S P A C E B A R (2017)



Experimental Animation

3840×480 pixels



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

The visual alters capriciously to illustrate the infinite spatial quality of the nexus wall. Choice of colour palette and visual composition allude the mystic quality of the accompanied sound, presenting an illusional creation of depth.

Documentation: Nexus Wall @ North Spine

Photos by Solomon Quek Jia Liang


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.



Explore: iLight Marina Bay 2017

Travelled downtown on a Friday night to check out the iLight installations and carnivals at Marina Bay. Here are some works (sorry about the quality) that I found relatable to what we are working on:

  • Northern Light by Aleksandra Stratimirovic (Sweden)
    Location: Marina Bay Waterfront Promenade, along Marina Boulevard
Source: iLight Marina Bay

100 LED lights hung across the Marina Bay skyline emulates the natural light phenomenon of aurora borealis. Direction of light flow interacts with the human movements.

  • Very Glowing Exhibition – Very Glowing River by Lee Wei Lieh, Amelia Lee and Jeffrey Lim (Singapore)
Source: iLight Marina Bay

Lit with UV lights, the glowing pebbles illustrates the moving flow of river that is free to roam about and interact for the children.

  • Horizontal Interference by Katarzyna Malejka & Joachim Slugocki (Poland)
    Location: Mist Walk
Source: iLight Marina Bay

Held by the trees, the cords jump in cohesion with the wind, creating a colourful rays of illumination. It is definitely one of my favourite installation.

  • Social Sparkles by Toer Studio (the Netherlands)
    Location: Mist Walk
Source: iLight Marina Bay

Sensor buds are activated by when someone stands or walks under them. The lighted spinning buds are especially amongst children!

Seeing how all these installations became everyone’s favourite shot on Instagram recently, I can see how some of our works on the Nexus wall to be a great step to start creating our own digital wall installations someday (maybe?)!



Prototype #02: Still Composition Study

The first prototype was rather messy as I was totally clueless to what can be created with my limited amateur knowledge in motion graphics. It was frustrating to end up with two different directions – from abstract to neon typography when there are so many things I want to explore!

Due to time limitation, I’m stuck with ideas (that I envisioned) that are kind of impossible to execute. I decided to go back to start afresh by creating key compositions on Photoshop.

Anchored by the theme of mystical illusion of space, I continue to use neon glow (truly in love with it) to accentuate the colours. Here the shapes are layered and aligned to emulate 3-dimensional forms. The challenge was to make relations of these independent compositions with movements and transitions.

Research and References

Some inspirations I’ve found, while on the other hand, finding the right song piece:






Week 02: research and direction

Going with the theme ‘illusion’, here are more visual references that represent bits of my ideas. I am currently looking at a possibility to create an enclosed area with several subjects moving on loop.

Artist Sena Oh made use of the door movement to create optical illusion with moiré effect. This gave me an idea to flash moving words onto the horizontally long nexus wall. Speed and direction of movement could be influenced by the viewer walking across the walkway maybe?

Considerations – overused of this effect will be uncomfortable for viewers to look at for a long time! Complimentary colours contrast too strongly to be shown on a big screen. Apart from slowing the speed of movement, use of harmonic colours can prevent dizziness while one is watching at a close distance.


Week 01 : research and mood board

Here are the multimedia inspiration I have found in relation to my past work!

 1 // Illusion 

One of my previous assignment was to build a reverse gravitational bridge. This is an exploration of the subject’s movement that works against the law of gravity. Illusional act can only be seen at the specific perspective.

Moiré effect was part of my research in building a portable screen from last semester’s module. It is a visual perception when a set of lines/dots superimposed onto another. A new ‘moving’ pattern is created.



Idea #01: To construct an illusional world that is constantly evolving. 





Methodology: Build rough composition on Illustrator, import into After Effect. Generating randomised command from Processor to alter lines independently/dependently. 

 2 // Nature Inspiration 

A more abstract approach is to emulate organic lines and shapes from nature, wood grains for instance. Since nexus wall locates along one of the busiest walkways in school, it would be a refreshing aesthetic contribution to the space






Idea #02: A visual composition that invites a mood with therapeutic calmness.


Methodology: macro videography of sculpture/object, process in After Effects.

More research will be done on the softwares/methodologies before working towards a more specific theme!