Evan Sheehan | Project 4 | Silhouettes

by Evan @ 11:40 pm 26 March 2012

[vimeo https://vimeo.com/39245630]

My goal with this project was to create an interactive piece where the interaction was less participatory and more destructive. The notion being that the viewer would have to periodically leave the piece while it repaired itself. The plan was to have several little shadow spiders running around on the wall building their webs. As people walked by, the shadows they cast would destroy the webs and send the spiders scurrying. Not until the spiders had been left alone for a period of time would they gain the courage to return and rebuild their webs.

The code is available on Github.

Inspiration

[vimeo https://vimeo.com/38704159]

I can’t say this animated retelling of Little Red Riding Hood served as inspiration, exactly, since I discovered it after I’d settled on doing something with shadows. But I think it is illustrative of the other-worldliness shadows can take on. I wanted the piece to seem as if it were a glimpse into a world that existed beside the one in which we’re accustomed to living. Plus, I just think it’s a cool animation and wanted to share it.

[vimeo https://vimeo.com/22219563]

I had a lot of help with the visuals on this project from this project by IDEO. I got the method for rendering the silhouettes directly from their code with a few modifications. This project also served as a model for creating the interactions between the Kinect data and the Box2d world.

Tests

[vimeo https://vimeo.com/39245036]

Step 1: Use the Kinect to interact with springs in Box2d. It took several tries to get a project up and running with both ofxKinect and ofxBox2d included. This was due to a possible bug in Xcode, or else just my own misunderstanding of its interface to the build tools.

[vimeo https://vimeo.com/39245259]

Step 2: Construct a spider web from Box2d components. After getting the Kinect integrated with the Box2d code, I set about figuring out how to construct a breakable web of threads. Randomly constructed webs (as seen in the final video) worked, but didn’t hold their shape as well as I wanted. I tried this octagonal construction, which worked well in this test, but less well in the subsequent test with the Kinect as input, instead of the cursor.

[vimeo https://vimeo.com/39245320]

Step 3: Break spiderwebs using data from the Kinect. The octagonal web construction was apparently too strong for me. No matter how I tuned the parameters the web would either not break at all, or it would fall apart instantly. Ultimately, I decided to go with the randomly generated webs.

1 Comment

  1. wow. great video and music! This is an awesome project.
    + Great soundtrack and video +1
    this is really awesome, i want to play!
    terrific QUICK PROJECT. Strong work, Evan! And the spiderweb test video is VERY interesting. (is it embedded into the blog?)
    +1, random webs looks way cooler than the symmetric ones. The springiness of the web is very compelling.
    Amazing project. I love the aesthetic (the random spiderweb is great). I love the video. Really strong work. I would love to see the next step where the web is repaired over time. This would make a great permanent installation somewhere.
    The physics on the spiderwebs seems weird. I wonder if it would be more effective not to claim that they’re spiderwebs, but rather some other sort of shape. The problem is the use of vertices rather than curves.
    Beautiful and fun work! Nice job. Sound track fades in the video so well.
    Stefan Sagmeister did an installation like that in 2005 with type too: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U–PIzSuOv8
    more info http://www.sagmeister.com/node/216?destination=taxonomy/term/32
    The music is fun.
    ANd I think it is very playful.
    Really cool interaction. I think it’s really helped by its simplicity – aesthetically and functionally. Nice work man.
    on the fence about the symmetrical webs, they are more recognizable as spider webs so I think it would be good to have both, or maybe a happy medium between the random and the symmetrical
    good to show the tests/iterations
    Each project you show several iterations and thought. Way to go.
    I See your project, and I want to play with it – it looks fun and interactive. And also indeed looks like a good starting point for a later more broad project.

    Good work thinking about documentation. You even made the horrible emergency light in the lab seem cool!
    Agree, they don’t seem particularly web-like. Doesn’t really matter, though.
    I like the implications that arise from the ball being tossed not breaking the web. Maybe playing with the force / speed required to break could make this more game-like
    I love the physics on the webs, it looks pretty organic and works pretty nice. I love the documentation and the video concept.
    +1 the webs look good, even if they’re not “real” webs+1
    The random webs are definitely a nice touch, plus the music added a good hardcore vibe to your project+1 And good documentation!
    Great documentation and process explanation.
    It’s a convincing effect.
    This looks great, I actually like your random webs better than the normal structured one. (looks less synthetic)

    Comment by admin — 28 March 2012 @ 12:16 pm

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