Abstract V.02

Thesis Workshop 09-17-2011: Thesis Intent Wk02

by Link Huang

Tangible Visual Effects

Interests for Investigation

There’s the saying, “eyes are the windows to your soul”. This window is a two way access for massive amounts of quick interactions between the viewed and the viewer. Although to completely relying on sight can often mislead and deliver false information to the viewer, tricking the mind to think one thing is bigger than another, or one color looks different than the compared just because its environments are different or even unexpected reveal of objects. This occurs in real life but even more so on film. Filmmakers often use illusional techniques to complete the visual compositions displayed for storytelling. These techniques such as mechanical transformations, green screen composited scenes, particle animations, sense of 3 dimensional space within, or even holographic interfaces. It is often technologies science fiction writers talk about in their stories, given them new affordances and functions in their fictional portray of the future. When the book is transformed into a feature film, designers are often required to think about not only the aesthetics but also the way they appear. These movement must feel natural and seamless in the way it appears and disappear. In many ways visual effect animations are illusions created to enhance the story, giving credibility for the the audience to believe everything they are watching actually exist.

My interest began collectively towards the investigation of “Hollywood and Science Fiction display of technologies in comparison to a perspective shift of the crude reality when various technologies are implemented in the real world“. In this initial stage, I had the notion of investigating glitches and its imperfections as part of the technology flaws through exploring it’s possibilities. Then as I develop my projects during the courses over the summer, I began to realize my interests lies within the visual effects aspect of these fictional technologies in the stories. My goal is to look into ways to bring these visual effects to the tangible world. I would like to creating inventive and innovative projects while staying away from a carbon copy reflection of a existing visual effects used in film.


Expertise and Obsession

My professional background derives from a handful of years doing motion graphics through storyboarding to animation. It is also a combination with some of my hobbies building RC vehicles, craft works exploring materials. Example projects I worked on that led me to this obsession, a few examples include the 11th Finger, Velit, and Healthbrush. 11th Finger is a hat-like device worn on the head with a finger on the top. Driven by two servo motors and read-outs from a infrared camera that senses the direction of the left eye worn by the user and points the finger in the same direction. Velit was a project to investigate object animism and this autonomous wishing machine takes on a life of it’s own. This creature reacts left and right to the movement of the person standing in front and opens its mouth at a intimate distance when the person’s face comes close, revealing a dandelion looking wishing star created with several tiny LEDs and an audio sensor. The user can also interacts with it by feeding it with some wishes and a breath of air, blowing into the star. Feeding Velit with a wish excites the creature and changes it’s LED tail pattern. When there is no interaction, this creature doze off and falls asleep. The third project is Healthbrush. This is a concept demo of a toothbrush that will analyze the user’s blood from the average daily routine and give the user’s health statistics, assessments, and suggestions. Interaction with a Function while using visual effects techniques in the tangible world became a large part of my interest to explore infuse with my expertise.


I intend to investigate questions like, “Can animistic characteristics of these devices be utilized in terms of a narrative? Can we find out what sorts of “power” fit for these narratives?”,”What would be some amazingly powerful information, if the user could only get it somehow?”, “Can the device be some kind of mounted display, something your essentially wear?”, ” “What kind of experience does the user go through while using these tangible interactions?”, “How can the sense of discovery play into the experience?”, “How can system, network, or social media implications tie in with the design?”.


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