Theme : Illusion

// A dive into the mystique pockets of voids.

Joy Division, Unknown Pleasures album by Peter Saville (1979)

Graphic designer Peter Saville created the debut cover album for Joy Division using the pulsar signal, “what you’re seeing is this comparative chart of the frequency and the accuracy of the signal.” (Source: Rolling Stone) Pulsar is a neutron star that rotates as it emits powerful beams of light like the lighthouse.

ILLUSION OF MOVEMENT (moiré experiments) by Mathijs Delbaere (2015)

Animadoor by Sena Oh (2015) – An optical illusional installation door

I was fascinated by the abstract use of minimal elements to generate transcending effect of movements. Works of Delbaere and Sena utilised moire effect to create illusional spatial depth.

This became the main art direction, use of simple geometric shapes to compose as I try to figure out After Effects in the later stage of learning process.

Inspiration and Research

With the above ingredients to compose, I needed an atmospheric visual to spice up the overall look – glow of neon lights. My love for neon came from films that revolved around night city life,

Since the media wall situates in a rather dark space, illuminated colours will paint a strong and memorable mood.

Dan Flavin (1933 – 1996)

With that in mind, Ina recommended me to look into this American minimalist artist Dan Flavin (1933 – 1996). What I love about this series of art installation is its simplicity in form and the use of florescent bulb to speak as he explained, “It is what it is and it ain’t nothing else.” The work is sensitively infused into the exhibit space, he accentuated spatial depth to enclosed space with glowing lights.

Centro Cultural Light, Rio de Janeiro, 1998
Untitled; To Barry, Mike, Chuck and Leonard (1972 – 1975)
Untitled; To Saskia, Sixtina, and Thordis (1973)
Untitled (1970)

Flickr Photography 

Flickr has a pool of quality photos available to refer to, it is a great visual database for me to study neon light illumination and colours.

Photographer: Andrey Okonetchnikov
Photographer by Christian Noise
Photographer by Shelbel

iLight Marina Bay 2017

With luck, there was light installations along Marina Bay! I was able to see how neon light installations work at a larger scale, in terms of colour interactions.

Northern Lights by Aleksandra Stratimirovic (Sweden)

Inspired by the natural light phenomenon of aurora borealis, 100 horizontally aligned LED light lines are programmed to emulate the unpredictable flow of lights that interacts with its surroundings.

Horizontal Interference by Katarzyna Malejka & Joachim Slugocki (Poland)

With simple cord construction, the illuminated bands create colourful waves of excitement powered by the surrounding wind.


// Softwares used: After Effects, Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere Pro

  • Using Photoshop and Illustrator to construct main shape layers of key compositions.

  • Import to After Effects, generate animations and effects.

  • Music syncing: Premiere Pro to mark key frames of specific accent beats.


// Thumbnails > Song Selection > Animate

  • Creating thumbnails of design based on the theme, generally diverse in style.

  • Song selection was one of the toughest decision. I wanted to capture the mood of obscurity, yet something that’s upbeat.

Final choice of song: Numb by Brothel.

  • Animating with After Effects with simple effects – shape scale, position, blur, hue and saturation etc. Rather than creating a complex effects, I relied heavily on the song piece to visualise movements. We can dissect and analyse a piece of music with its following characteristics:
    1. Texture (high pitch/heavy bass)
    2. Tempo (fast/slow)
    3. Articulation (short/long note)

Use of colours and thicknesses of lines/shapes to associate with these aural effects. Eg. bright thin lines to accompany a high pitched melody


First screen test was my first attempt to navigate around After Effects. It was a mix of everything I could compose, from abstract forms to typography. Quite a mess but it set me to what I can expect to produce for the remaining weeks to come!

Final work (working in progress)

Spacebar explores into the boundless void to reveal the presence of space based on one’s perspective.



Author: Lau Yi Wen

ok i'll try

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