An investigation into achieving visual narration using photochromic dyes on a textile substrate
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Photochromic dyes have the unique property of being colourless until exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light. Their application within design has thus far been basic, predominantly developing the medium as it is exposed to natural UV light. Therefore, by exploring the dyes’ colours and movement when printed on a textile substrate and developed by artificial UV light, this thesis investigates their ability to create a form of visual narrative. Using the dyes’ colours to evoke a change in emotion set the parameters for answering this aim. Testing the interactions of the dyes’ colours in sunlight, on a range of substrates and in varied combinations, provided initial knowledge of how they perform in this medium. Whilst the stylistic techniques of French Impressionist films provided configurations with which to explore the movement of the dyes, research on colour showed the diversity of ways in which it is able to be used to express emotion. Two custom built UV LED arrays, manually operated then software driven, enabled the dyes’ development times and intervals to be controlled. Design questions were then answered by combining these factors with the dyes’ fading speeds. Storyboarding photographs became an important part of the analysis and reflection process whilst filming also assisted in observing their transient nature. This work revealed that a new methodology, that was based on placement and sequencing, would be necessary when designing with dyes that move. Design exploration illustrated how using two dyes, from opposite ends of both the fading and emotional spectrum, mixed by printing, could create a colour change, as they faded, when they were developed in a linear sequence. Subsequently, by combining abstract representational imagery with variations on the stylistic film techniques, to alternately develop two dyes, it was illustrated how, by varying their development intervals, these dyes have the potential to create a visual narrative that evokes a change of emotion in the viewer.