our mission

Experience cherry blossoms in “inflorescence”: the process of flowering and “fluorescence”: the property of absorbing and emitting light, through an augmented reality application and experience, Influorecense by Visionare Studio.

Inspired by Japan’s national flower and the famous cherry blossom trees located at the University of Washington’s Liberal Arts Quadrangle, Influorecense explores the relationship between humans and nature through an interactive art installation that breaks boundaries set in the natural world. With how the world’s climate changes every day, we’ve experienced this brief season of bloom coming sooner and sooner each year at UW Seattle. Additionally, with the novel outbreak, we at Visionare Studio are further motivated to bring a light hearted experience directly into the hands of users.

We’ve created an experience that pays homage to their beauty in an everlasting digital space. Users will be guided into a digital portal that leads them to a whimsical world where the boundaries of nature, time and space are challenged.

design process

  • EMPATHIZE
  • IDEATE
  • CONCEPTUALIZE
  • BUILD
  • TEST

Empathize

What's Happening?
Our world has been in a longstanding battle with climate change, and more recently fighting a novel disease. With these two afflictions simultaneously existing, our team has taken notice of the impact that they have caused to cherry blossom trees and how we may now enjoy them.

Increasingly warm weather occurring late winter and early spring each year has rushed cherry blossoms to an early bloom. This causes us to think about the future and existence of these beautiful trees. Additionally, due to the Coronavirus outbreak, local officials urge visitors to social distance and avoid coming to view these trees. Close to home, the cherry blossoms at the University of Washington campus will be scarce in the number of attendees.

Our Response
Our team has been focused on paying homage to these admirable cherry blossom trees by creating a light-hearted experience that showcases a seemingly eternal bloom. We wanted to provide users with a new and alternative way to interact and de-stress with these trees. We understand that our environment has been overwhelming, but that everyone needs a breather.

Ideate

Inspiration
For many Washingtonians, our first experience with cherry blossoms has taken place at the Liberal Arts Quadrangle at UW Seattle. Thousands of visitors would come view these trees each year and typically use the opportunity to take photographs.

In Japanese culture, sakura carries the symbolic meaning of the ephemeral beauty of life reflecting their brief cycle of bloom. As artists and designers we questioned what the extension of this period of bloom would look like and discussed how we could manipulate time?

Sticky Note Exercise
At the birth of its creation, our team had a collective discussion on what inspired us, and what was going on in our environment. Our developer Juhyun had then reminded us about the cherry blossoms that were set to bloom again this spring, and that they were blooming earlier each year due to climate change according to annual patterns. This prompted us to talk about our own experiences with cherry blossoms and how we interacted with them which then sparked a vision of alternate ways to encounter the trees. We then captured each idea and structured them with sticky notes to better understand the possibilities. From this initial step we were able to create soft and concrete deadlines to ensure we were completing what was needed. However, due to the outbreak we had to adjust our plan and installation experience that we hoped would be used in a physical space.

Conceptualize

What Others Are Doing
To understand the various ways people are interacting with cherry blossoms, we took a look at how other artists, technologists, and organizations were providing an alternate experience.

There were a variety of ways that others recreated the experience of cherry blossoms from interactive installations, live streams of the cherry blossoms trees, to gamification. One of our favorites was Animal Crossings, as players are able to experience the cherry blossoms in the game, which are available for two weeks in the beginning of April. Players are able to collect falling petals during this time to create decor and other items.

Our Opportunities
Right now many of us are unable to enjoy hanami, the Japanese word for “flower viewing”. However, we have strived to provide an alternative space where users are able to encounter these trees digitally wherever they are.

Users will be able to experience the cherry blossoms for longer than what the physical trees are able to bloom for. We want to create an everlasting experience that people could step into at any given time.

Build

Technology
With the help of Blender and Unity 3D, our team has created an interactive, whimsical world inside of a portal. Originally, our portal was going to be in augmented reality, allowing users to be fully immersed in glowing petals and our stunning tree as part of a physical art exhibition.

As our project pivoted to be part of a virtual capstone, we decided on building a WebGL version to allow users to interact with our 3D models, while still being able to enter a portal to a whimsical world, even though our physical art exhibit would be cancelled.

User Interactions
Our team plans on implementing all of the same features we planned to be available to users in our physical exhibition, which include: walking into a portal, moving around the infinate space centered by a glowing cherry blossom tree, the ability to touch and freeze petals, and lastly slow down or speed up the falling petals.

During this serious period of time, we as artists found a desire to bring a carefree experience where users can take a moment to destress; to bring a new way to interact with these trees rather than to just see them, but to also manipulate the falling petals by touching and freezing them.

User Feedback

Overall Look + Feel

In our first demo, we were able to implement all of our art assets into a scene, filled with glowing petals and whimsical sounds. When user's were asked to describe how our experience made them feel, users responded with calm, soothed, and "like they were floating".

It was important for our team to give users a unique experience, allowing them to interact with art, nature, time, and space in new ways. We recived feedback from Demo 1 that our visuals felt "out of this world", "magical", and were "very pretty".

WebGL Game Mechanics

From the first iteration to our final demo, our developers worked hard to create a user-friendly experience. Through troubleshooting and user testing, they were able to improve performance on the game controls and framerate per second.

planning

The whimsical world of "Influorecense" was intended to be an augmented reality experience at the Interactive Media Design 2020 Capstone. Due to COVID-19, our team pivoted our project to a virtual space. Though we have pivoted from our original concept, we have attempted to conserve our original plan as much as possible. We have included our original floor plan, journey map, and other planning documents to help show how we evolved as artists in an ever changing world. If our team had more time, we would have liked to continue building our augmented reality experience, deploying it into the hands of users.

experience

Explore the world of Influorecense through a whimsical journey filled glowing visuals and calming sounds. For the best experience, please turn your sound ON, and let yourself get lost in the world of Influorecense.


Current Demo is Desktop View Only


the future of Influorecense

Learning the technology for augmented reality allowed us as artists and technologists to think about how we interact with the world around us and how “augmenting” it changes our perception. With our experience, we hoped to give users a new way to think about their daily interactions with nature through an art lens. In the future, Influorecense may easily adapt to other alternate nature experiences.

Adapt, Pivot, & Iterate
Adapting our interactive art experience to a full digital space resulted in our team making some tough decisions to narrow down our user interactions than we originally planned due to time. If we had another 10 weeks to work on this project in order to make this experience more immersive, we would implement multiplayer functionality, as well as potentially moving back into the augmented reality space we originally had hoped to build for.

Building and creating for augmented reality and then moving to a desktop view of our experience allowed our team to learn about designing for two different spaces. In augmented reality, the quality and size of 3D models must be high in order to give users the full, immersive experience. As we moved to a Web-only build, we found these original models still looked great, but caused some technical issues. Troubleshooting render and build time was of utmost importance to be able to give users a smooth experience.

We are
Visionare
Studio.

meet the team

Our team of designers and developers collaborated in the making of "Influorecense".

Cynthia Sanchez

UX + Visual Designer

As a visual designer, my love for typography, color theory, and branding has inspired me to create aesthetically pleasing experiences, centered in design theory and user-centered design. Creating meaningful experiences allows me to create visual designs that go beyond aesthetics, designing with purpose to serve those who I create for.

Alan Xu

Developer

I am a senior at University of Washington Bothell, currently majoring in Interactive Media Design with a minor in Information Technology.
I have a passion for both design and development, and I enjoy using programming as a tool to create solutions.

Emily Nguyen

Project Manager

I am a designer experienced in both creative direction and project management. Design has given me the opportunity to stretch my thinking in how we continue to interact with the world and has allowed me to strive for ways to include everyone in these experiences. I am eager to continue creating responsible designs that would benefit all people and to help me become a better and more self-aware individual.

Juhyun Oh

Developer

I am a developer, who is currently attending University of Washington Bothell, majoring Interactive Media Design and minoring Information Technology. In love of problem solving, programming has always been a new challenge and entertainment for me. Everyday it excites me that I have something new to learn.

Jannie Phan

UX Designer

I’m a designer that strives to produce beautiful yet meaningful experiences. I’m currently an Associate Banker and Digital Lead at JPMorgan Chase. I’ve had experience working as a Client Success Specialist for a startup in Seattle called Stylyze and I’ve interned at Violette New York as a Visual Designer. My designs are with intention and an ethnographic approach to provide user-centered design for people.