Silk Road: Process (Part 2)

Silk was the main trade of the Silk Road and was mostly exclusive to nobility. To express the unreachable concept – being able to see but not touch, a disintegrating effect will be used to ‘decompose’ the fabric bit by bit.

Chosen Fabric Image:
Image from Threads of imagination Central Asian and Chinese Silk from 12th to the 19th Century

This image has been tested on MAN media wall, resolution is approved.

Mirrored Edit:

Mirrored to fit the entire Elbphilharmonie media wall.


The end result will be the embroidery skeleton with the combination of smoke and dust particles for dramatic effect.


The above is the first idea, which was to start off with the mysterious smoke and dust effect, then fade into waving fabric. The second idea I have is to layer the dust, fabric and smoke respectively. So when the fabric is disintegrated, a background can be seen for more dimension.

Still final result
Transition Test run:

Things to work on:

Problem number one is the masking. There is some misalignment when copy and pasting a working path. This will need to be solved to remove excessive displacement. Without this step, disintegrating may not be possible.

The second problem is Linear wipe and Particles. From previous attempts, these effects can only animate in a straight line from left to right. Ideally, the parts will disappear in different directions.

Silk Road: Tyrian Purple

The one thing that captivated me, out of all the research regarding the Silk Road, was Tyrian Purple, then, a symbol of power, authority and wealth. It was the first purple dye to not only produce such vivid range of pinks and violets but also said to be resistant to fade. It was harvested from Murex shellfishes, specifically the Murex trunculusPurpura lapillusHelix ianthina, and especially the Murex brandaris; each produces a different shade.

Types of Murex and their colours

The dye so was highly sought after, Silk Road traders would take detours just to obtain it. One can imagine its value as its production required thousands of these little shells. It was said that “10,000 shellfish would produce 1 gram of dyestuff, and that would only dye the hem of a garment in a deep colour”. The heap of the discarded shells would also reach a height of 40 meters high.

Of all its uses, I chose to focus on its use on Byzantine Silk for its influence as the combination became the core of Byzantine silk monopoly. It originates from Phoenicia, current day Lebanon, so it is also geologically more relevant.

The research have given me vibes of the the sea, ocean and water; connotations of waves and ripples. With the thought of Byzantine Silk as my main subject, I have found that often circle motifs are painted onto the silk and would fit well with the rippling effects. The shapes of the shells are rather interesting too and might open opportunities to explore the terrain of the spiral surface. Things are not set in stone yet, but one thing for sure is that Purple will be an accent colour.

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