‘Blossom to Soar’ is an interactive installation with generative visuals, exploring the contrast between freedom and bondage, and the creativity of nature.

By picking up the flower pot and then tilting it, grow your digital butterfly orchid and release into the posture of flying butterflies, presenting a magical dance of digital and nature.


Phalaenopsis, commonly known as butterfly orchids.

The name “Phalaenopsis” comes from two Greek words, “Phalaina” (meaning moth or butterfly) and “opsis” (meaning similar). Therefore, “Phalaenopsis” translates to “plant resembling a butterfly.”

Butterfly orchids have been cultivated by humans as ornamental plants with beauty and colorfulness. People give this plant glorious meanings, while the original butterfly orchids that grew in their natural environment were even not noticeable by us.

Indeed, the association between butterfly orchids and butterflies seems to be limited to their outward appearance, without endowing them with true freedom of spirit. Just like various limitations and restrictions exist in human society, leading people to contemplate the balance between individual freedom and societal rules. In this project, through the transformation & returning between Butterfly Orchids & Butterflies, combining with participant’s involvements. The plant with its free spirit to discuss the Freedom & Bondage of Life and convey the message of breaking through limitations.

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During the learning and creating process of the 2 periods, think what’s most valuable for me is that exploring these possibilities that creative coding could lead me to present my ideas and generate the interactive experience.

In the process of creating this project ‘Blossom to Soar’, I explored and learnt much about the generative 3D parts in TouchDesigner to control some real-time animations and the basic communication methods using OSC between hardware (Arduino boards/Phone) and the software. What’s more, different from digital 3D modeling manually, generated modelling logics help much with sparking creativity. It always feels great to learn more about how to control the real-time arts and the controls themselves in design.

The butterfly orchid model in this project is generated mainly using the ‘L-system’ in touchDesigner. ‘L-system’ could do much about generating the plant-like models using its code language, and here is the document for L-system in TouchDesigner. Also find these series of tutorials by TDSW quite helpful.

For the flower pedals, this time I learnt to use the animation CHOP in TouchDesigner to transfer lines into planes with many controllable elements.

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The animation parts confused me most at first, because Touchdesigner’s differences technically with others that I have experience with and give me the ‘out-of-control feeling’. Thanks a lot to Matti, I learnt the animation controlling in TouchDesigner using the combination of ‘slope + logic + lag’ CHOPs, it works quite well technically, and many stuffs which could take me lots of time to figure out on my own.

The physical controller part (the pot) is attached with the Arduino Nano RP2040, using the accelerometer integrated inside to access the input data.

In practice, using Arduino board as the wifi emitter to send data to computer using OSC took more electrical power than I thought, also the batteries have a certain volume. So ideally to make a wireless controller need a smaller battery with more capacity, and sometimes it’ll be better to stay wired. 🫡