Tech+Art Podcast: Amélie Rosser

LISTEN HERE

You can catch Tech+Art Podcast in the following places – or your favorite podcast app:

OVERVIEW

Welcome to the new Tech+Art Podcast!

Join us on this adventure as we meet & speak with: artists, makers, researchers, designers and creators from all background and fields.

Our objective is to understand their creative perspective, dive into their workflow & creative process, be inspired by new ideas and their work – and stay one step ahead of cutting-edge industry developments.

"Any kind of personal experiments that you do [...] it always influences the work you do at work - and vice versa"

IN THIS EPISODE...

In this episode, we’re chatting with Amélie Rosser, a creative developer at Jam3, a design and experience agency that partners with forward-thinking brands to solve problems in the space between people and technology.

Amélie joins us to share her unique path into creative development and how she’s bridging the gap between creative techniques & new technologies – and their commercialization for brands and new solutions.

Amélie also explores strategies to both enhance enhance a career in this industry & the role of collaboration in developing creative concepts.

Question 1: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Where are you from, what was it like growing up?

[ 2:29 ] – […] That kinda gave me really nice insight into all the areas within the creative industry that I could go into. And the area that caught my eye was digital media and just making really nice, artistic things with code. And that was kind of the path that I followed from an early stage, that’s what drew me to learn to code. I was just interested in making art with it […] it was more fun making art than making a website.

Question 2: You mentioned that you were drawn into creative coding at the age of 17. So what was it at that time that exposed you to this craft?

[ 3:44 ] – […] Seeing these guys at the top of their game making really cool stuff in Flash really inspired me and I was just like ‘I wanna be on that stage and I wanna be showing people all the really cool stuff that I make’. And that was really good incentive for me to study hard, to invest a lot of my time to learn these creative algorithms.

Question 3: What were some of the hardest challenges for you in terms of getting started? And beyond flash, how has technology and your approach to building your career in this space continued to evolve?

[ 4:25 ] – Everytime a new technology has come out I’ve kind of used the same algorithms I’ve learnt in the past. […] Typically when I learn a new technology, I’ll recreate a fractal in it, because that will give me all the key insights of that language or technology that I will need to achieve that end result.

[ 5:00 ] – Cause technology has developed so fast since Flash kind of faded away, we had to move all our skills to the browser. When WebGL came out, I was really happy cause now I could do real-time, pretty graphics in the browser without the need for a plug-in. And that to me, it was more accessible for everyone cause no one needed a plug-in and it was just a way to create more experimental stuff.

Question 4: So how do you approach realizing creative coding projects? As an agency, is it based on specific client requirements or some of your own experiments/pitches? Or a bit of both?

[ 5:58 ] – Any kind of personal experiments that you do […] it always influences the work you do at work – and vice versa – because you can apply that learning and you know of a really optimized way to do something. And when you get to do that work for a client, it’s the best kind of fun because you’re getting paid to do stuff you’ve learnt before and you also get to research new things. So I think it’s a constant cycle where you create really cool work at work and that influences your personal work. And vice versa. It’s a really nice feedback loop.

Question 5: Since creative coding has been evolving since the Flash days - can you share how the projects you’ve tackled for customers has evolved over time? What types of problems are you thinking about today? How does “creative coding” tie back into the real world from a client/commercialization perspective?

[ 6:56 ] – When you deal with creative coding, you know, it’s a different set of problems. Usually from building a website. Usually you’ve got to deal with interaction and preview space, like how the user would navigate that space – obviously certain algorithms take into account the camera. You need to figure out what the camera is pointing at, you need to figure out how to interact with a physical object that’s not there. There’s a lot of spatial problem solving and knowing how a user should navigate that space is really interesting.

[ 7:32 ] – You need to be considerate of the space the user has around them. And when you’re dealing with augmented reality or mixed reality experiences, you need to be constantly aware that even as the user is looking at their phone they need to be aware of their surroundings. […] So in that case it’s useful to have the camera behind the render so that they can see through their phone in a sense, they still have a grounding. They’re not totally disconnected from the world they’re in.

[ 8:02 ] – Luckily enough, there’s been a lot of research on the best practices for augmented reality and virtual reality. And even though we use a lot of the guidelines Apple and Google provide, it’s still good to discover a lot of things yourself and see what works for you and your end user.

Signup for our newsletter to stay connected!

Your dose of creativity

Question 6: So how do you approach bridging that gap as an agency that’s leveraging new technologies in creative ways? How do you build the trust that’s needed with a brand?

[ 11:09 ] – Sometimes we’ll do like mockups or quick prototypes and we’ll just try and prove the concept before they sign-off on it because sometimes it’s really hard for them to visualize and it doesn’t take us a long time to quickly mock something up and say ‘it would be really cool if we did this and maybe it’s going to create more of an impact on the campaign if you could publicize it this way’.

Question 7: You’ve shared a lot about various technologies and approaches to experimenting and commercializing new ideas and experiences - but based on your experience, what’s missing out there? What would make you more creative or productive?

[ 11:44 ] – Technology is always changing rapidly and for us we try and use what’s appropriate. But with any new technology that comes out there’s always a learning curve. There’s always time to learn it to its best ability before you feel comfortable enough to use it on a project.

[ 12:12 ] – […] kind of got to go with you gut instinct on whether you feel confident enough for its right purpose. But I guess because there’s so much technology out there, it can be overwhelming knowing what to use for the right project. I try and stay actively involved and […] try out before proposing to the internal teams. But it’s good to have a grasp on what’s new […] but we’ve got to know it’s stable enough to pitch to a client.

Question 8: How do you see creative coding, like generative art or physical installations driving this forward?

[ 13:27 ] – I think AI and art is, to me, the most exciting frontier of generative art right now because I think we’ve covered as much as we can with traditional generative art. To me, that’s the next evolution of it. Seeing obviously what we can do with machines, and vice versa. I think there’s just a whole new field of undiscovered techniques and algorithms that we can use […] and hopefully it makes art more connected and smart.

Question 9: So what is one piece of advice that you would share with a younger version of yourself or someone else who’s just coming into this industry - either within the context of a service agency or explorative project? Anything to keep in mind?

[ 15:49 ] – Definitely pushing yourself. Creative coding is very hard to get into because it requires a lot of your personal time. And it’s not something you can actively work on every day at work because it’s such a niche skillset to have.

[ 16:10 ] Definitely work with designers because they have such a good eye and hopefully they can influence the stuff that you get to work on as well. And I think as a developer, that is one of your strongest relationships at work. Making sure you work closely with designers, motion designers, strategy – cause it’s not just like a solo job. You have to mix with people. You have to kind of feed off each other to create the best result.

[ 16:33 ] – I hope the younger generation of creative coders have enough at their disposal […] to create anything they want to. Cause when I was younger, there wasn’t a lot of software that would allow us to do that. It was mainly just Flash or Shockwave or any other kind of basic interactive environment.

Question 10: So given your path through the agency world, how has your work or approach to creative coding evolved through the impact of a team-based, project environment like you just described with a Creative Director or Designer?

[ 19:12 ] – Obviously as a creative coder, you have a vision of what you want to achieve. But at the same time designers have even greater artistic vision in some cases; and they are the ones that can magically put the finishing touches on things. […] I basically create things, get them into a certain state where everything looks good, and then I’ll sit down with a designer for like an hour or two and we’ll just tweak numbers. We’ll always find those magic numbers from using slider and we’ll just see what feels and looks right. And I think their perspective on color and composition – super important.

RESOURCES

Here are the resources that were mentioned in the show:

Processing

The Coding Train

Paper.js

Three.js

LISTEN HERE

You can catch Tech+Art Podcast in the following places – or your favorite podcast app: