Matt Johannesen – Paper Nature Part 1

My plans changed a bit from what I listed in my concept post, due to a breakthrough I made during class on Monday. I had mentioned briefly that one idea for a season “selector” circuit was an almanac, a little book that the user could actually flip through to control the Max patch. I figured this would be intuitive, interesting to create, and fitting for the fantastical theme I was aiming for – but I also figured it would be finicky and unreliable.

But I was wrong! With the help of some magnetic tape that (coincidentally) I bought last week, I was able to come up with a booklet prototype that required no direct user contact with conductive leads. Essentially, closing a spread of pages would cause the magnet strips to connect and press together the positive lead (on the left page) and the ground lead (on the right page), thus simulating a key press.

Top: Monday’s prototype
Bottom: Current version, with ground circuit tucked into the binding

This particular setup created a tricky scenario, however: rather than having Max respond when a key was pressed, I had to make my patch respond when a key was released. Furthermore, having a physical book instead of buttons meant that multiple pages – or all of them – could be left open at the same time. I tried many different wiring configurations within Max to get it right, but ultimately I couldn’t fix it completely.

And as is usually the case, my being caught up in the technical details caused me to push back the visual side of things until the end. It isn’t much, but after making a couple Animate clips (one of leaves falling, and one of some wintery winds), setting up a color changing background in my Max patch, and finally making the popup castle that got me interested in this whole concept, I was able to test everything out:

I apologize for the very slight color changes – it looks better in person!

7 Comments Add yours

  1. Daniel McDonough says:

    I am very interested in the popup castle as it is very unique take on the 3D art. I also am fascinated by the wiring techniques utilized in your piece. The idea of seasons is also interesting and the use of the screen as a backdrop is very novel (pun not intended).

    This may be improved by utilizing the popup aspect of the castle, and adding animation to the sides of the castle. Or perhaps by getting rid of the castle entirely as it takes up too much screen space.

    How did you implement the logic of the book? What are the symbols inside?

  2. Colin Ancalmo says:

    The whole theme of this piece is really cool. Having a mysterious seasonal castle / temple that is controlled by a book filled with cryptic seasonal symbols strengths that theme. As someone mentioned in class, magnets are awesome and you used them in a way that made the user experience very intuitive.

    It may be interesting to also add page-flipping sound effects when the pages are turned to provide a stronger connection between the book and the digital aspects of the piece.

    Did you have any specific inspiration for the seasonal symbols?

  3. Jonathan Shiery says:

    This project has a really cool mysterious vibe to it all with the use of the book and the symbols. I could imagine it giving the user a sense of wonder and anticipation when interacting with the book.

    Something that I think would improve the project are sound effects to go with the animation. That could vastly improve the mysterious theme of the project.

  4. Tom Towadros says:

    I like that you have a component that sits in front of the computer screen. It creates a more multi-dimensional experience than just the 2D animation alone. I would have loved to see some more color in the almanac and the castle, because the symbolism behind them is already interesting. Was there anything would specifically wanted to accomplish in terms of visuals?

  5. Joy Tartaglia says:

    The idea of flipping through the pages of a book to progress through seasons is a really neat concept, and the castle’s popup aspect is particularly cool.

    An additional layer of paper on the pages could cover the aluminum trail. There’s no avoiding the clips, but something could cover the aluminum like a sleeve.

    What images, animations, and colors do you think would best represent the seasons?

  6. Sylvia Lin says:

    Yay! The castle is finally here! I appreciate the amount of work you put into the technical aspect in order to make this work (including all the reverse control, magnets, etc)
    I also really like the symbols! Maybe you can color the castle a bit so it has more of that ancient culture vibe? Also the symbols somehow look like mazes to me so maybe use a thicker stroke to trace over the symbols?
    Where did you get the inspiration of the castle from? Did you model it based off some cartoon or real-life castles?

  7. Ryan Doyle says:

    Incredible controller. I also really liked the symbols in the book.

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