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The Hand In – More Problems Faced

In order to improve viewing for its audience Kickstarter compressed the videos and it is noticeable. While this is unavoidable it doe not make a large difference and many viewers will be seeing it on a tablet or phone. However here is a uncompressed version of the video:

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The Hand-in – Problems Faced

Kickstarter is a very popular crowdfunding website, it has been a large part of my life – a lot of my previous projects have been inspired by content found on Kickstarter, including the inspiration for this very project – The Eta Clock.

Kickstarter also receives over twice as many monthly visitors than its competitor IndieGoGo – However, since starting the project page I have noticed a few restrictions that I did not expect from such a large organisation. (Although I do understand why they are in place)Screen Shot 2017-12-04 at 22.02.55



For example, the main part of the project page is the Product Description, this section has very limited formatting options. There is no option to justify the text (a personal preference of mine as I feel it makes text appear more aesthetically pleasing – e.g this blog). There is also no font editing controls which means that in order to add defined subtitles these have to be image files and finally the photos uploaded have to be the perfect size prior to uploading as there are no scaling tools available. If a photo is too large you have to edit the file and re-upload it, unlike this blog where I can simply drag the transform controls around the edge of the images to resize it.

Form a design perspective this makes the project a little more difficult, if the photos are uneven sizes then it will distract people from the content while also make the project look less professional as you can see from the gif below. (4)However despite its flaws I will still use Kickstarter because the majority of the content I wish to upload is in the form of animated gifs and IndieGoGo does not allow gifs.


The Hand-In – Content

Kickstarter pages usually contain gifs (sometimes taken from their main project video) in the description so automatically and visually display aspects of the product alongside the text. Here are a few I have created for this project: (1)


 (2) (3)Doorbell Small

The Hand-In – How it Works

The kickstarter page needed a visual representation of how the device works therefore I used the 3D model I had used previously and overlaid a few  graphics to produce a simple but effective video and gif explaining the concept.

How It Works With Labels

The Hand-In – Kickstarter Page Created

My original plan was to submit this project as a concept video for the product, however I now feel like a singular video would not be a sufficient means of delivery. Therefore as suggested I plan to hand this project in as a Kickstarter page. This will have the look and the feel of a Kickstarter project but will not be published as a live project. This will allow me to include more content and more details about the product and project.

A benefit of using a crowd-sourcing page is that I will get clear insights into what type of audience is interested in my project.

Use this link to see a preview of the project:

These are the first screenshots of the page:


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The Concept Video – The 3D Model

Below is a short video showing a couple of the possible uses for MagiSky. At the end of the video is a clip showing briefly how it was made. It is rather sloppy at the moment but it serves it’s purpose.

The Concept Video – The App Concept Video

The Concept Video – The App

Here is the first rendered animations ready to be mapped into the concept video. These have been displayed on iPhones purely for aesthetic reasons. Only the screens will be mapped into the video.

The Concept Video – The App Animation

These graphic are the first stills from what will become a full app animation ready to video map into the concept video footage when it is recorded and edited. To create the graphics I used photoshop and found graphics. The animations were produced using After Affects.

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A quick 2 minute video below shows the process of creating the calibration menu graphics and then proceeding to animate the content. This video is important because not only does it show the process of how it was made but it also shows my thought process along the way, specifically the trial and error.


The Concept Video – The Graphics

In order to create the video several motion graphics are required, these should be simple enough using basic animations on after effects. Firstly the app interface needs to be designed and animated. This app will be based upon current smart home tech app styles. There needs to be a loading screen, a connecting screen, a calibration screen and a content screen. (Possibly a scene/preset screen)


The Concept Video – The Plan

In order to show the the capabilities of the Magic Sky a concept video needs to be produced. The location for the video will be determined at a later date however the location needs to feature a plain white ceiling and plain white walls. For the sake of getting all the content within the parameters of the camera a small room would be ideal. The reflective sphere will also need to be hung from the ceiling or inserted in post-production.

The video will start off with the camera within the room facing the door, a person will enter the room and flick on a light switch, this will turn on the projector and the light within the sphere. The person will stand in the middle of the room and take out their phone. The camera will then be positioned behind the person so the phone screen and the ceiling are in shot. The person will open the Magic Sky app, after a loading screen, a searching screen will appear, the phone will pair with the projector and the app will prompt the user to start first time setup. The person will tap the “start first time setup” button and the screen will display a message saying “Stand in the centre of the room, hold your phone in front of you and face the red line”. The projector will display a thin vertical red line, this will extend from the centre of the ceiling to the edge and down about a quarter of the wall.

The person will face the red line and tap the “Start calibration” button. A red dot will appear on the wall, the app will show “Move the phone to align the dot with any of the top corners of the room then tap next” The person will physically move their phone and the dot on the wall will move relatively.  When the dot is aligned with the corner the person will tap “next”. Another dot will appear and the process will repeat for the next three corners (or it will fade to the next scene). The footage will be filmed anyway as to allow for both possibilities. When the calibration is done the projector will highlight the edges of the room (This is just for show).

The user will then select the “Content menu”, the app will show a variety of options, the person will select the utility menu and then select the clock. A clock will be projected onto the wall and the user will move their phone to position the clock. When they have put the clock in the place they desire the user will then  flick through the styles of clock until they find one they like.

They will add more content this same way.

The closest example of what I plan to create is this video here:

The Components – The Input

In order to calibrate the projection and to add/remove/position content the device needs an input method. I propose a smartphone app. We live in a cell phone culture and almost all devices are now controlled via our smart phones.

When the projector is first turned on it will prompt the user to connect the app via wifi and/or bluetooth. When the app is connected it will start the calibration process. The projector will project a single green vertical line. The app will prompt the user stand in the middle of the room and face the green line and then tap to begin the calibration process. The projector will project a dot onto the wall, to calibrate the device the dots needs to be aligned with the top corners of the room. To move the dot the user will physically move their phone, the gyroscope within the smartphone will detect the movement and react by moving the dot. Essentially the dot will move dependent upon where they point their phone (As if the phone is a magic wand from Harry Potter), when the dot is positioned in the corner the user will tap the screen to confirm the positioning. The user will then repeat these steps for the remaining corners. (If the user struggles with using the gyroscope or their phone doesn’t have the feature they will be able to complete the process by using a onscreen joystick to position the dots)

The Components – The Sphere


While1zez4j working on this project I have come to the understanding that the sphere can be more than that a simple reflective surface. My idea is to implement a light and a speaker into the sphere. This will mean that the room can still be lit without the need for the projector to be turned on. The speaker would also help with the TV mode of the device. One aspect of the Magic Sky allows the user to place a TV on their wall or ceiling at any size in any position or any orientation; the speaker would act as a sound output for any audio accosted with the device, especially the TV/Video content. The bulb and speaker could be connected directly to the projector and be used only by the projector or the speaker and bulb can be smart and be able to be connected to other devices.

The sphere could also feature adjustable height, this would allow the device to lower itself down in order to increase the area of the room that can be projected on.



The Prototype – Second Attempt

The second prototype is a little more rugged and thought through. The mock ‘room’ is made from the FORM KONNECT WHITE 2 CUBE SHELVING UNIT from B&Q.
DSC_8885  DSC_8880

The Prototype – First Attempt

IMG_0895At this stage the project is still only a concept and therefore a working prototype needs to be produced in order to move forward. The first prototypes will be scaled down versions of what the final artefact should be. To create this I used a cardboard box, the Sony MP-CL1 laser projector and a reflective domed table lamp.


I cut a hole out of the top of the cardboard box and placed the projector facing downward. I then removed the components of the lamp and placed the bare shell beneath the projector. The projector projected the default display onto the lamp which refracted onto the inside walls of the box. However, even in low light conditions it was hard to see most colours on the inside of box as the dark cardboard absorbed the light from the projector.
Nonetheless I was able to connect the projector to my computer and test how the domed surface distorted the reflection and was able to pre-distort the content so that when it was projected onto the dome it would be undistorted in the reflection. Unfortunately the content was too dark to to be photographed. Another issue I faced was the amount the box twisted and shook with the slightest of movements, therefore moving the projection and distorting the reflection.
To move forward I will need to create a second prototype with a studier box preferably with white walls. Possibly a shelving unit or similar.

The Project Proposal – The Design

I based the design of the proposal off of the Marauders Map from Harry Potter. Using the Universities Logo on the Cover.

giphyProject Proposal (Outside)Project Proposal (Inside)












The Project Proposal – The Content

Project Creator: Shane Smith
Project Title: The Magic Sky

Project Aim:
To break down the boundaries of fantasy and reality.

Project Overview:
The idea for this project came straight from the popular classic “Harry Potter” (a fictional book and movie series set in a world where magic is real). Magic makes almost anything possible and in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry (a school that teaches magic within the series) the ceiling in the great hall is enchanted to look like the sky outside:

“Harry had never even imagined such a strange and splendid place. It was lit by thousands and thousands of candles that were floating in midair over four long tables, […] Harry looked upward and saw a velvety black ceiling dotted with stars. He heard Hermione whisper, “It’s bewitched to look like the sky outside. I read about it in Hogwarts, A History.” It was hard to believe there was a ceiling there at all, and that the Great Hall didn’t simply open onto the heavens.”
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – J. K. Rowling (1997)

This projects concept is to turn this magical idea into a reality

Project Objectives:
To explore a fantasy themed media text and highlight a “make-believe” artefact.
To design digital media concept(s) to bring the found artefact into reality.
To generate a prototype version of the aforementioned concept.
To discuss possible uses for this device.
To regularly document progress via a University blog.
To produce a critical review of the project.

Project Schedule:
Weeks 1 – 2:         To formulate ideas, discuss ideas and decide upon a final idea to take further.
Week 3:                 To create a project proposal ready to hand-in in week 4.
Weeks 4 – 5:          To design and create a prototype device to demonstrate idea.
Weeks 6 – 8:           To design the digital aspects – projection mapping, content and demo plan.
Weeks 8 -10:          To create a demo video which will exhibit the devices possible uses.
Weeks 11 – 12:        To critically evaluate work completed and discuss how to take it further.

Project Audience:
The Magic Sky is aimed at the smart household/office. Hypothetically there will be endless uses a device such as this, some example uses could be but is not limited to:
To have the ceiling of the room mimic the sky/weather outside,
As a lighting alternative with adjustable brightness, colour and direction,
To project a clock and/or calendar on the wall with live event updates,
To link with a video doorbell to show who is at the door (or linked to CCTV or baby monitor),
To project a TV onto any wall (almost any size) or on the ceiling for in-bed viewing,
To project family photos/artwork/videos anywhere on the wall,
As the technology and software advances the broader the audience will become.

The Components – Reflective Hemisphere

In order for the single projection to be cast 360 degrees around the room a curved mirror is needed. In the first mock-up example I created (seen here to the right), the object I used for the mirror was in fact part of a light fitting, this light fitting is the perfect shape and helps to show that the mirror would not look out of place in a typical home/room, however the reflective finish is dull and rather warped. The chrome finish was made for aesthetics and not for reflection and therefore this light fitting would not be suitable for the project.

To cast the projection without any distortion the surface of the object will need to be smooth and evenly reflective. If you enlarge the photo of the light fitting you can see small imperfections in the reflection where the shape of the dome is not perfect. For this project to work it will need a reflective hemisphere that was designed for reflection and not for decoration. To achieve this I propose using a dome security mirror. These objects are primarily used by stores to allow the storekeeper to keep an eye on customers no matter where in the store they are. Related image


The Components – Projector

The main component of this project is the projector. Without it the project wouldn’t work and with the wrong type the project would face many problems. Having experience in projection mapping (an example can be seen to the right) will really help this project move forward faster and avoid some problems. I already understand that a laser projector would be ideal for this particular project and these are the main reasons why:

Firstly, lamp projectors require optics to project the image, this mean that these optics have to be  individually focused for each scenario whereas a laser projector projects directly and thus is always in-focus. Because this project features walls and ceilings of varying distances from the projector it would be impossible for a optical projector to be in-focus on each of these areas.

Secondly, the projection needs to be masked into a circular shape to prevent any excess light from bleeding around the edges of the hemisphere and onto the floor. Typically to do this a black mask is placed over the images and this ‘removes’ these areas. However, black is the absence of light and therefore  projectors cannot project it. Optical projectors project a colour a few shades brighter than black and hence this means that you will always end up with a distinct black rectangle when  trying to remove areas of the projection. On the other hand a laser projector can dim/turn off areas of the projection which are black. A laser projector would be more ideal for this reason.

Other benifits of a laser projector are, start up time, no need to replace bulbs/lifetime, lower power consumption and lower maintenace needs.

The Idea – The Magic Ceiling

The Theory:

Step 1 –  Remove the ceiling light.

Step 2 – Insert projector into ceiling facing downward.

Step 3 – Mount a reflective hemisphere below projector. Flat side down.

Step 4 – Turn on projector (projection should project in 360 degrees around the top half of the room) The lower the hemisphere the lower the projection.

Step 5 – Map the projection into a circle which covers the hemisphere and removes any excess projection which would otherwise bleed onto the floor.

Step 6 – Map the projection to the shape of the room.

Step 7 – Project content.


Other things that can and should be projected:

  • Notifications
  • Baby Monitor
  • Video doorbell
  • Clock
  • Calandar
  • TV/Videos
  • Photos

The Inspiration – The Magic Ceiling

Image result for wizard chess gifWatching Harry Potter sparked up my idea process more than I would have thought. At first I had the idea to create a Augmented, Virtual or Mixed Reality version of the game “Wizards Chess” from the movie, a game of chess where the pieces are basically alive. However to do this I probably would have to create a intricate 3D model of each piece, complete with movement/animation. 3D modelling has never been my area of expertise and overall the idea did not excite me, therefore I decided upon not following this idea.
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Image result for marauders map gif
Another magical object in the movies is the Marauders Map; a magical map that shows the precise location of every person in the school. I was thinking of a way to make this magical object a reality; however, even if I did find a way to create it, there is much need for it. The only use for this object I can think of is to benefit a company or a hospital, people would be able to find the person they are after in a large building. It seems like my time would be better spent working on a different project.
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One of the most iconic things about Hogwarts (the castle the movies are based at) is the enchanted ceiling:
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Image result for hogwarts ceiling gif
By the use of magic, the ceiling is replaced by clouds, snow and other weather scenarios. When I first saw it I thought “it would be cool if that was real” but didn’t give it a second thought as it just seemed too magical to be possible. But later on (in the third film) the ceiling shows stars and galaxies, this reminded me of them projection night lights that projects stars onto the ceiling, like an observatory in a museum. It suddenly seemed more possible and finally I figured out a possible way of making this happen…

The Inspiration – Eta Clock

Over the past few months I have spent hours upon hours trying to plan a creative idea for my project… sadly to no avail. However, today it happens that I came across a Facebook video that instantly inspired me and gave me a “Why didn’t I think of that?” moment. The video can be found below, if the link doesn’t work click here.

It’s a clock based upon the clock from the Harry Potter series, one that shows the location of your family and friends. Such a simple and yet beautiful idea, I don’t remember how old I was when I first saw the clock in the Harry Potter film but despite being so young I still found it really cool and wished it was real. This made me think about everything else that I have seen in a non fiction movie that I wished was real, therefore I have planned to marathon all the Harry Potter films and hopefully find something that I would love to create. If I don’t find anything then I will start on other non fiction films, books, games etcetera.

The Initial Ideas – Past Projects

After three years of studying Digital Media at undergraduate level (alongside other modules) I have been able to explore many mediums of the practice such as:Untitled-5

  • Virtual Reality
  • Augmented Reality
  • Projection Mapping
  • Motion Graphics
  • 3D Modelling
  • Performance
  • App Design
  • Motion Graphics


And although I enjoyed these formats and the projects they were a part of I feel like I would have little to gain if I was to revisit the areas. I would rather choose a new area to focus my attention, preferably one which I have little to no experience using. During week 1’s group session, we split of into pairs to discuss our ideas, plans and interests in order to help share and develop them. I paired up with Samantha Santos; her idea was to create a 3D modelling application that uses the hands as the tools. She explained that she had done some research and found that she would need 4 Xbox Kinects in order for her idea to work. Therefore I introduced her to the Leap Motion, a hand tracking input that should be perfect for her project instead of the kinects.

In my first year of university I was introduced to the leap motion and didn’t think much of it and then in my third year I saw it in use in conjuncture to a virtual reality headset. From this I saw the potential of the device and really wanted to develop with it; however by this point I was already halfway through the semesters project and had no time to do it. I had actually forgotten about the device until Sam sparked my memory in the session and now that I had remembered it I really wanted to develop with it again.


Image result for leap motionI came up with an quick idea that was to somehow use the Leap Motion as a tool to understand and translate sign language, however upon sharing this idea James Fields explained that a past student had the same idea and as they researched they figured out that there’s already companies trying to create this exact idea and are struggling to do so because sign language isn’t so much what the hands but rather where the hands are doing it in relation to the person. So it was a nice idea but I think it is time to revisit the drawing board.