Project 1 Ideas
Idea 1 — How to: Create motion graphics
- [Visuals] Drawing assets
- [Visuals] Scrolling through YouTube tutorials
- [Visuals] Aggressively pressing ctrl + z keys
- [Visuals] Multiple easy ease graphs overlapping
- [Visuals] VERY messy workflow, windows popping all over the screen
- [Visuals] Various modes of procrastination
- [Text] Step 1: Outsource <3
Idea 2 — How to: Stop procrastinating
- [Text & Visuals] Step 1: Make a to-do list
- [Visuals] Something due at midnight
- [Text & Visuals] Step 2: Break it down into actionable steps
- [Text] Step 3: Watch videos for inspiration
- [Visuals] Clicking through tutorials onscreen progresses to watching comedy videos
- [Text & Visuals] Step 4: Make a meal to energise yourself
- [Text] Step 5: Take a social media break
- [Visuals] From socmed screen, zoom in to 11:30pm
- [Text & Visuals] Step 6: Panic!!!
- [Text & Visuals] Step 7: GET IT DONE
- [Text & Visuals] Step 1: Make a to-do list
Idea 3 — How to: Cook the perfect Steak
- [Text & Visuals] Step 1: Rub the steak all over with olive oil and a pinch of sea salt and black pepper
- [Text & Visuals] Step 2: Add the steak to a hot pan, then cook for 6 minutes & turn it every minute
- [Text & Visuals] Step 3: Halve a garlic clove and rub it over the steak every time you turn it
- [Text & Visuals] Step 4: Slather the steak with a knob of butter
- [Text & Visuals] Step 5: Use a herb brush and brush it over the steak every minute or so
- [Text & Visuals] Step 6: Once cooked to your preferred doneness, let it rest in a plate
- [Text & Visuals] Step 7: Carve into pieces, then drizzle the resting juices on top
- [Text & Visuals] Step 8: Serve with your preferred sides~
(Recipe source: https://www.jamieoliver.com/features/how-to-cook-the-perfect-steak/)
Concept & Visual inspiration:
What I found most interesting during this lecture were Prouns, created by El Lissitzky, one of the most prominent artists from the Suprematism period. Prouns are a series of abstract paintings which utilise lines and geometry. Suprematism works of that period were mostly flat and 2D, but El Lissitzky’s Prouns went beyond this characteristic over time. They started out as paintings and lithographs but later developed into full-fledged 3D installations. He also explores spatial possibilities by adding negative and positive depth to the canvas using additional materials. His compositions are highly unique which is what draws me to them. Pictured below is one of the Prouns that he created.
The Arts and Crafts movement was mainly influenced by William Morris, a British textile artist (among many other things). An ethos of craftsmanship and artisan skills dominated this movement, as well as the belief that good art and design can improve lives. Textile pieces produced during this movement usually used good quality raw material, natural dye and plant and animal forms in the design.
A famous example of this would be the Pimpernel wallpaper, which has a naturalistic design that captures realistic forms, and the type of flowers used have meaning to them. For example, the usage of windswept flowers refers to fragility.
Bodoni is an Italian serif typeface belonging to the modern typeface family along with Didot. It was designed by and named after Giambattista Bodoni, an expert printer, typographer and publisher who lived in Parma. He drew inspiration from John Baskerville, who invented the Baskerville typeface, and made exaggerated changes to the typeface to create his own.
The Bodoni typeface has a few distinct characteristics. The first one is that it has an extremely high contrast between thick and thin strokes, which has become a defining trait of modern typefaces. The second one is that due to this high contrast, the typeface produces an effect called ‘dazzle’, which causes the text to be rather difficult to read. This effect is even more prominent when the font is reduced to smaller sizes, causing the hairline strokes of the typeface to recede. Hence, it is recommended for this font to be used mainly for titles.
Here are some examples of Bodoni in use, such as:
a book cover,
a magazine ad,
and a factory signboard.
Display image source: https://www.fonts.com/font/linotype/bodoni
Are you complicit? is an interactive experience designed as a response to Singaporean society’s discrimination of skin colour. It was inspired by the various bouts of casual racism we have seen taking place in our own country and the desire to raise awareness about this issue. The participant is first asked to choose from one of two masks – either white or black. After which, they can enter an enclosed booth, where there is a mirror. As they hold up the mask to their faces, a recording of insults will play according to the colour of the mask. As the recording plays, the participant is left to stare at their own reflection with the mask on, perhaps contemplating the greater meaning of this interaction.
Observational documentation for user tests
This user test brought up a point we had not thought of – if the participant was already wearing a fully white or black top, the recording might play even when they have not put the shirt on and disrupt the interaction. In the video, our classmate Charm is wearing a black top. She alternates this by holding up the white shirt at times. However, only the “black/dark” recording keeps playing. We also noticed that our test participants tended to hold up the shirts to the photoresistor instead of wearing the shirts.
The next user test had a similar effect, but only the “white” recording kept playing even when our classmate Sze Wee did not hold the white shirt up and stood there in his grey shirt. It kept playing when he held the black shirt up as well.
At some point in the whole user testing session, our professors suggested that the crowd of our classmates outside the cupboard could be affecting the lighting value that we had already coded in. After everyone moved away from the cupboard other than the note-taker, videographer and tester, the code worked. Our classmate Munch held up the different shirts and the different recordings finally played. However, the recordings also appeared to be swapped, with the “white” recording playing when the black shirt was held up and vice versa. After this, we promptly adjusted the code by swapping the light values.
After the user tests, we decided to swap from shirts to masks to keep the action of putting oneself in someone else’s shoes. Masks are easier to put on or even holding it up to one’s face is enough to have the effect as opposed to putting on a shirt, which participants were less likely to do.
We also decided to completely close off the interior of the cupboard so that it would not be affected by external light. This would also help to isolate the participant, thus enhancing the interaction we intended for.
Design process documentation (intermediate designs, sketches, ideas)
Initial ideas revolved around the topic of youth suicide (expanded upon in a previous post: Project Development Drawings), which we decided not to go with in the end as they required way more time and effort than we had to spare.
We decided to go with this idea which belonged to the Provocative Object stream. We went ahead with the idea of an uncomfortable interaction in the form of a booth in which the participant would go and depending on their skin colour, a recording of micro-aggressions directed at their skin colour would play out loud. Options we were considering included either headphones or speakers to relay the recording to the participant. As a way of detecting the participant’s skin colour, we wanted to utilise the photocell and mirror.
After the body-storming session, it was recommended that we use a black and white shirt instead as the skin colour idea was somewhat derivative and sensitive. We also changed our topic from racism to discrimination based on labels given to different skin colours so that participants would have an easier time making the conceptual leap.
Later on, we switched to black and white masks as the action of putting on the shirt was somewhat a hassle and might deter participants from going into the booth or getting the full effect of the interaction as seen in the user tests above.
A stand alone video describing our project and showing in the actual place or context of use
The context of use for this project would be an installation at an art exhibit, hence the writeup on the side of the cupboard. Not shown in the video is that the participant is facing a mirror when they hold up the masks, looking at their own reflections as they try the masks on and hear the comments.
Step-by-Step making of project
What you’ll need:
- An enclosed space (We used an empty cupboard)
- 1x Mirror (Big enough to show one’s face)
- 1x Speaker
- 1x Roll of Duct tape
- 1x Black Mask (If you do not have one, use black matte spray paint like we did!)
- 1x White Mask
- 1x Large black cloth (To cover one doorway of the cupboard)
- 1x LED Light
- 1x Paper
- 3x Hooks
- 1x Breadboard
- 1x Arduino USB Board
- 1x Photoresistor
- 2x Red Wires
- 1x Black Wire
- 1x Yellow Wire
- 1x 10k-ohms resistor
Close one of the cupboard doors. Use the duct tape to tape the top of the large black cloth to the opening of the cupboard to form the curtain. Remember to use pins/more duct tape to alter the length of the cloth if it is too long for the cupboard.
On the remaining closed door, stick a label stating ‘Please choose one’. Below that, place two hooks side by side and hang each mask on the hooks. We only had one hook for the outside, so we made do by hanging both on one hook but separating them so they were still side by side.
Inside the cupboard, tape a small LED light to the ceiling. This is an important factor as it is the sole light source for the interior of the cupboard.
Set up the circuit using the Arduino USB Board, Breadboard, wires, resistor and photoresistor following the diagram above. Our photoresistor was soldered to two much longer wires. Ideally, yours should be as well.
Attach the last hook to the back of the mirror. This is what will hold your mirror up on the wall of the cupboard later on. Use duct tape to tape the long photoresistor wires down so they stay organised. We also used duct tape to tape down the mirror stand as it was protruding too much.
Make sure that the photoresistor is at the edge of the mirror, like the image below. This will help to catch the changes in light as the light from the LED fixture on the ceiling above gets reflected off the mirror.
Inside the cupboard, place the entire circuit set-up, the speaker, and the power source for the circuit (we suggest using a portable battery charger) into a black box. Stick the hook behind the mirror onto the wall furthest from the black curtain. Use duct tape to further reinforce the mirror to stick on the wall, as well as to stick the black box to the wall.
As for the codes used in Arduino and Processing, refer to the segment below. Remember to set up the codes first using a computer before putting the circuit into the black box!
Codes and circuit design required to make the prototype
We followed the circuit from the “Let there be light” slides during our second Arduino workshop. It had the photocell, which was what we needed circuit-wise for our project.
This is the Arduino code we used with Lei’s help – we set the sensor values according to the minimum and maximum values of the lighting in the cupboard. The lower value would trigger the “dark” insults and the higher value would trigger the “pale” insults.
This is the Processing code we used – also with Lei’s ample guidance. I inserted the 2 separate recordings (“White_Recording.mp3” and “Black_Recording.mp3”) into the code so that either would play according to the light levels. The code in Pt 4 shows how either recording should play at the different light levels (i.e. when either the black or white mask is held up to the mirror), but have nothing playing when neither mask is held up or when nobody is standing in front of the mirror.
A few of my initial ideas involved iron filings and ferrofluid, as well as magnets attached to a clock motor.
However, I had to scrap these ideas upon realising that iron filings and ferrofluid are difficult to obtain in Singapore.
My next idea involved a tilted board with elevated surfaces upon which magnets could roll down. On top of this would be another tilted board with magnetic paint/metal items on top of paint blobs, which would be the method to make marks as the magnets rolled down beneath.
Above is the prototype for the board beneath, designed to have multiple magnets rolling and knocking into each other to create a chain reaction so as to create a more interesting piece on the surface layer. I used coins for the time being to test if the prototype’s lanes would be feasible.
However, after much research and testing, I discovered that this idea would not work as the force of the magnets was either not strong enough to pull the metal items along the top as they rolled down, or if the force was strong enough then the magnets would lift off the board entirely and stick to the metal items on the surface instead of rolling down.
Hence, I had to change my idea entirely. While researching on the patterns I could make for the board where the magnets would roll down, I came across a pinball machine surface and was inspired to make a pinball machine instead, with the pinball as the main tool to make the drawing.
The biggest problem would be getting the paper onto the machine (to get the drawing) while still having all the usual obstacles that the pinball would bounce against. As these obstacles are usually set on the surface of the machine, I decided to make an extra cover on which the obstacles would be placed so that paper could still be placed on the machine and removed after the drawing was made.
I used this video as reference to make the flippers. I decided to go with using cardboard boxes to make the machine instead of wood as I was unsure whether I would be able to get the exact diameter of the chopsticks through the sides using a drill. I had the impression that using cardboard would be more precise as I was poking the chopsticks straight through.
I started making the components on the bottom with styrofoam as these had a sturdier form than cardboard, which I would have to cut and paste to achieve the thickness required, and would easily fold under pressure. I worried that styrofoam may be the same where it might crumble if too much pressure was applied, but it maintained its structure and so I decided to go ahead with using it.
The biggest problem I had with the mechanism was that the styrofoam kept getting ripped from the box despite being superglued or hot-glued down to the box. It was not strong enough to withstand the force of the rubber band, hence I decided to get wood pieces instead to replace this component.
Another problem I had was getting the rubber bands to work – I realised that I had bought the wrong kind of rubber bands – they were too big for the mechanism. To combat this, I wrapped one end around the chopstick several times and it worked.
I used a translucent polypropylene sheet for the cover as I wanted the obstacles and drawing to be visible so that the player could see what they were doing and making as they played on the machine. I used this same material to form the sides, back and surface of the machine to keep the box tilted at an angle.
This was the first test, in which I put the purple paint on the paper for the pinball to pick up as it traversed the machine. The results were unsatisfactory as it only made dot-like marks and it did not really track the path of the ball. I added water to the surface of the paper in an attempt to help the ball move around with less friction, but it did not work and only caused the paper to wrinkle.
I tried this again but with pink paint at the side of the machine itself and not on the paper. It worked better as the ball picked up the paint more easily and its path was trackable as can be seen from the pink lines in the photo.
The medium I used to make the painting was acrylic paint mixed with a little bit of water, as acrylic paint alone was too thick and dried too quickly, causing the pinball to stick to the paper/machine instead of rolling down.
This was the first successful piece in which the ball’s movements were tracked using the paint and the areas where the flippers hit it or where the ball knocked against the obstacles are visible. The most common path is also demarcated by the thickest paint lines.
This was the result of the demonstration and try-out done on presentation day – not many marks as people only tried it out for a few seconds.
This piece was made after adjustments to the machine to direct the ball better and the flippers were fixed to be fully functional.
This piece was made on tracing paper, unlike the rest which were made on normal opaque paper.
This is an orthographic plan view drawing of the machine.
This is a combination of the drawing made by the machine and the drawing of the drawing machine itself.
I am glad that it worked as I spent a lot of time agonising over the flippers and whether or not they would have enough power to propel the ball upwards into the playing field.
On hindsight, perhaps I should have used wood after all as that would give the machine a more complete finish – or used opaque polypropylene sheets instead of translucent ones. However, I am satisfied with the end product and have learnt much about form and mark-making using different mediums and methods.
Our project brief was, in simple words, to create/recreate an optical illusion. I had many ideas spawned from scrolling through Pinterest. One idea was having multiple glass layers with parts of an image on each layer to altogether reveal a whole image when lined up. Another idea was to have multiple hanging pieces of items to reveal an image through its shadow when a light was shone from the top. The next idea was something I came up with – a few clock hands propped up by stands and lined up with parts of an image attached to each of the clock hands. These hands would reveal an image at a split second when the images are all combined together and as the hands tick on, the image would be mixed up again.
However, the clock idea did not seem optical illusion-y enough for me, so I went back online to look for inspiration.
I chanced upon Matthieu Robert-Ortis’ wire sculpture where the viewer would see 2 giraffes from one angle and an elephant from another angle. It looked really difficult to do and I wanted to challenge myself, so I decided to go with this.
However, I did not want to use the same images of the animals as it seemed somewhat arbitrary. I came across some blind contour images on Pinterest and was inspired to do faces instead. On one side, there would be three different faces with different expressions and on the other side, it would be a single face. This was to convey the multi-faceted nature of humans despite the main image of ourselves that we try to portray. Upon consultation with Peter, he suggested making the main face a portrait of an actual person to give it more meaning.
Thinking about the message I wanted to convey and who fit this concept the most, I thought of my mother. As children, we tend to have a lot of preconceived notions of how our mothers are supposed to be, but we forget that they are just as human as we are and just as susceptible to bouts of depression, exhaustion, and escapism.
For the drawing style, I decided to go with blind contour as it was more forgiving in terms of the wire form. Sticking to a clean-cut, normal drawing style would make the styling of the wires much more complicated.
As for the main singular portrait, I decided to trace my mother’s profile photo as a representation of the image she portrays of herself to the world. The main characteristics were the short hair and glasses.
For the three faces on the side, the different expressions I chose were sadness (a face with a tear running down the cheek), escapism (the face turned away at an angle), and exhaustion (the middle face with eyes closed).
To test if the wires I was using were thick enough to hold its shape but thin enough to still be malleable, I made a small version of two faces. I concluded that the size I made it at was too small to be impactful and that a larger size would also be easier to manipulate.
I proceeded to try making one with a larger face.
I finished the first face and attached a second face to it that was made with a separate wire. I attached them by hooking the ends. This seemed fine but unstable, so I thought it was better to just use one continuous wire to form the whole thing.
As the final version was going to be black in colour against a white background, I decided to test the spray paint on my first prototype to see if the paint would affect the metal in any way. It turned out fine, as seen in the photo. In fact, it made the image clearer as there was no reflection like when it was silver.
Throughout the sculpting process, I kept testing paths for the wire I could take by drawing them out since it was a single continuous line. This meant that I could not make any major mistakes as I would not be able to fix them easily – I would have to unravel the whole wire and that would cause the lines to be less straight
As I created the three faces in front, I had to figure out how to make the main portrait on the side at the same time. It was rather complicated which is why I drew out the lines on paper first to see which would work.
When the whole wireframe was done, I spray painted it black and began to set up. I planned for it to be a hanging sculpture as the wires could not support themselves from the bottom.
I used a white board for the top and hung the sculpture using thin white threads that were less conspicuous.
It was really difficult as the wires kept twisting and turning and I had to keep readjusting the placement of the threads to ensure both sides were clear.
The lines are definitely not as clean as I expected and hoped, but the images were somewhat visible from both sides. Also, if the backing and ceiling were more spacious, I would be able to show the images in its entirety – part of the reason I could not achieve what I wanted is that the wire did not have enough space to freely hang. Overall I learned that wires are more complicated to maneuver than one can anticipate and it required more time than I expected to be able to complete it.