My Role: Creative Direction + Motion Graphics + Projection Mapping
Project Objective: To combine projection mapping and Kinect technology for an interesting and engaging new lobby experience.
• Use sound, music visualizations, motion graphics, video, and an augmented reality interface to showcase the services offered at MS Studios
• Collaborate with remote programmers on projection mapping and Kinect interactivity
Squad: 2 developers + 1 video editor + 1 project manager
Timeframe: 8 weeks
Tools: After Effects, Balsamiq, Photoshop, Illustrator, Facade, Tabula
Step 1: figure out the best location for the installation and conduct prototype user testing
This particular lobby had limited blank surfaces to use and significant light pollution from floor to ceiling windows.
First, we took photos of the space and explored various projection possibilities. Using Balsamiq, I made multiple clickable prototypes of early design/projection possibilities. These were very useful in helping the client visualize, without having to go through the time-consuming process of setting up and tearing down equipment for each iteration.
Early designs had the AR "button" interface projected on the bricks through user testing I found that it was not ideal and involved users having to bend/reach in awkward ways.
To use the nearby pillar as the main interface and I would use the bricks in interesting ways using video timing. The pillar also provided more drama and interest as it is the first thing one sees as they enter the studio gate.
The project was meant to highlight the awesomeness of projection mapping. Is a traditional, large, flat surface above reception really awesome?
I felt that mapping on the pattern of the brick wall would be a better way to showcase this. Most of our content was going to be video, so the "aspect ratio" of the bricks would work well and minimize distortion. It would also be a great way to show multiple videos at once. The client loved the idea of projecting onto a more organic, textured, and accessible surface.
Next step was designing and testing the interface "buttons"
No haptic feedback on AR "buttons"
The buttons needed an idle state and an activated state. I designed motion graphics for to reflect the buttons' different states.
Bonus Challenge (and my personal favorite):
We observed through user testing that many would use just their index finger to press the pillar "buttons". The Kinect was not sensitive enough to detect it so nothing would happen.
Put a hand on it! It became clear that we needed to add some type of instruction for the experience. I wanted it to be inobtrusive and part of the experience, rather than posted signage. Luckily, a subtle, visual instruction of a flashing hand was all it took for users to use flat palms from there on out.
One set of buttons is for chumps. Why not TWO interfaces?
Go big or go home. As I got further into the project, I really felt it would add more engagement to have a set of secondary buttons. The client had mentioned wanting the experience to showcase the studio's music production services, so I designed a music visualizer section. The user can navigate to it from the green pillar button and use the secondary brick buttons to choose original Microsoft music based on their mood.
Final step was music curation and visualization color scheme
Incorporate music and bystander interest
Bright, colorful music visualizers that the user can select themselves. The visualizers were selected and edited from an Envato project.
I added Microsoft-friendly colors to each to stay on-brand and added high contrast to allow for optimum daytime visibility in the very bright space. Users could select their mood music from "dramatic", "energetic", "confident", or "reflective" buttons. I curated the song choices to match each mood. The environmental music added passerby interest even without direct interaction.