Glasgow School of Art, Industry Project
2020 - 2021
"Enliven", in collaboration with ISO Design, was a custom serious games application created for the Burrell Collection, in order to showcase a range of artefacts that could not be displayed in the main galleries. The project was a six-person team project where I applied for, and was assigned, the role of Project Lead. Over the course of eight months, we worked closely with ISO Design to design, document and execute an immersive but Covid-19 safe interactive museum application, with close considerations made to accessibility and usability in the primary experience. The primary experience consists of several high-quality, immersive 2D and 3D animations, created by a team of four artists, that represent the history and culture defining the objects. As well as this, we developed AR filters that allow museum-goers to take away a part of the experience with them.
Genre: Interactive Museum Application, Serious Game
Development Period: September 2020 - April 2021
For this project, we applied for and were assigned roles; I was designated the role of Project Lead. In this position I oversaw the management of the project. Specifically, I managed the documentation for the project, including a 5,000 word concept and delivery report considering mood boards, collections and references, concept art, user-centred design, reports on prototyping, technical considerations and the delivery plan (nominal budgets, Gantt charts and risk analysis report). This was observed through several presentations that were delivered to the client over the duration of the development period.
The team consisted of myself as project lead, as well as a team of four artists and one technical specialist. I managed the documentation and oversaw the contributions of the team for the final submission. Alongside this, we submitted an individual portfolio that documented our contribution to the development of the project.
The application, created over the duration of the 2020 Coronavirus Pandemic, was intended to be a bespoke interactive exhibition application for The Burrell Collection in Glasgow - with considerations made to the lack of use of physical contact and limiting spatial proximity to other museum-goers. In the project brief, we were asked to create an application that was highly immersive and provided users with a means of seeing the museum artefacts "outside of the frame". Additionally, the experience was required to be in consideration of the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic, and the evolving rules and public guidance set throughout 2020 / 2021.
For the design of the experience's application, we decided to relaying the historical background information in the form of several high-quality animations, controlled with the use of motion gestures through Microsoft Azure's Kinect sensor. This allowed for an experience design that was fully immersive, without sacrificing user-input and interactivity. These were to be displayed at a 1:1 ratio of the original pieces through the use of 4k short-throw projections, complimented with SoundBeam directional speakers and an ambient lighting rig to enhance the visual impact and overall visitor experience. Designed to be simple and intuitive, as well as considerate of a short dwell time, the experience is intended to suit a wide demographic of individuals - but is specifically designed for groups of individuals and to be social media friendly - targeting adults and schools as its primary demographic. Accessibility was ultimately paramount for us in the design of the experience.
Alongside this, we saw it fit to create complimentary mobile-based experiences for use both within and out with the museum. Animations allow for users to scan QR codes to discover contextual information (QR Pages) - linking artefacts not only in the museum - but across the Glasgow Life network and beyond. Similarly, users can access a series of AR filters developed through Meta's SparkAR application for Facebook and Instagram, allowing us to cover contribute to a larger demographic of backgrounds and museum stories.
Art and Animations
The Burrell Collection provided us with a series of twelve high-resolution images of artefacts that cannot be found within the main displays of the museum. The collection, being home to over 9,000 objects, is unable to provide a visible space for all of the works that it has collected, and many of these objects rest within their archives - unable to be appreciated by the general public. These objects have been meticulously documented and digitally archived, but the collection wanted to find a way to bringing these digital assets to life and making them more accessible and interchangeable. The solution to this was Enliven; an immersive digital experience which primarily focuses on telling the stories "outside of the frame" of the objects through the use of several high-quality, animated visualisations of the works and their historical backgrounds.
The art team created a series of animations based on "The Stag Hunt" (1529) by Lucas Cranach, "The Age of Bronze" (m. 1877) by Auguste Rodin and "The Rehearsal" (1874) by Edgar Degas, as well as one animation that visualised a multitude of religious artefacts in the setting of a 3D Church-hall. Development of each individual narrative was similar, and included the creation of mood boards, concept art, storyboards and animatics.
As an individual, I contributed mood boards, concept art, lighting and sound diagrams, storyboards and 3D visualisations for two of the animations (The Age of Bronze and The Rehearsal), as well as produced the conceptual design for two filters based on these animations to be produced using SparkAR. As the team lead, I also created some of the complimentary promotional imagery, press releases and a trailer for the Enliven project, created in Photoshop and After Effects.
The application was developed using Unity Engine, alongside Microsoft's Azure Kinect development tools, in order to utilise the Xbox Kinect's full-motion body tracking. The technical execution was predominantly the result of the projects only technical producer, Maximiliano Wardle. The project was originally intended to have a ratio of three artists to two programmers, however, upon the development of the application concept, we decided it would potentially be within our best interest to increase the production of art and animation quality as to apply to focus on the immersive nature of the project. Due to this, and my own experience in application development, as the Project Lead I was required to also lend a hand to this aspect of the development where appropriate This was done through liaising with the technical producer and communicating their responses and needs to the art team, as well as helping with the technical logistics and application development in relation to the design documentation.
Unfortunately, due to the ongoing 2020 Pandemic, as well as the active refurbishment of The Burrell Collection building, it would have been impossible to install the exhibition physically or even conduct site visits during the development period. We were, however, provided with diagrams and maps of the physical space which allowed us to produce a series of3D visualisations of the potential final product.
Role and Responsibilities:
Created and maintained a 5,000 word concept and delivery report including mood boards, collections and references, concept art, user-centred design, reports on prototyping, technical considerations and the delivery plan.
Oversaw plan of action and delivery using Gantt charts with organisational software such Excel and Miro - responsible for setting tasks and milestones, estimating man hours and nominal budgets for a team of six.
Created persona profiles for evaluating the needs of museum-goers in relation to the user interface design.
Created promotional imagery, including posters, flyers, and magazine article examples, as well as a project press release, and produced a promotional trailer from the developed concept, using Adobe After Effects.
Considered the technical requirements and guidelines discussed in the conceptual and delivery documentation.
Oversaw an art team of four through the development of four large-scale animated pieces, presented in both 2D and 3D.
Contributed mood boards, colour palettes and concept art in Adobe Photoshop and traditional mediums.
Created lighting plans and sound design diagrams in Adobe Photoshop.
Designed storyboards for both interactive and non-interactive segments, and created animatics based on these.
Created two 3D, real-time animation prototypes using Unity engine, with models created using 3DSMax.
Integrated Microsoft Azure Kinect functionality with the Unity engine.
Created a series of dynamic pre-rendered and real-time animations using the Unity engine.
Produced a range of lighting and particle effects.
Created and executed the dynamic sound design for each 3D space.
Created cinematic camera animations for real-time.
Support the technical lead and provide feedback to the art team based on this.
Produced the design and technical specifications for a full-scale, COVID-19 ready museum experience.
Produced a 3D visualisation of said experience due to the ongoing Pandemic and refurbishment of The Burrell Collection.