Metlife: Patterns of Life

Custom Desktop Software developed to allow creation of particle-based animations based on motion tracking of underlying footage. I developed the software whilst working at Local Projects, written in OpenFrameworks.

See the Local Projects website description of the project.

A little tour on how the software works.

UX-wise, the software takes a lot of cues from an iMovie-style video editor. It allows the user to put together compositions with an arbitrary number of clips, add transitions between them if desired, and tweak those transitions. Here are some sketches whilst coming up with a good UX for the different modes.

Software-wise, the application is all built around the premise of being able to tweak the particle systems realtime, you get to edit everything while playing back your compositions.

The software allows you to import any clips, transcodes them to a realtime friendly representation (using ffmpeg), and anlyzes its patterns of motion though optical flow (OpenCv). The user gets to tweak some parameters of the optical flow to be able to isolate the relevant motion for the clip. by doing so, a user is able to build a library of clips that can be placed into compositions.

A basic tagging and searching functionality exists to be able to quickly browse the clips library.

Once the user is editing a composition, transitions can be added between adjacent clips. These transitions consist of a particle system that is affacted by the motion extracted from the video clips beneath them. The user gets to tweak a large number of parameters to achieve the desired look, matching the brand (Metlife) as desired.

Compositions can be rendered out at up to 16384 x 16384 pixels, and they are exported as an alpha-channeled image sequence including only the particles. An after effects project is also created to be able to tweak the color fading, color correction, or any other desired effects.

Most of the user interface is built with Dear ImGui, apart from the video timeline which needed more control and it’s handlded by a node-based scenegraph.

Screenshots / Video Gallery

Development / Work In Progress Media

Lots of exploration was required to achieve the final look. During this process, lots of interesting visual outputs were found and discarded. Here are some examples.


Creative Direction: Tiemen Rapati and Christopher Fung.
Production: Keeli Shaw, Jeanne Angel
Graphic Design: Danny Well
Development: Oriol Ferrer Mesià