Week #7

Midterm: Entropy

A project by Weber Wong & I.


noun /ˈentrəpē/


  1. a thermodynamic quantity representing the unavailability of a system's thermal energy for conversion into mechanical work, often interpreted as the degree of disorder or randomness in the system. ("the second law of thermodynamics says that entropy always increases with time").
  2. lack of order or predictability; gradual decline into disorder.

We were talking a lot about time; how it only goes in one direction, and about how the universe is expanding, and about the fact that energy is finite. I was reading on the Arrow of Time on Wikipedia:

The symmetry of time can be understood simply as the following: if time were perfectly symmetrical, a video of real events would seem realistic whether played forwards or backwards. Gravity, for example, is a time-reversible force. A ball that is tossed up, slows to a stop, and falls is a case where recordings would look equally realistic forwards and backwards. The system is T-symmetrical. However, the process of the ball bouncing and eventually coming to a stop is not time-reversible. While going forward, kinetic energy is dissipated and entropy is increased. Entropy may be one of the few processes that is not time-reversible. According to the statistical notion of increasing entropy, the "arrow" of time is identified with a decrease of free energy.

This area of interest led us to try and depict a gradual move from low entropy to high entropy, but one that also begs to ask if perhaps at the end of time there's just this loop. And perhaps even say 'this happened already. This happened so many times already'. However scientifically unlikely, perhaps we're just specks of dust in an endless cycle. And so wanted to create something that left people with this feeling.

We both searched and collected footage from free online sources that we thought would work well. We knew we wanted to have objects sorted by physical size, and those objects had to be ones that transform in an irreversible way. Weber edited them and animated line animation on top of them to draw attention to their kinetic energy. I made the UI overlay that had 3D models of the object:

I also animated a short poem Weber wrote, and the other UI elements. The text animation was made to be dynamic so it was fully editable and the position as well as the rectangle around it automatically adjusted themselves to the text box's width. We intended for it to feel like this dashboard, like an outside look on things from very far away.

The sound is a piece called Octaeder 2.0 by Oval, which surprisingly fit very well and didn't require much editing.

Thanks for reading!

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Jasmine Nackash is a multidisciplinary designer and developer intereseted in creating unique and innovative experiences.