My conference project was not inspired by any work or event in particular; instead, I looked to my newly developed experience since I had been enrolled in this class. I began by creating some squares on a shape layer. By starting simple, I gave myself some breathing room for the effects that I would use. I then added repeaters to the two rectangles in the frame and increased the amount of copies. I added some noise to add visual flare and made the layer 3D. I looked at the waveform to the song I chose (Zebra by Oneohtrix Point Never) and keyframed the copy amount for both rectangles to increase with the change in notes. I did the same thing for the Y axis rotation on the shape layer and rotated it. The next element I focused on revolved around the waveform effect, which displays the waveform of whichever audio source is assigned to it. I left the rainbow noise in for a moment to make for a transition. The waveform spikes and oscillates with the song, adding dynamic effect to the project. No keyframing was necessary to achieve motion. Post-waveform I decided to use fractals; it is an element which never fails to prove itself as dynamic and visually engaging. It took a long time to keyframe and adjust the fractal into a form that could magnify for a long amount of time, as the value slider got more difficult to control as the fractal grew deeper. I also added a white solid layer and chose the opacity flash preset to generate a strobe. As the fractal’s closeup ceases, I added CC Sphere with a fractal superimposed over it to create an object of focus. I set the sphere to rotate along with the actively mutating fractal which created a balance between ambiance and dynamics. This proceeds on for a while; I wanted this section to be trance-like, meditative even. I want viewers to be stunned and contemplate the nature of the complex mathematics which generate such spectacle. The fractal in the background fades out with the music, and the sphere becomes pale and featureless before reversing its revolution of the fractals in the opposite direction. I wanted to move people very rapidly from that meditative space to a more dynamic one. I suddenly cut the white backdrop and fractal and replaced it with a black solid. Here I added CC Particle World to give the appearance that the sphere has burst with energy. This continues on for a while; perhaps a bit too long, I will admit, but I was so fascinated by the movement and nature of the particles that I decided to leave this in for a while. It gets slightly repetitive, so I added another waveform to draw the viewer back into the space. For the final section of the project I introduce text; ambiguous text, of course, as I wanted the project to remain largely abstract. Question marks serve as a perfect symbol for the daunting and quizzical nature of life and spacetime. I added CC Drizzle, CC Scatterize and CC Particle World to create the raining fire effect. After tweaking the settings, I was finally able to get the effect I wanted. I then added additional text; a statement.“What do we make of this impossible geometry?” This serves as the closing to the project, a question one might ask themselves and hopefully push them to ponder the epistemological ideas about mathematical systems like the ones used to create these virtual worlds. I found the conference project rather difficult; I felt as though I was running out of material very quickly, and grew frustrated; I was much more comfortable in the conceptual context of the kinetic text project, but I am glad to have had the experience of creating this work from the ground up.
When I initially thought about what I wanted to do for my interpretation of the kinetic text prompt, I knew I wanted to work with a specific event from my life. I knew that the context gave a dynamic, dramatic sort of scaffold for me to work with. I decided to interpret my experiences with LSD through a digital lens. I started by choosing a song; I wanted something that conveyed the somber and hallucinatory nature of the story that I was telling. I went with The Haxan Cloak’s track Excavation Part 2; a pessimistic, dark ambient and electronic funeral dirge. I normally operate best via experimentation, and have difficulty constructing schematics or storyboards for this assignment, so my workflow was slightly affected. As I set out to create this grim revisiting of an incredibly traumatic period of time, I began to organize in my head the way that I wanted to begin. I began by adding the Radio Waves effect to a black solid and began tweaking the settings. The wave type was set to polygon and the star option was set to on; the color was set to a dark green. I then thought about creating an introductory sequence for the text. I stacked multiple effects on these initial phrases, which created the scan line transition and slight oscillation of the letters as well as the flashing opacity. The text talks of trauma and insanity; the madness and mania that one experiences under a powerful drug like LSD. The obvious next step was to work with fractals. I positioned a new layer in my timeline and added the Fractal effect. I set the “set choice” option to Julia Inverse and the equation to “z = z^7 + c” and keyframed the post-inversion offset to generate the fractal in this frame. By serendipitous chance, this created the elements on the perimeter of the fractal which bear resemblance to human skulls. The narrative was now moving into more concrete territory; I began to map out from memory what happened to me in a succinct and unsettling manner. I wanted a darker atmosphere to fill up the negative space and added the image that you see in the back. This image to me conveys the motif of suffering which appears repeatedly in the project. I used an effect called Wiggle to make the text shake and stutter, adding motion to compliment the stillness of the backdrop. I faded to black in order to provide some space for the transition. I kept the text as an element superimposed over the temporary black layer for the several seconds to ease into the next slide. The next phase of the project involves another backdrop; over-saturated, luminescent, and flashing. I changed the text to avoid overly repeating the same elements. I used CC Threshold to reduce the detail to a harsh black and white. I also added a glow effect to create the strong contrast between colors. The first bit of text changes in opacity and transitions into frame using an animation preset called Venetian blinds and then fades out. The other bits of text are static; without another element in motion (the fractals in the last scene), I wanted things to remain largely static. This part of the project comes at a point in the song where elements are taken away to add tension, so I followed suit by creating a visual compliment to its qualities. This part of the project serves as a sort of climax; at this point in the story, the drug has kicked in and I was lost in a reality where time and space as I knew it were subject to hallucinatory editing. I aspired for this section to be the most aesthetically bizarre to reflect the sensory overload I had experienced. I superimposed a new layer over the last image to make for some visually interesting results.I took an image of a shrouded figure standing over a cliff and added CC Blobbylize, which gave the entity a more amorphous, unrecognizable visage. CC Threshold was utilized again, to the same effect. Fractal Noise and Turbulent Noise made for the dreary cloudlike imagery which oscillates in the background. I used various animation presets to make the text jitter and explode into frame, keeping the motion of the project moving and adding dynamics. I wanted to generate feelings of isolation and dread; my goal was to interpret my experience through a digital lens; a dark looking glass through which we can see the unspeakable. I’m proud of this work, and it carries a deep personal meaning for me about the nature of our reality. I was very excited to share this work with others, and am ecstatic to have gained so much experience from this project.