My current animation tool of choice is Derivative’s Touchdesigner. I use it to edit and create GLSL shaders and edit visuals with its arsenal of video processing and compositing tools. In addition, I’m using its timer system which though different than standard timeline content authoring that I’m used to, is very powerful for interactive authorship. This project is comprised of 9 interactive live states. Each state can stand on its own in an immersive installation.
One of my primary goals was to create an artwork that created a narrative; where the imagery would move between different designs guiding the audience through something that would have a deeper meaning than static immersive visuals. Often interactive art is designed as a state, with state changes. Although this is an interesting way to immerse the audience into interactive design installation my interests were to take the viewer through numerous states that would create a kind of story. Narrative design in abstract animation is difficult enough to understand. To simplify the process I decided to use Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey as a template for pacing, shape and color design. These are simply described as Exposition | Conflict | Climax | Resolution | Epilogue.
To create a narrative the design of the artwork was imbedded into base nodes each with its own timing mechanism. The first-timer is triggered by a timeline CHOP. This is the only use of the timeline in this piece. I could easily change this to some kind of event and when at Ars Electronica Festival 2019 I considered using a shell horn-tone to trigger the visuals. It was simpler however to have it start a few seconds after the software launched. Using the timeline I fed the current frame status to a logic switch and triggered a timer CHOP to ON when it’s in 0-100 range. The timer runs through it’s setting. I use curves to adjust the flow of values through the operator. This approach, in contrast to the timeline approach, allows for more flexibility in interactive design. I wanted this piece to be alive, with each scene having its own depth in interactive design. Though I haven’t taken advantage of this in its current state,
Each section is divided into base nodes that trigger from the top project level node. The timing is set manually and designed according to the subjective flow of the GLSL shaders in the section. I would often tile shader over shader and use the displace TOP to blend the 2d graphic forms together. Each GLSL shader usually would have more than one curve valued input to vary its activity. I’d carefully design the flow of the motion with these curves. Once the timer NODE is complete it signals DONE. The DONE signal is passed as the start signal for the next sequence’s timer NODE.
The image below is made of two 8k projection planes. I created this with 4k imagery that upscaled to 8k. The floor uses a LIDAR type tracking device that tracks only the position of the individual. I used it to track 6 person positions. I used code from Cha off Shadertoy to create the ripple effect, They intersect off a plane creating a distorted wave similar to the effect of lightwaves create in the Double Slit Experiment.
The movie plays through though with interactive cues happening throughout. It’s designed to resemble the depths of a pool as in an ancient cenote with quantum ripples of rippling forces surround the viewer in an interactive movie interlude. The floor is an active LIDAR plane that tracks the person’s position. I used that to move a GLSL ripple effect.
I’m currently working on a piece for an immersive theater that uses 5 computers with 5 projected image planes blended in an immersive semicircular bowl-like plane. I’ll document this in another blog post.
Ina is an award-winning new media artist, currently Associate Professor at the Nanyang Technological University Singapore, School of Art, Design and Media. Ina’s works uniquely span several disciplines: digital painting, experimental S3D animation, installation, and most recently media architecture. Ina’s explorations redefine the wide spectrum of what painting can be. Her ‘paintings’ are often “unframed” and animated as cine-installation in a gallery, infinitely expanding within variable display immersive platforms such as for example Deep Space 8K, 360 screens, urban screens, or are “re-framed” back into cinema projection.