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Ezl – pushing forward the tradition

As a big advantage that Cintiq screen bring to us, the eye-hand coordination has been perfectly aligned so no more looking-away-from-pen-tip is needed. We want other command control to be as intuitive as it could be so it can barely be mistaken.

Last time, team Jie-Li-Ny has learned what the Makey-Makey can do in the first week of class. And our group had come up with a pretty solid idea about improving the user experience of Adobe Suites, especially Photoshop. The idea came from observations of people drawing directly with Photoshop on a Cintiq screen.  As a big advantage that Cintiq screen bring to us, that the eye-hand coordination  has been perfectly aligned so no more looking-away-from-pen-tip is needed. Users can always focus on the canvas and enjoy the convenience of digital drawing without looking up and down from the pen tip to the screen over and over again.

So we came up with the idea about extracting several mostly used hotkeys and put them aside to make quick and frequent selection easily.  With this in mind, we decided that the layout of the keys should be as intuitive as it could to make selection more like an instinct that can barely be mistaken.

Based of  our own experience of using Adobe Suites software, mostly Photoshop, we picked five hotkeys to be set separately on the controller.

All of them are paired with CTRL key.

Ctrl B for changing brushes

Ctrl X for cutting

Ctrl H for rotating canvas

Ctrl M for moving canvas

 

 

First stage sketches

Naturally we started off with sketching, like all other projects we did before. But we felt like we had to take Makey-Makey into consideration, thus making the whole process so different than before. We directly started to mock up with sticky notes connected with alligator wires thru foil pieces underneath to the M-M board. After several discussion, we figured this could be one of the possible solutions engineering-wise. This model  contributed a lot to the development of the second-stage paper prototype. Final paper prototype made by Ali was a mid-to-high fidelity one. It almost contains every dimension and details. That directly helped and pushed the final product to come into reality.

 

paper prototype as working model for programming, configuration and dimension reference

Since this paper prototype is very close to the final prototype, we decided to use the similar configuration and dimension and transfer it into CAD model for laser cutting job to make the shell with chipboard. At the same time, storyboard was in the process.  Johnathan has sorted out a lot of details about how the film should be shot, which have all been included in his storyboard, such as camera movements and how character entered the scene.

We shot most of the scene in library with Cintiq screen for demonstration use and the lighting there is better than computer labs that are mostly  dimmed. All of these were strictly done according to our storyboard. I believe this helped our video be coherent and consistent within context. Besides of that, we also went to Eckburg to take a short clip about drawing in front of a real easel. The juxtaposition of easel and our logo “ezL” can better sell the idea of “pushing forward the tradition”. Our product is aimed to free the artists from the obstacle caused by what it takes to use modern technology and make them feel as comfortable as drawing in the traditional way. But it actually pushed the user experience one step more so that those obstacle  is removed and meanwhile, the convenience of digital platform can better assist the artists.

 

detailed storyboard

Finally when the laser cut pieces are done, I started to assemble the final product. In order to make the keys conductive and for aesthetic concern,  I used bronze sheets to make the keys. As shown on the photo below, every key is placed in a slot which makes the keys moveable. So no matter the user is left-handed or right-handed, the keys can fit to the thumb and the little finger to maximize usability. The controller is a sloped box if looked from a side view. Users may rest their wrist on the slope touching the big bronze piece as a natural position thus making the circuit grounded and workable.  On the upper part of the slope is the CTRL key. It’s also moveable to fit different configuration between left-handed and right-handed users so it doesn’t get in the way when switching hands.

 

Fujie ZongComment