It’s been over a year now, since Untold Labs conducted one of its earliest Sprints — those 2.5 hours dedicated to emerging tech experiments — on interactive projection mapping. Our crew brought in “blue sky” ideas, which included everything from interactive music games to a body-scanning X-ray. Fast forward 11 months later and the ease of pulling off one of the trendiest forms of emerging tech has transformed and become more efficient. We created a sculpture — the one we used at our Blend Conference workshop — and asked our teams for another rounds of creative ideas. These are the ones we chose:
A Digital Garden
Our Support Specialist Shelton Clinard’s concept was to create an interactive garden that could teach children about the life cycle of plants. Using our cubed sculpture and a little PHP magic, we gave users a mobile website as a platform to water plants or expose them to sunlight, virtually. By tapping buttons in the correct order, a plant would begin to grow on the sculpture, triggering new animations at various stages of the plant’s life; a reward for users and an incentive to help their plants reach maturity.
Our creatives focused heavily on dynamic imagery, while a tech team scrambled to inject Web data into our in-house projection mapping software. Integrating the two turned out to be more of a headache as latency became a big issue. Our finished landing page used just two buttons to trigger animations on our sculpture. When the user hit the rainy or sunny buttons, a vine would begin to snake it’s way up the cubes.
Projected Narrative Animation
When you watch a movie, you only get to see what’s happening with the character on the screen. What are the other characters doing as the story continues? Our Production Artist Alex Runde pitched the idea to project her short film — also her college 3D animation thesis — on a cubed sculpture.
Her team broke the film into separate environments and narrative breaks. The bigger goal was to use the cube’s surface and gaps to create unique transitions: As a character looked down at a photograph, his memories are projected onto the face of the cubes around him. At the sacrifice of traditional close ups and camera cuts, this new medium allowed us to emphasize moments of the story, opening the narrative up to more interpretation.