heart rate challenge which controlled characters from Super Mario World.

Another challenge, this time finding out who had the fastest reaction times, lead to a hacked Wii Dance Mat being put to use with an Arduino and a rather souped-up version of Dance Dance Revolution playing in the browser.

Overall it was not just the technical hardware feats that made this talk memorable, or the fantastic sites built in conjunction, but the participation of the user to forget that they were dealing with a web based product; truly making the forging the analog and digital worlds.

Judit: Revelaing computer vision magic within your web browser - Eugene Zatepyakin

Eugene Zatepyakin comes from a background of working with Flash among other technologies. In his session at Reasons to be Creative he introduced his Computer Vision Library written entirely in vanilla Javascript. Eugene demonstrated the amazing performance of his image processing algorithms by applying them to his live webcam feed. The library includes its own Math, Linear Algebra and Image Processing modules with features such as face detection, gaussian blur and greyscale filters.

The JSFeat library is entirely open source and Eugine finished his talk with examples of how others had utilised the library in a variety of projects. These examples serve as yet another testament to how libraries such as JSFeat and their creators’ willingness to make them available to the whole of the community drives creativity and innovation within the industry.

Judit: How to build a bomb - Mr Bingo

Even before the inspirational talk he gave on the Monday evening, Mr Bingo had been a favourite of AnalogFolk, having worked with us on the illustrations for the Luksusowa ’Man’s guide to Manliness’ website in 2013. Mr Bingo is an illustrator possessing an astonishing capacity to make people laugh through his work. His determination to stick with what he believes in despite discouragements by teachers and in his early career is truly inspiring. A testament to the wisdom of Mr Bingo’s attitude is one of his more recent projects - Hate Mail - a service for ordering rude illustrated postcards. The project grew out of his interest in old postcards and initially started out as a joke to then become extremely popular turning into a successful business venture.

The popularity of Mr Bingo’s story and work makes one wonder about the meaning of success itself. We consider him successful not only because of his artistic output or his impressive career, but also because he achieved success by doing something he loves and believes in and kept to it despite whatever life threw at him.


James: Everything starts out ugly - Brendan Dawes

Brendan Dawes delivered another inspirational talk in which he went through some of his recent projects and the processes behind them. A self confessed lover of circles, lines and data, he showed examples of work where he combined these core elements to put together beautiful and didactic pieces.

But each of these projects didn’t start in this way. His emphasis was, as the title of his talk suggests, that every piece of work you do will start out ugly. That it is persistence, talent and creativity that leads you to deliver work that you are proud of. The end goal being if you are doing something you love, and others see it, it increases the chance that a potential client may want you to do that kind of work for them in future.

Overall, this resonated with us as we are driving more internal innovation projects. This is to help show our clients what the ever increasing capability of web technologies, and how our talented team implement them.


Judit Elevator pitches

One of the most appealing aspects of Reasons to Be Creative is the effort the organisers put in to include new speakers each year. Elevator Pitches, one of the most popular sessions at the conference, facilitates this goal. During a period of one hour, twenty people each have three minutes to introduce themselves and their work. The most successful three - decided by voting after the event - each get a one-hour slot at Reasons to Be Creative conference in 2015.

Some of the most fun and inspiring speakers included Chris Gannon, Gareth James and Bertrand Carrara and Yi-wen Lin. Chris demonstrated a technique to map image objects to HTML5 video. Chris Gannon showed that it’s possible to detect smiles in a live webcam feed. Bertrand Carrara & Yi-wen Lin talked of the interactive poem game that combines 3D graphics with silk painting techniques to achieve stunning digital artwork.