Huds & Guis

Continuum Season 3 – HUDs and GUIs

UI Designer Lorcan O’Shanahan has recently uploaded some nice close ups of some of the HUDs and GUIs work done on the third season of Continuum. There’s some really beautiful work there!

Continuum is a series that has consistently shown that they are open to very visually attractive on-screen GUIs. We’ve featured work from both season 1 and season 2 here before.

Over on Lorcan’s site is a series of animation tests showing character HUDs, diagnostics and debug screens. A lot of the HUDs take a very minimalist approach, which I love. There’s a really nice balance of the varying line weights and the content feels super tight and super neat. I like that the varying sizes of fonts gives a sense of hierarchy and feels like you could quite easily make a style guide out of these designs, which in some instances FUI designers do.

The animation is good too, some really nicely timed moves, particularly in Keira’s HUD. But it’s all held together by the tight design arrangements, I really love some of the stills they are so visually striking.

Congrats to Lorcan and the team at Artifex Studios!

Check out the Continuum HUDs and GUIS page on Lorcan O’Shanahan’s site.

Guardians of the Galaxy UI Design – Territory Studio

I just recently watched Guardians of the Galaxy and I really enjoyed it, quite unexpected and a lot of fun. Afterwards, I was really wanting to look at the UI close up. Luckily for us Territory Studio have compiled a UI montage of their recent work on the project along with lots of detailed images over on their site.

The movie had a huge array of UI and screen graphics, which included holograms, cockpit UI, schematics and alien UI. The examples ranged from being technical, bold, complex to very organic constructions. The unusual orb like alien interface on the necrocraft was also an interesting surprise.

I really like that they developed typefaces for different locations throughout the film. I find it very fascinating seeing people invent and visualise their idea of alien culture. I also really love movies that travel to other planets because of the way design language is used to differentiate different cultures or colonies. It really is an opportunity to exercise your imagination. As a result, there’s some really fun use of colour and shape particularly in the displays seen on ‘Knowhere’.

My favourite piece would have to be the line up sequences. I just love the colourful UI elements and the way the shot is framed, it’s so luscious with colour and visually striking. It really felt like something out of a comic book or video game. The dusty pink type is awesome.

Check out the movie if you haven’t already, it’s probably one of my favourite Marvel films to date.

Watch the Guardians of the Galaxy UI montage by Territory Studio

Check out the Guardians of the Galaxy Trailer

Push ‘Strength in Numbers’ – Data Visualisation

Here’s a short trailer by Common Good, for the training app Push. It features a lot of nicely designed data visualisations. The execution is very polished and does a good job of visualising how the app is tracking different types of exercises.

I like the variety of infographics used to describe different types of measurements, whether it be weight, height, speed or power. There are some really nice touches to the style, it’s convincingly sporty and not overly techie. The chunky type, grids, and choice of accent colours do a lot of the heavy lifting.

Worth checking out in detail, there’s some really cool ideas hidden in there.

Here are some animated gifs lifted from designer Nicolas Girard’s site.

Check out the Push ‘Strength in Numbers’ spot

Pacific Rim – Holographic UIs

I’ve been wanting to post up some work from Pacific Rim for a while now. There’s quite a lot of UI design throughout the film and it’s worth having a look at. Here’s a montage of some of the UI work from Hybride.

The montage includes lots of holographic UIs, most of which feature inside the cockpit of the Jaegers (the big robots). So the displays show a range of diagnostic and battle related info. What I like, is the conscious effort to distinguish the different Jaegers by their country of origin, which was reflected in the cockpit design, the suits and also the UI design.

There’s an obvious shift of style from the US Jaeger to the more industrial Russian Jaeger. There’s a lot going on in those UIs, but I really like their arrangements and the different angles and depths of the display panels. It looks fantastic as the camera pans around them. I also really like the unusual shapes they’ve used for the content frames, there’s a lot of irregular shapes and organic curves, it’s a refreshing change from overly grided layouts. Though that is purely from an aesthetic stand point, on the other hand it is very clear to see that the more grided layouts are actually much easier to comprehend.

I also liked that they experimented with different colours. There were a few colours in there that you don’t often see in UI designs. There’s a lot to take in, so it’s probably worth watching it a few times!

Check out the Pacific Rim VFX Breakdown by Hybride

Her – Invisible Technology

I really enjoyed this film, not only from a pure cinema experience but also from a UI and technology point of view.

I came across some really interesting terms when reading articles about Spike Jonze’s approach. Terms like ‘slight future’, ‘invisible technology’, ‘people-centric technology’, ‘undesigning’ all give you an idea of the future portrayed in the film.

The first term ‘slight future’ has been used to describe the timeline in which the film is set, which helps guide the approach to technology. I like that they’ve referenced how technology exists today and evolved it slightly. Currently technology is in your face, it’s very visible and appears everywhere you look. In Jonze’s slight future, technology is invisible. Technology isn’t about the initial novelty of touching a screen and having things happen. The novelty is over, it’s now about people carrying on with their lives and having technology help them quietly. Where technology recedes into the background like incidental interfaces.

This is evident in the main character Theo Twombly’s smart house, where the lights turn on automatically as he enters a room and dims as he leaves another. Also at his job, all computers are devoid of keyboards and he transcribes his letters through voice recognition.

The earpieces that everyone uses is also very interesting. I’m generally not a fan of the idea, more because I don’t like the idea of people constantly talking in public. But I love that unlike Google Glass, which augments images into your vision, an earpiece is less invasive. You could be absorbing content whilst doing other things, without needing to avert your gaze.

The hologram sequence itself almost warrants another post but I’ll keep it short. The experience looks great, and very immersive. But it raises interesting UX and design issues, like where does the frame end? How do you design for this? There’s also a shot where Twombly takes a bite of his sandwich and the game character replicates the action, when does the game interactions start and stop? Also I found it strange that the foul-mouthed alien character was able to respond to non-game related dialogue and content. What does this mean to the overall game experience?

Not only is this a great interpretation of a slight future, but it’s important to acknowledge that this is first and foremost a film about people and relationships. It is a remarkable effort to be able to create such a world which also works with the screenplay and the telling of a story. I know Jonze didn’t want actors fiddling around with devices and interfaces as it doesn’t make for a very compelling viewing experience. So the earpieces were an interesting solution to storytelling, while also working nicely within his future vision.

I really love that Jonze and his team set out to explore this world so thoroughly and that they created rules and laws to dictate how things would actually work. I genuinely enjoyed this film and I encourage you to check it out, if you haven’t already. I appreciate it even more after reading up about it.

Check out the hologram sequence (explicit language warning!)

Article by WIRED: Why Her Will Dominate UI Design Even More Than Minority Report.

Shake Your Body – Pepsi Taiwan

Here’s a clip from Taiwan, it’s music video called ‘Shake your body’ for Pepsi. In an attempt to describe it, it’s kind of like Asian popstars meets Tron stadium meets Dance Central meets Pacifim Rim meets the World Cup. It’s all a bit of fun and Taipei based production company Grass Jelly did an amazing job on the VFX.

The main dance interface sequence is fantastic and there’s also some great shots of the control room displays and surrounding platform graphics a la Tron Legacy.

I really enjoyed seeing the players use dances moves to trigger the UI. The circular hit points are really nice, especially when they’re in weird angles. It was particularly nice seeing the green guy doing a flip then a windmill and swiping all those points like a combo. It felt like a legitimate game.

The colours are nice and vibrant too, which suits the theme well. It was a nice touch to utilise the glossy floor too, which again made it feel more legitimate. All in all I think the clip has been executed really well, and I really loved seeing the dance UI being used creatively.

Make sure you check out the project page on Grass Jelly’s site and also the GFX montage by FUI designer Yoshiki Lai!

Watch ‘Shake Your Body’
Check out the breakdown page by Grass Jelly
Check out the GFX montage by Yoshiki Lai