// THE FACES OF AMNESTY
THE FACES OF AMNESTY OVERVIEW
The Faces of Amnesty (TFOA) is an interactive street projection designed to educate the people of Bristol and raise awareness of Amnesty’s achievements.
TFOA projection consists of four cubes displaying:
- “Amnesty International” – Affiliation with the organisation.
- Positive statements – For example: “55,000 prisoners of conscience freed since 1961.”
- Selfies taken by members of the public, translated into a face mosaic made up of the 55,000.
- “#FacesOfAmnesty” – To create media attention, raise awareness, educate and reach as many people as possible.
In order to design and build a suitable prototype for our project, we experimented with a variety of techniques using an iterative design process:
- Conceptual sketches – Initial ideas on paper, sharing concepts with the group and creating common understanding.
- Photoshop mockup – Ideas evolved to digitalisation, allowing a 3D perspective in vector format.
- Small-scale model – Progressed to the next level from 2D to 3D, by creating a tangible small-scale model.
- Experimenting with imagery – Example imagery facilitated discussion through visualisation.
- Lego model – Established cube ratio through a 3D perspective with tangibility.
- Large scale cardboard construction – Testing construction and materials on a larger scale.
- Technical prototype – To test projection mapping and feasibility of the project before completing the final construction.
- Final prototype – Four realistically sized cubes, one projector and projector tower.
LOW FIDELITY PROTOTYPES
In order to gain a shared understanding of our idea, we created rough representations of the project that helped us to validate concepts early on in the design process. This allowed for communication of the team’s shared vision from everyone’s perspective, ensuring as a group, we were on the same page.
Insights obtained from the initial sketches highlighted that four cubes would allow for improved readability and content display, than that of three.
The aim of creating conceptual mock-ups in Photoshop was to instigate a realistic view of the project interface, again exercising visual communication within the group. A digital 3D perspective of TFOA added a sense of realism to the concept and we were able to assess whether or not the aesthetics of the project would be feasible in 3D form. Drawing on insights, we felt that the cubes housed the content effectively in an innovative way and were ready to advance towards physical construction.
A preliminary, small-scale version of the project was built to catch potential problems and promising insights, early on in the process. Small paper cubes were assembled to gain a better understanding of proportion and scale. The feedback gathered from paper prototyping identified that the thinner cubes should be half the height of the face mosaic cube.
This exercise probed design questions that had not been thought of primarily and established that the cube concept is feasible and would allow for four individuals to interact with the project at any one time, while any number of people could view the street demonstration.
EXPERIMENTING WITH IMAGERY:
Based on feedback acquired from the previous sketches and paper models, we rapidly moved on to prototyping the face mosaic cube out of cardboard. We did this in order to facilitate discussion through use of example imagery. This concluded that the interactive face mosaic feature could encourage engagement from the target audience and potentially create a connection between them and Amnesty.
Although simplistic, creating TFOA cubes out of lego allowed us to consider cube ratio from a 3D perspective with tangibility. This task brought to light our need to consider the distance between the cubes and how they would be assembled as one. The dynamic lego pieces enabled experimentation which lead to how the cubes would fit together, without detracting from the interface.
LARGE SCALE CARDBOARD CONSTRUCTION:
With key areas mocked up, we moved towards the large scale construction of the project interface. Cubes were assembled out of recycled cardboard, providing a better understanding of the prototype’s scale. Content size, readability and accessibility factors were considered throughout the process.
This exercise was particularly insightful as questions were evoked leading to further discussion, such as:
‘Is cardboard a suitable material for the final prototype?’: We discussed that cardboard is not to the professional standard that we wanted to achieve, as it lacks durability and looks unsightly. However, working with cheap material allowed us to get creative and make mistakes, thus representing an iterative approach to designing the cube to scale.
‘Is 50cm x 50cm big enough to capture the eyes of our audience?’: For the prototype presentation, we felt that the size of the cubes should not be smaller than that of the cardboard prototype. The cubes need to be large enough to capture the eyes of the audience and the text should be of an appropriate readable size.
‘Should the cube background be black, grey or white?’: Although the background colour is not imperative, we discussed that a white background would allow for high quality projection imagery.
Although the cardboard material was not up to spec, this exercise was beneficial in cementing the group vision for the project. We identified that the cube material must be of a professional standard and through effective group discussion, we agreed that a technical requirements and equipment specification document should be created. This document is essential as it lists all of the technical equipment and resources required to deploy the project successfully.
The aim of the technical prototype was to test the projector with the single cube before using valuable time and resources to assemble the whole project. We experimented with projection overlays to assess how the cube material worked as a background for the images.
- Chose to use foam board, a lightweight and cost effective material scaled at 59cm x 59cm, larger than the previous prototype.
- Set up the projector in a darkroom, initiated software (Modul8) and positioned the cube for testing.
- Projection mapped test imagery onto two sides of the cube due to only having one projector. The projection content was manipulated using Modul8 VJing software, which allowed for real time testing. We experimented with various selfies differing in size and contrast.
User testing insights:
Many factors, including projector-to-cube distance, height/angle of projector and environment lighting were examined during this process. Experimenting with the projector equipment established that technical setup was relatively quick and simple.
Whilst user testing, we found that natural light interrupted the quality of the projection. Therefore, the environment lighting would need to be low for best results.
When a selfie was taken without background consideration, the face mosaic overlay looked like a layer of pixels to some participants. In response, further selfies were taken against a white background to ensure the face mosaic overlay was recognisable to all participants.
We were satisfied with the technical setup and felt confident in completing the rest of the prototype. Though we could have continued with the face mosaic cube alone, it was worthwhile creating the rest of the cubes, in order to complete the prototype and give those in attendance an accurate representation of our vision.
Initially, we proposed that the final prototype would include a ‘cereal-box’ model. We did not anticipate exceeding our expectations, thus, our final prototype is more advanced than originally intended.
PRESENTATION & VIVA ASSESSMENT
To summarise, we will follow this process on the day:
- Pin poster to appropriate position on wall.
- Set up the cubes as desired.
- Position projector tower housing the projector and laptop running the software Modul8.
- Connect projector and laptop to power outlet via extension cable.
- Secure cables to floor with electrical tape avoiding trip hazards.
- Place warning sign on projection tower.
- Launch Modul8 on laptop, open dropbox and prepared selfie folder.
- Test content on the main cube and adjust lighting as required.
- Implement final content slideshow in preparation for assessment.
- Place project information leaflets and trade books on table.