Design X Motion 2020

Design X Motion 2020

Akshay Tiwari
by akshay on 1 Jun 2020 for Rookie Awards 2020

"Design is decision." Combining my passion for design and 3D, here is a collection of my designs in motion made over the past year while studying at SCAD, Savannah.

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Combining my passion for design and proceduralism, here is a short collection of my designs in motion made over the past year. 


‘Black Mirror’ is a television anthology series created by Charlie Brooker. It is an examination of the evolving relation between modern society and technology. The dark themes in the show represent unanticipated consequences of technology in the near future. The speculative design for this title sequence explores the glamour-glazed fragile relationship between society and technology. Keeping in line with the tone of the series, the titles are a twisted metaphoric take on the classic tale of Pygmalion- the sculptor who fell in love with his sculpture. It is a journey through the formation of a digital entity that transcends its limitations to become more organic and life-like along with the degeneration of the man-machine relationship. It begins crafting itself in the image of its creator to almost become a sentient tapestry of data. But when it accomplishes its motive, it finds no rationale to feel attracted to it. It instead understands its human imperfections, only to tear it apart in a moment of calculated disappointment.


Since this was a design project, I had the opportunity to get into the brief with thorough detail over a longer duration and follow the distilled direction with great specificity through the styleframes. Here you can find all of them in order.


The design process for this project summarises my usual thought cycle when approaching a brief. For the design of these titles, I began with identifying key elements of the show and boiling them down to abstract concepts that can manifest into design poetry. The ingredients that emphasize and describe the mood and metaphors were made concise through a moodboard while keeping in mind the layering of visuals to have an immediate connection as well as a deeper meaning. 

 The sentiment of unease is at the heart of every episode in the series. Exploring this sentiment meant exploring the divide between man and machine. The common element being information itself and how it gets stored and processed gave more sources of inspiration like neuron diagrams as well as neural networks. Finding this common base helped in understanding differences too such as flaws in brain-computer metaphors and how neurons form new connections as a reflection of information being ‘stored’ whereas data storage is hard coded. Extending this further and merging with the title of the show itself (‘black mirror’ is a reference to screens), an emphasis on ‘interfaces’ as mirrors that reflect data became another important design ingredient. Merging this theme with the recurrent theme of creation and destruction in the series lead to the formation of the two main symbols of the title sequence – the stagnant data construct of a degenerating sculpture (broken Spartacus as a symbol of a failed rebellion and loss of identity) and the actively blooming, evolving digital entity that eventually destroys itself. Rapid prototyping a few 3D visuals and systems helped in gauging the strengths of the interpreted brief and letting go of certain visuals that could be excessive (like the iris system that was developed earlier on but did not serve the concept as much).


The designs made for the concept are inspired mainly by Cajal neuron diagrams which show nervous systems to be layers of linear-routed networks versus a clustered one. As the series takes place in near future, some influences are also drawn from data visualisations and latent space algorithms which were then visualised as spatial constructs forming organic connections after starting from a more quantised form. Various workflows and procedures were made for achieving scalability across different assets to create a layered look that could emphasize the surfaces and forms. No simulations were used in order to keep the iteration time low and the assets to be more art directable. The textures resembling broken ones and zeros were also made procedurally using similar ingredients as the ‘neural spine’ structure so the shape language in the design could have a sense of unity. All assets were then put together in Octane through a non-destructive  process to allow communicating the moments of the sequence in great detail through the styleframes. 


A self initiated title sequence for a fictional short film loosely based on the famous short story ‘Mimsy were the Borogoves’ by Lewis Padgett (pseudonym of writers Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore). The story itself has titular educational toys from an unknown future being sent back in time in a box /time machine. The unconditioned mind (children) can perceive these device’s full potential and harness the superhuman perspectives whereas the conditioned mind (adults) cannot. 


The title sequence takes the approach of blending the characteristics of the toys as described by Padgett with the box itself – making it one with the transdimensional devices rather than contain them. Not taking the toys to be as literal, this direction treats the box as an edifice of infinite information. The duality of perspective is conveyed with graphic framing that emphasises forms as patterns. The journey is from magnificence towards mystery. To elevate the atmosphere of the story, the rhythm grows more staccatos and the box vanishes into the said invisible dimension. The main artefact has been designed while drawing influences from abacus, microfluid chips, sacred geometry and labyrinths. 


Some of the idents I crafted for  brands through a design-driven 3D approach.


Boonika Network hosts the IFCC festival and also manages a collective of creatives working in the entertainment design industry. The common thread through all their endeavors is the idea of connection. This ident explores the idea of how disparate humble journeys connect across the existing creative landscape to form a completely new entity that thrives on its own. The ident was designed with multi platform branding in mind and having every composition work effectively within a square.

On the technical side, a lot of poly-dividing methods were combined with a 'looper' that I made for meshes to travel across other meshes' UV space in order to get an endless morphing on the colossal structures that emphasises their endlessness in time as well. 


 The Moleskine brand prides itself upon the experience its products offer than the simple utility that they represent. Through its elegantly designed products, the brand offers users and creatives the experience of a space that is full of windows of opportunities.


Logitech G series produces state -of-the-art gaming peripherals to offer gamers the best of comfort as well as competitive advantage. With no compromise on materials and technology, its sleek products are crafted to equip gamers to be future ready.


Neuralink specialises in developing implantable brain machine interfaces that can help humans communicate with machines through simply thinking. It is still in development and not much is known about how its implementations will look like. But it promises to distill the neurochemical web of thoughts into elegant binary code.


Borrowing inspiration from Sir D'arcy W. Thompson's On Growth and Form, I strongly believe that every form - static or in motion, has a music to it. This rhythm within forms may stem from the way they are built, grown or generated. This in turn can also inform the ways in which they move. In these pursuits that I largely call finding 'rhythms of forms', I explore and analyse the architecture of various forms – biological and otherwise to form my own ways of navigating 3D spaces.


The way in which these forms are built defines the way they move. There is no rigging involved. These were inspired from studying phacelia ferns and structures of rust formations. You can check the process here.


Most of these are inspired from diatoms and Ernst Haeckel's work about them. Here I focus on exploring the rhythms within these structures and technically it is located somewhere between traditional modeling and purely generative modeling. They are all designed procedurally.


Behind every piece of work are billion pieces of play, here are a few of them straight from my procedural sketchbook.

Hope my work moved you in some way, thanks for viewing!

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