Final Project: Fabric Waves

Our final project aims to capture the feeling of watching waves move across water. We used various fabrics and captured an interesting ripple motion from each. We then edited the videos to remove the backgrounds as well as animated the motion and used color automation to better match the fabrics between clips (and to make everything prettier). We used two different types of shots: bounded shots where the fabric breaks the frame boundaries and free shots where the fabrics edges are visible in the frame. If the bounded shots can be thought of as the surface of the water, the free shots of the fabric can be thought of as the plumes of water ejected after a stone breaks the surface. This is reflected in the sound design where splashing noises introduce fabric emerging from the center, and calmer wavy sounds lie in the background. We also modulated the volume of the wind when then video is more energetic.

We had both wanted to make a mechanized system for our final project, buuuut we all know what happened. One of the main draws of a mechanical system is that it facilitates multiples. When many of the same object are doing the same thing, it looks good and is satisfying almost without failure. This was especially true of fabrics because of their natural motions. We replicated our desire for this digitally, which was a quite fun learning experience. In theory, a video of this style could be generated from input clips to make an infinite viewing experience much like a music visualizer or a screensaver, which would be an interesting project.

We were really pleased with the patterns that arose from quite simple fabric movements. We had to do some experimenting to get the shots. We tried using fans and string to get satisfying ripples, but moving the fabric by hand was most effective.

Furthermore, based on our comments from class, we were really happy that the fabric seemed to take on a life of its own as many of our classmates referred to it as a “creature.” We also were really happy that it made them think of nature and found it “mesmerizing,” as that was our goal. We wanted to make something beautiful to look at that reminds people of nature and waves. Overall, this project took many turns from one fabric rippling to what you see now. However, despite the twists and turns, we our satisfied with our final video as we like the way it looks and it accomplished our goals.