Theses from the Media Lab
For more information, the theses can be found and read in full on aaltodoc.aalto.fi.
When we think about the manifestation of New Media in city space, the first things that usually comes to mind is bright screens advertising chain stores and services accessible from any part of the world. It is self-evident that our imagination of new media in the landscape is linked to consumption, and that propaganda modality is creating more “places” than any other new media in use. Could it be that such screens (and their low engagement threshold) are more effective than any attention-grabbing installation in sedimenting an idea of place to the citizen?
The subject of the thesis is incompleteness and its importance as part of artistic work. My work is divided into two parts; written and productive. The production part consists of the Fullonornamental exhibition and the piece El Tapiz Sagrado - Spiritual Journey of An Ornament and a Texture, which is based on digital prints and animation. In the written part, I sought answers to the following questions: What does incompleteness signinfy in artistic work? How does such a natural thing as your own artistic work become a impossible when you try to translate it into words? Why does the feeling of incompleteness feel permanent even though consciousness and understanding grow simultaneously? In the study, I research bodily knowledge. In addition I present three artists through which I deal with the incompleteness and the spiritual journey that it leads to. I open my own knowledge by going through the thinking behind my artistic work and the practical principles and the process of making the work. The thesis shows that incompleteness is an essential and stimulating part of artistic work. It is at the same time the pain of insanity and a pushing power towards new inspiration and insights. The research opened up the understanding of the difficult simplicity of talking about one's own work; artistic work itself is thinking and speaking through doing. Bodily knowledge cannot be translated into words without the transformation of content into another, which makes the whole process frustrating and completely unnecessary. Unfinished is a two-way feeling that keeps your work active and challenges the artist's ability to renew and develop. The experience of incompleteness is an opportunity to travel to your own knowledge and to the insights you find there. With the research, I realized that the incompleteness feeling deepens itself the more one understands if one actually understands. incompleteness is a resource.
Vector Synthesis is a computational art project inspired by theories of media archaeology, by the history of computer and video art, and by the use of discarded and obsolete technologies such as the Cathode Ray Tube monitor. This text explores the military and techno-scientific legacies at the birth of modern computing, and charts attempts by artists of the subsequent two decades to decouple these tools from their destructive origins. Using this history as a basis, the author then describes a media archaeological, real time performance system using audio synthesis and vector graphics display techniques to investigate direct, synesthetic relationships between sound and image. Key to this system, realized in the Pure Data programming environment, is a didactic, open source approach which encourages reuse and modification by other artists within the experimental audiovisual arts community.
This thesis studies how collaboratively designed games can be used as a means to empathically share cultural perspectives and emotions between unrelated communities. The paper also discusses some of the diversity issues present within the video game industry, especially those dealing with Indigenous cultural content, and to promote the “world games” movement of inclusive game production. The project began with an examination of various concepts that make up the current psychological theory of empathy. Academic findings on cultural empathy were specifically explored, and Wang et. al’s (2003) theory of ethnocultural empathy was examined. A literature review continued with further examination of the methods for empathic game design and production. The literature also considered how specific game elements and practices of intercultural sensitivity function within collaborative game design and development, leading to a more in-depth study of co-development with Indigenous communities. From this, two theoretical models were developed and proposed. The Ethnocultural Empathy Analysis model looked specifically at methods for e-empathic game design, and the Intercultural Sensitivity model presented reflective questions for Indigenous co-development. These models were then applied to three game project case studies. Two of the studies examined the commercial games, Never Alone and Mulaka. The third study, the Sámi Game Jam, included a personal reflection of my first-hand experience in an Indigenous co-development setting. Finally, the results of this thesis proposed ways that games, as a unique, interactive medium, can be successfully used to both address, and even eliminate, much of the cultural disconnection and ignorance present in today’s world.
The thesis is a theoretical introduction and technical documentation of my ongoing project, “N”. N is a themed collection of both textual writings and visual artworks. Divided into three chapters, Nothingness, Ubiquitous and Enigma, N draws upon diverse content from science, philosophy, psychology, theology, anthropology and literature. N seeks potential correlations between drastically different paradigms and fields. On a broader scale, N serves as an incentive to creative thinkers to initiate conversations between long isolated and self-privileged disciplines, mediating between them to collaboratively generate new insights into our fundamental questions. The thesis covers the personal and theoretical backgrounds of N, the symbolic arrangements of its content, its post-structuralist style of writing and the metaphorical implications of its artistic praxis. The thesis also contains fragmented texts excerpted from N, as well as detailed descriptions of some selected artworks.
This thesis consists of a theoretical framework on design systems including a benchmark analysis and a production project to develop a design system for an e-commerce website. The objective of the research is to explore whether a design system is a tool that is not only useful to be used by large teams but also for small teams. The research is based on the analysis of the positive and negative effects that a design system may have if employed by small teams vis-à-vis larger teams. The thesis is written from a UI/UX designer’s perspective and focuses on the following three aspects of design system: design studies, design practice, and design exploration. The design studies dive into the fundamental elements of design system, its history and the common practices of how it operates. In order to explore design practices, a benchmark analysis is conducted on two existing design systems developed by larger e-commerce companies. It demonstrates the process and results of larger teams that have integrated a design system into their product development process. For design exploration, the author worked on a production project to develop a design system for an e-commerce website that fits the requirements of a small team. Finally, this thesis provides a set of recommendations for designers on how to develop a design system tailored to be used in small teams. It highlights that while design systems are commonly being employed by large organizations, the development of design system management tools, enables smaller teams to employ design systems that are manageable in order to accelerate productivity.
Historical thinking is a relevant tool for understanding modern society. As a popular form of inter- active entertainment, historical video games may aid in encouraging it in a unique manner. This thesis explores encouraging historical thinking through the design of a narrative game. In the context of this thesis, historical thinking is defined as understanding history as a process instead of as a collection of facts. Narrative games are defined as first-person games that emphasise narrative exploration as their primary type of gameplay. The thesis has two parts: the creation of a video game concept, Runo, and this written text. The game concept is an on-going, multidisciplinary collaboration that is still largely unfinished. As such, this thesis is a practice-led research conducted to provide means for implementing the design goal better with further iteration and to provide helpful knowledge for other practitioners. The literature review about the subject shows that games may excel in highlighting the contingency related to historical processes especially via enabling the playful exploration of counterfactual sce- narios. However, some game types are more suitable for this than others. Furthermore, the review explores the capabilities of narrative games for conveying ideas and emotion through their primary narrative devices: game mechanics and environmental storytelling. Then, through critical reflection on the current design of the alpha version of Runo, the research finds that while narrative games may not be the optimal genre for exposing large-scale historical processes, they can offer an individual, intimate perspective to them. To encourage historical think- ing, narrative games should aim to provoke historical resonance early, make use of narrative layer- ing and feature less linearity. These observations would confirm the suggestions of other scholars.
Message from Venus - Creating new kind of game concept with emphasis on experience design
The games offer, or actually ultimately, they are experiences. These experiences can be directly, as well as indirectly, crafted by the game designer. How can the various design principles, especially the experience design principles, be used to create exceptional game experiences? I look into the ways of telling meaningful stories and to the methods for creating emotional experiences. But before that, the attributes for, and the affects to an experience needed to be thought out. As part of this Thesis, I present my unique game concept Message from Venus and explain the basis for its design and describe the design journey. I discuss my use of the previously studied tools, methods and principles. I ended up developing my own experience design principles, that combines and enhances the existing ones. I map the experience goals for my game, and think of ways to reach these goals. Also, after comparing three existing analysing frameworks, I created my own analysing framework to break my game down into pieces, so that I could perform a thorough analysis of it.
The inception of digital technology and the internet have changed the way people use media. What is getting followed by the public is now dictated by new presentation techniques and social media. Especially platforms that are suitable for video have gained more popularity over the years. These things are also changing how media is being consumed as a whole. Visual communication has to adapt to ever-changing environments and needs which may result in a demand for new modes of operation from creators of content. My thesis is about motion graphic design. I chose motion graphics as my subject because I've noticed that there doesn't seem to be enough academic material centered around the topic – at least not enough to meet the demand that the visual communication field of today appears to have for understanding motion. It is hard to find any literature on motion graphics particularly in Finnish, so I have reason to believe that a new study on the subject would be warmly welcomed. The thesis consists of a written portion and an artistic production. In the theoretical part of the thesis I argue that time as an element has become a more essential issue for design work than ever before, as well as the skill to utilize it. In addition to this, I also examine the role of a motion graphic designer and study what kinds of factors must be taken into account when designing a piece that occurs in time and space. To take the topic even further I have produced a series of three motion graphic creations. By analyzing the factors that go into the planning of my own work as a designer I try to get to the core of what goes into a motion graphics production as a tool for visual communication. The study focuses on digital media. Based on the observations made in the thesis one could conclude that it's more important for a motion graphic designer to focus on the meaning of their work as a whole instead of merely the layout. The designer has to be aware of the means of visual storytelling and the requirements dictated by different forms of modern digital media. Motion graphics is an instrument that can be used to convey narratives and create experiences.
Due to the development of operational environment of media, mass audiences have become smaller, fragmented target audiences. Media compete for attention with content and on multiple platforms. As a result, media companies have a growing interest to understand and gain knowledge of audience needs, values and behavior. Measuring audience and user behavior both qualitatively and quantitatively has been made easier and in many ways possible on digital platforms. Analytics has quickly become a new convention of media. When knowledge of audience behavior increases, it logically has an effect on journalists and the content they create. And indeed, according to international studies, analytics do inform pre- planning and subject choices in journalism. In the context of Finnish media however, analytics is subject scarcely studied. One aim of this thesis is to answer this void. This thesis implements qualitative methods. The study is done with interviews of five Finnish journalists, who work with mainly online platforms. The aim of the thesis is to study which metrics journalists follow, how the data affects journalists, how journalists view the relationship with their audiences, and when do journalists experience a feeling of professional success. No professionals of strategy or development departments of media companies were included. This exclusion narrows the research to focus on journalists, and how they implement analytics in their work. The results of this thesis highlight the all-encompassing nature of analytics. Analytics affects headlines, subject choices and viewpoints chosen for specific subjects. Both owned and social media platforms are under constant analysis. The most commonly analyzed metrics are the number of readers/viewers, the traction of an individual pieces, and the metrics of engagement. Analytics also builds pressure to perform according to internalized expectations. In the long-term, analytics is seen as an educational tool. On the opposing view, analytics is also seen as pushing journalism toward tabloidization. The experience of professional success however is not entirely nor exclusively built on analytics; Many aspects add to the experience. The role of journalism in society is driven by its social ethos. Journalism both transmits and forwards information, and works as the sword arm of democracy. Because of this societal role, a growing need arises for impact metrics. Based on the research results and a theoretical framework, this thesis builds toward future impact metrics and provides a model for tracking and measuring impact of journalism.
Buoyancy bot v.0.1 is a Soundcloud Bot which uses Markov analysis and VST in sound production and then uploads the generated audio files to Soundcloud with the Python module of the Soundcloud API. The sound production and Markov analysis is done in Max/MSP programming language while other parts are carried out in the Python script. Communication between the two parts of the bot is carried via OSC (Open sound control) protocol, also known as UDP (User datagram protocol).
The bot opens up an existing midi file from hard disk and does Markov analysis on it. Markov analysis is a statistical method which analyses the frequency of appearances of the date analyzed, which in this case are the midi notes. Based on the analysis the Max/MSP patch starts generating and recording sounds. The sounds are produced by VST synths. The recorded file's location and name is passed to Python which uploads it to Soundcloud where the song is available for people to listen to.
This thesis describes the theoretical backgrounds and concepts behind the bot, which are algorithmic composition methods and the concept of bots. In the project description the usage of these concepts is then brought to practice and gone through step-by-step.
In the conclusion part the outcomes of the work is analyzed from the perspective of a creative process and how automated systems can play role in it. The emphasis is on openness and how automated systems can change the way you think of your process as an artist and of your role as an author and how automated systems can provide new ways for creativity. The bot started as a technical project but these more fundamental questions about creativity came to being during the process.
This thesis is a research and development project for Uplause, a Finnish company that specializes in crowd entertainment for public events. It explores the possibilities and challenges of creating digital games that are playable by many participants simultaneously during a live event. This thesis contains of two major parts. In the first part are reviewed some sociological and psychological theories of collective behavior, collective decision-making and player behavior in gamified digital environments. The first part attempts to generate ways of understanding and predicting audience behaviors during digital and non-digital crowd entertainment activations. Additionally, it describes what crowd entertainment is in the context of sports events and what are the current technological affordances of stadiums. The second part of the thesis documents the design, implementation and test results of three prototypes to test how well groups of players are able to collaborate in digital games. The suitability of such digital games as crowd entertainment products is evaluated by analyzing the results and the current and future landscape of the industry. The general aim of this thesis is to explore how the Uplause digital product portfolio could be diversified with more digital products. An additional aim is to generate considerations and guidelines for future Uplause products, digital as well as non-digital.
Live action role-play is a recognized form of role-play where players physically embody characters in fictional settings. The medium is immensely versatile and different larp traditions approach the activity and its design in a variety of ways. The participatory and ephemeral nature of larp makes it a difficult medium to explore without playing. It is, however, relevant to communicate aspects of the activity to external audiences for purposes of posterity and recognition. Larp documentation cannot encapsulate the fleeting artwork, as it lacks a permanent form. As the player is the central audience of larp, we seek to understand the player experience in order to comprehend the relevance of larp. The importance of documentation forces the larp community to explore new ways of capturing the dissipating artworks. The study explores what can be captured of the ephemeral larp experience, and how it translates to outside audiences. The written part of the study examines characteristics of larp and central challenges for its documentation, as well as the creation of a fictional documentary film. The artistic part of the study is the outcome of an exploration of larp as a platform for creation, resulting in a fictional documentary called “Vielä hetki.” The study shows that while larp is impossible to document thoroughly, parts of the ephemeral larp experience can be captured. Larp documentation should be approached as a collection of different documents, as no single document or medium can cover the whole larp. The medium can be used as a source for sampling, as larp provides a platform for artistic exploration but only allows parts of its expression to be captured. It is possible to create independent works of art inside larp that external audiences can relate to and to utilize such artworks in translating the exclusive larp experience to non-participants. When larp documentation is implemented into the fiction of the larp, it becomes a diegetic part of the larp and creates more intimate documents of the elusive and coveted player experience.
The development of media art has been favorable in Finland for some time. New, cheaper technol- ogies have brought more artists to the field. Visibility of Finnish media art has grown both nationally and internationally. Yet media art and artists are still in the margins in the Finnish art field. The production culture of media art has not progressed as hoped over the years. In most projects, media artists are forced to also act as the producer and often they work with limited resources. Most of the media artists in Finland work as free artists. The number of production companies producing media art is around 30-40 companies. There is some limited information available about media artists working as entrepreneurs. This thesis aims to chart these companies and to examine the conditions of making media art as an entrepreneur in Finland. The data for this the thesis was collected through an online survey sent to 31 companies that were supported by AVEK - The promotional center of Audiovisual Culture between January 2015 and July 2018. The data of the online survey was then enriched with material that was collected through semi-structured expert interviews. In the thesis, I bring out the voices of three artist-entrepreneurs who have worked as art entrepreneurs between 4 and 33 years. My thesis raises key issues that have a clear impact on the production culture and daily lives of entrepreneurs in the media art field. Among them are a shortage of professional producers and no entrepreneurship training and scarcity of funding. A positive finding is a network production model that enables micro companies to produce large scale artwork in Finland.
Virtual simulation of human faces and facial movements has challenged media artists and computer scientists since the first realistic 3D renderings of a human face by Fred Parke in 1972. Today, a range of software and techniques are available for modelling virtual characters and their facial behavior in immersive environments, such as computer games or storyworlds. However, applying these techniques often requires large teams with multidisciplinary expertise, extensive amount of manual labour, as well as financial conditions that are not typically available for individual media artists.
This thesis work demonstrates how an individual artist may create humanlike virtual characters – specifically their facial behaviour – in a relatively fast and automated manner. The method is based on volumetric capturing, or photogrammetry, of a set of facial expressions from a real person using a multi-camera setup, and further applying open source and acessible 3D reconstruction and re-topology techniques and software. Furthermore, the study discusses possibilities of utilizing contemporary game engines and applications for building settings that allow real-time interaction between the user and virtual characters.
The thesis documents an innovative framework for the creation of a virtual character captured from a real person, that can be presented and driven in real-time, without the need of a specialized team, high budget or intensive manual labour. This workflow is suitable for research groups, independent teams and individuals seeking for the creation of immersive and real-time experiences and experiments using virtual humanlike characters.
Nudging Pixels is a design podcast that features interviews with designers and developers from the Finnish technology industry. The podcast is produced and hosted by me and my colleague Elina Korpela for Houston Inc., a software consultancy based out of Helsinki, Finland. In this Master’s thesis, I explore the role Nudging Pixels plays in helping Houston Inc. build its network and brand. The role of this podcast is examined through three lenses, as a tool for knowledge sharing, as con- tent marketing and for building familiarity within the design and technology community in Fin- land. The results presented in this thesis are based on the findings collected from informal inter- views with listeners and critical reflection. These findings are used to iterate every episode of Nudging Pixels continuously. Nudging Pixels is an ongoing podcast first published in January 2019. This thesis explores the pro- cess behind creating the podcast, and how it attempts to meet the goal of providing new and relat- able content to its listeners. As a final result, this thesis aims to provide information to practition- ers who may wish to embark upon the endeavour of creating a podcast to further their company’s reputation.
This thesis explores implementing playfulness into a route planning application using augmented reality. While AR in itself has been around since the 1960s, the use of it on smartphones is a quite new territory. The potential for AR as an everyday tool grows with the development of technology, and the use of the cameras in smartphones. Because of its newness there are still issues with the user experience and different opinions on how to best utilise it. The preliminary idea for this design concept was of a route planning application with AR, which helps the user map themselves in 3D space. Looking at past and present applications, many of them are games or have a lighthearted way of using AR. Implementing playfulness in design can make the user experience more pleasurable for the user. Adding playfulness as a means of introducing users to a new way of navigating, not only new applications and technology, but in the real world as well. The combining of the AR app and playfulness was achieved in this thesis with the help of the Playful Experience Framework (PLEX). A video prototype was made based on the design concept derived from the PLEX cards. The video prototype was then used in interviews where the design concept was explained. The aim of the interviews was to gauge the overall reaction to this type of application and answer questions such as: who would use it, how would they use it, and how they found the playful experience? The reception of playful aspect of the application played a part in analysing the responses in order to see how to proceed with the concept and whether it was a viable idea or not. The overall opinion of the design concept was positive with many wanting to test it out, which would be the next step in development after new iteration is complete, fixing the issues found in the current one.
This thesis explores emotion processes in the context of digital games and game research and proposes a framework for studying emotions and emotional individuality in the context of digital games. The focus is on the positive effects of digital games on subjective emotional experiences and well-being, and especially the differences in affective styles since individual differences in emotionality may influence the effects of playing digital games. This thesis is formed from three parts: a literature review, a framework I have built based on the literat - ure, and a pilot study that explores the relation of the suggested two aspects of the framework. This literat- ure review gives an overview of the current knowledge of the emotion processes as large scale neural net - works that are partly developed evolutively and partly through learning throughout life. The emotion pro- cesses are claimed to have three layers: core affects, conditionally learnt emotions, and complex emotional experiences. The positive core affect processes SEEKING and PLAY are claimed to be related to curiosity, positive anticipation, intrinsic motivation and playfulness, which are further linked to increased positive emotionality and may influence the individual's well-being. Interestingly, digital games may elicit the foundations of these positive emotional experiences. I propose that each game has emotion-eliciting elements and that the gameplay influences the player's emotion processes which show as changes in the emotion components and result in different affective states, which may include subjective emotional experiences. The proposed framework introduces four dimensions on how games affect the player: 1) context, embodied in the game elements; 2) the player’s affective style; 3) the player’s emotional state; and 4) outside of the game context. Aspects of the first two dimensions of the framework, suggested three emotional game elements and two affective traits were tested in a pilot study. The methods include textual analysis, and the pilot study was conducted with self-reports using a questionnaire that gathered data about the participants' emotional game element preferences and affective traits. The questionnaire included a modified version of the short affective neuroscientific personality scale (ANPS-S) questionnaire to gather the affective trait scores. I focused on Seeking and Play ANPS-S scores and analyzed all findings in a person-centred method. The two proposed Seeking game elements divided the participants into six clusters based on their preferences. Interestingly, all participants had high or very high ANPS-S Seeking score, and all parti- cipants reported preferences for one or more Seeking related game element. This finding may indicate that the proposed two elements may be associated with the Seeking trait, however, this finding may also indic- ate that individuals who play digital games have high Seeking trait or curiosity in general. All participants reported average or high ANPS-S Play score, however, the results varied on the preference for the Playful- ness element, which may indicate the ANPS-S Play measures more social patterns than gameplay. Future studies could explore the differences between affective styles and game element preferences when aiming to understand the effects of digital games. Furthermore, there should be more future studies comparing players to non-players and their affective styles and effects of digital games.
This thesis presents a design proposal for a mobile application for museums to give users open ac- cess to their material.
First, the origin and current context of museums and digital media were studied. In addition, as a way of proving and finding more details on the implementations of digital technologies in the mus- eological space, this research takes the Helsinki City Museum as a case study. In this case study, different points are proven and discovered to be taken into account for the design proposal. After studying the current context of museums and knowing more details about the reality that mu- seums face after the case study, this thesis proposes to design a digital service that runs under three main views: open access for museums, accessible for users and the relevance of this service as a cultural source. The proposal consists of the workflow and wireframes of both ends and a prototype that uses data gathered from the Helsinki City Museum.
Reminiscence: an installation on aural memories
This thesis is a documentation of the process of conceptualization, design and production of a site-specific sound installation named Reminiscence. There were two intentions behind this project. One was to explore our relationship with sound. This is done by exploring emotions associated with aural memories within the context of sound studies. The other was to present these aural memories in the context of sound art by expanding on the concept of an audio documentary. Sonic compositions are created based on the narrative of aural memories of previously rec- orded participants and presented along with an assemblage of books, jewellery boxes and other selected objects within the installation that evoke a sense of memory. The compositions combine concepts of context-based composition, soundscape composition and composing with recorded speech. By comparing compositional and structural elements, I analyse how Reminiscence can be placed as an expanded form of audio documentary within the context of sound art.
This thesis examines the design process and elements for virtual environments in support of bioadaptive meditation. The systems presented adapt to the user’s real-time bio- and neurosignals. These adaptations convey information about the physiological states during the meditation exercise. Two immersive virtual environments were constructed to support and guide the meditation practices. Study gathers insights on bioadaption, virtual reality, how they relate to meditation and explains the development processes of the virtual environments. These are combined to pinpoint best practices, shortcomings and design principles for related virtual environments.
This thesis presents the development process and analysis of a hybrid video synthesiser that was designed towards use in audiovisual performance and composition. Though there are various instruments, platforms, and approaches towards audiovisual performance and composition, this practice-based thesis, through the development of an instrument, addresses a very specific gap – the lack of a hybrid, i.e., a software-based physical modular video synthesiser. This thesis will trace the historical origins of the video synthesiser, contextualise audiovisual performance and composition, and discuss the development of this hybrid video synthesiser. This thesis will document the iterative development process, provide key takeaways from performances and finally, provide a discussion, certain recommendations, and contributions that this instrument makes within the field of video synthesisers and audiovisual performance.
Towards a Semiotic Typology of Data Visualization: Establishing binary oppositions
Data visualization is often studied with practical implications from the perspective of design, perception, and data science. However, much less is done using the humanistic approach. In this thesis, I address data visualization as a complex semiotic phenomenon, namely as a language sign. The main question is: How can we describe and typologize visualizations using the semiotic toolkit? The main focus of this work is to describe the methodological advantages of the Semiotic triangle in application to data visualization, and then to list and analyse a non-exhaustive set of categories defined as binary oppositions. This thesis is a qualitative study in which I consider various properties, contexts and meanings of visualizations using convenience sampling to build up the collection of specimen. When analysing the examples, I discuss them from the perspective of selected binary oppositions, and demonstrate how these oppositions form the meaning of data visualizations. I further refine the poles of the oppositions and synthesize new ones by contaminating existing insights. As a result, I propose a structural model of data visualization as a sign, and suggest how it can be used in further quantitative and qualitative research.
Fake news, or false information in the media, is likely as old as legitimate news, but gained newfound attention in the months before and after the 2016 United States presidential election. The prominence of widespread false content in the media has converged with existing critiques of the media industry related to biased and misleading content, in an environment marked by the notable decline of trust in the industry. This represents a shift in media industry dynamics which negatively impact media consumers, who rely on information in the media to form and adapt their individual worldview. Due to advances in technology, consumption of news media is rapidly shifting to mobile de- vice-based experiences, which are primarily the domain of digital product designers. These de- signers are responsible for the user experience (UX) on mobile devices. Thus, they are tasked with ensuring consumers are able to access reliable news media content and build a better un- derstanding of this media content through improved media and digital literacy. To do so, digital product designers need resources and framing to support them to this end. Through the lens of design inquiry, this research-based thesis explores themes related to me- dia industry dynamics, critical thinking, and the future of false information. This enables the cre- ation of a research base and development of a preliminary set of product design guidance to sup- port designers in building better media consumption experiences for people. A literature review is conducted to understand the media industry trends that have led to the current situation. Models and visual schemas are constructed to aid designers in comprehension of this situation. These models show how false information and digital product design affect con- sumers’ ability to form an accurate worldview. The projected evolution of false information and its impact are assessed. To understand different methods of addressing the trend of false infor- mation from a product design perspective, existing implementations developed by technology platforms are reviewed. The culmination of this research is future-oriented product design guidance which emphasizes presenting consumers with accessible, effective contextual information and encouraging critical thinking capabilities while consuming media content. The guidance provides practical, adaptable recommendations for designers along with the research foundations, and should serve as an ef- fective resource for digital product designers to enhance and augment the user’s experience con- suming media.
Freedom Under Control: Adventures in making non-4/4 techno with digital tools
This thesis consists of a production work and a written part examining the production from the point of view of digital culture. The written part investigates whether digital tools can help the writer make, promote and perform a specific type of experimental techno that uses other time signatures than 4/4. Accomplishing these tasks successfully requires a degree of acceptance and validation for the work. Thus, the thesis includes exploration of current attitudes towards the interrelated topics of digital technology and unorthodox time signatures in the techno community. The thesis describes the writer’s quest to learn how to realize rhythmically unconventional musical ideas in an almost exclusively digital working environment, while pertaining to a genre that currently appears to heavily emphasize hardware and analog tools. The writer’s productionambitions reach not only to producing finished musical pieces but getting recognition and an audience for them. For that purpose, this text maps out how digital tools are currently perceived among other practitioners, musical technology enthusiasts and aficionados of techno music. In addition, artists who produce some work outside the 4/4 paradigm provided the writer insight into how they utilize tools for their ends. The processes of promoting and live performance of the material are also elaborated on, with an emphasis on their digital nature.
This thesis explores the topic of alternative forms in data visualization and the ways visualization affects the communication of data it is based on. It does this through the creation of a machine learning based data visualization system prototype.
It examines norms and ideals of data visualization as a set of systems aimed for simplification, situating visualization as a tool with the potential power to affect how we perceive the complexity of the world by either highlighting or obscuring information. It aims to critically highlight these norms by taking an exploratory aim to visualizing information by increasing potential interpretations of a particular set of data instead of reducing them. Norms prevalent in the field of data visualization are explored, and through this, the concept of alternative is defined. Then the dataset to visualize is defined through an exploration of current discussions around issues of increasing amounts of data, the complexity of the systems producing that data and the interpretations they enforce through the data they produce. Through this, the concept of machine detected human emotions in a text is chosen as a particular example of computational reduction to be explored through the prototype. In order to counteract this identified reduction in complexity, a system which produces a mapping between visual attributes and detected emotional attributes is proposed. The design of this system utilizes recognized critical design concepts by creating a type of post-optimal object: A visualization that causes more interpretations in its reader than reading the data itself. The process of visualization follows prevalent norms within the field but applies identified forms of alternativeness in order to create ambiguity in the visual artifacts created by the prototype. Machine learning methods are applied through a collaborative process in order to create an artificially intelligent system that automatically analyses the emotional values of a given text, and maps those to a particular set of figures. Some of the visual artifacts are then tested on a set of users, in order to assess how the visualization might affect the communication of the data it is based on and how it succeeds in increasing interpretational complexity. While not aimed toward conclusive evidence, the result of the test seems to indicate success in increasing interpretational complexity, but a lack of success in communicating the numeric data the visualizations are based on – in this sense leading to the end-result no longer being a functional data visualization, but rather a form of data-driven illustration.
Stage fright is often considered to be the most feared fear in the western world. Therapeutic treatments that make use of virtual reality have been successful at alleviating stage fright. This is because virtual reality possesses the ability to simulate an artificial environment that allows its users to feel as if they are on a stage. However, many of these treatments are expensive and not easily accessible to an average person. On the other hand, virtual reality games are easier to download while also helping their players practice and motivate them to overcome their obstacles. Using this approach, I am designing a virtual reality game titled Phobi, that is aimed at alleviating stage fright and improving its players’ public speaking skills. Phobi makes use of design guidelines that are established over the course of this research. Eventually, Phobi is tested out with a set of participants and its advantages as well as limitations are discerned.
This production thesis sets out to create a tool for live improvisation of music that allows musi-cians to create and modulate musical patterns in real-time and reduces the need for pre-recorded or pre-sequenced material. It starts by defining the scope of *conventional electronic music* and then explores the shortcomings of current tools in relation to the divergency of music making.
The project is based on the author’s previous experiences in the live improvisation of conventional electronic music, and thus it starts by surveying the currently existing tools. After that, it focuses on the iterative design process of modular environment, taking the modular synthesizer as a con-ceptual starting point. These processes led to the development of composition devices which are expressed through a hardware user interface, in a modular environment.
This project finds that the shortcomings in divergency of current music improvisation tools come from the fact that musical modulations in an improvisation tool are inherently limited by the avail-able procedures of any given system. While composition tools such as modular synthesizers lack this limitation they do not have the discrete musical abstractions required for conventional elec-tronic music. The production project thus focuses on the design of a modular environment that could permit re-purposing of procedures that process discrete musical events. The outcome of this project is a new performance environment that can be used to generate more diverse improvi-sations of conventional electronic music.
Bucket Detective is an interactive narrative game developed primarily by Jesse Barksdale and Samu Kovanen, both students in Aalto University’s Game Design and Production Masters program. In the written part of this thesis, Jesse will analyze the design and development of the game from his perspective. Jesse was the writer, designer, artist, and project manager.
The paper begins with an introduction, which gives information about the game and discusses the game’s reception, including press and user reviews. This is followed by a breakdown of roles and responsibilities of people who contributed to the game. Next comes an analysis of Bucket Detective from two different academic frameworks (Robin Hunicke, Marc LeBlanc, and Robert Zubek’s “MDA Framework” and Greg Costikyan’s framework which defines a game as an “interactive structure of endogenous meaning that requires players to struggle toward a goal.”
After that is a description of the game’s development process, from idea to release, followed by “what went right” and “what went wrong” sections where I analyze my mistakes and successes in order to hopefully improve my craft. Finally there is a conclusion section where I share my thoughts and overall analysis of the project, as well as my plans for the future.
The objective of this study is to explore whether licensing an external brand has measurable benefits for a game developer. Specifically, this question is researched in the context of social media engage- ment: does the use of visual brand elements influence the level of the social media engagement a post receives? Additionally, two sub-questions are asked: (1) In what ways do successful visual de- sign of advertisements correlate with social media marketing effectiveness? (2) What factors are important when creating marketing materials for licensed games?
As very little academic research has been done on the subject, this study constructs a conceptual framework based on prior research on brand licensing, human computer interaction (HCI) and so- cial media marketing. A case study is conducted based on Next Games’ The Walking Dead: No Man’s Land mobile game’s social media posts. Data is gathered from the mobile game’s Facebook brand page during a roughly 2- year observational period. The study uses quantitative and qualitative con- tent analysis of social media posts. Qualitative analysis is used to create categories of social media posts based on visual brand elements. Afterwards, quantitative analysis is used to measure the sta- tistical differences in social media engagement levels between the categories.
The main results of the study are reported as following: (1) Using visual representations of licensed brand characters have a measurable impact on social media engagement levels. Brand characters and notable narrative locations impact social engagement metrics the most. (2) Social media en- gagement levels are additionally influenced by the seasonal activities of the mother brand; when the show is airing is clearly visible in the observed social metrics. (3) Using licensed brand characters in combination with innovative approaches, high quality interactive assets and culturally relevant ref- erences result in top performing social media posts.
These findings suggest that game developers and publishers can expect licensed visual brand ele- ments to offer measurable impact on their marketing activities. However, brand longevity, the con- tinuous costs of licensing, and the time needed to foster a working relationship with the license- holder should be carefully weighed with the possible license benefits.
As technology has made a massive amount of information available about deceased persons, there have been a great number of studies about how to integrate digital data into mourning practices and how to utilise technology for bringing new perspectives to memorial design. Some studies suggest that there is a gap between digital and traditional memorialising practices. Attempts have been made to remove this gap by utilising holographic and RFID readers, wireless sensors, and other various means. However, these technologies are not currently as widely adapted in our daily life as web technology. The final concepts of this study rely only on existing web technologies to build a digital memorial service that has the potential to be widely used and to bridge the gap between digital and physical worlds. As different mourning patterns exist in different cultures, the cultural differences—in addition to the differences in available technologies— should be taken into account when designing a digital memorial service. The Finnish population provides a suitably compact target group to narrow the scope for this study, which is in part cultural. In addition, the concept provided in this thesis documents the life stories of the deceased in order to meet their needs of being remembered after death. Therefore, the objective of this study is to provide a digital memorial concept that bridges the gap between digital and physical worlds, while at the same time documenting the life stories of the deceased by utilising web technologies for a specific culture, namely Finnish culture.
The proposed concept is based on user surveys, semi-structured interviews, and a literature study. In the early stage, two visual concepts were created for a digital memorial in Finland. At the end of their development, the two concepts were evaluated by Finns and the preferred concept was selected. Hopefully, the concepts provided in this thesis will inspire future digital mourning practices.
Darkroom Mansion is a mobile video game about the subject of chemical-based photographic processing. The game was produced for the Finnish Museum of Photography as part of an initiative to revive the interest in the darkroom and its associated practices. This thesis analyzes the design process of the game from my perspective as designer and programmer. The analysis offers a comprehensive look into the game in terms of structure and its corresponding aesthetics. These views serve as a basis to understand several aspects that are intrinsic to game design and development, and how they were perceived and approached for Darkroom Mansion. The thesis concludes with lessons learned from the overall development process of the game, and offers suggestions to approach the design of similar games more advantageously.
The Autonomous Creative System is an is an investigation into the creative capabilities of computational systems. To determine if computers will ever be able to generate creative content different aspects of creativity are analysed in a literature study. First several definitions of creativity are studied. A wide range of views suggested by different authors form the basis for a working definition, that will serve as a guideline for the rest of the thesis. At the end of the chapter creativity is defined as a process of generating an effective product from novel combinations.
After this the creative process is investigated and several hypotheses and theories on how creativity functions are analysed. This is done while keeping a clear emphasis on a potential computational implementation. Theories from cognitive science and psychology are used to explain creative thought, prob-lem solving and analogical thinking. The explanations are not aimed at finding a conclusive theory on human creativity, but attempt to formulate the process in a way that could be performed by a computational system.
After concluding that the most important aspect of creativity is the ability to form analogical combinations, several projects that are related to the findings of the literature study are evaluated. The projects all include aspects of creativity, but cannot be said to fullfill the requirements to be called creative.
Finally a system is proposed that incorporates the findings and satisfies the goals set at the start of the research. The proposed system will be able to function autonomously, process observations from its surroundings, store knowledge and create its own output based on an analogical process. Thus it can be stated that, theoretically, an artificial system that is capable of creative output is possible. Future implementation in the ALOES project is discussed and several limitations and areas for further research are mentioned.
This text describes some possibilities of expanding the materiality of a digital photograph, using digital fabrication tools.
The goal of such expansion would be to widen the perception of photographs as art pieces. The post-digital is being reviewed as the current context for any artistic work, which would be interested in integrating the digital domain into the physical.
The main proposition is that embracing the manipulability of digital photography, and adding physicality to it, could enable the development of novel types of hybrid in- terdisciplinary artworks. These pieces could dissolve further the traditional divisions be- tween artistic mediums. The topic is examined in practice through three personal works of art, created in the period 2015-2017. Experimentation with 3d printing, CNC-millng and mixing digital photography with basic electronics lead to the realisation of the pieces.
Additionally, describing and analysing the process of their creation could help outline the role of technology in shaping the final appearance of such a hybrid artwork.
Mitä mediatuottajat voivat oppia sim racing -alagenrestä?
Tutkimus pyrkii tuomaan esille mediantuotantoon liittyviä kriteerejä, joita eSports- lajityypin ja tarkemmin sim racing -pelin vakavimmat harrastajat asettavat median sisältötuotannon kehitykselle Suomessa. Sim racing on eSports-alalaji, jossa kilpaillaan ajosimulaattoriohjelmilla. eSports-laji on Aasiassa hyvin suosittu, ja eSports-lähetyksiä tuotetaan päivittäin televisioon ja Internet-alustoille. Tutkimus pyrkii tarjoamaan suomalaiselle mediatuotannolle suosituksia siitä, miten tv-, online- ja tapahtumien sisällöntuotantoa voisi kehittää eSports-yleisöä kiinnostavaksi. Pyrkimyksenä on tuottaa kaupallisen median tuottajille näkökulmaa pohjautuen alan huippujen tarpeisiin.
Tutkimus koostuu sekä kvantitatiivisesta että kvalitatiivisesta osiosta. Kvantitatiivisen osion online-kyselyn tulokset luovat tutkimuksen pääasiallisen rakenteen. Kyselyn avulla pyritään tuomaan esille eSports-lajin vakavan harrastuksen tason pelaajien tarpeita, kun lähetyksiä tuotetaan kaupallisen median kanaville. Kvalitatiivisessa osiossa tuodaan esille suomalaisen huipputason eSports-pelaajan näkemyksiä ja käytetään asiantuntija-apuna suomalaisen sim racing -yhdistyksen puheenjohtajan tietoa. Teoriaosuudessa tutkimus vertaa Etelä-Korean ja Suomen eSports-tilannetta keskenään.
Pieni mutta vaikutusvaltainen sim racing -lajin intressiryhmä muodostaa tärkeän roolin kehitettäessä lajista kaupallista mediaa. Vastaavanlaisia alakulttuureja ovat esimerkiksi skeittarit ja heidän oma tapansa tehdä elokuvia. Heidän kriteeriensä huomioon ottaminen saattaa osoittautua jopa elinehdoksi kaupallistamista miettiville tahoille. Tämän tutkimuksen tarkoitus on avata sim racing -pelaajien kriteerejä, minkä avulla voidaan mahdollistaa parempilaatuiset lähetykset ja kaupallistamisen onnistuminen.
Digital Media and the Transformation of Visual Communication Design Education: Teaching and Conclusions From Three Case Studies
This thesis outlines three years of the pedagogical design and implementation of the bachelor-level courses Digital Media I, II, and III, taught through the Visual Communication Design department at Aalto University. My work within this thesis focuses on pedagogy through the lens of social constructivism and design-based research methods. In addition, this thesis thoroughly explains the tools and practices I employed from 2015–2018 as the instructor for these courses. Through the perspective of autoethnography, I also analyse the path of the Digital Media series’ development using written observations taken throughout the courses and student evaluations.
Due to the brevity of the course length and the topical breadth necessary to create a solid foundation for undergraduates during these obligatory Digital Media courses, I have attempted as a pedagogue to design course content and events that reflect a student’s personal connection to—as well as a firm contextual understanding of—the focal topics. Throughout three semesters of study, the Digital Media series covers three main topics: digital literacy, motion graphics design, and real-time visual performance. Within this thesis, I discuss these concepts and my pedagogical choices in detail and anchor them with the necessary historical and cultural explanations.
Lastly, through the insights I have gained through my involvement with the Digital Media course, I offer suggestions, personal insight, and practical advice that will hopefully contribute to the dialogue surrounding topics of digitality in visual communication design and how to best teach them.
This thesis aims to produce a solution which can create motion for full body virtual characters from the input of a typical virtual reality device and illustrates the issues when mapping the input motion from a virtual reality device to a full body character, an issue which is titled the ’Full Body Problem.’
The technical part of the thesis is created using Unity3D, a game engine. The animations used as a data source for the solution were a combination of motion capture animations created in Aalto MotionLab and premade clips from Unity Technologies.
The written part explores the theoretical background for animating virtual characters and controlling them in real-time applications using various animation control methods. The definition of the Full Body Problem is introduced and discussed. An overview of the different technical parts is presented before an evaluation using a side-by-side comparison between the user motion and the motion created by the solution.
The result of this thesis is a technical solution which produces relatively natural-looking motion of a virtual character from the user’s motion. The solution is controlled by a typical virtual reality device. The results provide insights for researchers and developers looking to develop similar systems. In conclusion, using a hybrid approach of direct mapping and animation control to solve the problem of limited tracking data is a solid basis for solving the Full Body Problem.
Around 252 million trips by public transport are taken in Helsinki every year, and about 122 million passen- gers travel by Helsinki City Transport (tram, metro and ferry) in and around Finland’s capitol. Given these numbers, it is important that the system be as wholly efficient, inclusive, and as easy to use as possible.
In my master’s thesis, I examine Helsinki Region Transport’s ticketing and information system. I pay special attention to their new touch screen card readers, framing them in the context of increasing usa- bility and accessibility through the use of sound design. I look at what design decisions have been made and compare these with a variety of available technology that exists today, as well as what solutions are being used in other cities. Throughout my research, I’ve placed an emphasis on sonic cues and sound design, as this is my area of study. Everything is assessed against the requirements and perspective of Helsinki’s public transportation end users who are blind and visually impaired.
I have used desk research, field research, user testing and stakeholder interviews in my methodology. I have put forth suggestions on how to improve the current system, taking into account the learnings from my research. I have looked at key points around people with disabilities and how sound can be used to improve accessibility and general functionality for all. I also hope to share this thesis with HSL and HKL, whom may use it to inform future optimization of their systems.
Forest relationship is a hot, controversial topic in Finland. e importance of forests is undeniable, yet mul- tifaceted, including community, spiritual, personal and economic components. While most Finns identify themselves as forest- loving people and are eager to share their experiences of peace and empowerment in the forest, they are not so troubled with the rapid growth of the forest industry in Finland. How can this be explained?
e aim of my thesis is to study these controversial forest relationships and nd out how and why they are constructed and how they manifest in different representations of forest. e thesis is composed of two parts, a written part and a production part.
I stake the claim that the forest loving quality of Finns is a relatively recent phenomenon, brought to light at the end of 19th century as a part of a nationalistic project of building Finnishness. Prior to this time, the relationship towards forests was pragmatic, antagonistic, wary and even hostile. e forest as a national symbol is not an exclusively Finnish cultural icon, of course, but instead a rather common feature of ro- mantic nationalism, at the time a very popular ideological current in Europe. However, Finns have identi- ed themselves thoroughly, even exclusively, as forest people. Many people consider Finnish cultural to be essentially rooted in forests.
In my study, I treat various forest relationships, and the forest presentations they construct, as narra- tions. Each one possesses a certain message, serves a certain agenda and manifests a unique idea of hu- manness, nature, and the relationship between the two. Accordingly, I use a division of four forest attitudes by philosopher Juhani Pietarinen: utilitarian, humanistic, mystic and primitivist. Each of these attitudes represents forest in a different way. ese representations do not only display the reality but also shape it according to the attitudes through which they are produced. e mental images they create are utilized in branding the forest industry as a patriotic and nature loving operator.
The production part of my thesis, installation Understory, puts these different representations on display. e installation, divided in three connected parts, uses the triptych structure of religious art, thus placing the forest relationship discussion in the frame of sacral Finnishness. Each of the parts represent different forest relationships. Two of them realized as miniature dioramas, underlining human need to control natu- re as well as our role as occupying just a tiny part of the whole. e middle part displays a real time video stream from forest on a screen, showing a forest without humans and placing the question of simultaneous being of other life forms and their right to remain so, as well as the possibility of mediating presence and liveness through media.
This thesis explores on the potential practices for experience design through examining the design and production process of Drinking Light, an experiential event concept. The thesis draws upon the literature published on Experience Design, examines examples and concepts emphasis- ing multisensory eating experiences, as well as highlights considerations for designing a mediated experience.
The production part of the thesis describes the creative process of Drinking Light and evaluates its results. The thesis also reflects upon academic literature and similar experiential concepts to identify useful patterns and frameworks to be applied in the implementation of Drinking Light. As the practical result, the thesis presents a tested event concept and its consisting elements (i.e. narrative, light, drink, tableware, interaction, host, setting and location), which together aim to evoke an experience of drinking light. The evaluation of the Drinking Light experience bases upon the combination of validated AttrakDiff evaluation, a short specially designed structured questionnaire, interviews and observations collected during the demo experiences. The results indicate that Drinking Light succeeded in creating an experience of drinkable light. However, as the evaluation focused on Drinking Light as a novelty experience, no conclusive argument can be offered beyond that. The positive initial response, nevertheless, supports continuing with the concept.
Based on this thesis work, the design effort for aligning proved useful. Especially the combination of methods used to 1) vertically align the experiential elements guided by the identified underlying user motivation, and to 2) horizontally align them in relation to each other seems recommendable.
Ultralight is a photo and video editing application developed for iOS devices. The speciality of Ultralight is its intuitive user interface where the edited photo can float behind the editing controls to allow a full editing experience on a small mobile screen. In this Master’s thesis, I study the itera- tive design process and research practical and lightweight user testing methods to conduct an evaluation of Ultralight’s design. Based on the findings I design a new update to the Ultralight. Ultralight is an ongoing solo-project which is fully designed and developed by myself.
In the core of the iterative design process is the aim to design, analyse and refine the work in small cycles to constantly learn how well the design functions in reality. This is especially im- portant when working with interactive applications, where the digital platforms allow incremental design, continuous change and improvement. There are different ways to collect data to analyse the performance of digital products, but in this thesis, I focus on fast and efficient user testing methods to collect qualitative data of how the participants use and value Ultralight. I use the eval- uation as a design tool to improve the current state of the user interface and analyse the iterative design process through concepts of user experience design, user-centered design, usability, lean and agile methods.
Doing design work in iterations and user testing in-between helps to improve the understanda- bility and quality of the design. Doing user testing is usually thought to be cumbersome and take a lot effort. However, there are many easy and fast methods to conduct user testing in practical manners. In this thesis, I formulate an efficient and easy method for user testing, which can be conducted remotely with the help of the new screen recording feature on the iOS 11 operating sys- tem. The iterative design process aims to improve the quality of the design but it is also a crucial tool for the designers to improve their skills by collecting real feedback from their own work.
The Pretty Vacant, a programmable guitar pedal
This thesis presents a design process of a programmable guitar pedal The Pretty Vacant. Programmability in guitar effect units have been a growing trend and small number of different solutions are already in production. This thesis proposes how a programmable pedal can be designed and which qualities should be included into the design.
The Pretty Vacant is a physical platform in which user can implement self-developed programming. The controls of the Pretty Vacant pedal are limited to those which can be operated by foot. The Pretty Vacant consists of 7 momentary switches and three inputs for expression pedals. The controls of the Pretty Vacant are not fixed but can be programmed in any desired way. The self-developed signal processing can be implemented to the pedal very quickly and the physical unit meets the demands of live use.
I have designed the Pretty Vacant based on my needs in my artistic activity. The pedal is a tool to expand sonic vocabulary. Its purpose is to provide more freedom in creativity but also work as a reliable musical unit. In my artistic work, I am specialized in contemporary and experimental music and I look continuously for new ways of musical expression. The Pretty Vacant gives a chance to constantly develop new sounds.
The topic of the guitar pedals is discussed by introducing examples of early guitar pedals to contemporary ones. The process of design is unfolded in detail and the pedal is studied through case studies. Although, further development is needed to improve sound quality, The Pretty Vacant has been successfully used in live concerts.
This thesis work is based on a Virtual Heritage project being developed by the Systems of Representation research group. The objective of the project is to create a showcase demonstration on how the virtual reality (VR) could be used as an application for tourism in the heritage sector. In this context, my task was to develop a concept and prototype of how ‘spatialized’ sound could be used in a VR application. The initial location chosen for the concept was the ancient heritage burial site of Sammallahdenmäki, one of the Finnish heritage sites listed in the UNESCO register of World Heritage Sites.
The thesis, that is written from an audio designer’s perspective, focuses on three aspects of this project. First is the sound design for the Virtual Heritage project and the second is the quality of currently available ‘spatializer’ plug-ins used for headphone listening. In order to evaluate the process of designing 3D audio for virtual environments, the methods and principles within binaural rendering, sound design and immersion must be understood. Therefore, functions and theories within audio spatialization and 3D audio design are reviewed.
Audio designers working on virtual reality content need the best possible solutions for creating believable 3D audio experiences. However, while working on the Virtual Heritage project, we did not find any comparative studies made about commercially available spatializer plug-ins for Unity. Thus, it was unknown what plug-in would have been the best possible solution for 3D audio spatialization. Consequently, two tests were conducted during this thesis work. First was an online test measuring which spatializer would be the most highly rated, in terms of perceived directional precision when utilizing head-related transfer functions without reverb or room simulations. The second was a comparative test studying if a spatialized audio rendering would increase immersion compared to non-spatialized audio rendering, when tested with the Virtual Heritage demonstration.
The central aim in the showcase demonstration was to create an immersive virtual environment where users would feel as if they were travelling from the present, back to the Bronze Age, in order to understand and learn about the location’s unique history via auditory storytelling. The project was implemented utilising the Unity game engine. The research on music and other sound content used in the project’s sonic environment is explained. Finally, results of the project work are discussed.
In this master’s thesis, I will analyse human-robot interaction as a dramatic event: how do robots build dramatic encounters with human users. Artificial intelligence (AI) is presently utilised in numerous contexts, from search engines and customer support to social media face recognition and self-driving cars, to name but a few. Currently, the creation of AI and the embodiment of it, the robot, relate strongly to the field of technology. However, in this thesis I shift the focus from programming to the process of developing the connection between a human and a robot. To elaborate, the aim is to study the narrative elements of robots revealed through their characters.
As a writer and a designer, I set out to reflect upon the phenomenon of human-robot interaction through my own artistic work. I made an interactive video installation in which I created a presentation of an AI character, Vega 2.0. The installation was exhibited in Tokyo twice in the summer of 2017. The first occasion took place in Hakoniwa-exhibition on 22.-24.6.2017 and the second occasion in Musashino Art University Open Campus -festival 10.-11.6.2017.
Furthermore, I will introduce some fundamental screenwriting principles and methods, for example, by Gustav Freytag and Robert McKee. To illustrate plot structure and narrative units of a story, I will also reflect upon the script of a concept video I’ll be your tree, which I created for the prototype of the installation Vega 2.0. In addition, by analysing my encounter with a Pepper-robot in the winter of 2018, I reflect upon how Aristotle’s dramatic principles can be applied when analysing a human-robot encounter as a dramatic event.
The story of mythical robots was born long before technology made them a reality in today’s world. Yet, they may feel distant and ambiguous. As for us designers, it is our responsibility to direct the proportions of fantasy and realism. Reflecting upon my own artistic work, I aimed to show how robots need narrative elements in order to bring them alive. This is achieved through building a relationship between the human and the robot. In order for the robot to function and act in the human-robot interaction, a coherent plot and a detailed, believable and strong personality needs to be created for it.
Due to the evolution and advancement of virtual reality (VR) devices, developers are now able to build high-resolution virtual environments with the capability of providing both immersive and interactive experiences. As a result, VR technologies have been deployed widely in different fields for various purposes, such as entertainment, tourism, marketing, education and cultural heritage preservation.
The Interactive Diorama, the project documented in this thesis, is an example of the latter. It is a virtual reality installation that takes its point of origin from the well-known 17th-century paint- ing The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp by Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, a prominent Dutch painter. The installation is a reinterpretation and reconstruction of the painting, providing users with the possibility of exploring the artwork beyond its two-dimensional surface. My role in the project was to develop the user interface for the VR system of the installation, as well as design and implement the user interactions. The final version of the installation was exhibited at the Ars Electronica festival Linz, in September 2017.
This thesis serves as a written documentation of the entire design and implementation process of the project, emphasising the research supporting the design of the 3D user interface and the rea- soning behind the implementation approaches we took for the deployment of the user interac- tions. I hope the detailed accounts of the development process of the Interactive Diorama present- ed by this thesis will prove enlightening for those who are embarking on their journey to design and implement an interactive VR application. Hopefully, the obstacles that we encountered and the solutions that we proposed will provide insights for those who are facing similar issues so as to shorten their struggle.
This thesis explores one particular urban public space Sennaya Square in Saint-Petersburg through a series of multidisciplinary approaches in listening. They include both interpretive listening to the square’s soundscape and listening to people who, in one or another way, relate to Sennaya Square. The thesis’ primary interest lies in meanings, narratives and cultural practices of Sennaya Square that are revealed through studying its auditory domain and hearing its users. Sennaya Square’s heterogeneous auditory profile reflects complexity of practices performed by users of the space, as well as its vernac- ular social tensions: Sennaya Square is characterized by sounds of sociality, sounds of necessity and a state of verbal pluralism; also, the square provides space to be publicly heard and privately unheard; however, it fails to become an area of civil communication. The paper goes on to analyze particular patterns in perception of the square’s soundscape: it turns out that people recognize Sennaya’s sonic space as human-dominated and perceive it in relation to other public spaces in Saint-Petersburg; the square’s noisiness is thought of as natural, constituting an idea of a sonic norm. The thesis then discusses how certain actors of Sennaya Square use amplified sound to control the acoustic space and produce meanings in attempt to curate passers-by; in their turn, pedestrians either find ways to resist such acoustic policies or accept them and become grouped in temporary acoustic communities. The paper progresses with yet another listening practice a case study in oral narratives related to memories of Sennaya Square in the nineties that mirror a particular cultural image of Sennaya as a marginal place. In the end, a short post-script audio piece is presented. All together, this thesis aims to explore Sennaya Square in the variety and complexity of its social and cultural contexts through multiple experiences in listening.
The amount of digital educational resources has grown dramatically over the past two decades. Also, the fast development and growth in the number of mobile devices at home and schools has created new possibilities for learning. Thousands of online sites and applications are offering edu- cational resources in different formats and interfaces. In order to make these resources as effi- cient and useful as possible, developers should gather more information about usability and user experience to build better interfaces.
In this research, I will evaluate the usability of the two, modern virtual learning environments (VLEs) used in Qatar- Finland International School. The VLEs are Sanoma Pro and Microsoft Office 365. These particular learning environments were selected by interviewing the users at school. This thesis in a qualitative study and the research methods are semi-structured interviews and a thinking aloud- method. The informants are from three different categories: users (students), su- per-users (teachers and administration) and experts (usability professionals). The research was carried out in the academic year 2016-2017 and finalised during 2018.
As a result, a conclusion can be drawn that especially in Office 365 more emphasis should be put on usability from the student’s and teacher’s point of view. Overall, the complexity of the learning environment makes it relatively hard to use for many unexperienced users. Sanoma Pro material, on the other hand, has taken the users well into consideration but is lacking the possibilities of editing the materials according to the needs of the end-user. It is important to make a careful usability testing before the launching of the material, and take all possible stakeholders in to con- sideration. According to this research the recommendation is to use three groups in the usability testing of the learning materials: teachers, students and usability experts.
In general, developers of the learning resources should take the questions of usability in to care- ful consideration in order to produce compatible quality materials for effective and long-time use in growing international markets.
The Use of a Personal Computer is a series of live performances which examines visual performance, interface aesthetics and cybernetic criticism in media art. This Master’s Thesis work consists of the performances, two of which are documented with video material included as links to the manuscript and the written thesis.
The written part of the thesis examines the processes behind the realisation of the project and the context within digital art of the artistic and design decisions made. Its main argument presents that interface aesthetics can be used as elements in media art to discuss mediation and other implications of human-computer interaction. By adopting theoretical frameworks the work presents that through foregrounding the often ”transparent” interfaces and media artefacts, an artist is able to assign new meanings to them beyond their sole function, creating new representations. The thesis addresses a proposition according to which criticism of a cybernetic system should be meta-reflective and cybernetic in its form, examining in which respects the live performance managed to address this proposal.
Ultimately the text describes the performance in conceptual terms and introduces the observations of this experimentation and in which terms the work participates in cybernetic criticism.
Computational thinking has experienced considerable growth in the last decade and its entry into K-12 education has been steadfast. Schools worldwide have begun implementing curricula based on computational thinking and programming in order to prepare students for a future with ubiquitous computing. Similarly, educational initiatives, policymakers and companies have followed suit to provide their own implementations. Coding education and computational thinking have also entered mobile apps, opening up a variety of opportunities for app developers.
This production-based thesis explores the array of approaches with which computational thinking can be brought to consumer products, while at the same time promoting creativity and play. Additionally, it documents the development of Ruby+ Blob, a mobile app aimed at teaching computational thinking skills to children, aged three to eight years, through open-ended play. The design and utility of the app were informed by research conducted on the state and principles of computational thinking and by a benchmark of currently existing implementations.
A literature review was carried out on the subject of computational thinking in order to present a comprehensive summary of the current state of the field. The review investigated its history, a concise definition of the term, core principles involved, educational developments and criticisms raised. Additionally, prominent existing implementations were examined to gain an understanding of the breadth of possible applications. Findings from these studies were utilized in creating the Ruby+ Blob app. The production steps were documented with comparisons to the implementations and assessments of the application of computational thinking principles.
The research revealed the core concepts of computational thinking as decomposition, pattern recognition, abstraction and algorithmic thinking, and additional practices as debugging, tinkering and creating. Existing implementations benchmarked displayed a variety of approaches with trends, such as visual programming, or block code, instruction-based sequences, robotics and games, emerging. These insights were used to design, compare and assess the production.
This thesis explores how ABB AbilityTM Marine Pilot Vision (PV) can provide new customer value. PV is a sensor fusion solution monitoring the surroundings of the vessel to gain situational awareness for the ferry operation. The research question is how can Pilot Vision data be adopted for new transit experiences for crew and passengers beyond ship operations.
The study uses a phenomenological approach to analyse the current and desired transit experi- ences, and builds on previous research by e.g. Hassenzahl (e.g. 2013 and 2017) and Desmet (2012). Experience goals are set based on a model by Kaasinen et al. (2015). The research is organised in two cycles. First, the methods include literature review, diary study, in-depth interviews and ob- servations. The second part comprises concept development, building a provocative prototype and testing it.
The results show the variety of current transit-related experiences that can be improved by the setting experience goals: Stimulation, Fellowship, Fascination, Inspiration, Freedom and Dreaminess. The Rocking concept utilizes the motion and camera vision data of PV. It proved to be the best concept to achieve the goals. The provocative prototype of Rocking addressed hedonic and pragmatic qualities that are important for desirable transit experiences. Rocking concept can bring new opportunities for enhancing the surroundings for ferry transit experiences by using PV data.
Sharing content on the internet has become an everyday practice. Digital communities use social media as a platform to develop discussions using hashtags, centred around both trivial and politically relevant subjects. By creating a dynamic data sculpture, Ephemeral Data, this thesis examines whether embodying LGBT-related hashtags into a physical form has the potential to create space for empathy, discussion, and engagement. In so doing, Ephemeral Data explores the transition of digital information into physical artefacts, becoming a new medium to signify political debate within the digital realm. Examining whether alternative forms of representation of a data stream can change our perceptions and whether this transition to an embodied object can reframe the semantic meaning of these digital bits of self-generated content. This thesis concludes that seeing data visualised physically in space can raise awareness of a controversial subject matter. It does not, however, appear to change the literal meaning of the subject in question.
Media archaeology is a field of media research investigating new media cultures through material manifestations. Although often recognized as an approach to art, its use as an approach to design has not been fully explored. Media archaeology can be valuable because it offers alternative qualities of mediation, as a design palette, to that of prescriptive common media devices. This thesis describes a media ar- chaeological approach towards the design of a cultural heritage media installation, exhibited at Häme Castle between April–December 2017, and produced as a col- laboration between the National Museum of Finland (Kansallismuseo) and the Sys- tems of Representation research group in the Department of Media at Aalto Uni- versity in Finland. The installation displayed a multi-view stereoscopic (3D) digital reconstruction of a medieval sculptural scene of St. George and the Dragon, based on preserved, fragmented medieval sculptures from the museum’s archives. Four stereoscopic video viewers were synchronized to a rotating central physical display, affording visitors an effect of augmented reality, without the need for a mainstream augmented reality implementation. Though the work was time-limited and project- driven, the design approach achieved a well-integrated installation that was sensi- tive to the aims of an exhibition of sculpture within a cultural heritage museum: artistry, materiality, interpretation. This thesis therefore seeks to argue that media archaeological approaches to design can identify historical ideas that can be reme- diated into relevancy for new contexts, and, in spite of their historical connotations, foster engaging technological experiences for the contemporary audience, that are sensitive to the aims of an exhibition of cultural heritage.
This thesis presents the design, implementation and findings of a Virtual Reality Musical Instrument (VRMI). The project was done under the direction of the Sound and Physical Interaction (SOPI) research group. The project was made following an iterative design methodology and the metaphors and design patterns used in Ubiquitous Music Systems.
In contrast with the fast adoption of Virtual Reality as a platform for new entertainment productions, it is noticeable that the area of new interfaces for musical expression (NIME) has been disbelieving towards this technology. At the same time, previous projects under the category of VRMI have made a clear distinction between the instrument, an external 3D model, and the user. Thereby, this thesis presents a project that focuses on how VR can enhance individual musical interaction? In order to do so, this project is directed to blurry the lines between performer, instrument and environment by creating immersion through 3D audio, audiovisual feedback, bodily and spatial interaction interaction, the performer and the system’s autonomous responses. As a final result, this thesis reaches to provide the NIME community with a purposeful use of Virtual Reality as an interactive musical platform.
My MA thesis is a collaborative research and design project about designing a mobile application to bridge the communication gap between Deaf people and healthcare professionals in South Africa. It explores health knowledge transfer problems faced by the Deaf community during a health consultation and aims to solve them by the means of a mobile application interface designed to aid communication.
Healthcare, a basic human right, is violated when healthcare professionals don’t find the means to communicate health information to Deaf people in a medium that they understand. This communication problem is due to a language barrier between the Deaf and the hearing world. A Deaf person uses sign language as his or her primary form of communication, yet there is a lack of sign language interpreters at healthcare centers. Sign language is the first language of Deaf people because of which a number of Deaf communities all over the world are only able to use a very basic level of written or spoken language. Moreover, medical information is complex and the factors mentioned above make it difficult to transfer health knowledge between healthcare professionals and Deaf patients, leading to poor health conditions of the latter.
In order to solve this problem, my thesis explores ways of transferring medical knowledge using visual methods of communication as opposed to text based communication, via a mobile application. Since health knowledge is a vast topic, for my project I focus on only one medical condition, Diabetes type 2. This choice is determined by the fact that Diabetes is a lifelong condition that requires regular hospital visits and timely communication and treatment. A core aspect of my research is finding ways to design interactive interfaces that better suit the requirements of the Deaf user than they do at present, using a process of benchmarking, co- creation, interviews and usability testing. My project documents insights from desk and field research which are used to design and test a prototype of the mobile application with Deaf users in South Africa.
Tunneanalytiikkaa pintaa syvemmältä: Mitä suunnittelijan tulisi tietää emootioista?
Tunneanalytiikkasovellusten suunnitteluun liittyvät valinnat pohjautuvat suurelta osin Paul Ekmanin emootioteoriaan, jonka mukaan ihmisellä on kuusi diskreettiä, sisäsyntyistä perusemootiota: suru, viha, pelko, inho, ilo ja yllätys. Tiedeyhteisön piirissä on kuitenkin erilaisia näkemyksiä siitä, miten perusemootiot tulisi määritellä, ja osa teorioista näkee emootiot sosiaalis-kielellisinä rakennelmina ilman biologista pohjaa.
Tämä johtaa opinnäytetyöni tutkimuskysymykseen: Mitä suunnittelijan tulisi tietää kulttuurin ja biologian vaikutuksista emootioihin? Kysymykseen vastaamalla tarkoitukseni oli löytää teoreettiset elementit tunneanalytiikassa hyödynnettävän emootiomallin kehittämiseksi. Halusin myös herättää yleisesti keskustelua suunnittelijan vastuusta olla tietoinen niistä teorioista, joihin omat suunnitteluun liittyvät valinnat pohjautuvat.
Opinnäytetyöni on teoreettinen ja sen tutkimusmetodina on systemaattinen tekstianalyysi. Analyysi nosti esiin kaksi kilpailevaa emootioteoriaa, joiden keskinäinen vertailu osoittautui hyödylliseksi tutkimuskysymykseni ja tavoitteeni kannalta. Toinen teorioista on Lisa Feldman Barrettin konstruktivistinen strukturoitujen emootioiden teoria, joka korostaa kulttuurin merkitystä emootioiden muodostumisen taustalla, ja toinen on Jaak Pankseppin tutkimustraditiosta nouseva affektiivinen neurotiede, jonka mukaan meillä on sisäsyntyisiä perusemootioita, mutta niiden määritelmä poikkeaa Ekmanin määritelmästä merkittävästi.
Tutkimusprosessin aikana esiin nousi myös Karl Fristonin kehittämä biologisten prosessien toimintaa kuvaava vapaan energian periaate, jota Mark Solms on vuorostaan soveltanut affektiiviseen neurotieteeseen. Vapaan energian periaate yhdessä affektiivisen neurotieteen kanssa tarjosivat teoreettisen viitekehyksen emootioiden toimintamallille. Sen sijaan totesin strukturoitujen emootioiden teorian soveltumattomaksi ohjaamaan suunnitteluun liittyviä valintoja.
Tutkimaani mallia voidaan soveltaa tunneanalytiikan lisäksi affektiivisessa tietojenkäsittelyssä, sekä tuotteiden ja palveluiden suunnittelussa ja osana suunnitteluprosessia. Malli vaatii kuitenkin jatkokehitystä ja sovittamista eri käyttötarkoituksiin, jotta sitä voidaan hyödyntää käytännön työkaluna.
This thesis explores design issues that should be taken into account when developing mobile services for women experiencing intimate partner violence (IPV). The aim of the thesis was to apply user-centred design methods and gain understanding of the situation and the needs of potential users of a mobile application aimed at women under a threat of abuse. The thesis explores the op- portunities mobile technology could offer to women recovering from IPV. The threats posed by the violent environment and the attempt to develop ways to reduce the risks were emphasised in the research and design project.
The theoretical part of the thesis deals with the definition of intimate partner violence, the consequences of violence from a survivor point of view and the means of surviving violence. In addition, this section examines the risks and opportunities that information technology enables in abusive situations. The theoretical part is followed by a description of a design project aimed at developing a concept for a mobile application for women experiencing violence. The research on which the design work was based was carried out using user-centered design methods such as interviews, surveys and mapping the current operating environment and available services for survivors. The concept of the mobile application related to the thesis was evaluated using prototyping and usability tests. The thesis introduces the application concept that emerged from the design work and suggests principles to be used to support design in situations where users live under a threat of violence. The following principles emerged from the study: 1) safety and privacy, 2) validation and support for empowerment and 3) encouragement to reach out.
The findings indicate that mobile applications developed with user-centred design approach can provide beneficial tools for coping with IPV. The potential features were for example anonymous contact to support organisation, diary, and information on violence and safety arrangements. The study implies that it is possible to reduce the threat of violence related to the use situations. The study implies that the risk of violence when using the application can be reduced by for example protecting the content with a password, hiding the actual content of the application and sharing information about security and privacy. It is also important to recommend that the users evaluate their own security situation and act on their own assessment.
This thesis explores practical aspects of audio design in mid-core games – a massive segment of the modern mobile game market. Despite there is no shortage of professional literature about game audio in general, most of it describes either purely technical or very general matters, taking video games as undivided whole. Games, however, can be broken up into distinct categories, based on genres, platforms, audiences and other criteria. This is the direction I take with my research, focusing on a specific type of games, developed for mobile devices and targeted towards a well- defined audience.
The goal of my thesis was to find out if mid-core mobile games require special approach to audio design and what this approach would be. The first two chapters focus on critical aspects of mobile game audio and audio design principles of mid-core games. The two latter chapters describe practical matters of audio design for an actual video game, starting with design principles and ending with project-specific challenges and creative choices.
The results show that audio design for mid-core mobile games has a few special aspects on top of existing principles of mobile game audio. These aspects result from the design patterns shared by majority of mid-core games developed for mobile platforms.
The design of multiplayer games controls the sociality players can engage in. Previous research into player sociality has focused on the viewpoint of the player and especially on sociality in Massive Multiplayer Online Games. This thesis expands on this perspective by studying the design of team-based online multiplayer games and the effect the design has on the players.
Two connected studies are completed. The first study uses formal analysis approach to describe and analyze the social elements and structures of three team- based online multiplayer games. The second study uses participatory observation to analyze how the social structure uncovered affects the player sociality.
The results show that social structure of team-based multiplayer games can be divided into four different stages: The names Lounge, Lobby, Stage and Curtains were chosen to describe the stages. The Lounge is a place for sociability and relaxation. At the Lobby the players make their preparations and negotiate their role within the team. At the Stage, players focus on performing and on instrumental sociality but also create shared memories. The Curtains sees players focus on social validation, social management and negotiating their relationships with the other players.
Knowledge of the social stages and their role in player sociality will help researchers understand the social environments game design creates as well as their effect on player sociality. The results also give game designers a way to inspect the social spaces their games include, and aid in controlling them better.
In this thesis, I’m discussing the topic of representation in documentary films from the standpoint of audio post production and score music composition. My specific concern is how ethnic and cultural characteristics are expressed and denoted through the narrative conventions of sound design and score music. The case study of this thesis is a feature-length documentary film Between Rings (2014), that was filmed in Zambia by a Finnish-Zambian production crew. Although the topics discussed in this thesis are based on a theoretical framework of academic film studies, I’m also examining practical post production techniques and aural denotative practices related to representing social actors and cultural environments in nonfiction films. Here, my purpose is to provide the reader a comprehensive review of frequently employed methods of auditive narration practices found in contemporary film productions, while addressing the characteristic ethical indifference that has been permeating the auditive signification processes in nonfiction films. It is being noted how audio narration has not been receiving the theoretical attention it deserves, in spite of the abundance of critical discussions related to the topic of visual representation.
The aim of the thesis is to present arguments against the persistent notion of sound design and incidental music being essentially non-representative forms of cinematic narration. As long as they are not thought to directly contribute to the depictions of social actors represented in documentary film narratives, their denotative mechanisms will be excluded from the beneficiary influence of critical examination, thus increasing the possibility of misrepresenting individuals and communities depicted in documentary films.
This thesis explores the meanings and roles of electroacoustic mediums in Turkey in the case of the coup attempt of July 15, 2016. Although the sounds of the failed coup received controversial reactions from different social circles and therefore engendered various consequences, sounds that were echoed from loudspeakers of radio and megaphones had a great impact on political and social behavior during and after the coup attempt. This event is an exceptional example of how the ingredients of quotidian soundscape are transformed into politically charged sounds and led various reactions from different social circles. The aim of this thesis is to understand the constituents of electroacoustic soundscape that mediate social and political relationships in Turkey in the context of coup attempt, following different dimensions of people’s experiences, reflections, and consequences of political soundscapes. The outcomes and the process of study are discussed through two audio documentaries that are inspired by personal reflections of political, cultural, and emotional effects of the coup attempt.
VR-CHEM is a prototype for a virtual reality molecular modelling program with a modern 3D user interface. In this thesis, the author discusses the research behind the development of the prototype, provides a detailed description of the program and its features, and reports on the user tests.
The research includes reviewing previous programs of a similar category that have appeared in studies in the literature. Some of these are related to chemistry and molecular modelling while others focus on 3D input techniques. Consequently, the prototype contributes by exploring the design of the user interface and how it can a afect productivity in this category of programs. The prototype is subjected to a pilot user test to evaluate what further developments are required. Based on this, the thesis proposes that 3D interfaces, while capable of several unique tasks, are yet to overcome some significant drawbacks such as limitations in accuracy and precision. It also suggests that virtual reality can aid in spatial understanding but virtual hands and controllers are far inferior to real hands for even basic tasks due to a lack of tactile feedback.
Aparaatti – A Playful Interactive Installation for Children
In June 2016, four students from Aalto University, myself included were hired to create an interactive art piece for children’s rock festival Seikkisrock Turku. During three months of design work, Aparaatti was born and presented for two days to the festival audience. In this thesis, I am going through our collective creating process of this live performed electronic art piece and view its usage via children as an audience.
In my production part, I am presenting video documentation of the real usage of Aparaatti, an audiovisual art piece and tag game. The interaction idea was that if children manage to trigger the right station at the right time into a carousel of activity, it will be spinning randomly and generate sounds and visual projections.
In my theory chapters I am viewing children as an audience from the perspective of developmental psychology, cognitive development, perception, user experience (UX), spatial experience, psychoacoustics, physiological as our design premise applies theories from both, play and game design aspects. Additionally, I am giving some examples of art pieces that resembles Aparaatti. In this thesis, I am also viewing the theoretical perspectives of our design tools such as brainstorming, visualizing methods, storyboarding, heuristic evaluation and the outcomes of our observations and the feedback we got. In the last part I am analysing the results and discussing how Aparaatti could be improved in the future.
Playing and movement playing are essential parts of children’s psychological, physical and social development. Due to digitalization, children’s playing habits have changed, and immobility has become one of the biggest health issues in the western world. According to the United Nations, all children have rights to art, culture, rest and leisure activities. One aspect in my thesis is to advocate the ideology of children having rights to playing, moving and participating in the media art experience as an audience.
This paper documents the design and installation of IMPLANTS, a 24 channel outdoor sound installation I created in Helsinki in 2016 for Zodiak Center for New Dance. While it primarily explores the artistic decisions and processes, it also investigates the research that informed these processes, the reasons leading to my decisions, and later reflections upon how succesful those decisions were.
A large part of this paper goes into technical detail, why I purchased particular components, how I assembled them, the electronic and acoustic challenges, the data flow development and not least, the logistical challenges. At the heart of my project was the quest to achieve a meanignful artistic and sonic experience in that outdoor location within that budget. Making the installation weatherproof and secure, however, was a major challenge which influenced most decisions.
It is hoped that documenting and sharing this experience can assist my colleagues and classmates in their own outdoor media art. To any Media Labber interested in creating a multi-channel outdoor sound installation, this paper could be a useful way of gaining quick insights into the challenges, strategies, tricks and obstacles.
In our globalised world markets for digital and physical products span numerous countries and cultures. However, traditional design education rarely focuses on cultural impact and limitations on products. On the other hand, cross-cultural communication studies have contributed to a better understanding of cultural differences and new fields like Cross-Cultural Interface Design (CCID) and Intercultural User Interface Design (IUID) have emerged. In view of these development, this thesis examines wether traditional design guidelines are still valid in a world where the target audience of a design can differ significantly from that of the designer.
This thesis is project based and focuses on one area of cultural effects on user interface design, that of colours. My interactive project is informed by a review of cross-cultural research, cultural influenced perception and colour-related research. The project itself is a mobile app that combines game and art elements and was build for an exhibition in Seoul. Its main purpose is to serve as a data collection utility, to validate or dismiss my theory of cultural informed design. With data from Korean and Finnish participants using my app, I was able to confirm that cultures do have some effect on interface related choices.
Digital communication is becoming an important focus in today’s business marketing. One biggest challenge is how to create contents that can not only stand out from the crowd, but also interest target customers. What matters is to find out what customers are care about and communicate business messages with more personally. Experience design is spreading through the business world to help companies create shared values and make customers understand what the company stands for.
This thesis presents an interactive application, Emoji Masque, created for a skincare brand, Petite Amie Skincare, as a part of the brand’s product exhibition at a business to business (B2B) wholesale trade fair. The application is a live selfie filter game which functions as a digital product presentation for one of the brand’s face sheet mask collection of the same name. The design concept of the sheet mask product has a deep influence from social media trends and emotional connection. The idea is to add more personal touch to skincare product so to make the process more enjoyable instead of just another daily routine. The objectives of the project are to draw trade fair visitors attention, communicate the product’s emotional concept, and link customers’ interests back to the product. The thesis documents the complete design and production process including project background research, concept development, contextual studies and reference works, and the final project launch at the trade fair.
Procedural audio has gained the reputation of a valuable creative and functional resource within music and especially games territories during recent years, while its deeper exploitation has been rather limited and inconsistent. My research represents a plunge into the waves of the concept, in an attempt to explore and expand the rumors surrounding it. Starting from the premise that it could complement animation audio in a relevant way, I have structured my work into a reflective demonstration, which addresses both animated film and procedural audio fields at the same time. Thus, the four chapters constitute a guided observation, beginning from the root – procedural audio, what where and how it is – and ending with a demonstrative approach for my hypothesis, based on conclusions and findings revealed throughout the research. Te in-depth study of sound effects resulted in finding significant connections between animation and procedural generation of sound, while the close examination of game animation and animated films, in parallel, drove several points in support for the proposition of a rather different sound design workflow, based on procedural audio generation. Hence, instead of trying to come up with new foley props, why not designing virtual ones?
There has been a lack of discussion concerning virtual reality as an expressive medium. It is essen- tial to emphasise the aesthetic dimension of virtual reality in order to develop the medium as a powerful artistic mode of expression. This thesis examines how head-mounted display-based virtual reality can be used for artistic expression, focussing on the aesthetic pleasures of the medium.
Pioneering first-generation VR artworks are reviewed through the scope of artistic exploration, and four key aesthetic pleasures in VR experience are proposed: immersion, agency, navigation, and transformation. The demonstration of VR aesthetics is investigated through the qualitative content analysis of four contemporary VR installations.
The study reveals following findings: (1) the coherence of a virtual environment is more crucial than a realistic representation of the physical world in inducing a sense of immersion; (2) the degree of agency is inverse in proportion to the degree of authorship in VR experiences; (3) placing constraints on participants’ movements can bring about a strong emotional impact; and (4) the participant’s attitude and behaviour changes according to the given identity in a virtual environment.
It is suggested that the capacity of virtual reality is not currently used to its full extent when it comes to artistic manifestation. It is therefore the responsibility of artists, developers, and researchers to establish the language of virtual reality as an artistic medium for the future production of VR experience.
This thesis explores the considerations related to the design of a typeface specifically for the use in interface typography. The genre of interface typefaces is outlined and essential attributes and requirements of this category of typefaces are inspected from the viewpoints of legibility, readability and type design practices. The research is based on the analysis of interface typeface samples, interviews with type designers as well as empirical ndings documented by designers. These trade practices and design artefacts are contrasted with findings from cognitive psychology and legibility research. Furthermore the author’s design of the «Silta» typeface and its creation process are used to scrutinize and validate these observations.
Amongst the crucial factors in the design of interface typefaces the legibility of confusable characters is extensively analysed. Furthermore, the rasterized on-screen rendering of outline based fonts is identified as a major contributing factor requiring special attention in the design, technical production and testing phases of modern fonts. Additionally, the context and use of interface typography and how users interact with interfaces are identified as the cornerstones in influencing the design decisions of a typeface for this use.
Finally, the aesthetics of interface typography and the motivations for developing specific interface typefaces are touched upon. As evident from the reviewed material, branding and visual identity often appear to be a driving force in the creation of new interface typefaces. However, the necessity for technological innovation and its demonstration equally inspire new design solutions. While technological limitations stemming from digital display media are increasingly becoming of less importance, the changes in reading behaviour and adaptive typography drive current development.
This thesis presents the interactive game installation, Move or Die, created for an exhibit at The Finnish Museum of Natural History. It documents the development of the project by describing ideas behind the concept, detailed components of the installation, and reasons for the design decisions made during the production process. For the theoretical section, the thesis investigates the influence of physical interaction on the players’ experience based on the embodied approach. The museum context is considered a great deal in both the production and theory sections.
Move or Die is a gamified installation in which participants can save endangered species through bodily interaction. As the ‘game’ is projected onto the floor and Kinect sensors installed on the ceiling register movement, participants can catch and move the graphic animals on the floor by using their arms. Move or Die reflects a research method of the museum called ‘assisted migration’ and contains their research contents. It is designed to inform people of the situation of the endangered species and to offer participatory experience to the visitors at the same time.
It is the objective of Move or Die to simulate the experience of saving endangered species with the player’s own intention and physical ability. Therefore, to investigate the interaction of Move or Die, it is significant to understand the players’ experience. To analyze this interaction, three representative aspects of the interaction are discussed separately: full-body interaction, social interaction, and reality-based interaction. This thesis tries to uncover comprehensive influences of the interaction beyond its basic functionality.
This Master’s thesis is about my work with the artist group IC-98 between the years 2008 and 2016. I’ve been responsible for animating all the IC-98 animations made during those eight years, and helping to create the style and animation genre that IC-98 is most famous for. The thesis studies our relationship and the technical and creative development from one animation to another, from my point of view as an animator and visual effects artist of these animations, as well as an employee and a collaborative part of the artist group.
IC-98 animations are collages of various computer animation techniques placed inside collages of pencil drawings to create a slowly evolving view – an animated drawing.
They are greyscale, often many minutes long seamless loops without cuts, that happen inside one picture. They’ve been built mainly in Adobe After Effects software, by combining multilayered Photoshop files, 3D simulations, little frame by frame hand drawn animations, and further animating these with masks and various effects. The animations have been shown as part of installations in various art exhibitions internationally.
This thesis is a personal, reflective and critical look to the evolution of IC-98 animation. It unfolds the twelve IC-98 animations I’ve been involved with, revealing the building blocks and the work needed to make them visually successful. The results of this work have been received well in art world and media, but the significance of my role in IC-98 animation hasn’t been publicly recognized. The text questions and studies the issue with examples, but doesn’t propose a final solution to the unbalance in the status of our roles during and after the animation making. It’s recognized that the definition of artistry in evolving collaborative relationships is a complex matter that eludes universal consensus and thus the issue requires further research and ongoing evolution in approach.
The main goal of the thesis is to give new information to the reader into this kind of animation-making process, and especially to clarify the obscurities in IC-98 animations, answering to the often-asked question of how are these animations actually made. In other words, be warned as this thesis contains spoilers to the mysteries in IC-98 animation.
Links to animations:
After the launch of the iPhone in 2007, the mobile game industry has grown and developed rapidly. The widely adopted free-to-play (F2P) business model requires the companies to integrate business with design. Lowered entry barriers have increased competition, and the industry has polarized in terms of revenue. These changes in the industry and design seem to require approaches and practices not comprehensively documented by the existing literature.
The study describes the contemporary practices in mobile game development, production, and design. To achieve this aim, a literature review of the industry was conducted, and nine Finnish small and mid-sized mobile game development companies were interviewed. Based on the findings, the Design-Process-Stakeholders (DPS) model of mobile game development was designed.
The industry review found the mobile industry competitive and maturing. Due to the large number of games released, visibility in the marketplace is crucial towards the success of the game. The common practices in development point towards the importance of teamwork and iteration: continuously testing, evaluating, and improving the design. These efforts aim to create value for the user by constructing a platform for a compelling, engaging, and entertaining game experience. The F2P business model requires the companies to establish and maintain a relationship with the players over time.
The analysis of the interviews found that as the companies matured they developed more elaborate processes and structures to manage iteration, and its importance in the development grew. They also paid more attention to the industry trends, preproduction, and rationalized their business decisions compared to the younger companies more driven by creative aspirations. F2P monetization was generally found challenging and learned through experimentation. The more focused the target audience, the more the companies paid attention to understanding their needs. A shift towards producing games as a service was observed.
The DPS model of mobile game development was designed through the synthesis of industry review and interview findings. It guides the companies to validate, evaluate, and improve the in-use value proposition of their game by interacting with the stakeholders throughout the development. The model is aimed specially for the aspiring game development companies and multidisciplinary game design teaching.
This thesis describes the design and implementation of a software tool for real-time orchestration and notation. The Arranger system orchestrates chords and pitch sets for various kinds of ensem- bles, and subsequently displays the notation in real-time on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. The system can be used in situations where the musical material is to be created, or- chestrated and played during the performance. Although interest in real-time notation has grown in the 21st century, the combination with automatic orchestration is still rare. This thesis aims to facilitate the use of real-time notation in improvisatory situations, thereby clearing the path for new ways of making music.
The goal was to design and implement a tool that would allow the making and performing of music to be central, instead of technology. Therefore, the focus was on creating a tool that is automated but also easy to use, cost-effective and reliable. An additional consideration was the straightforward use of mobile devices.
The system was coded and tested in the Max programming environment. The design of the orches- tration algorithm was the most essential part of the system implementation because there are no existing algorithms or ready-made tools available for this purpose. However, available notation- rendering tools were compared and utilized to implement the real-time notation. In addition, an optional interface was implemented to allow controlling the system on the Apple iPad.
The results indicate that it is possible to create a tool that orchestrates and notates input in real- time on mobile devices. With automation, a simple input can be transformed into a rich ensemble sound played by a number of musicians. The system is not genre-specific but it can be applied to many musical genres. The orchestration algorithm can be developed separately from the notation to expand its usage towards contemporary music production.
Shadow Bug is a platformer game developed as part of this thesis. The game differs from typical platformer games by combining the action of jumping with the action of attacking. Shadow Bug was first released on iOS and received critical acclaim in terms of positive press reviews. The game was featured by Apple on the App Store’s front page upon release.
The written part of this thesis first presents an overview of Shadow Bug’s features and achievements. Theoretical frameworks are then introduced for an analysis of the game’s design. After presenting what Shadow Bug is, the thesis analyses the game’s development process in terms of successes and failures. These successes and failures are presented and compared with experiences that other game development teams have had. Finally the lessons the development team learned during Shadow Bug’s development process are reflected in terms of good game design practices and in terms of their effects on the future game development.
This project is target to design a smart pre-diagnosis system for Chinese people and hospitals who are suffering from the ‘difficulty in seeing a doctor’. By comparing and analysing different features of pre-diagnosis system from Finland and India, this project attends to find an approach to help patient with symptom checking and hospital searching in order to relieve the pressure of overpopulation, excessive workload of doctors and unbalanced medical resources. Due to the design goal of helping patient forward to symptom checking, the system will collect medical information by enquiring patient about his/her symptom. The hospital searching will concentrate on hospital navigation according to the symptom information that symptom checker collected and the geographic location of the patient. Meanwhile, this system is intended to promote the efficiency and convenience of the pre-diagnosis service, which motivated it to be mobile application based.
A Kiss From Helsinki – interaktiivinen runoinstallaatio