5-Week Project Summary
· Description of your 5 week project in 3 sentences or less
I explored soothing, interactive visual effects for WFH workers/bedridden patients by making particle effects for the breathing exercise and an interactive aquarium scene.
· Summarize feedback and comments that you received at your presentation
Kyoung suggested to include a story or some sort of narrative to my visual effects. The narrative aspect could be a way to invoke my intention of bringing wellbeing and calmness.
Will suggested to take a look into biophilia, to temporarily let go of the idea of soothing and see what effects other types of interaction can invoke and think about how my work could be expanded to a multi-user, collaborative experience among patients in the same room.
· Address the feedback and comments that you received in our review
Kyoung’s suggestion led me to think about what a narrative really is. So far, I conclude that narrative is not dependent on language. There could be a film about the salmon fish swimming upstream from the salty water they usually dwell in, to the fresh water where they will reproduce. The audience will understand the narrative of perseverance despite of the lack of language.
· Provide a self-critical reflection on your progress so far, include conclusions or new questions
I am pleased with my progress so far, especially with using the relatively low-tech, accessible microphone to receive the physiological feedback of breathing, and then using it to give purpose to the abstract visual effects.
For the aquarium scene, I got feedback of people finding it soothing and building more connection to it because of the interactivity both through the mouse and keyboard and through the environmental sound detected by the microphone. Both the breathing particles and the aquarium can work as standalone animated screensavers, but interactivity gives them purpose and connection to the user.
· Discuss what you have learned about your working pace, style, approach and how these make you productive or distract you from being productive, suggest ways you can address these in the next stage of work?
I usually work well when I have clear direction and purpose, which I think I do now. In the beginning, I was thinking about how lighting can be connected to graphics on the screen, which I still haven’t found a practical way to do for myself. Back then, I was also wondering about the purpose of computer animation — why not use camera-recorded footage since they can also be relaxing and are easy to come by. The confusions were holding me back, but I guess they are part of the process too. Reading papers and books, talking to my advisors and instructors, and thinking about the suggestions they give helped me immensely to clear some confusions and move forward.
· Provide a summary of what you think are the next logical steps and why
Method of interactivity: Use eye tracking to direct my fish, letting go of mouse and keyboard for a handsfree experience. Handsfree, because of accessibility to bedridden patients and for projecting/showing the scene onto a big screen, when mouse and keyboard become impractical. Lastly, I am imagining my work to be a “playable viewing” experience, as opposed to the traditional, play-a-video-game experience. To this end, using one’s body as an input device seems to be more appropriate.
But eye tracking requires a camera in front of the user. Where should the camera be mounted if the scene is shown on a distant, big screen?
Kyoung’s suggestion of narrative: In the next project, let the fish swim out of the aquarium — in a river, possibly with certain difficulties on the way, so that I can build a narrative.
Keep reading and thinking about human perception — why are certain visual effects intriguing and soothing.