Project Development – Inspiration

A lot of awe-inspiring projection mapping seems to be kicking around the internet lately. I’ve been seeing them pop up on social media for a while, and now that I’ve really started looking into the possibility of doing one of these projects myself, I realize how intimidating they can be.

These projects require both an intimate knowledge the kind of projections systems that would allow you to do a detailed map of a building, and experience with the kind of 3D animation software to pull off a really spectacular illusion. While I have some knowledge of projection mapping software, the kind of 3D animation seen in a lot of projection mapping onto buildings is a little beyond my grasp.

I don’t think that this needs to be a weakness. As much as I do love the spectacle of these, I think that the clocktower project can do something a little different. I’m hoping that this project can blend spectacular elements with something that feels a little more personal. A lot of my own work, I’ve tried to make a blend of computer compositing and hand-crafted imagery with the aim of making sometimes bizarre characters and landscapes feel more intimate than they would had they been created entirely on a computer.

And I think that this is approach is a good way for me to think about this particular project, too. Many of the big examples of projection design feel like they’re about a company or design firm flexing their technological muscle, working to show off what they can accomplish.

The clock tower project, though, shouldn’t be about showing off. This isn’t a façade for a high-end electronics company, it’s a symbol of a city’s cultural identity. While I’m certainly not above spectacle, I think that this piece needs to be about more than that.

Which is why I’m particularly drawn to a video game that I played over winter break. Gris, a platform game from Spanish developer Nomada Studio, combines classical game mechanics with strong aesthetic choices, giving both aspects of the game equal weight. Plenty of other games have tried this, but I feel like Gris is exceptional just for how well the thing works. Tried and true game mechanics and challenges keep the player engaged, while carefully-rendered visuals maintain an intriguing atmosphere, both of which combine to tell a compelling story.

 
 

Ultimately, I hope to build off of what already exists in the worlds of projection design and gaming to create something that’s not just technically impressive, but unique and special for downtown Denver.

Project Development - Dream, Vision, Goal, Plan

Dream- I want to create experiences that will change the way people think about the what art can do for a community. I would like to make interactive experiences that can be at once intimate and massive in scale. I hope to accomplish this by mixing together animation, projection design and interaction design.

 

Vision – I would like to create an interactive video installation that will play on Denver’s downtown clock tower. I hope to take advantage of a new initiative by the Denver Theatre District to install projectors to map onto the tower, and to use that in conjunction with street level interaction design to give Denver’s residents a unique and special experience.

 

Goal – Over the course of this semester, I will be creating a pitch for the Denver Theatre District on my plan for what the clock tower will look like. I will create a roughly 3-minute animated segment for the piece, and storyboard out 20 minutes worth of additional material. I will also create the interactive elements, and test out the system with projectors on a miniature scale model.

 

Plan –

February 20th – Have a script for the video element, and have a larger plan for exactly what the piece will do and what it will mean.

March 6th – Have an animatic put together of the video element that will clearly demonstrate what is laid out verbally in the script. Complete a virtual mock-up of the interactive element.

March 13th – Use my final project for Subtraction: Cutting to create a scale model miniature of the clock tower that will be used for my final presentation in class.

March 20th – Go back to Denver for spring break. Communicate with the Denver Theatre district about my hopes for the project. Put together a pitch using what I’ve already made.

April 18th – Finish video element.

May 2nd – Finish interactive element.

May 11th – Demonstrate at ITP winter show.