Multitouch, Color Theory, and Mr Kandinsky

Color can be a tricky thing. Add-in four touch screens, two 46″ displays and as many hands you can fit and you’ve got one beautiful challenge. This challenge was to create an experience for school age children to draw, touch, and be inspired through a collective digital experience.We asked ourselves how do you get dozens of kids to create and draw at the same time and still produce something captivating and beautiful. Balancing discovery, creativity and inspiration, I think one answer is definitely color.

We recently completed a project that combined four multitouch drawing stations and two huge displays to “echo” the activity of the drawing stations. We employed the following strategies to handle the color choices:

Global Color Shifts
The experience included 16 color palettes that shift throughout the entire experience at pre-determined times. Each palette has it’s own color ratios from which colors are chosen at random to create color pools that are then available for each drawing action. These ratios were determined by a certain compositions that we found pleasing. This technique was first developed by generative digital artists like Joshua Davis and used in his HYPE framework. Our challenge was to use this color technique but also control the chaos. 

Random Color
In some instances of our experience, the color used are completely random (but somewhat controlled). Based on the ratios of a particular palette, you would have a higher chance to pick a certain color. For example, the color palettes were based on art we admired, the greenish scheme above was based on a Kandinsky painting which happened to have more green hues than any other color. This meant when choosing a color at random from this palette you were more likely to get a Kandinsky shade of green and that that green would work with any other color from that palette.

Color by Location
In other instances, we would make color choices based on where you are drawing on the screen. For example if you were drawing in the top left corner of the touchscreen, the colors chosen would come from the top left corner of our color bitmap. 

The Result
The result is an extremely dynamic generative canvas. Below is just one example of the sort of art that is displayed on the displays. 


Second Story creates enchanting, informative, and entertaining media experiences with innovative technologies that empower connections to ideas.

Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in Design, Technology