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Monthly Archives / February 2015

  • Feb 25 / 2015
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Events

Berlin Workshop: Community Futures

Julian’s workshop at the ‘Community Now’ symposium in Berlin, titled ‘Community Then? Mapping Future Scenarios in the Community’, challenged participants to explore alternative futures of the Mehringplatz neighbourhood through a collaborative design game. The Thing From The Future was designed in 2014 by Situation Lab, initially for use in a speculative design jam with Extrapolation Factory. The gameplay generates four different variables – arc, mood, terrain, and object – in each prompt, for an estimated 3.7 million possible prompts and an almost infinite number of possible futures. (An online ‘shuffler’ version was just launched here.

For the purpose of this workshop, which dealt specifically with community futures, the deck was modified with the addition of new cards. These included ‘Community Centre’, ‘Park’, ‘Café’, ‘Museum’, and the larger neighbourhood that includes Mehringplatz, ‘Kreuzberg’. Gameplay was also modified, with groups of players given set prompts instead of randomly generated ones. So players competitively designed objects from various futures, which in turn told stories about the futures they came from, using the customized card prompts. The result was a series of location-based future scenarios mapped onto specific neighbourhood features: the local park, community centre, etc.

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During the workshop, each group of 3-5 players sat at a different table. Tables were equipped with coloured pens and customized game sheets. Each player was given ten minutes to design a ‘thing’ based on the prompt, after which the group voted to decide who ‘won’ the round with their design. Then they moved on to the next prompt: there were three groups in all, and each group completed four prompts, so at the end of four rounds each group had four different winning ‘things’ (out of 12 to 20 in all).

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Once all the rounds were played, Julian ‘commissioned’ each group to make a short performance around one ‘thing’, for a total of three performances. Twenty minutes later, the groups performed their skits for an audience, with each performance ending in a tableau vivant. With hours of brainstorming and creative discussion involved, the workshop was a fun and productive way for participants to get to know Mehringplatz and to generate possible community futures and ideas for present change.

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  • Feb 25 / 2015
  • 0
Events, Projects, Yasmine Adventures

Future Fabulators @M-iti participation in Community Now?

Future Fabulators @M-ITI recently participated in the symposium Community Now? The Politics of Participatory Design, which took place from 19-21 February at the Jewish Museum, Berlin. You can read more about the initiative here.

A few months ago the Fabulators were invited by Bianca from Design Research Lab – UdK to take part in the event with an interactive neighborhood walk, a workshop about possible futures for the community, and a final presentation.

Researchers Mara Dionisio and Luis Ferreira, assisted by Paulo Bala and Rui Trindade under the guidance of Valentina Nisi and Julian Hanna, developed Yasmine’s Adventures, a series of interactive vignettes tailored specifically to the Mehringplatz neighborhood near the Jewish Museum in Berlin.

The story relates the experiences of a free-spirited and adventurous local girl named Yasmine following her escape from a school tour as she tries to find her way home. The locations depicted in the narrative were chosen by community members during the RDL/UdK-led ‘Pinpointing Mehringplatz’ workshop, and they hold specific positive or negative values for the inhabitants.

The audience on our walk viewed the neighborhood through Yasmine’s eyes and by extension through the eyes of the community: the most beloved spaces, areas that require change, and spaces that are disliked by the community. In the workshop led by Julian participants explored alternative futures for the local community using a collaborative design game.

Here are some images from those moments:

  • Feb 17 / 2015
  • 0
Projects, Yasmine Adventures

Yasmine Adventures – Mobile Application Development Process

Yasmine Adventures is ready to take off!! After a month and half devoted to the implementation, the mobile application that will support the users to uncover Yasmine adventures the prototype is finally ready! We are quite happy with the result although we wish that we had some more time to make some final refinements. As we mention in a previous post the mobile application for this tour was inspired by the DreamScope and it´s 360º degrees scan of a virtual environment. The first step was to create these virtual was to have this basic mechanism working which was easy we just had to adapt from DreamScope. Just to recap and simplifying the technical details we used the game engine called Unity, and to achieve the 360º interaction we used a plugin developed by Durovis. Moreover, we used the Qualcomm Vuforia plugin for the visual clue recognition system, which basically will associate a “visual marker” with a location which, in fact , is  a 360º virtual environment.  Once we had the basic mechanics of capturing marker and loading placeholder 360º VR environment it was time to design each of the virtual environments. For that, we used 3DS Max and created in 3d each of the 5 locations that were decided after the trip to berlin. The 3D model had to be very simple and low poly. Once the models were ready it was time to texture them (basically paint them!). We decided that all the environment would follow the same cartoon/scribbled art style as the 2d video animations and we decided to make all of the environment in shades of grey except for the exact location where the Yasmine Adventure happened. In this was we hoped that users would feel more drawn to it as they are scanning the 360º environment.

 

When all the 5 locations were ready we had to import them into Unity and continue on the implementation of the application. Here are some of the main features that we had to implement: 1 – Main Screen with a scrollable map, close button, capture the marker button; 2- Inside the 360º degree scene we had to create “hotspots” to hide the content (2d animations) load the 2d video animation; 3- Load the 2d video animation once the “hotspots” are triggered; We had the help of Miguel Caldeira a designer from M-iti, We provided the wireframes and sketches and Miguel  designed some of the graphics like the icon of the app, the main interface (map and buttons) plus the visual clues.

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Once all these parts were combined  Yasmine Adventures was born! Soon we hope to upload a video showcasing the interaction in the application and now off we go to Berlin!

  • Feb 17 / 2015
  • 0
Projects, Yasmine Adventures

Yasmine’s Adventures – Artstyle Process

Character Design

The project “Yasmine’s Adventures” was inspired from another project called “Pinpointing Mehringplatz Project”, which was developed by Design Research Lab in Germany. Their project consisted in pinpointing places that were considered scary, enjoyable or annoying by the locals of Mehringplatz. The participants ranged between the age of ten to twelve. The idea if this project is make local’s aware about the social problems in Mehringplatz from a child’s perspective. In “Yasmine’s Adventures”, we decided to have as a main character a young and rebellious girl called Yasmine. For inspiration purposes, we started researching and collecting as many images as possible, in order to gather a diversity of character styles. After the research, we were able to draw a variety of new characters – from complex and detailed  to simple and sketchy. All characters were initially drawn on a sheet of paper.

Some character examples:

As stated earlier, we sought to call the local’s attention about the social problems of Mehringplatz from a child’s perspective. Thus, we decided to go with a “scribble” art style as it is a very common way of drawing among children. After choosing the most suitable character, we initialized the digitalization process using Adobe Photoshop.

Final version of Yasmine:

The main character wears an orange tiger outfit with a tail attached on the back. The tail is an additional feature which reflects Yasmine’s emotions (the tail changes shape whenever she gets happy or angry). In addition, the reason why Yasmine is wearing an orange tiger outfit is because we wanted to establish a connection between her rebellious behaviour and the wild behaviour of an animal. Finally, for animation purposes, the character’s limbs (arms, legs, head and tail) had to be designed separately, in order to facilitate the rigging process in Adobe After Effect.

Environment design

In regard to the environment design, we drew fifteen different scenarios, which were based on real locations in Mehringplatz.

The concept art for the environments were firstly drawn on a sheet of paper and then digitized. However, different concept arts (besides “scribble”) were taken into account.

Yet, in the end, we decided that it would be the best if we maintain the same art style for both character design and environment design. Therefore, a design protocol was established, in order to maintain a consistent “scribble” art style throughout the project.

 

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