Day 01-Mon 23 Jan: Data Arena Intro

DAY 01 – Data Arena Intro

Session 01 – Monday 23 Jan 2017

Information overload!

We were given an overview of the Data Arena elective. Then perused the curatorial brief, which required us to explore an aspect of the Estuary. We were to respond to the brief utilising, as the driver, the notion of ‘territory’ and ‘intruder’. We were required to work in interdisciplinary groups. Unlike the other disciplines in this elective cohort, I discovered the Animation faculty (and Architecture faculty) were the only DAB disciplines, which did not do the Interdisciplinary labs. Hence, I was eager for the opportunity to work with designers other than just animators.

We were herded down to the Data Arena cinematic space. An awesome sight – an animator’s dream: a 360-degree screen, 6 projectors, motion capture camera dotted around the zoetropean room which overwhelmed 30 of us mouth gaping students. With the compliments of Google Earth (Google Earth 2013), we were taken on a brief trip around the world to our favourite bucket-list places. Some of us wished we had that bucket due to the motion sickness evoked by darting around the gigantic 360-degree cinematic screen, which engulfed us.

day1-scanChun 2017

day1-top-viewChun 2017

We were given 3D glasses and told that animation was created with a double camera (images), the further apart the images are from each other means it translates to how much it projects forward in the foreground ‘space’. Each image is specific per the left or right eye. A laser is utilised to measure the distance from point of projection to target and then translated as a dot. These dots build up to create images and thus produce a virtual environment.

We then were treated to a trip around and inside a virtual fashion piece with the ‘SpaceNav Controller’ (Cicada Innovations 2015) – a hand-held gizmo, which drove us dizzily amongst the 3D fabric fibres.

day1 scan 1.jpegChun 2017

The pipeline of motion capture in brief:

– Gather data
– Map out according to variables ie: x-axis, y-axis, z-axis, colour, pattern, etc
– Parallel coordinates; map out like-groupings, this enables clear comparisons


Back in the computer lab:

Holger introduced us to the Autodesk Motion builder software. We learnt the basics in how to create:

– element (shapes), shaders, textures and particles.

– to emit particles out from a cube and attach images onto each particle.

particletest.pngChun 2017


Set up ‘’ (Slack 2016), which is a cloud-based team collaboration tool that facilitates an efficient workflow in a project. Files can be uploaded and worked on by team members. Channels or tabs can be set up to enable team members to locate sections efficiently, such as WIP (work in progress files), Research, references etc.

I’ve used this tool for most my projects and found it helps with the efficiency and communication of the team. All conversations and uploaded files are recorded during the process of the project, hence is a great reference bible to the project.


I also set up a Dropbox folder to keep all assets in which the team could access anytime. This is convenient especially when the UTS ‘Public’ access is not working.



Cicada Innovation 2015, New UTS virtual reality theatre – Turning numbers into pictures, viewed 12 February 2017, <>

Dropbox Inc 2017, Dropbox, viewed 11 February 2017, <;

Google Earth 2013, 2013 Digital Globe, viewed 23 January 2017, <>

Slack 2016, Where work happens, viewed 13 February 2017, <>


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