Sci-Fi UI / UX: Prometheus – Exceptionally consistent computer tech design despite 33 years of CGI advancements

Thirty-three years of computer graphics advancement had a noticeable influence on the way computer interfaces are used in the movie Prometheus. Advancements in CGI were integrated to seamless and believable show character interactions with various device interfaces to successfully illustrate plot concepts. Technology envisioned in the movie stayed true to the original vision of the first Alien film.

The (2012) Riddley Scott movie Prometheus depicts a scientific expedition in Year 2093. The film is a prequel to the arguably more popular film Alien (1979) starring Sigourney Weaver. Thirty-three years of computer graphics advancement had a noticeable influence on the way tech was used in the movie. Several scenes throughout the movie show seamless and believable character interactions with various device interfaces to successfully illustrate plot concepts. Most impressive is the manner in which advancements in filmmaking and CGI were integrated into a look and feel which stayed completely true to the original vision of the first Alien film.

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Ship interfaces are beautifully designed with consistent design patterns and both flat and 3d vector elements. The color palette of these displays seems to change to represent the situation or data readout. With Blue, Green, Magenta being the default scheme and Red, Orange, Gold used to communicate urgency in technical readouts or entire system consoles.

 

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Prometheus UI Reel by Territory Studios

More amazing work at Territory Studio

The bridge of the drop ship is equipped with symmetrical console layouts which include navigational, scientific and operational readouts on multiple flat-screen and translucent HUD displays. This design as with everything in the movie Prometheus holds true that which was envisioned in the original Alien movie. Where another director may have chosen to have the HUD graphic projected in front an unframed cockpit window, something more similar and appropriate for IronMan or Minority report. A frameless HUD would not have fit with the Riddley Scott characteristic “Nine Inch Nails”-esq industrial metal future tech.

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The ship depicted in Prometheus has a beautiful holographic projection display for navigational and scientific planning. The vectorized three-dimensional models are called and controlled by characters who enter commands in nearby terminals.

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Interestingly there are two types of 3D holographic interfaces depicted in the movie Prometheus. The first, on board the scientific research ship, is less advanced. Requiring a terminal in which it is projected from. It is operated through a device, like a mouse or other input and is not touch-sensitive in 3d space.

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The second 3D holographic interface we see in the movie belongs to the advanced alien species. These projects exist external to a single-point of projection or device and can seemingly project anywhere in 3d space. The most amazing part is that the light emitting projections are touch-sensitive and have enough density to interact with physical matter. It was a subtle and brilliant decision to demonstrate two forms of a similar technology which operate on completely different principles.

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If you liked this you might want to take a look at other articles about UI/UX.

 

Eric Schmidt

I am a designer and creative specializing in Marketing, Branding, UI / UX, and Strategy for companies, startups, products, and good ideas that need to be great.
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