Most of our work relates to Interactive Installations. This means that the content, whether lighting, video or sound, reacts to movement, touch, temperature or other inputs.
The question that the content production team needs to answer right at the beginning of these projects is: “What part of the content will be done using a traditional content production pipeline and what part will be done with creative coding?”
In Interactive Hockey project we wanted to immerse players into an incredible history of Finish Ice-Hockey. They’ve won more Olympic and World Cup medals that you can count and they routinely get into the top 4 of any major tournament they participate in. That’s pretty amazing for a country of a bit more than 5 million people. On top of that, we also wanted to create a fun game with lots of interactive elements that would keep people engaged.
We decided that most of the content is going to be produced using a traditional motion graphics workflow and we’ll use Creative Coding only for the interactive elements.
So let’s explore the main differences between the two:
Creative Coding means software (or ‘code’) that generates content in real-time. This is great for content that is very interactive. Think particle systems where their behavior depends entirely on your movements.
The downside is that in most cases any changes to the content become more and more time-consuming as the project nears completion. That’s because most changes have to be done in the code as opposed to using some nice graphical user interface.
In a traditional production pipeline, we create content with 3D modeling, rendering and video editing software. These tools are great when you have to combine lots of different visual elements, for example text, lines, images, videos etc, in one video footage, but it is next to impossible to create content that would be generated in real-time.
The solution is in the mix
To meet the tight deadline and high expectations in Interactive Hockey, we used traditional workflow for most of the visual elements. By and large, they were small pieces of video sometimes just 50px wide and only a second long. Then we used Creative Coding only to control the playback and location of these tiny video snippets on the canvas.
This approach allowed the programmers to focus on complex motion tracking of the hockey players and the puck, and the motion artists on creating beautiful pieces of video.