HUD Design & Animation
In-progress personal work based on courses taught by Ash Thorp & Ryan Cashman.
How do you design for function and entertainment?
That’s the question the HUD Design & Animation courses posed through the various problems and briefs presented: how do we engage audiences with interesting and beautiful HUD designs while also building them in a way that feels believably functional? As part of the coursework, I developed a brief of my own to attempt solve precisely that problem. The HUD I designed was supposed to be useful for a futuristic space traveler who was kind of a lone wolf and involved in a great deal of adventure. You might describe the user persona as Louis & Clarke meets Blaedrunner. It was meant to have all of the features and modes someone like that might need to survive the various wildernesses they might encounter on their travels. The project is still ongoing - particularly in terms of animation - but I am quite happy with the designs thus far.
This sequence is a minimal approach to a boot-up concept. I wanted it to feel graceful and fluid with glitchy stutters to add narrative tension in the reveal. The concept here was a computer system that feels powerful but refined. Something that might have an AI assistant attached. The minimal elegance is brought personality by sudden, stark glitches that add granular detail to the composition for a brief time.
This is a flashier approach to the boot-up concept where I wanted to explore a system that feels like an entity actually waking from a long, deep slumber. There is much more color and movement with nearly every element in the HUD coming to life at some point in the reveal. It's heavy and kind of threatening, which suited the brief I had built for the designs. All-in-all, I think it does well making the viewer feel like they have just activated a really sophisticated and powerful piece of machinery.
Getting the designs right for these frames was a pretty intensive process for me. I was completely out of my comfort zone with this project and often did not know what to try next. A big help for me was to embrace the discomfort and experiment somewhat aimlessly at times. At other time, I got through it by focusing on analyzing actual utility. By thinking hard about the tools my character would need, I was able to structure ideas that I could then “make pretty” later. These frames represent the primary modes of interaction: Dormant, a stripped down UI with minimal info to stay out of the way; Critical, an aggressive and somewhat invasive UI meant to alert to critical threats and injuries ( a sort of “this is the right time to retreat and here’s your best route for doing so” interface); Targeting, the combat-assistant; and, Recon, which includes a radar-like indicator of nearby points of interests and a scanner/analyzer to assist in the research side of a frontiersman’s work. Additionally, I have an “everything on” Standard HUD for reveal animations as well as a separate set of style frames for a true “Boot-Up” sequence.
Behind the Scenes
These are some of the cool moments that happened while building the my HUD Designs. They cover some of the technical problems I had to solve and reveal some of my design decisions. You can see some of my sketches while noodling over the utility issues as well some of the early construction of the underlying structure and resolution of a few animation problems.