Company Post

Fred Trétout's Interactive Facets

About 2 years ago we became familiar with Fred Trétout when he published a video for the very cool (and rather adorable) SPOKA, an interactive projection mapped night light with an equally compelling description: "Spoka is a small night light, it can take its iron armor, trace the history of a life time or reveal its wireframe, the spectator have to choose! He can also move the light and rotate the model to see its most beautiful angle."

Fred's recent installation FACETS shares many of the qualities that first attracted us to his work: a pronounced tendency for playfulness, imaginative expression, and user-engagement conveyed through excellent design and use of technology.

Fred, who is currently in France teaching a TouchDesigner course at his alma mater took the time to talk to us about his work and experiences. Enjoy!

Fred Trétout': I had the idea of creating Facets shortly after discovering TouchDesigner. I wanted to rediscover the fun I had in my first VJ evenings when I was using the open source software Alchemy with a graphics tablet. The accumulation of geometric forms of the Tangram in symmetry allows with a little big of imagination to see faces, animals, robots ...

My first iteration of Facets was made for Montréal en Lumieres 2014 with ElToro Studio. I wanted people to be able to draw on the facades of buildings in the Places des Arts. I used the Leap Motion to track the user's hand of the user and to detect the number of fingers extended. I like the fluidity in the movement of the hand and was hoping to see a choreography of the fingers producing an image, that the gestures be random/unconscious. I use a 3D model of the building that I randomly divided, I coloured the polygons and used a feedback effect then a symmetry. Color and cursor position came from the Leap Motion.

We decided to not brodcast the projection and create a standalone application for festivals, ElToro Studio had the idea to build a kiosk to place the Leap Motion. The kiosk was built by Mineau et Dussault Designer inc. The objective was to allow the public to freely use Facets.

On the occasion of Digital Spring I submitted Facets to the digital arts contest at ICI ARTV. It was one of four projects selected and I then had to adapt the application to the interactive window (Displax Skin Multitouch) and say goodbye to my Leap Motion. I also reconsidered the network.

I imported my 3D mesh in a DAT, and with a script rewrote the color of each primitive that the cursor moved over. This method allowed me to have a nice SOP in color! When the user finished coloring I launched a GLSL shader that modified the position of vertices in a noise texture. The user could thus watch or 'contemplate' their creation manifesting.

I saved each image produced during Facets' installation which ran from September 9th until December 1st on the window of ICI ARTV's studio, Places des Arts, Montréal. I'm now very curious to see that file!

I am a multimedia artist and studied graphic design and then real-time 3D. In Montreal I specialized on large-scale projections and motion design. I am currently artistic director at Space&Dream for a project called Montréal en Histoire. I am also in fully engaged in developing 360 animation because I have been selected as VJ for the dome of the SAT. I am currently also giving a TouchDesigner course at my 3D school ESCIN in Laval in France.

See also: Facets on Behance