A “SMART” Discussion

Individual Project

Role:  Animator, Charactor Design, Story Writer, 3D Modeling Development Tool: AfterEffects, Cinema4D, Maya
Timeline: 4 Weeks | Feb - April, 2019 Deliverables: Motion, Animated Short Film


Experimenting with using “Pseudocode” to tell a noir about relationship between human and smart home technology.
* Pseudocode - a notation resembling a simplified programming language, used in program design.

In this project, I used Maya and Cinema4D to 3D modeling the characters and use After Effect to animated the stories. This project is buit based on an speculation of problem caused by a increasingly closed relationhsip between human and smart home technology. It also encourages the viewers to think about how this technology might, in any shape of form, impact how we live and behave in the future.


01. Concept 

A “SMART” Discussion is a short film consisting of 3 animated stories/chapters. Each uses black humor and irony to depict a human life in the future SMART spaces. The 3 stories discuss issues of misinterpretation from SMART home technology, the sophistication of human identification, and urveillance & controversial behavior controls.

02. Methodology 

To simulate how machine thinks, I trained myself to think, speak, and write like a machine, where I got a lot of inspiration from work by Iohanna Nicenboim, a UX Designer & Researcher who is the inventor of Thing Centered Design (TCD).  

Having done research about SMART home technology, I get to know that all algorithm of machine learning and smart home technology are built based on a simple logic, “If then do, if else then don’t”.  However, writing stories using purly programming language might turn away certain group of audience.

To me, Pseudocode, simplified programming language, is the perfect in-between language that conveys the tone of machines but simple enough to be understandable by people without coding background. It also creates an original and fun reading experience for the viewers.


01. Mis-expectation

Mis-expectation describes a dilemma where in order to strictly enforce the commands of the host (who living in ths space) and to meet the analyzed expectations, smart home objects start to run a series of absurd upgrades, which forces the host to live in an illogical environment. This story aims at discussing the complexity of expectation and mis-interpretation between human and smart home objects. For the full written script of this chapter, please click here

02. Disputable Who

How do smart home objects define us? Who decided the criteria? What is the standard? Do they really know us? This story aims at discussing the sophistication of human identities, which lead to an unsolvable argument among smart home objects. For the full written script of this chapter, please click here.

03. Clues 

Clues illustrates a scenario in a sarcastic tone that smart home objects make a prediction about the host’s future activities based on their past observations and findings on the host. By doing so, each home object carries out a series of judgment that subtly controls the host’s life. So, the key question is that who’s in control now?

This chapter aims at discussing how each minor and unconscious behavior creates a discovery by smart home objects and generates a corresponding prediction, which ironically leads to a passive controlled life of humans in the private living space. For the full written script of this chapter, please click here

The “Prism” Exhibition

In the “Prism” exhibition at Parsons School of Design, over 100 people’ve watched A “SMART” Discussion. It was suprising that most of the audience can fully understand the “pseudocode lanuage” that I’ve invented to simulate the thinking of machines. There were laughters, silence, and applaud during the screening event. Be able to experimenting a new method of telling the story by inventing a new language and be able to make it clear and enjoyable to the audience is a huge success to me.

Daily Graphics

Individual Project

Role | Visual Design, 3D modeling
Tools |
Cinema4D, Photoshop, Maya, Illustration
Timeline | Jun - Sep 2018
Duration | Daily
Deliverable | 2D/3D Graphics

These projects aim at training myself, a designer, to be as productive, improvising, and creative on the daily basis. Some of them were posted on @y_u_jie at instagram as social media contents. Most of the time I create abstract ideas because I like experimenting with different shapes, visual language, media, and 2D/3D forms. Techniques in use including photoshop, Cinema 4D, and illustration.

Motion Graphics Collection

Individual Project

Roles | Motion & Visual Design, 3D Modeling
Development Tools | After Effects, Illustrator, Cinema4D
Timeline | Jan, 2019 - Present

Duration | 2 weeks per video

Deliverables | Short films & Videos

01. See Me Through Prism

Animated Logo Design
3D in After Effect,
Kinetic Typography

Music Credits
07 Cylob - Balzouf [Cylob Industries]

Having done a few interactive installation using prisms, I was fascinated by the idea that prism can project out multiple perspectives from a single object. This is the way how I want to approach to brand myself. The main visual style of this motion is based on self-reflected personalities, simple, colorful, and dynamic. I also got some good inspirations upon transformation of geometric shapes from Bauhaus design. In terms of the technical aspect of this motion, I manipulated 3D and 2D illusions in the After Effects, and I tried to play with as much as kinectic typography animation in this motion.

02. The Wandering Earth

Title Sequence 
Chinese 1st proud Sci-fi movie,
After Effects,
Kinetic Camera Interpolation
Original Movie Trailer link
The Wandering Earth

Inspired by the first Chinese proud Sci-Fi movie, The Wandering Earth, I made a 35-sec title sequence as a tribute. The idea is to proceed with the idea of “Wandering” around the universe by using kinetic camera interpolation technique to invite the viewers to navigate around the universe using first person perspective and search for Earth. I added visual elements from Chinese culture to classic sci-fi HUD effects.  In terms of the technicel aspect of this motion, I manipulated lighting and physical simulation in the After Effects, and I tried to play with kinectic typography animation in this motion.

03.  A “SMART” Discussion

Animation | Fiction Design  
Smart Home,

Cinema4D, After Effects,
Storytelling using Code,
3D Modeling,

Full project documentation Link: 
A “SMART” Discussion
A “Smart” Discussion is short film consisting with 4 animated stories to use black humor and irony to depict a human life in future smart spaces focusing on issues of mis-expectation, the sophistication of identification, privacy and surveillance, and conflict behavior controls. In this project, I used Maya and Cinema4D to 3D modeling the characters and use After Effect to animated the stories. To see full concept and documentation of this project please click the link on the left.

04. The Vision Machine

Art Installation & Short Film  

Behance Link 
The Vision Machine
A poetric documentary of an art interactive installation that I created in 2016. The installation invites people to create their own kaleidoscopic views through drawing.

05. The Best Light (Work-in-Progress)

Music Video 

Music Video Link Elliot Moss – "Best Light"
In this particular music video, I want to explore the possibility of using gestures and lighting in the 3D space as visual clues to express the emotions in the song and the lyrics. I explored rigging, irradiate texture and 3D lighting in this motion.

YUJIE, Parsons School of Design. New York, NY.
All rights reserved by Yujie Jiang