Ghost in the Shell FUI Design
Here’s a look at the recent film Ghost in the Shell, showcasing some FUI work by MPC, Territory Studios and Ash Thorp. It looks like a huge amount of work was put into the development of this world, it’s visually rich and littered with lots of interesting tech.
In this article you will find a brilliant GITS 'Making-of' reel by MPC, a studio reel and concept art gallery by Territory. Then below we have a reel showcasing Ash Thorp's work on GITS along with some beautiful behind-the-scenes concept images!
The film takes place in a world full of holograms and cyborgs, and that’s where most of the FUI examples are.
The city is absolutely saturated in holograms, from eye catching advertising to street signs and road signals. Director Rupert Sanders, referred to them as 'Solograms'. The abundance of hologram advertising taking over buildings and encroaching into the city makes it feel like an artificial world, a world that has one foot in reality and the other in virtual reality. The designs are beautiful, eye-catching and vibrant. I reminds me a lot of the Hyper-Reality world created by Keiichi Matsuda, which has a more dystopian view of the future. GITS is less bleak but just as overwhelming.
In terms of interfaces, it appears that holograms have become the preferred way to view content, as there is only a few instances of screen UI anywhere in the film. I absolutely love the hologram replay of the Geisha Bot hotel scene at the Section 9 headquarters. A room that projects life-size scenarios as a hologram? That idea is so attractive to me. Imagine all the subtle information you would absorb from re-watching scenarios from different angles, being able to walk around and even in the shoes of someone else. That would be amazing! Iron Man 3 explored this idea also and to some extent so did the map interface in The Division.
The design of this 'Holo-conference room' is simply gorgeous. I love the subtle vertical scan lines that fill the space. It does a great job of selling the believability of the interface, as it gives the space volume and it makes you believe that the holograms are being projected from a source rather than just magically appearing.
There are a few other holographic interfaces in the film, namely in Dr. Ouelet’s operating rooms and home, as well as the table-top interface 'Hologlobe' in the coroner’s office. The style of these feel very much inline with the interfaces in Ghost in the shell 2, using the colour orange, the round and cylindrical holograms that build up and rotate. I really like that it’s come through in the live action film.
Near the end of the MPC making-of video, there's a scene where the coroner is interacting with a Hologlobe. There we can see how the interface powers up and displays. It's interesting that the interface is the table itself, where the user can insert cards (USB-stick equivalent) directly into it and can swipe their finger around the surface. The depiction of this is so fluid and beautiful. It's a brilliant concept, one that I've not come across before. What if you could type on any area of a surface? What if the interface could recognise what you're typing even without a keyboard, based on the position of your fingers? I'm sure this is possible. There are already projected keyboards available(see our article on invisible keyboards), you would just have to project one based on where the user's wrists are. It's a very inspirational concept and I would love to see this realised in the near future.
Cyber-enhancement and augmentations
Ghost in the Shell plays out in a world where anyone can augment their bodies with technology. It seems that for the rich, cyber-enhancements are quite discreet but for the lower classes, these augmentations can be large and cumbersome. Examples in the film include Batu’s eyes, Dr. Ouelet’s fingers as she’s typing on her laptop inside the limo, the two patrons at the Geisha Bot hotel scene and the coroner’s ‘creepy’ eyes.
This film is rich with FUI inspiration, if you're not satisfied with the videos and images here, you should go and check out the full film, it's a visual treat!