Furious 7 by Cantina Creative

Cantina Creative have generously released some breakdown videos detailing their work on Furious 7. The video above is the UI reel, and the videos below show a more in-depth look at how these were developed.

A lot insights are shared in these videos and I particularly liked hearing about the thinking process involved in the creation of each scene. From considering the different permutations of the Gods Eye to the way the LiDAR light sweeps to make it feel like the drone is hunting.

They also discuss ways of working fluidly within a large team through creating modular systems, which also helped facilitate the client feedback process. There's a lot of great industry insights here, so make sure you check them out.

God's Eye Design

I loved how the team visualised the process of the God's Eye thinking and crunching through vast amounts of data. The system of the God's Eye is organised but not neat, a lot of the processing is done rapidly and through hacking, and this was reflected in the animation and design of the visuals. It gets things done without worrying about looking pretty, and I get that from watching the video.

LiDAR Overview

This video goes through the LiDAR effect which is used in the drone POV shots. It talks about the steps involved in the process and outlines some pitfalls to look out for, along with other valuable tips from a studio with loads of experience. It then goes into a bit more detail into the software they used like PFTracker, Cinema 4D, and Plexus in AfterEffects.

LiDAR PFTrack Demo

This is basically a crash course in PFTrack, and uses a scene in Furious 7 to demo the process. They go through in quite a lot of detail about the tracking process and steps needed to set up the scene.

Pixel transition effect

This video is very close to being a full tutorial. Alan Torres designer and VFX supervisor walks through the process of creating the pixel transition effect in AfterEffects. The approach is quite clever. Once creating this effect, it can be applied in so many ways. Instead of designing transitions for each shot, the team can take this pre-established effect and apply it quickly, which also helps with consistency.

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Not only is the work great, but it is fantastic that Cantina Creative have decided to take the time and effort to share the process with everyone. It is great for the UI design community and especially for those starting out. So a huge congrats and thank you to the crew at Cantina Creative!

Sid Meier's Civilization Beyond Earth

Recently I stumbled upon the latest instalment of Sid Meier's award winning Civilization series, Beyond Earth. The game is set in the future and involves space travel so naturally the trailers feature glimpses of FUI. Below are three trailers each with different UI featured.

Announce Trailer - "A New Beginning"

The UI in this trailer is my favourite of the three. What's great about the UIs in this trailer is the finish on them. The lighting and post production really make the UI look polished. The subtle glare on the surfaces help give the screens texture. The design of the console and the bevelled frames around the screens is a really lovely touch. It's nice to isolate each readout screen with a physical frame rather than have them all on one flat screen. It separates the different layouts without having to add more elements on the screen to divide each section.

I also really love how the type is introduced by a pair of lines as a way of getting your attention prior to the text appearing. The UI in this trailer is a really good example.

Rising Tide Cinematic

This trailer features some simulations and a large table display. The design is very clean and neat. The screen designs are quite technical but still minimalist and the linework is very confident.

Intro Cinematic – “The Chosen"

This one features only a tiny bit of UI, here's a link to skip straight to the UI.

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LG OLED - Future Vision

LG have released this future vision demonstrating the potential of OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) technology. In the same vain as Microsoft and Corning, this clip shows a variety of applications and how they can enhance our lives. The clip features curved touch screens, transparent screens, interactive video walls, a smart watch, car UI, a car HUD, smart glasses, rollable displays, convex displays and even an interactive cast :)

A lot of neat ideas are presented here but there were three in particularly that were really interesting to look at in detail.

Smart watch as a universal controller

The video shows two instances where a smart watch is used as a primary controller. The way it is demonstrated makes it look much more convenient than using a smart phone. The process feels more natural, you don't need to reach in and fumble with a large phone rushing to get it out of a small pocket. But as you can see in the image, the small screen real estate is the biggest issue, for legibility, touch targets and content space. Perhaps there will be standardised guidelines to restricting content on it, like Twitter's 140 character limit. 

I really love the example where the man in the car taps his smart watch to the window and initiates a video conference. It feels right and I like the theory that any surface can become a display. Perhaps a display behind the front seats would allow the man not to have to crank his neck for longer calls, but of course it wouldn't capture people's imagination as much as the window. Which is a major role for a future vision piece, not only to be a product demo but something that inspires and excites imagination.

Tiling displays

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The tiling displays in an interesting concept, whereby any two displays would have a level of content awareness to be able to automatically communicate with each other. I love the look of the flexible displays, it really looks incredible and highly futuristic. It's like magic, where a sheet of paper could have all these advance functions without having any of the hardware driving it, visible.

This digital paper approach is so intriguing and I would imagine it could cut down paper waste dramatically.

What I struggle with is how the flexible displays work with the tiling display. The process is interesting but I've struggled to find a tangible benefit to it. Would it not be easier to have a screen-sharing experience and just send content from the table to the wall? I find the scrapbook-like peeling and sticking process to be very appealing but I wonder how it can be used effectively? The demo with the architect near the end of the video doesn't help. We see him sticking a large flexible display around a cylindrical pillar, which is cool but what if you wanted to add more layers, would you start piling them on top of each other? Then what would happen if you wanted to remove one of the earlier layers? I'd imagine throwing content from a screen-sharing experience would be much more effortless and manageable.

That being said the video does demonstrate the technology, and it's potential, so huge kudos to them! I guess it's up to others now to find ways to harness this potential.

Large scale interactive walls

What this video does well is introduce how we can implement displays within environments. There's several examples of this and they really give you a sense of what it could be like, and they've done it in a subtle way. It's not adverts everywhere like the shopping mall in Minority Report. Instead it's subtle wallpaper with the day's temperature, or way finding content. At 0.59, the video shows how you can change the entire mood and character of an environment and how dramatic this can be.

The classroom scene is a good example of this as well. I think it's a pretty accurate prediction of the future, where blackboards are replaced by large scale interactive white boards. At the end of the class instead of cleaning the blackboard, the teacher could record the entire lesson to store or share. So instead of lesson notes you could record all the demonstrations and the explanations along with it.

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The one last thing I have to mention is the interactive cast. Although I can see how a display would be useful, in this instance showing an x-ray view of the injury, I feel the interactive portion to be very strange. I would imagine someone with a fractured arm would probably not want someone tapping on the cast constantly. Even in the demo, the kid's arm seems to be rattled by the forceful jabbing of the doctor's button pressing.

The display itself and the colourful design on the cast, I think is really lovely, but using the cast as a keyboard seems really flawed and kind of silly.

Overall though, there are some great ideas in this video, which makes me excited about the future. I like that they've used restraint and presented a 'liveable future' like the movie her. It's a future that isn't too far fetched or intrusive, and one I would totally welcome.

Check it out!

Retro UI - Decrypt by Peter Clark

Here is the short film 'Decrypt' by Peter Clark, created as part of the Adobe Mentorship Project. It's an experimental film about the possible afterlife of technology.

The film features some really beautiful retro looking UI and it doesn't rely on typography to do this. Instead you get this from the choice of linework and shapes as well as the post effects and animation style. The 'two hands' screen for example uses primitive lines and shapes to depict the hands, whereas nowadays you can be so much more detailed. Little touches like that can help build the illusion. Basically it helps emphasise the technical and graphical restraints or the past.

The bootup sequences for each of the shots show how this retro look can be accentuated through animation. The slow building of shapes reflect how the screen elements and colours slowly came to life in monitors of the past. The limited colour palette and fluctuation of shading also help in contrast to the huge colour range available today.

They are just really nicely crafted, check it out!

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You can find more behind the scenes info on Peter's site

Grey Goo - Sci-Fi interfaces

Grey Goo is a Sci-Fi strategy game, which features three different factions: Humans, the Beta and the Goo. As far as I can tell, most of the technology showcased is from the Humans and the Beta (the orc-like guys). Axis Animation is the studio behind these clips and the UI reel and concept images are by Martin Aggerholm, who was tasked to build, animate and design the UI. I was lucky to chat with Martin briefly about his involvement in the project, and he was able to share some nice insights into the development of the UI.


Martin was given the concept art to set the initial direction and built out everything from there. From that he was able to see what goes where and which shots were important in driving the story forward.

The camera for all the scenes were locked off by the time Martin got involved. As such the differentiation of focal points and background elements was pre-established.

The Humans: UI

According to Martin, this required the most work as it was the vehicle for most of the story-telling. He mentioned that the direction of the style benefited from Director, Dana Dorian and Concept Artist, Jon Beeston's input particularly since there were a step removed from the UI design world.

The interfaces from the human faction are predominantly holograms. The main one featured is the holographic map that's set on top of a round table. I love the graphical elements that's wrapped around the rim near the top of the map, it helps frame the interface and makes it feel like the UI is housed within a large cylinder. It's nice that the elements are floating without a base grid, it creates a very spacious and clean display and because they are anchored to the cylindrical surface it's kept neat.

The other interface to note is the controls to the large robot from the Launch Trailer. Again they are holograms but they are controlled by a standing user via two circular interfaces. This reminds me a lot of the Pacific Rim UI, but it's a lot less complex. Instead the design continues with the clean, glassy look characteristic of the human's UI.

The colour palette used in the human's UI is primarily blue, green and yellow and is a lot more colourful than the Beta's UI.

The Beta: UI

The alien interfaces from the Beta race are noticeably different. I love this exploration of alien UI, particularly when you see them interact with the interfaces.

From the outset, Martin didn't want a simple changeover in typography, instead he re-approached the design through the line-work and the use of shapes. Taking cues from the initial concept art from Weta, particularly the bulky tattoos, which helped shaped the whole visual identity.

The alien interfaces may not make sense to us but it feels like it makes sense to the user. Even though the symbols and shapes have no meaning to us they do appear to be communicating a message visually though the animation and sequencing. I really love this, just as we would design interfaces to be intuitive to a user, the team have created intuitive interfaces for an entirely imagined alien user. It's an interesting challenge given that the users have three fingers and four arms

It's interesting that, regardless of language there are certain visual cues that carry though. For instance, it's clear to see that some motions automatically indicate a warning. It's interesting to explore the possibility of interfaces being so intuitive that it doesn't need to be translated into different languages, and uses animation and colour to bridge this gap.

Grey Goo - All Cutscenes

Grey Goo - Launch Trailer

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The UI design in Grey Goo is really special. Make sure you check it out!

Thank you again to Martin Aggerholm for sharing his insights on the project :)

Here's some useful links:

Grey Goo Interface breakdown on Martin's site
Grey Goo Launch Trailer
All cut-scenes compiled into one video
Axis Animation's site

Halo 5 - Guardians Cinematic UI

Here is the opening cinematic for Halo 5 - Guardians, by 343 Industries and AXIS Animation. The majority of the UI shots appear in the first half of the video during the briefing scene (reminds me of a scene from Final Fantasy).

There's some short glimpses of a wrist-mounted UI but most of the UI is centred around a circular floating podium that projects holographic screens and images in 360 degrees. I quite like the curved displays and how they are constantly rotating and drifting. I also love how the windows rearrange to prioritise content.

It's really weird to think of a canvas in 360 degrees, how would this actually work? Do the four soldiers have set standing positions so that they're looking at the screen most relevant to them? Or is it more like a museum exhibit where you stand where you want and areas are divided into different content types around the circle? Should the screens not drift then? Lot's of interesting questions come from scrutinising the interface in more detail.

Further in the video there's a shot of a holographic terrain map, which is really cool. There's something about a 3D map that is so appealing to me. Perhaps it's because it provides so much more information that a flat 2D map. For example when the trajectory lines appear, you can see the exact location of each of the landing points as well as the height and arch in between. Something much more difficult to convey in a 2D map.

The animation of the UI is nice and tight, from the way the screens rearrange to how the whole interface packs and unpacks, it's really well done.

Check it out!


The Martian - UI design

Here are two trailers from the upcoming movie The Martian. They both feature glimpses of the UI design from the film.

The design style is a balance between complex and clean. You would expect screens from NASA to be crammed full of information, telling you as much information about an event as possible. The design touches on this but presents it in a digestible form. The layout structures are neat and adhere to tight grids. The design focuses on clarity and pairs back the flashiness and clutter.

The design is very refined, every element is neatly aligned and padded out. It looks almost mathematical. There's minimal use of icons, but where they are used, they are used well. The icons feel scientific and cleverly designed, they feel like they have purpose and meaning rather than being fantastical and decorative.

The overall design approach feels like a good example of restraint. It relies on typography, layout and minimal uses of colour to do the grunt of the heavy lifting. The use of very small type in some areas helps give the impression of a technical workspace. It highlights of one of the benefits of FUI design, not needing to adhere to minimal legible font sizes and certain accessibility standards. In other words you can get away with a bit more, and use elements like type as a device to communicate overall feel rather than present true content.

This is an example of a very tight execution, hopefully it's an indication of what to expect from the full movie. Really looking forward to it now!

ARES 3: The Right Stuff Trailer

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The Grays by Henry Hobson - HUD design

The Grays is a tension filled short film by Henry Hobson which is beautifully shot and features a really cool HUD. The suit itself feels very vintage and textural and I love this contrast with the very modern HUD. Lucky for us, we get to see quite a bit of the HUD and it is exquisite.

The initial boot-up sequence is nice, there's a subtle backlight that flickers on whilst all the elements slide into position smoothly. There's readouts on either side of the helmet that both use fixed column widths. This really looks great and forces an interesting balance of scale, which also sets the visual hierarchy of elements. Realistically this would be a tricky constraint to work around but for this instance it makes for a very unique arrangement. The HUD design is very distinct and relies on neatly locked up typographic elements.

There's a shot near the end where you can see the readouts from the inside of the visor. This gives you a taste of what it would be like to experience this HUD, and it looks brilliant. The readouts are easily readable and look really sexy from up close. I also absolutely love when the colour kicks in, you get to see shades of red and pink, which are vibrant and so pretty to look at.

Check it out, the film itself is so beautifully shot and the HUD is a real standout.

Miles - Proof-of-concept short film

Miles is a short film created by Oliver Daly as a proof-of-concept to help fund the creation of a feature length version. The story focuses around Miles, a teenage dirt bike rider and co-stars M.A.X, a robotic canine-type animal, which references DARPA's BigDog.

Territory Studios (Jupiter Ascending, Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers: Age of Ultron) was approached by Daly to help design M.A.X's machine vision, as well as some military control room screens.

M.A.X's HUD view is quite interesting in that it's set on a solid black background. It's as though M.A.X experiences night and day the same way. This arrangement allows the director to guide the audience's attention to particular points of interest very quickly, whilst at the same time portraying M.A.X as a very task focused machine.

The way M.A.X sees humans and objects is very fun. It's depicted as a fleeting impression of shapes created by layers of topography, depth mapping data with artefacts and all.

The rest of the UI elements are created with detailed line work and built upon neatly structured grids. I particularly love the topdown map shot with the minimal layer of typography over it (see first image in the gallery below).

There's a definite style to the military screens. It uses a limited colour palette and features precise details and tiny readouts that are balanced by the occasional large scale number or letter combination. Some of the details from those shots are brought to attention in the end credits, where they're presented with a shallow focus making them just gorgeous to look at.

Great work by the team at Territory!

Miles proof-of-concept film

VFX breakdown

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Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Phantoms UI

Here is the trailer and gameplay footage to Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Phantoms. It's a game that focuses on advanced warfare and as such features some futuristic military HUDs and GUIS.

The trailer is created by Antibody and features some really polished and cinematic visuals, as you would expect. Antibody are consistently pushing out strikingly beautiful work. I really love the treatment of the title frames and the ambient glitches that surround them. There's a lot of nice animation details if you look closely.

The main UI elements come in the form of holographic visuals and minimal AR, and there's a distinct style to it. They use thin, precise lines with light bloom which make everything look like they're made from lasers. There's something about a red laser light that looks so striking. I absolutely love the map tracing sequence (0:43). I love how each marker has a line that extends upwards as though it's being projected by a laser from above, aesthetically this is very interesting. It's great also how these lines penetrate surfaces. I also really like how the markers link up when they're in close proximity to each other, something I noticed on the gameplay footage too. Antibody have done a great job to inject a sense of drama to this map scene, you can feel the tension between the red and blue even within this diagram view.

Gameplay footage

I was surprised to see that the gameplay footage included a lot of augmented visuals. It's interesting to see and experience how this actually impacts performance in the field. The environment scan as a feature is really cool, the way it's visualised is great too. I love how the wave of cyan sweeps through and rides the surface of the walls. That is my favourite feature but in the video you will also see ambient AR and some drone vision (4:28) too.

Check it out!

E3 2015 - HUDs and GUIs

E3 2015 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) premiered a tonne of new and exciting game trailers. Here is a collection of the ones that feature HUDs and GUIs worth mentioning.

Check it out, there's some cool stuff in there.

Mass Effect 4

A very short glimpse of a gesture and touch-controlled interface and a holographic interface. Although it's a short sequence, the design elements are tight. The design uses lots of small details across a huge surface which instantly gives the interface a feeling of precision and complexity. The transitions are smooth and I like how the screen liquifies on touch.

Skip to 0:43

Need for Speed

This is the in-game UI and it is sexy. There's a lot to appreciate here. Firstly I love the overall treatment of all the elements, there's a slight glow or bloom which makes everything look slightly illuminated. The elements are also ghosted onto the footage (no solid bases) but because of the strong contrast and because they're anchored into position whilst the camera is moving furiously, the UI is easily readable. The animations are purposeful and helpful, which is crucial for a racing game that demands intense focus. The checkpoint markers are also well considered and easily noticeable. I love that they've gone minimal and just used type. I'm not a fan of overt badges or icons, as it pulls the user out of the realism of the world, and reminds you that you're in a game.

Skip to 2:54


This trailer features a HUD and various UI elements. The style is very technical and features lots of glitches. The distortion on the type elements and the subtle transitions are quite nice. The helmet is very interesting too, instead of a single visor it is separated so each eye features separate holographic displays.


This features one interface and it's a holographic UI that scans the user's hand. It's a nice polygonal web-like design and I love how it protrudes out and how it sticks to the fingers as the hand leaves. 

Skip to 2:17


This features a single space suit HUD. It's fairly minimal and symmetrical. What appealed to me was the two curved vertical lines. They are quite unusual and are instantly interesting to me. I wonder how this would be beneficial though, as humans are used to referencing straight lines. Regardless, I really love the view of space through this lens though, it feels so clean and unobstructed.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

There's a few short glimpses of UI in this clip. The main one to look out for is the x-ray vision at 1:27. The yellow and the orange elements look so graphic and is a nice contrast to the rendered visuals from the rest of the game.

Skip to 0:47

Google Project Soli - Micro-movement gestural UI

Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects group (ATAP) are exploring ways to revolutionise the way we interact with devices. They have just released information about Project Soli, which uses a sensor that can track sub-millimetre motions in high speed, incredibly accurately.

With a lot of gesture-based interfaces, we’re used to seeing lots of wide sweeping movements, Project Soli on the other hand focuses its attention on tiny movements.

There are many ways a human hand can interact with objects, many ways to apply pressure, twist, flick etc. The human hand can be very precise and capable of exceptional finesse. Project Soli aims to capture this as a way to interact with technology.

The examples shown in the video are fantastic and makes it simple to understand the potential of these gesture controls. I love how natural it feels, and that many of the actions have a haptic feedback.

This is very promising project and big step towards making interfaces that work cohesively with inherent human behaviours.

Thanks to Allan MacKinnon for giving us the heads up on this one.


Destiny UI

Destiny is a multiplayer first-person-shooter video game, developed by Bungie (the guys behind the Halo franchise), and the UI featured in the game has been gaining a bit of praise online lately.

The two main things that make the UI unique is the use of a free moving cursor and the design aesthetic.

Free moving cursor

For a long time, console games have favoured menus that require the user to navigate through options step by step, using the analogue stick or directional pad (D-pad). Destiny, however, introduces a cursor that the user can move freely around the screen.

This gives designers more freedom in the layout of the UI. Interactive elements can now be positioned anywhere on the screen and the user will still understand how to access those items. Previously, you would have to either keep the interactive elements in close vicinity to each other or make sure there's visual cues to relate to the user how to step through to items that are positioned far apart.

This approach is also very helpful in games like Destiny that have very comprehensive menus. Using the stepped method would just be tiresome, it would require too many steps before arriving at what you want, or even worst, finding out that's not what you wanted. The stepped method just isn't great for deep menus, it doesn't make sense to have to step through multiple tiered menus just to explore what options are available. However, it is completely fine for shallow menus.

The Destiny UI also makes use of tooltips that appear as you rollover items. Because Destiny is so dense in content, this is a very elegant way of hiding content and allowing the user to control what information they want to display. This avoids having to fit everything onto the screen at once and tooltips of course work perfectly with a free moving cursor.

So the idea of using a free moving cursor in Destiny is a good one, it's an elegant solution to it's unique requirements.

Flat design

I was quite surprised when I first saw the design of the UI, I expected like most games for the menus to be heavily rendered or very non-intrusive. Instead a lot of the UI is based on flat design, very similar to Metro design (Microsoft's type-based design language). It's a style that's very common in web design nowadays and became popular during the rise of mobile browsing. The reason being that designers became very conscious of performance and the limitations of mobile download and therefore avoided the heavy use of images in a design, and instead using flat colours and live text.

This quickly developed into it's own style, and naturally evolved into a style that leaned on animation to bring it to life. Destiny's UI is an example of this and relies on animation to help explain the behaviour of the UI, and allows motion to provide meaning. For example it uses an animated glimmer on interactive elements to subtly show updated items (unread items), rather than add a badge or unnecessary design elements.

It works surprisingly well with the look of the game, it's clean and let's the beautifully rendered images shine. It's not overcooked with detail, so the UI is very utility friendly. It's modern and relevant to this time.

Congratulations to the team involved (credits at the end of the video). It's really exciting to see such an emphasis being placed on the UI in games (see Dead Space 2 for another example), it is so important and a major part of the game itself.

Check it out

Avengers: Age of Ultron UI by Territory Studios

Territory Studios (Guardians of the Galaxy, Jupiter Ascending) have just released a UI reel showcasing their work on Avengers: Age of Ultron. It's really well put together, showing lots of great closeups of the details and animations. It's a quick summary of the enormous amount of work produced for the film, which included over 200 screens / animations, totalling to 80 minutes worth of unique animations.

In it you can see the clear distinction between environments, overall the approach to the elements are quite similar but the design and colour schemes vary deliberately between the different characters.

Lucky for us, Territory have also shared a host of videos and images that allows us to have a closer look at how some of the shots work.

My favourite would have to be the Fortress UI. I love the scanning animation that goes across the arm diagram in the second Fortress clip below. The arm itself looks great with the flickering patches of green and the subtle circular outlines framing it. I like the idea of the overlapping sections in the third Fortress clip too. It looks as though zooming into the section reveals detailed diagrams relating to that specific area and zooming out allows you to see a broader context of it overlaid on another section. I think that's a really neat idea and visually interesting too.

Closely followed by Dr Cho's UI because of the vibrancy of the colours. Everything has a wash of blue over it, with highlights of magenta and a deep blue, there doesn't seem to be any hints of true black or white. I also love the way the table layout works in the first Dr Cho clip. It looks authentic and feels scientific, you can easily imagine what each of those cells could represent, for me it looks like something to do with DNA or chemical levels, and that gives it enough of an illusion of realism for me. The body scan in third Dr Cho clip also stood out. I like that the body is made up of many fine lines. It makes me think that it's using state of the art equipment, because of the speed of which the scan wipes over the body and how it's able to scan all that detail and even speed up toward the end of the process, even though I don't even know what any of those lines represent.

Have a good look, there's so much work here, which has been done over a long period of time.

Congrats to Territory Studio on such a mammoth project and a big thank you for sharing!

Dr Cho UI

Banner UI

Stark UI

Fortress UI

Leviathan Lab


Also check out this interview with David Sheldon-Hicks, creative director and found of Territory Studio over at Inventing Interactive.

The Prototype Trailer - Machine vision HUD

Here is the trailer for The Prototype, directed by Andrew WIll, launched in 2013. It features a humanoid robot and it includes several clips of it's machine vision HUD.

The HUD design is filled with elements and various bits and pieces to make up a reasonably complex design. It's interesting to see that 2 years after this trailer was released, we've seen a trend towards more minimalist interfaces (see Oblivion, Call Of Duty: Advanced Warfare).

I like those extra bits of ambient detail, it makes the design feel slightly foreign and as though there's a lot of calculations going on. It also works well for the fact that the robot is supposed to be a prototype. Perhaps the final version would feature a more minimalist HUD?

The eyes of the robot are quite cool, I like how they light up and adjust like a camera lens, and when you're taken into it's POV, it marries up neatly. The designers have also done a good job making the interface easily readable, you can tell quite quickly what the robot is doing.

The grading is quite nice too, it's good to see a bit of green in there as opposed to the oppressive red seen in the Terminator machine vision. The bloom effect on some of the elements is also a nice touch.

Overall it's a really nicely designed HUD with lots of personality.

Check it out!

Watch the The Prototype Official Teaser Trailer

Halo: Nightfall UI

Halo Nightfall is a live-action feature-length film (split into a 5 part series) that features lots of stunning visual effects by Nvizible (Edge of Tomorrow). Here is a montage of some of the HUDs and GUIs shots from the series.

The reel features closeups of wearable displays, screen designs. and HUDs.

The illumination of the forearm display on the body armour is really cool. The cockpit display is equally nice, I particularly like the really saturated colour palette.

But I was immediately drawn to the helmet HUD designs. They are so uniquely designed and visually striking. It's really nice how the HUD animates on, it feels so light and thin, and reminds me a bit of the slide out animation from the GI Joe HUD.

I love seeing the helmet HUD from the outside and seeing those thin luminescent lines almost framing the contours of the face. I also love that the helmet features so much glass, and gives the HUD so much breathing room. More close up shots can be seen over at Christopher Abbas' site.

Really beautiful stuff! Check it out!

Check out Nvizible's Halo: Nightfall page
Watch the Halo: Nightfall UI/HUD reel by David Bauer
Check out the concept designs on Christopher Abbas' site.

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

As the name suggests, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare features lots of technologically advanced military gadgets and weapons. As a result we are treated to a variety of HUDs and GUIs!

The following clips are game cinematics produced by London based studio Spov (see previous post Neuroscouting). Overall, there's a really strong cohesive style. There's some really strong consistent elements that hold these clips together. The line work is very neat, there's lots of grids and rectangular shapes but they've managed to do this without the layout becoming too 'boxy'. The typography and colour palette is also really nice. I'm especially drawn to the strong contrast of the green-yellow highlights against the blue lit background.

Throughout the videos, there's a feeling of complex data being presented in a simplified form. This has been achieved with a minimised colour palette with accent colours. The animation also does a great job of leading the eye and adding meaning. There's a good balance between making the story points easy to understand and creating a sense that they are legitimate military briefing screens.

On top of this, they've even managed to make it look visually attractive. The 'Crash' video is great example of this. I love the way they've demonstrated the strategic attack point in Rio Gallegos, how all the lines branch out to the different targets and how the target name tags appear just after the radial pulses. They've made something that's potentially quiet bleak into a beautiful infographic.

I also really like the very clean drone HUD seen at the end of the Lagos clip, especially the subtle tracking dots, and thin light lines. There's a lot of nice subtle animation in there but not too much that it becomes cumbersome. Awesome work by the team at Spov!



San Francisco

Here's some other clips in the collection
Irons Estate
Greece UI


Showcase 6 - VR

Virtual Reality is making a massive impact right now. Since the Kickstarter success of the Oculus Rift, the development of VR has accelerated dramatically. As expected, there's quite a few VR headsets in development right now. Here's a quick look at a few.

Microsoft Hololens

The Hololens is Mircrosoft's recent contribution to the VR offering. It's a bit different from other VR headsets as it's half VR and half augmented reality. The Hololens bascially tries to emulate an interactive hologram (see Iron Man), but requires you to put on a headset, so it's not quite it in the true sense. It is powerful though, unlike Google Glass which augments a flat layer of information to your vision, this maps 3D objects into your environment. When you put on the Hololens, essentially you can interact and walk around 3D forms, that appears integrated to real surroundings. The interactions come from gesture and voice commands.  In their promo video they show examples of the types of applications this would be useful in and some are quite powerful.

One application is in industrial design, whereby you can have a realistic representation of your concepts in a 3D space, at the right scale. This allows you to rapidly prototype concepts without having to make expensive physical models, and allows you to adjust on the fly. This is very much like the Iron Man example.

Another is screen sharing for instructional purposes. Microsoft have touched on the usefulness of AR in the area of education and instruction, as seen in their Manufacturing Future Vision way back. The example in the video shows a woman fixing a sink, whilst someone in another location is guiding her through it with 3D diagrams. This is a bit clunky, since the man's experience is completely 2D. But what would be better is if she was assembling something like Ikea furniture, where all the instructions are built into the parts, explaining what goes where and how to put it together.

This concept isn't completely new and is similar to T(ether), an experimental interface from MIT Media Lab (2012), but this is the first time I've seen it in a neat working and marketable form. It looks very promising.

NASA is also using it on their exploration of Mars, which demonstrates how powerful and useful this technology is.

Oculus Rift

The one that really jump started the evolution of VR. They've recently started Oculus Story Studio, which is committed to exploring the potential of VR in cinema. There has been quite a lot of hype around storytelling in VR and it being the next big thing in cinema.

This introduction video talks about the possibilities and challenges involved. Most interesting was the idea that 'cuts' in film was a technique that was developed to allow the film to change scenes and locations. In VR the problem with cuts is that it either disorientates the user or gives the sensation that you're being teleported. It becomes disruptive when you're trying to immerse the user in an alternate reality. So how do you tell a large story that involves multiple locations or multiple time frames? Do you have to be a participant in the story? Seems like there are a lot of interesting challenges and would be a lot of fun working through them.

Oculus Story Studio are currently creating 5 films told in VR. Very excited to see where it goes.

Other notable VR headsets

Samsung Gear VR (powered by Oculus Rift)
Sony Project Morpheus
HTC Vive
Carl Zeiss VR One
Avegant Glyph
Razer OSVR
Google Cardboard

Microsoft's Productivity Future Vision 2015

Like the previous Future Vision projects by Microsoft (2009, 2011), this latest instalment continues the same 'a day in the life of' structure, and follows a scientist as she and the people around her interact with new technology. This is a great way of tying in tech demos with real world relevance, and really humanises complex technology solutions.

Highlighted here are the three concepts that really caught my attention.

Scuba Hololens

This is featured at the very beginning of the clip, and shows our scientist scuba diving underwater. We see various augmented graphics tethered to real world objects, that you can swim around, which is the real power of the Hololens. She uses this extra layer of AR for way-finding via route markers, identifying species of plant-life, capturing and saving content, screen-sharing communication, as well as adding extra layers of complex information to her regular tasks.

This is the perfect application of the Hololens, where you're in an environment that already requires you to wear a mask. This extra layer of technology makes the experience safer and more efficient. You only have so much time/air before you have to surface from scuba diving, but this allows you to make the most of every dive.

'Smart' bracelet

I love the concept where you can change the design of the bracelet by 'absorbing' a pattern from a nearby textile, like a chameleon. You can already change the background image for all your devices by taking a photo and setting it as wallpaper, but this is a more beautiful and intuitive way to do that in less steps.

The joining of multiple bracelets for more screen space was a real treat, it makes so much sense and the way they demonstrated that was fantastic.

The gesture control was very interesting too. They opted for wrist and finger gestures over touch input, probably more so to demonstrate capabilities than for true usability. It looks great and it got me excited but under further scrutiny, I'm not entirely convinced. I've never been a fan of moving the interface as a method of interaction, ie. tilting devices, I feel there's a small element of disorientation when you do so. Particularly for this bracelet, there's no distinction between rotating your wrist to select an option and if you were just wanting to look at a different area of the screen.

I do love though, how it acts as an access key to gain entry into spaces, as well as how it can be flattened to become a handheld remote. Very cool.

Digital chalkboard

This is a good idea, I've always found taking a photo of a whiteboard/chalkboard to save information to be very clunky. Having a digital chalkboard, I'd imagine, would give you the ability to save and undo. Also I can imagine having an option to auto-format the board to neaten up your layout too, which would be extremely helpful (like you do with your desktop or code).

Another benefit of going digital is that you can move and rearrange things. Instead of copying it down, rubbing it out, rewriting it to give more room for other things, you should be able to just select it, resize it and drag it to where you want. Other ideas would be to use fonts over illegible handwriting, so everyone can read it, or even being able to translate it to other languages. Also the screen space could be scrollable, so that you don't have to have pages, but if you were to continue a train of thought or formula, you could just drag the canvas down.


Hats off to Microsoft for continuing this project. This is a great evolution of the previous versions and introduces new and relevant ideas based on evolving technologies. They really offer a tantalising glimpse into a possible future and that gets me really excited.

Other honourable mentions in this video would be the giant 'Cintiq' table (I'd love one of those!), screen sharing, the home video (facetime) wall, and the interactive hologram thrown in there for good measure.

Make sure you check it out, it's a six and a half minute clip full of ideas.

More info on Microsoft's official page

Check out the previous versions here:
Watch Microsoft's Productivity Future Vision 2011
Watch Microsoft's Productivity Future Vision 2009


Jupiter Ascending UI Reel by Territory Studio

Territory Studio (Prometheus, Guardians of the Galaxy) have released this UI Reel showcasing their recent work on Jupiter Ascending.

There's also an insightful interview with Territory's Founder and Creative Director, David Sheldon Hicks, over at The Creators Project.

Overall the UI feels very elegant. There's a good mix of structure and organic elements. As a result the design looks sophisticated, and only slightly technical, as necessary to navigate through space, but also very natural and pleasing to look at.

This has much to do with the key element in the designs, which are these vibrant, flowing isometric lines that are said to be inspired by weather maps. As with weather maps, I love how the movement and arrangement of these lines are able to communicate how invisible forces are moving. This obviously fits in perfectly with the task of visualising cloaked spaceships and wormholes. As with topography, it's fascinating how people can get so much information from just the formation of a series of lines. It's a really unique (and visually appealing) way of communicating data. Not only is it visually appealing, but it could actually be a more efficient way of consuming spatial information than a set of data readouts.

What was also interesting about this project was that the visuals were projected onto the glass panels within the set, rather than integrated during post-production. This has become more common nowadays, with company's like Compuhire, who worked on this project. This allowed the UI design to be incorporated into the set in real time, and adjusted on the fly. As a result, the director has more control over the whole shot, and have the consideration for the UI within the context of the shot, rather than afterwards. Oooii also made use of interactive playback graphics for Star Trek and Star Trek: Into Darkness.

Check it out!

Check out the Jupiter Ascending UI on Territory Studio's site
Check out the interview with David Sheldon Hicks over at The Creators Project