Cem Alemdar & Sylvia Lin – Final Project – Sensor(y) Metaphors

This project started off with Cem and I trying super hard in order to fit a metaphor into our project. Eventually we stumbled upon the idea of animating a 3D model of a turtle island. The turtle object itself is a metaphor – the turtle is so huge that it almost looks like an island in the middle of the sea. Meanwhile, we were also interested in creating an immersive voyage experience for the user. With the pink sky background, the artwork puts the user into an imaginary environment where the ocean can touch the sky. It took us a while to find a downloadable and compatible 3D model that is in line with our expectations. With Patrick’s help, we were finally able to render the 3D model with all the material files in Max. We also had to create the body of water in Max by ourselves because of the way Maya exports transparent objects. 

With regard to the control, there were multiple input sources; namely, there was the audio input controlled by sound tracks we found online, there was the motion scrubber patcher from the computer vision project, and there was Arduino. We once considered adding an RGB LED to the breadboard so the Arduino interface could become part of the metaphor when the light fades at the same rate as the display. However, the breadboard was too tiny for us to add on anything else besides the heat sensor and the button, which are the main sources of input that control the animation.  The heat sensor mimics a joystick that controls the speed of the spaceship and the button is another controller for the spaceship to switch among the 3 states.

On the other hand, the artwork itself contains the metaphor of an invisible spaceship that have multiple states: a ship, a helicopter, and a submarine. We carefully added small twists into each of the subpatcher to introduce subtle differences in each of the states. For instance, different parameters we used to distinguish the three states included lens_angle, rotatexyz, as well as position. We added some shakiness to the spaceship in order to resemble the motor engine vibration, thus giving a more realistic touch to the piece. Holding the heat sensor for long enough to cause the temperature rise enables the speed increase of the ship and the helicopter whereas the button on Arduino allows switching amongst the three states of the spaceship. Faster motion also increases the movement of the submarine. In addition, we fine tuned the animation by adding a total of 5 sound files to encompass more variations.

Through careful juxtaposition and playing with the camera, we were able to mimic the experiences of exploring the turtle island inside a submarine, a helicopter, and a ship.

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