Category: Technology

Case Study – The Hate Hearts Project

Here in weheartdigital towers in Castle Street, Totnes, we have been building this fantastic Pop Art project in conjunction with Kai Bastard and Bill Turpin.  The Hate Hearts Project has launched and is available to play with on www.hatehearts.co.uk. So go on, amuse and abuse your friends… (But be nice please)

Hate Heart Project

 Overview

The Hate Heart Project looks at taking popular culture along with visual language and the written language to create a colourful array of playfully tongue in cheek fine art prints using profanity mixed with a pop art style.

Hate Heart Project

Insight / Problem

Photography is about capturing a moment in time, but what if we could adapt and change and keep changing the final moment (image)?

Concept/Solution

The Hate Heart Project answers just that by creating programmatic photography that empowers the user by allowing them to generate their own bespoke Hate Heart image. Through full customisation you can write your own message, pick the colour of the heart and background. The entire process uses 100% photographic imagery giving a authentic photographic image rendered as the final result.

Hate Heart Project

 The Process

This collaborative project melds three distinct disciplines together, model making, photography and digital. Each Hate Heart base was hand sculpted along with all the lettering in the 6 varying tones in plaster by model maker Bill Turpin. These were then photographed and retouched by image maker Kai Bastard. Finally the images were then optimised for the website that was hand scripted to allow for the full breadth of customisable functionality by weheartdigital.

Hate Heart ProjectThe Results

Programmatic imagery opens up a diverse array of opportunities. Empowering the individual with the assets and tools to create their own interpretation on the project builds upon the visual interpretation of language as a whole. It also has the ability to diversify into different languages and cultures through the nature of customisation and with the mobile first mentality it turns individuals into their own content creators on the go with the results being personalised sharable content /messaging.

Hate Heart Project

The Tech

You don’t want us rambling on here about the really technical side of this project.  Contact us if you are interested though!  The end goal, as said above was to create, on the fly, a photo realistic image.  This meant that we had to do things in a different way to the norm.  The letters are not fonts for a start, they are digital photographs.  So we have 6 images for each letter.  We needed to write a separate tool that would churn out all those CSS rules based on the letter sizes and positions in the sprite sheet as writing them by hand would have proved too tedious.

Then we had a two step process.  First, as you type putting the letters in the heart dynamically, adjusting the size when the second or third lines are added or deleted.  Then we need to take all of these images, and the background and the sweet itself, and dynamically render it as a high resolution image, which is good enough for printing.

You will see when playing, you can zoom right in and the Hate Heart looks amazing!


Press release here: Hate Hearts Press Release

Hate Hearts on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hate_hearts/

A bit of fun 😉 https://hatehearts.co.uk/random

How to build a simple live streaming solution

Live Streaming 5

Live streaming to html5 in 2016 is still annoyingly hard. Like stupidly annoying. So here is the state of things.

HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) isn’t supported natively by any desktop browser except for Safari. It is supported on mobile. This means you will need either a Silverlight or Flash player to play the stream, which is great except Chrome no longer supports either of these things.

MPEG-DASH is better and clearly is the way forward. Right now though there is no native support in the desktop browsers yet but there are JavaScript implementations of it that allow its use via MSE.

The problem with both MPEG-DASH and HLS is they add a large delay to the feed because they slice the video up into segments which are then downloaded separately by the browser.
Continue Reading..

Geek Pride

geek pride day

25th May is Geek Pride Day and much of our business at weheartdigital is dependent on geeks to get it right #geekprideday! As a digital agency we come across a wide range of projects in many different subject matters and lots of diverse industries.  In a usual day we can be discussing fishing, automotive, social networks, podcasting, sport, video streaming and more.  The context switching requires an agile brain and also makes one rather good at pub quizzes.

 

So often though, we are introduced to a business which is a Start-Up or an SME with a product already in existence. Usually they talk to us (especially in the latter case) because they need help with their digital baby as production is not going according to plan. We like to help by solving issues, hitting milestones and making things beautiful.

 

Let’s Think about a Shiny Lean Startup…

Someone has a great idea – to sell something, fix an issue in the world, create a network, improve a widget and disrupt the normal way of doing things.  If they are talking to us, it’s digital, it’s online, it’s an app, or a mixture of all these things.  This is all wonderful; ideas are great, “we will be the next Gates, Zuckerberg or Jobs in 5 years”, we are told.  Business plans, EBITDA spreadsheets, a Lean canvas – all wonderful stuff – has been written and presented.

 

Then less wonderful stuff starts appearing – “We definitely want it built in an HP and have something with a Red Hat.  And it needs to have WTFAITA system with TWAIN and IPv6 not 4.  We don’t want it in WordPress, we have heard that’s rubbish* and not .NET, we hear it’s more expensive**.  Custom, bespoke out of the box solutions – I hear that’s the way forward.  And HTML6 isn’t it and needs to be repulsive? Its needs to work on all things, including pagers, Post-It notes and my mate Jim’s carphone.”

 

Ok, slight exaggeration, but you know what I mean.

 

The point is, you wouldn’t go to a vet to get your ingrown toenail removed, or ask a car mechanic to fix The Shuttle.  weheartdigital are here to advise you on the best technical solution to meet your needs. Our team has years of experience, degree level educations in Computer Science and a wealth of projects successfully delivered #geekprideday.

 

* Approx. 1/3 of ecommerce online uses WordPress and Woo

 

** no it isn’t, honest

 

…and the Not So Lean Start-Up

Here are the businesses who have launched, have a digital presence, have a digital agency looking after them and have a great big tick in the box – well done, hurrah, nice work.  You are out there.

 

But then things can change and your existing digital agency is perhaps no longer meeting your needs. You have grown and changed.  You have staff, you have P&L, hopefully some investors, definitely an accountant and  you want an Rest API, you want an App, you want Google to find you.  You are wiser and start to question your partner agency, why they can’t deliver what you need when you need it?

 

You are also becoming very digital indeed, you are growing a network of digital people, you meet new suppliers.  All great stuff.  Then you decide it’s time to change supplier – you have found a new, fresh company who will make it amazing, and costs will be slashed, and they still wear jeans to work and go out on a Friday.

 

You ask your original partner for the code base, it’s your product after all, you paid a 6 figure sum to get them to build it.

 

‘Nope’ is the reply.

 

‘Please’ you say.

 

“Read the contract you signed 5 years ago, section 6a part 2 paragraph 3” you are told.

 

It’s there, in black and white.  They own the codebase.  You have no right to modify it, and have no access to the source. You own a big fat nothing. To go somewhere else, you need to rebuild it from scratch.

 

Top Tips when working with a digital supplier.

  • Don’t decide on technology –  focus on the user experience and success criteria.  A decent supplier will recommend the best tech for the job.
  • Get estimates from a few people to get a balance of the costs with an indication of budgets.  These are variable, and sites can be made in many, many ways.
  • Do not sign anything that means you do not own your IP (it might be a good idea to go and check your contract right now).
  • Make sure you have a written statement saying the code is yours and when it gets handed over.
  • Keep the code safe, in the cloud, locally, and on memory sticks.
  • Understand what existing products are part of your solution which aren’t your own.
  • Check under what conditions your partner can withhold the codebase.
  • Check your hosting costs are competitive for the traffic you’re generating.
  • Make sure analytics are part of the build – if you can’t measure it then it’s pointless.
  • Don’t accept that it can’t be done, it can, but also accept there are costs involved and nothing really takes 2 minutes.