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QuadCamera and ToyCamera Interview with Takayuki Fukatsu, creator of iPhone Apps | DesignNotes by Michael Surtees

QuadCamera and ToyCamera Interview with Takayuki Fukatsu, creator of iPhone Apps


Takayuki Fukatsu Interview

Takayuki Fukatsu Interview


Takayuki Fukatsu Interview

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In mid January of this year I came across a photo app for the iPhone called the QuadCamera. Soon afterwards I blogged about my experience Shooting with the QuadCamera. A number of day later I discovered the Quad Animator for the QuadCamera. And lately I’ve been shooting a lot with the ToyCamera. I can’t think of two other iPhone apps that more people have asked me about that I use. When I use those apps exploring the city it’s rare that I’m not getting a great image (the first image I took was from the window of my apartment as shown above). Curious to hear how those iPhone apps came to be I interviewed the creator of the QuadCamera and ToyCamera Takayuki Fukatsu. I just wanted to make a special mention that he was willing to talk to me via Japan at 12:30 am via IM…

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Michael Surtees: Could you tell me a bit about your background? Where are you from, where you’ve gone to school etc.

Takayuki Fukatsu: I’m Japanese born in Kanagawa, near Tokyo. After graduating University in Japan, I went London as an international student for two years.

MS: How long ago was that?

TF: About 5-6 years ago. Now I’m 29

MS: Cool–I’m 31

TF: Almost same generation.

MS: Ha, almost.

TF: In London, I studied Product design in Central Saint Martins.

MS: What type of education do you have, you seem to balance tech. and design really well.

TF: Ok, however when I finished first year of BA, I had gap year and went back to Japan. Because I got job in Japan as flash designer / developer.

MS: Did you teach yourself flash?

TF: Yes. self studied. Until then, flash was a kind of my hobby but one of the design studio ask me to work.

MS: Are you still working at a studio or do you work for yourself?

TF: Now working for studio, but will become freelance designer next week.

Takayuki Fukatsu Interview

MS: One of the reasons I really wanted to interview you is because of the QuadCamera, QuadAnimator and ToyCamera. Could you talk about about how they came to be?

TF: Yes. As I told you, I studied both Product design, and now doing digital / interface things. I want to marge those two fields. When I got an iPhone, I wanted to make something that is both product and interactive thing. The first thing I was interested in is camera. Yes so I thought, there is something, that I can make it more fun. The first concept of ToyCamera is that, make iPhone’s camera more cheap. I dont think cheap is bad. Sometime cheap is very attractive. That’s why I decided to make ToyCamera. ToyCamera like lomo or holga is very cheap.

MS: ToyCamera and the QuadCamera have made it easy to take great pictures in NYC…

TF: Thanks. So as a first step I want to suggest that “cheap and uncontrollable is fun”. That’s why ToyCamera only has random effect. I wanted to pick up the essence of uncontrollable fun of actual ToyCameras. Also I want to make my ToyCamera as Camera not application. Thats why there is no Undo, Redo, and import taken photo from album.

MS: That’s interesting, is there a philosophy behind that idea aside from just not wanting to be an application?

TF: I think because I wanted to do something Product design, not programming. Also I don’t think functionality is always good.

MS: Why?

TF: For example, I think like other camera app. E.G. CameraBag, it’s great app, but seem people sometimes tend to concentrated on just editing, not on photo shooting. It seems that functionality of undo and post processing selection, setting prevent people from just enjoying photo shooting. I want to go other direction.

MS: Ok, but with toyCamera you can cancel the image before it processes, isn’t that like an undo button?

TF: Do you mean preview interface before processing?

MS: Yes

TF: If possible I really want to remove it but I can’t change given default interface.

Takayuki Fukatsu Interview

MS: I had no idea—so was the processing screen part of the experience that you wanted to create? When i take a photo with the toycamera, there’s a delay to see the final image, it almost feels like I’m waiting to see it be developed like a polaroid. Was that part of the experience you wanted to design?

TF: Yep—Its half I want and half technical problem processing image takes time. So I used the image and feeling of poraloid, to make waiting fun.

MS: Have people been giving you a lot of feedback on how to improve things?

TF: Simply many people want import from library and iPod touch support. Other is flicker upload and high resolution.

MS: I have one problem with the ToyCamera, why do i have to take an image before i can change the settings?

TF: Do you mean, you want to have a setting button on the camera interface?

MS: Yes, it would save me a lot of time

TF: Good idea, and I really want to do it. What I really want is fliping left and right on the camera screen. And select the effect mode to Random or individual.
MS: Do you have set time periods when you want to release new features for your apps?

TF: If possible, I want to update QuadCam and ToyCamer every two weeks.

MS: With the QuadCamera, I really like the different grids that you can use. Was there any particular reason for those proportions?

TF: No not really, just current one is fit to the iPhone’s aspect ratio. Technically it is possible to add different type of grid.

MS: Can yo talk a bit about what you want to do with the QuadCamera?

TF: I want to add animation generator on the iPhone.

MS: That would be great, i know people that love animating there images. Are there other photo programs that you want to design?

TF: Timelapse app is interesting. Also slit-scan camera.

MS: What’s slit-scan camera?

TF: Something like this—capture screen line by line.

MS: Very cool. Do you remember how long it took you to create the QuadCamera after you had the idea?

TF: I think about two weeks. Around 20th Dec to 4 or 5th of Jan.

MS:That seems really quick!

TF: Thanks. At that time my hired job was not so busy and I can spend most of my time to the project

Picture 83

MS: I see, I also saw on twitter that you did this

TF:Yep I joined the project

MS: So how were you involved?

TF: In this project, I mainly do flash technical things. Making TV comercial its self is not my work

MS: To be honest I’m not a huge fan of flash, but I really enjoyed that experience

TF: Thanks—my job is 99% flash, and my field is moving too many things very fast.

MS: Are there any consistent steps or a process that you do when you’re creating things?

TF: I think about making a lot of prototypes.

MS: Does it start on paper or on screen?

TF: Mainly on screen, I need something animating stuff. Coding itself is kind of sketchbook for me.

MS: What direction do you see yourself in now?

TF: I think I need more study. Now I’m more interactive programmer than designer. I need more design study.

MS: What type of projects do you want to do? Would you rather make things that people can use on a hand held device, or does it really matter what the interactivity is?

TF:Many but now interested in something with educational content.

MS: Why education?

TF: No special reason, but just I like studying. But there is no sophisticated digital study resource for art and design.

MS: That’s interesting. It seems like most people that are really good on the tech side have some sort of self training or learned experience. Why do you think that is?

TF: You mean, why I like studying?

MS: Yes—learning.

TF: I think until I went to London, there is noone who interestied in making something. So I have to study everything by my self.

MS: And by learning from that you would like to create a resource for others to study art and design?

TF: Yes

MS: Do you have an idea how you would do that?


TF: As a first step I will rebuild my old project That is my personal project done by 3 years before.

MS: That’s really fascinating

TF: You can drag and rotate all poses.

MS: Do you have an idea what step 2 might be?

TF: I think having pose or anatomical reference on the ipod seems interesting. Now I got some money from ToyCamera and QuadCamera. and I can buy some 3d data, I think.

MS: I was wondering about that. Do those apps allow you a lot more freedom to work on what you want? I imagine a lot of people have bought them

TF: I thinks so. I’m not going to use those money from my app to just for buying cars or foods. I will use them to next project.

MS: That is really great to hear.

TF: Imagine this. If there is 10000 people on the world, who are happy to pay 10$ for his project per year. He can spend all of his time for making something.

MS: Exactly!I imagine you’re pretty tired so I won’t keep you up much longer. This sounds like a great way to end the interview.

TF:Thanks for your interview

MS: Bye

TF: Bye!

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  • Francisco*

    Tks for this interview Michael.
    ; )

  • Noww

    The toy camera market is booming right now in Tokyo. People like the vibe of those cheap plastic bodies. I wonder if non techies are enjoying the toy camera app?