For my second project, I created a magic ball that is a spin off of a “magic 8 ball.” Instead of shaking the ball and getting an answer to their yes/no question, the user will click the ball and it will generate a random answer to their question. Some of the phrases I used range from “signs pointing to yes” to “definitely not” to “cannot predict.” I chose several simple answers because they are applicable to any yes/no question.
I wanted to design something that people of all ages could interact with. I feel like this project did a good job of achieving that because it creates a low barrier of entry for the user. They don’t have to say their question out loud, but can keep it to themselves. Even though this interactive is very easy to use, it still generates a fun outcome for the user. They won’t always get the same answer to their question, so it creates the element of surprise. I think that this enhances the playfulness of the project because its’ outcome is unexpected.
Something that went right was the rough build. I had originally developed a rough prototype very fast. The random text selector was the main function of the project, so coding this aspect was simple. After I had developed the foundation of my project, I had trouble finding the right ways to capture the user into mystifying mood.
Along the way, I made many improvements to the design of the project. First, I started with a ball that generated colors randomly. I changed the palette of the colors to be more concentrated towards blues and purples. I think that this improved the overall look because all of the different colors changing at a high frame rate were overwhelming to the user. This makes the overall feel seem more relaxed. In addition, I played a lot with different fonts. It took me a while before I found the right one that would capture and transport the user to a mystifying mood. The font I chose resembles an old fashioned, traditional type face, that kind of reminds me of the time period of the Salem Witch Trials. I thought that this was perfect for the design of the project because it definitely helped create a magical atmosphere. Furthermore, I made the stationary stars move across the ball. I think that this improved the bewitching effect I was going for because it made the interaction more interesting. Finally, another change I made was that I added a border around the magic ball. I wanted to stick to the blue and purple color palette that I had created, but enhance it even more. So, I decided to create this border in photoshop. I drew ying yang signs, stars, and moons to add to the mystifying, cosmic theme. I think that this makes the project look more unique and interesting because it creates a lot of detail for the user to look at, without feeling overwhelmed. In addition, it helps clarify the interaction. It implies that there will be a “magical” interaction, like a crystal ball predicting the future, without explicitly saying what is going to happen.
I think that this project creates a magic circle because people can chose to use it in groups or individually. If used in a group, the users can ask questions together and see if it was what they had expected. If used individually, users can compare their answers with their friends or even people they don’t know. This forms more interactions between people and therefore, creates a magic circle.
I think that my project fits into de Waal’s ideology because it falls under the category of a “sensible city.” The design of this project is to provide people with answers to their yes/no questions. While it can be seen as something very straightforward, it can also be thought in a different way. I see this project also being able to fit into de Waal’s ideology of a “flaneur city.” This project has an element of mystery in it because the whole idea is based on the unknown. This aspect allows the users to see it as a fun experience that can be new every time.
I’m happy with the way that it turned out because I think that it looks playful and interesting to the user. I’m really glad that I was able to achieve a design that accurately portrays the interaction because it makes it more enjoyable to use.
- Created a shadow wall
- Was able to have the leaves falling down
- Used photoshop to alter the colors of the leaves to fit into a color palette.
- Adding rotation
- Sensitivity of camera
- Unless all the leaves were at exact same level, they won’t restart to top of screen and code will stop running
For my final conference project, I designed a web cam that picks up motion detection. When the user moves, the black and white pattern on the screen will move too. This makes the design evolve further because the user keeps on changing it with their movement. Every minute, the pattern changes into a new one with different sized shapes with different levels of transparencies. This keeps the user more engaged because there are more surprises in how the pattern will change.
I was inspired by the artists Bridget Riley and Ryoji Ikeda because they both primarily work in black and white to create complex patterns and designs. I really admired their styles and I wanted to create a project that resembled their artwork. I think that I was able to accomplish that because I created ten different black and white patterns that are similar to their style.
Creating this project took a lot of planning and time because I had to create ten different patterns. I also got to play with it a lot and test it out. I found it really fun to play around with because it always surprised me. It doesn’t always have the same outcome because the user’s motions will be different every time. This shows that my conference project is abstract and will always be evolving into something new as each person uses it. I decided to have each shape move at different speeds. This added to the abstract element of the project because the pattern doesn’t move in uniform. This means that the user can’t anticipate when the pattern will shift or how it will shift.
The code of my project involved a lot. First, I imported video into processing, so I could use motion detection through the webcam. Then, I created different variables for each shape within each different pattern. I had 90 variables in total. After that, I made a list of all ten patterns. Within each pattern, I had a section that specified the speed of each shape and how fast it moved, based on the motion detection. For example, I could say that a certain ellipse would move every three seconds, while a different ellipse would move every second. Following this code, was the list of shapes within the pattern. Under void draw(), I wrote the motion count and specified the order and duration of each pattern.
After looking back at Martijn de Waal’s ideology, it is clear that my project falls into the category of a “playground/magic circle.” This interaction that I’ve created offers a site of play, is a voluntary activity, isn’t rational, and forms community. This means that it is more open ended to how people will use the interaction. The user can move in front of the webcam by themselves or with other people. This displays the potential to create a magic circle. If multiple users are in front of the camera at the same time, they can create a different pattern together. This could increase interaction between people because they may choose to work together. For example, they could try to move the shapes to one side of the screen or to hold still to see the pattern freeze. Since the project is very open ended, there are so many things people could try to do with it.
Overall, I had a lot of fun making this project because I really like the idea that it can evolve into something so different and abstract every time. I also really enjoyed deigning black and white patterns because I love the way that they look.
Picture of Sophia using the interaction “Music In Me”
My final conference project is entitled Music In Me. It’s an interactive art project which allows the audience to take a unique approach to listening to music. In this interaction, the user listens to Sweet Sun by Milky Chance as they watch the lyrics fall from the top of the screen, creating a shadow wall effect. This experience engulfs the user and immerses their sense of sight and hearing into an extraordinary musical experience.At first, my conference project was very simple. I wanted to create a shadow wall, which is a webcam that gives the user the ability to control and move objects that fall from the top of the screen. After I gave my project more thought, I realized that there was no depth or meaning to it. I then came up with the idea to change the beads to a set of words and have them fall from the screen. After, I decided to make song lyrics fall from the screen and have the song play in the background simultaneously. My inspiration for this project came from different places, one being the fieldtrip to the SONY Museum. I found that the shadow wall interaction they had drew me in the most because it did not require much skill to interact with, however, it was still captivating and entertaining to use. I liked how it created a magic circle as more and more people gathered around to watch the users interact with the shadow wall. I wanted to create a magic circle of my own and was inspired to create Music In Me. A second inspiration I had came from the reading we did entitled “NeMe: Trouble at the Interface 2.0” by Erikki Huhtamo. In this article Huhtamo discusses his first experience with “interactive art” at the Ars Electronica Festival in Linz, Austria. He describes the intoxicating feeling he had when interacting with a project called The Legible City” by Jeffrey Shaw. In it he was diving and crashing through words and letters on a screen. I found the idea of being surrounded by words surreal and abstract, so I wanted to create my own version of Shaw’s unique and intoxicating interaction. Picture of little girl using the shadow wall in the SONY museum. Photo by: Effie D. My project used some studio code and some code I learned on my own. I used the studio code for a webcam to create a live image of the user in the background. I then had to learn to make arrays, which became very helpful for the falling lyrics on the screen. The last code I had to learn was for Minim, which is an audio player code.
Screenshot of part of the code used to create the interaction.The main thing that went wrong in my project was the smoothness (or lack there of) of the words falling from the top of the screen. Although my code does what it is told, the words have a hard time falling from the screen if there is any sort of darkness in the webcam. The words will only fall from the top of the screen if it is totally white. What went right was that I was able to create exactly what I had in mind when I first started writing the code. The music plays very smoothly and the words fall randomly from the top of the screen just as I had planned for it to do originally. Because this code requires various different steps in order to put the final project together, I had to cut out some of the ideas that I had when I first started putting together this project. I was going to give the user three song options but it was too complicated to pull that off, so I cut that idea out and made it so only one song would play (Sweet Sun by Milky Chance).