Pixel Cubes

Posted by: on May 30, 2011


With being a double-major, in both Graphic Design and Film/Animation/Video, I am constantly working with the computer as a medium. For this project, I wanted to take something from the screen and make it more three-dimensional.

I decided to focus on the idea of a pixel and attempted to realize/interpret it in a 3D way. My first problem was creating what a 3D pixel would look like. Since a cube is the 3D version of a square, it seemed fit to make cubes. Also, pixels can have different color values, all made up of different RGB or CMYK percentages. This is what sparked the first step of my system!

I decided to make a set of 20 cubes, all with a designated percentage labeled on them. The cubes increase by 5% intervals, ranging from 5% to 100%. The top and bottoms of the cubes are white with the % labeled, while each of the other four sides are Cyan, Magenta, Yellow or Black. The amount of CMYK on each side of each square are determined by the percentage of the cube. For example, the 5% cube has 5% of Cyan on one side, 5% Magenta on another, and so on.

I realized that the 20 cubes I made create a 4×5 grid which can be thought of as a unit. If I mae different patterns within every unit and then combined them, I could created larger images or patterns. I also realized that if I were to re-photograph the same unit over and over with different color patterns, I could create a moving image. This led me to creating a short stop-motion video, animating movement and patterns using my 3d pixels. I later took every still photograph from this animation and tiled them together to create a large poster that would show a pattern of the movements I was creating.

What I did not realize through my process is that while I was searching for my system this whole time, I had actually already created it in the very early stages of this assignment. My system was this box set of 20 cubes and my project became how I could utilize this system differently and have endless amount of outcomes from it – be it a still or moving image.

This relates directly to one of the most important things I’ve learned through this class. A system does not have to be evident or overly complicated to work. They also do not need to dictate the work. What systems can do are hold pieces together and make them stronger. It can make multiple spreads feels apart of the same book or instruct you how you’re supposed and read something. Sometimes it can make the form, like it did with my Occupational Outlook book, or sometimes it can lead you to something completely different, like it did with this assignment.

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