Light to Form: Max 7 Interaction

A few weeks ago, I had posted a big idea of what I could possibly do with the program Max 7. The diagram of which I created below: Diagram

The whole goal was essentially to somehow capture the light that bounces around in a space, and for max to create some sort of three dimensional form. In my ventures so far with max 7, I had gone through two major iterations in the path towards my main goal.

On my first path towards this goal, I utilized the plug in for, which allows for the creation of three dimensional shapes that were sort of pre-made by its creator. I used their patches to not only try to create three dimensional form, but also as a learning exercise. From this pre-made patch, I could find out what each component of the patch was controlling on the three dimensional output, and almost “break” the patch in a way that allowed me to get closer to my vision and expand my knowledge. I also added on to their patch, adding the additional input of my webcam to control what I was seeing on screen.

Below is a screen capture of how my patch behaved on its first iteration:

As you can see, the patch was responding to my motion, and how the light was interacting with the camera. This was definitely a step in the right direction, but it presented a few problems:

  1. This patch was almost pre-made for the specific output it was showing, so the actual forms and some of the rotational and color movement were arbitrary, and were not decided by my webcam.
  2. It tended to be very rigid, and when not interacted with it still went back to a default that was in motion.

These problems lead me to actually scrapping this idea entirely. What I still took with me moving forward was my better knowledge of the programs parameters, and how I would go about attaching my webcam input into the max patch more efficiently.

In this second iteration, I was able to get much closer to my original vision. I was able to follow some youtube tutorials to create shapes that map out perpendicular lines on a planar surface. These lines, when utilized as a group are able to create an almost topographic model of what is imputed from the webcam. An example is shown in the video below:

Here are some more examples of objects I had copied with this software as 3D models:

This version also allows for the user to pan around, change the scale of, and freeze the model in place, allowing for more control over the output than in my previous iteration. This control of the end product helped me realize the potential application for this kind of software.

Often times in my work, I appreciate the creation of a solid physical model, but sometimes I wonder if the model really shows much more to a client that what a digital model can do in this day and age.

In real world situations, architects or anyone of any design profession dealing with models, could essentially scan the physical model that they have created, and then utilize this program to make a digital model that can be manipulated as they needed or even just to use as reference on screen.

With the application of a fully fleshed out version of the software that I put together in max 7, the designer can use their time more efficiently, creating quick physical mock ups and bringing them straight into their computer. It would bring the now older form of creating an idea three dimensional and make it more relevant to modern architectural design programs.

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