Ideation tool for designing spaces
The Challenge: Propose an ideation tool for designing spaces through quick visual prototypes that can be easily shared and iterated upon
The outcome: A simple app allowing for creating fully composited 3D scenes by sketching directly inside videos. Whether it is for designing a space, planning an event or blocking a movie scene, it makes it easier for everyone around the table to see the same thing in the right context and without needing any additional rendering operation, making it ideally suited for iterative creative processes.
In 2018, together with Golant Innovation and Furtherfield, we were awarded an Innovate UK Design Foundation grant to explore space design and placemaking.
We specifically decided to look at low-cost and low-entry-barrier solutions that would allow to engage local population in public consultations.
This led to different proposals, including Stethoscope, a system for exploring spaces and sharing memories, thoughts or ideas using sound in a soft augmented reality fashion, and what ultimately became Traits.
At Wolf, the design process is very much anchored into the idea that key insights, that is insights that will spark innovative ideas, are to be uncovered from observing real people during the research phase. To do so and over the course of two months, we took part (as observers) in various sessions of placemaking, gathering people from all backgrounds to plan, design and think public spaces. We also interviewed professionals from the design industry in our own network and gathered the following thoughts:
- The way context is given is key to a good ideation session. It allows for making sure that everyone is onboard and that whatever comes out of the session is actually relevant to the specifics of the project
- There are many technologies out there to capture reality or reconstruct it in order to build directly inside a spatial context, but they can be quite expensive and complex to deploy for large spaces
- The way the output is shared is key to make people understand what the idea is all about (hence the very notion of ‘rendering’)
- 3D as an output is great (when curated properly) but nothing beats 2D when it comes to quick input
In parallel to all that, we started to think of all the progresses that had happened in technology over the last decade and how this would bring new design opportunities at reduced costs. Take real-time compositing, something that we have been playing with since 2014, combine it with consumer grade drones that allow for capturing smooth high-quality images of anything from virtually any angle and give some creative control to the user and you get a new type of ideation tool with a new visual language
Traits is as simple to use as it looks. It's literally sketching on a tablet. The first trick is that each doodle can be moved on 3 axes in order to create a real 3D scene. The second trick is that all that is done directly inside a video by using the same compositing techniques as what has been used in Hollywood movies for decades. The only difference is that here the compositing is done in real-time, making the experience fun and the output engaging without any extra post-production effort or rendering.