Weekly Sprint 08 — Projections, Paper, and Potential Problems

This week I went back to create an actual sized paper prototype so that I could figure out positioning. I also rented an Epson projector to test out projecting on top of graduation caps.

I researched some projection mapping softwares and found a couple different ones. I opted on Video Projection Tool (VPT). VPT was free and a popular option. The software had some video tutorials on youtube and documentation which was a plus. I took some time to familiarize myself with VPT. It is pretty straight forward, especially since my projections were going to be flat and square — nothing oddly shaped.I placed the paper gradation caps on a table, trying to get a better idea of layout and how to arrange them.

Unfortunately enough I ran into some issues when I began to test out the projection mapping. First off, I was testing this projection in my apartment and didn’t have anything higher than a chair or table to place the projector on. I tried placing the projector on top of textbooks, but I could not angle it well enough so that the display projected onto the paper prototypes. Even when I placed the prototypes on the floor, the projection was too skewed and therefore too difficult to adjust to shapes I needed. On top of that, I was unable to save my project on VPT for some reason. Every time I closed out of the program and reopened it, my work was reset to default. I tried to search for solutions to this issue on online forums, but the problem still remains.

I was feeling very frustrated after my attempts, but perhaps if I could better position the projector above the prototypes, the mapping process would be much easier. This got me to think about alternate solutions to arranging the final display. Projecting onto the objects would be much easier if the mortar boards were face up like in this photo example below. This would simply be like projecting on to a wall, which would make things less complicated.

I then played with the idea of hanging the graduation caps instead. This way, viewers could walk around them and see the entire model, especially since I planned to have patterns or details on the cap base.

This is a sketch of how the the graduation caps could be suspended. My only worry is that wood will be too heavy to hang. Though I have seen some larger hanging art installations in our building, I will have to double check on this. I am also unfamiliar with what kind of string/material is used for hanging installations, so this is another thing I will have to look into. If using wood is not feasible for this type of display, my next solution would be to create the graduation caps out of some type of heavier, quality paper. The designs for the cap base can still be created using the laser cutter, and I would not have to worry about flexibility issues.

With time creeping up on me, and only a few weeks left until our showcase, this week had me feeling very discouraged. I thought my concept was pretty solid, until I encountered these potential problems. I really do understand the importance of prototyping and testing before diving in to produce the final product. It’s how you learn what works and what doesn’t, which can save you time and stress. As close as I was to sending myself into a panic, I tried to reassure myself that this was just a roadblock and I could find a way around it. The projections themselves are not difficult. I will create a slideshow style video in AfterEffects with all the personal statements. These videos will be set to play on a loop and display on each mortar board. Other than that, it’s just a matter of setup and finally solidifying how the final display will be arranged.

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