Mark W

Aphantasia/Hyperphantasia

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Slightly random topic, but hey ho.

My sister messaged me a little while ago asking me a few questions about whether I dream and if/how I can visualise things.  It turns out that she has never had a dream, and can't imagine a picture in her head, visualise something, etc.  She basically doesn't have a 'minds eye'.  It turns out that my Mum also has this, and so do I.  This is what's known as aphantasia, with hyperphantasia being the opposite end of the spectrum.

I'd always heard people in tutorials talk about how it was important to 'visualise' moves, but I didn't think they actually meant they fully visualise it or picture it in their heads as that's something I've never been able to do (something until recently I thought was normal :P).  Unlike my sister, I have had dreams, but they tend to be largely based on memories rather than constructing something new.

I spoke to Ali about it when we were riding together last and he mentioned that he can visualise moves and felt it was important for his riding.  For me, I find that I have to aim for what I think my body needs to be doing in a move and then try and make that happen.  For example, with 360 hops I know that at the 270 point I need to be in a contorted/tweaked tuck position, so I effectively make my body follow the steps to get into that position as that should mean that the move works.  It also means though that for new moves I find it really hard to make it work as I can't visualise it, don't know how it'll feel so can't really process how to make my bike do the thing.  If I see someone doing it a lot then that can help, which was also how I learned to do hooks in Blackpool - I couldn't visualise them (obvs) and didn't really know how they'd feel, but watched Ali do loads of them at The Hook Wall and ultimately gave it a go.  Once I'd attempted it I could then base everything from that, but even now because that was a slightly sloped back wall I can't imagine what doing a 'proper' hook on a random vertical wall would be like.

Anyways, I was just interested to see what other people on here had - can you visualise things in your mind?  Do you 'see' moves or lines in your head before you do them, or can you imagine a picture/scene?

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You have no soul...

Seriously though I can pretty much picture anything in my mind. The problem is sometimes things will work in my head but when I come to actually do it I've got my measurements wrong. For example lets say I'm building a cupboard. I can picture what it will be like in my mind and how many shelves etc but when I come to physically do it something isn't quite right and it doesn't look the exact same as I pictured it.

Thinking about it I can't actually see anything in my mind to refer to it but I can sort of remember what something looks like and alter it.

I like this topic. Very interesting!

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I can picture myself doing stuff but can't transfer that into reality. 

Like with up to fronts, I've got the technique in my head from watching, people and videos, tutorials, etc but when it comes down to actually trying everything seems to happen so suddenly. I watch people and it's as if they're riding in slow motion as I can see each element but my brain almost can't process the information properly. 

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I possibly shouldn't have laboured the visualisation point so much - it was more of an example.  It's not so much being able to put that visualisation into reality, it's more that I can't even do the visualisation at all.  

I basically can't put a picture in my mind, it's just a kind of void.  I can remember stuff I've seen, so for example if I had to imagine a dog I can remember a dog I've seen before, but if I had to imagine a dog with green fur (probably some kind of dye-based accident...) I couldn't make that happen in my head.

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You’ve just f**ked with my head, because I don’t know whether I’m “seeing/visualising” a dog with green fur, or imagining that I’m visualising a dog with green fur.

I don’t have an image of a dog with green fur in my head, but I can imagine what one looks like. It looks like a dog, with green fur. But I can’t “see” it.

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image.jpg?w=600&c=1

 

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In a similar weird way when I imagine myself doing something or remember something happening I can't visualise it from my perspective I see it more from the 3rd person

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Sounds so weird coming from someone as creative and imaginative as you, Mark. When putting your edits together, don't you have an idea of how you would like it to look? Wouldn't you have to "imagine" that in your head to then put that idea into action?

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That's part of the interesting thing about it - Exeter Uni are doing quite a bit research project and have found that there's a lot of people with it within the creative industries.  My sister's an architect so has to be able to draw up buildings and stuff.

I think most of my shit is pretty derivative of other stuff so it's not really like I'm doing my own thing as such.  It's all kind of a synthesis of stuff I've seen before.  Some might call it theft ;)  Most of the way I film and edit is just bites from people like Joe Cox, James Cox, Dave Sowerby and Rich Forne rather than me specifically coming up with something new.

I can't really picture stuff in my head that's actually 'new' new.  It's no real surprise that the original Clean logo was just a Dymo print, and the majority of the first stuff I did was just typewritten.  The vinyl Clean graphics were just something that I painted by hand, and the limitation there was I can't write or draw for shit rather than a specific aesthetic choice...

I've been working on a random graphic thing for TartyBikes, and it involves having to do something that is effectively 'new' new and I'm struggling with it a bit.  I basically have to do some visual research (i.e. looking at what to steal), then adapt it to suit the specific thing I'm doing (i.e. steal it).

 

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5 hours ago, Mark W said:

can't imagine a picture in her head, visualise something, etc.

 

9 minutes ago, Mark W said:

My sister's an architect so has to be able to draw up buildings and stuff.

Does not compute. That's cerraaaayyyzzzz.

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So how then for example, did you come up with the start to the inspired Barca edit where the Catalan flag swipes in from both sides? Surely you must have seen that happening in your head before you made it happen?

32EBB44A-0F0B-43E5-85ED-7ED5EBA0AB07.png

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This is quickly turning into a 'catch Mark out' thread. In. When taking a photo (of which you've taken a LOT of very awesome ones) surely you effectively visualise what the image you're after looks like, position yourself accordingly and ask 'the talent' to hit it like this or whatever to obtain the desired result. I just can't comprehend how you/your sister can be so creative without being able to visualise it first!

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The idea of the colour overlay came from a Shadow Conspiracy video (it was originally a totally red overlay).  Played around with colour layers, opacities, blends and saturations to make it look OK.  Originally the background footage was in colour, but that didn't work so it had to be B+W.  Adapted it to work with the Catalan flag as it happened to work better than the Spanish flag (luckily, I got enough shit from Catalans for using a vague Spanish flag reference for the rider titles...), and I'm a nerd for stuff that spaces out like that. 

The different sides thing was just from playing around in Premiere as I couldn't work out a way to make it work.  I can think of it as a functional process (i.e. a transition that needs to happen), but I can't 'see' it as an outcome until I do it.  That wasn't the first thing I came across as I basically had to f**k around with it until it worked in some form.

Going back to the guidelines/spacings/nerd thing, this is the PS workspace I'm playing with at the moment for the thing I'm working on for TartyBikes:

gridsgridsgrids.jpg

...with the graphics blacked out, obvz.  It shows how I have to 'build' a design though, rather than really being able to just conjur something from scratch.

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28 minutes ago, monkeyseemonkeydo said:

This is quickly turning into a 'catch Mark out' thread. In. When taking a photo (of which you've taken a LOT of very awesome ones) surely you effectively visualise what the image you're after looks like, position yourself accordingly and ask 'the talent' to hit it like this or whatever to obtain the desired result. I just can't comprehend how you/your sister can be so creative without being able to visualise it first!

From around 2004-2009, I bought almost every issue of Dirt, Ride, Dig, Sidewalk and Document.  That meant that I got to see a shitload of different styles of photography.  I also spent almost all my time (especially when I should have been in uni, as Nic is keen to remind me) out shooting.  It means that I have a sort of mental catalogue of what can make certain moves look good, and gives me an approximate idea of where I'll need to be to shoot it like that.  It's no coincidence I'm still shooting with the same lenses I have been for the past 15 years - much like I've kept my bike setup consistent so I know what it's likely to do when I put a certain input in, with the Tokina fish I usually shoot with I know reasonably accurately where I need to be to fit whatever I need to fit in the frame.  Sometimes it comes about from a happy accident though, so for example photos of Ali where it looks like he's boosting to the moon have quite often just been me randomly trying something, it looking interesting, then finessing the shot from there.

It's why I struggle with shooting photos of tyre taps as I haven't really seen many photos of them that really show them off well, so I don't have an idea of what will be the 'good' point to get it at.  Something like a footjam whip, or an up to front there's a specific moment which is where they're at their best, but for tyre taps there's never really one.  See also: Gaps.  Consequently I have to make people do them repeatedly to try and work it out.

Sometimes I'll also want to shoot a photo because I'll see a move when I'm filming, and will know I can try and re-create that frame.  That was true for a gap to 180 nose bonk that Ali did in Cardiff, and was also one that got away from the Malaga trip with John doing the abubaca barspin.

EDIT:  I realise that earlier bit doesn't really explain the imagination/visualisation aspect well.  I don't really see those photos in my head as such, it's more a memory of seeing them, if that makes sense.  Which it obviously won't...

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31 minutes ago, Mark W said:

EDIT:  I realise that earlier bit doesn't really explain the imagination/visualisation aspect well.  I don't really see those photos in my head as such, it's more a memory of seeing them, if that makes sense.  Which it obviously won't...

That makes total sense to me. That's how I see things in my mind. It's like a memory but I can alter it as I please. I can't actually see anything but I know what it should look like.

Have you ever looked at something in front of you, say you're looking at a wall with a window and you don't move your eyes but you concentrate on the curtain. Everything is still in frame but you can't see it all because you are concentrating on a particular point. That's similar to how my minds eye works.

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I'm not really convinced by it. Reading Reddit, it sounds like people are expecting to close their eyes and to be able to see stuff in front of their eyes (maybe they should do acid). There's a red star test. Like most of the commentors I see nothing. But I've zero motivation to see a red star. It serves no purpose. I can't just conjure stuff up just on a whim. I read that pro downhillers visualize their lines down the run, I can't imagine doing that. There again I just got some glimpses of one of the tracks I regularly ride between fields on the way home from work. On a cool but sunny day in Spring. On a rigid mtb. Letting it move beneath me weight through my feet. Bdmpbdmpbdmp. I used to do a lot of painting and drawing, and never had a finished image in mind which I sought to reproduce. It was always something built up out of semi random intentions until something started to emerge. Probably a metaphor for life. Never saw myself anywhere in 5 years time. Can't visualize positive things. Yada yada.

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Probably the most interesting topic I’ve read in a while Mark! I can and do often visualise what I’m going to do on the bike. It usually comes after failed attempts. I normally tell myself what I plan to do I suppose but no visualisation at the beginning and if I’m failing I tend to picture in my head what I am about to do sometimes from a POV perspective and sometimes as if I’m watching myself. Although this can be helpful..... it can also be a hindrance, I can sometimes find my own brain fighting against me where it will visualise me also failing to do something and hurting myself which in turn can sometimes be strong enough to put me off attempting something again. Matt 

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11 hours ago, marg26 said:

Reading Reddit, it sounds like people are expecting to close their eyes and to be able to see stuff in front of their eyes...

The whole point is that from the research they've done, some people seemingly can, or at least an approximation of that.  It's all a spectrum (hence the names from a- to hyper-).  

From my own experiences with using it, I'm not sure Reddit is the most useful source of info.  Even on something as basic as "What type of bass strings is this person using?" there were a lot of contradictory replies, even disagreeing on the clearest/most fundamental aspects of it.  There are plenty of better ones out there, especially for stuff like this - namely the large research projects being done into it by various universities/independent bodies.

Exeter Uni have quite a lot of info online about it, as one example.

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To make life easier for peeps, I just found that Exeter uni have a dediated site for it - http://sites.exeter.ac.uk/eyesmind/

I don't really know where I land on this yet, but I think i'm closer to aphantasia than hyperphantasia. 

When it comes to riding I always wondered if those who can visualise see themselves in first person doing whatever they're doing. I feel i can see in 3rd person, i.e. how a camera shot might look, but when it comes to seeing myself doing something, I'm like Mark as in i've learnt by watching others and essentially I have to put in 10,000hrs before i get comfortable with things (Mark can also vouch for this having filmed for me...)

Edited by ben_travis

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When being artistic I can definitely see the end result I want before I've started, unfortunately I usually can't translate that onto paper with my hands which is really frustrating!

Sometimes I'll be in bed and I'll start thinking of bike products I'd like to make or modify and I can picture the products and the modifications pretty clearly, same with video projects where I have to modify things (like cutting a branch) I can visualise that in my head but I think that's likely because I've seen these things before hand which makes visualising them easy in my head.

The thing I struggle with and I'm really impressed is something Danny can do is completely imagine a unique line for a video project. For the video "This Is Drop And Roll" he asked me what objects I would like made/arranged. I just couldn't give him an answer! I prefer just randomly arranging boxes/objects and then figuring out how to ride it, like a puzzle. Danny can picture the end result and then build the obstacles to make it happen and I find that really weird. It's like having a completed puzzle and then working backwards, kinda defeats the purpose a little for me.

So I guess I don't have too many original thoughts (other than some art stuff) but once I've seen a situation I can picture it very clearly in my head and modify it with new thoughts. 

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Interesting topic !

I think I can visualize well how to do a trick or a line. But sometimes, not at all. I know all the different phases of a bunny hop, I can visualize them one after another, but I can't see the whole movement. It is like I need to understand the missing link before I can see it. I really struggle with this, because I think I could go much higher (currently 85cm). The missing part is after the extension, hips close to the bar. How to lift the bike, so that I can tuck correctly (with the nose going down)? I read and watched a lot of videos, but still I can't connect all the pieces together.

What about you riding a MTB track for the second or third time ? Can you already ride it fast because you already know where the obstacles are ? Can you visualize the whole track ?

That is something I am really good at compare to my riding buddies. It noticed it years ago, when we went for the first time ride bikepark in Portugal. One friend took a slam after about 5 runs on the same track. The next run, he crashed again at the same place (it was a small drop between to turns on a slippery ground - nothing difficult). I was really surprised, he still didn't know the track. At this point I was almost able to explain which line I will took on each turn and why.  As we rode together later on a really technical natural track, with a lot of roots and stones, it made a huge difference. I was composing lines while they tried to survive.

Mostly I forget what I dreamed of. But when not, it can be so clear in my mind, so natural, so real, but completly weird and full of discripancies.

But in my job I sometimes need to visualize things before I code them.

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11 hours ago, La Bourde said:

Interesting topic !

I think I can visualize well how to do a trick or a line. But sometimes, not at all. I know all the different phases of a bunny hop, I can visualize them one after another, but I can't see the whole movement. It is like I need to understand the missing link before I can see it. I really struggle with this, because I think I could go much higher (currently 85cm). The missing part is after the extension, hips close to the bar. How to lift the bike, so that I can tuck correctly (with the nose going down)? I read and watched a lot of videos, but still I can't connect all the pieces together.

What about you riding a MTB track for the second or third time ? Can you already ride it fast because you already know where the obstacles are ? Can you visualize the whole track ?

That is something I am really good at compare to my riding buddies. It noticed it years ago, when we went for the first time ride bikepark in Portugal. One friend took a slam after about 5 runs on the same track. The next run, he crashed again at the same place (it was a small drop between to turns on a slippery ground - nothing difficult). I was really surprised, he still didn't know the track. At this point I was almost able to explain which line I will took on each turn and why.  As we rode together later on a really technical natural track, with a lot of roots and stones, it made a huge difference. I was composing lines while they tried to survive.

Mostly I forget what I dreamed of. But when not, it can be so clear in my mind, so natural, so real, but completly weird and full of discripancies.

But in my job I sometimes need to visualize things before I code them.

For me I can't remember directions or paths very well. It takes me a lot of go's driving somewhere to remember which way to go. I always get lost. Even walking into shops or buildings I never know my way back out haha.

Something in my brain just doesn't record or pay attention to where I'm going. I think it might be part of my personality because when I'm out with other people I tend to follow them rather than lead. Sometimes I can find my own way but its usually when I'm on my own and I really pay attention to whats going on. It's worked out well for me with the invention of sat nav's and google maps though. Weirdly I'm quite good at reading maps but I need it in front of me.

When ever I go snowboarding I never feel confident to lead the way I'm always happy to just follow other people. Even if we are doing a set route if I end up on my own I often take a wrong turn and get lost.

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Wow. Interesting read. I have learned trials by imitating moves I saw in videos. Don't know if that relates to all this though.

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