Tweak, tweak, tweak. 41 pages of GUI, or “How I learned to stop worrying and love the control freak within” (2011)

I often tell people that I spend 10% of my time designing + coding, and the rest of my time number tweaking. The actual ratio may not be totally accurate, but I do spend an awful lot of time playing with sliders. Usually getting the exact behaviour that I want is simply a balancing act between lots (and lots (and lots (and lots))) of parameters. Getting that detail right is absolutely crucial to me, the smallest change in a few numbers can really make or break the look, feel and experience. If you don’t believe me, try ‘Just Six Numbers‘ by Sir Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal.

So as an example I thought I’d post the GUI shots for one of my recent projects – interactive building projections for Google Chrome, a collaboration between my company (MSA Visuals), FlourishSeeper and Bluman Assoicates. MSA Visuals provided the interactive content, software and hardware.

In this particular case, the projections were run by a dual-head Mac Pro (and a second for backup). One DVI output went to the video processors/projectors, the other DVI output to a monitor where I could preview the final output content, input camera feeds, see individual content layers and tweak a few thousand parameters – through 41 pages of GUI!. To quickly summarize some of the duties carried out by the modules seen in the GUI:

  • configure layout for mapping onto building architecture and background anim parameters
  • setup lighting animation parameters
  • BW camera input options, warping, tracking, optical flow, contours etc.
  • color camera input options
  • contour processing, tip finding, tip tracking etc.
  • screen saver / timeout options
  • fluid sim settings
  • physics and collision settings
  • post processing effects settings (per layer)
  • tons of other display, animation and behaviour settings

(This installation uses a BW IR camera and Color Camera. When taking these screenshots the color camera wasn’t connected, hence a lot of black screens on some pages.)

Check out the GUI screen grabs below, or click here to see them fullscreen (where you can read all the text)


I often tell people that I spend 10% of my time designing + coding, and the rest of my time […]

Related keywords

computer vision, openframeworks