frankenSim – a simulator showcases the quirks of human body parts by Milo Targett

If I was a five-year-old kid getting my hands on “frankenSim”, I’d play it for hours while laughing hysterically nonstop. But I’m a bit older now, I’ll write about the product and its animator instead.

“A grotesque, pink-hued dissection of the human body, with interconnecting pop-up windows containing organs to manipulate” is how the unique web-toy “frankenSim” was described. Yes, you can tinker with “rolling eyeballs, blonde locks riddled with lice and a pluckable hairy nostril” to your heart’s content. Sounds eww at the beginning, but once you start, you can’t stop. It’s just too fun, too satisfying, too addictive.

Frankensim_071 There are more absurd twists and surprises emerging as you continue to explore this virtual laboratory.

Who on earth made this monstrosity? No, Baron Frankenstein didn’t step into our world, nor travel through time, nor learn modern web tools to do that. It’s Milo Targett (check him out on his website, Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter, Vimeo). We had a big opportunity to have this greatly talented animator talk about his remarkable brain child.

Hi Milo, please tell us something about yourself and what you’re passionate about.

I’m a London based animator and I currently work at a studio called Animade. I guess my passion is for moving image and narrative, but not exclusively animation.

Could you elaborate on each step of the making (if possible) of “frankenSim”?

It started in my sketchbook with a few drawings of body parts. I initially wanted to visualise huge amounts of medical data that insurance companies could store digitally. I then translated these sketches into After Effects. My knowledge of code is pretty limited, but I was able to make decent animations that explained how I saw each element of “frankenSim” working. It was then over to the programers at Animade to construct the site. It was amazing to have that opportunity but it was also totally unknown territory for me!

Sketchbook_011 The conception of “frankenSim” – lovely sketches provided by Milo Targett

“frankenSim” certainly raises the bar compared to its predecessor “Lido Sim” (in which you have fun by preventing a guy from taking a dip). There are more diverse interactions and exciting combinations. Why did you decide to stick to the ‘window’ system to moderate and facilitate all of that?

I really enjoyed the narrative device that the windows provide, the idea that the viewer is a key player in the story development. Taking this idea into an interactive piece seemed like a logical next step. My favorite areas of the site are the points at which different windows interact with one another, such as the nose hairs and the squinting eyes. It was great to see the faces people constructed on Twitter once it was released, even the parts that broke!


Any advice for folks who attempt to make such interactive project?

Work with a good programer or back-end developer and make very clear your intentions for the project. I was lucky enough to have a great team to work with at Animade who helped me create “frankenSim”. Anything you can do to illustrate your vision clearly will be invaluable. But at the same time, have fun as you’re creating it and be open to the different avenues that open up as you progress (when it comes to interaction there will be many). Learn enough code to not sound like a fool, but try to avoid getting bogged down in the technical side and loosing sight of why you started.

Do you have any recent or upcoming projects that you’re particularly excited about?

Yes! There are a few things in the works actually, but for the time being paid work is the main priority. I’m also looking forward to creating a final installment in the “Sim” series so keep your eyes peeled for that!

Thanks Milo!

Frankensim_00 First you have to send a sperm to a folder in order to conceive the “frankenSim”. Pretty educative! Twitter_user_image_01 Daniel Powell shows his uncontrollable love for “frankenSim” Twitter_user_image_02 martina bramkamp shows what kind of wild thing one can have with “frankenSim”

If you’ve come this far and thought that you’ve heard about Animade somewhere… yes you did! Our earlier feature of the interactive game “The Lost Sloth” was also made at Animade. All cool stuff isn’t it? Wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a great amount of magic concocted everyday at this London-based studio!

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