Main Project Report Part 1: Shadow Art

Presentation Video: <link>

Inspiration and Project Idea: For my main project, I would like to create something that explores the contrast between light and shadow. My inspiration came to me when I was trying to fall asleep in a dim candle lighted room, and instead of closing my eyes I was staring at the resulting shadow from the candle flame and how it was changing in shape.

I wanted to showcase the contrast between dreams and nightmares. I wanted to show through my design how dreams and nightmares intervene sometimes. We get caught up not knowing if what was living is a dream or a reality, or if its a nightmare or reality. Sometimes we think its a dream but then we discover it’s not, and vice-versa. This project is supposed to show that.

Overall Description: I want to create an artwork that casts different shadows as it rotates, as shown in the image below:

Stretch Goal:

As mentioned in previous posts, I need a light source so that I can cast the shadows that I want. Currently, I am still waiting for the acrylic sheets to get here. I have decided to order the acrylic online instead of getting a basic one colored acrylic from a local store.

As a stretch, I have chosen a double-sided acrylic. Brushed Aluminum silver on black so that I can make the project aesthetically pleasing during day time too.

Addition, instead of having an ordinary light source such as a bulb, I have decided to curate a video and use the mini projector that I already have to cast light and preview a supplementary video that will help give my project a stronger “oomph” when presented.

Next step is to compile the video and add details to my current sketches for engraving purposes.

Top 5 Constraints:

  • Time
  • Aesthetic: Making the shadows relate to each other by telling a story or symbolize greater concepts.
  • Cost: ~50$
  • Manufacturability: material that can be laser cut and still accomplishes the wanted final look.
  • A power source must be present all the time for the artwork to work and be displayed properly.
  • Making an object that casts different shadows from different angles.
  • Having the apparatus move in the right frequency that allows the viewer to see a shadow art most of the time.

Chosen Aesthetic:

  • Dark, creepy, gore aesthetic
  • Arabic calligraphy
  • Similarities combine:
    • sharp unexpected edges that vary in width.
    • Excessive use of black and dark colors

Project Timeline/Procedure:

Mood Board: Hand Sketches:

Rendered drawings:  

Rendering the drawings was one of the hardest parts of this project because I had to combine my sketches into one. Also, I had to make sure there were no loose ends, meaning all parts of the sketches touch so that when they are cut in the laser cutter the sketch comes out in one piece.


Final cuts:

Fabrication Process + Final Product: <click to watch fabrication video>

Budget Analysis: Originally, I have planned to spend ~$50 on this project. As seen below, I’m a little over budget but I am happy with the quality of the overall project.

 Shopping List:


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12 Comments. Leave new

  • Hogan Auyeung
    May 8, 2019 5:24 pm

    This aesthetic is definitely unique. The whole thing gives me a creepy vibe but it’s awesome that you explored that aesthetic!

  • Chris Mcfadden
    May 7, 2019 6:27 pm

    I like that this was cool and beautiful but also creepy at the same time! It was great to see it in action when I helped out with the photo shoot. Its really cool that the focal point of the project isnt the project itself but the shadow that it creates. Great work!

  • Joshua Engmorris
    May 1, 2019 2:22 pm

    Hadeel, I really like this idea and your execution of it! I like how you walked us through your whole process and we got to see the evolution of the project. The way that the shadows project onto the walls is awesome and definitely adds to your aesthetic. I think it would be cool if you put a little candle in the center of your platform. The shadows would radially spread across the room, and the flickering red light would add to your dark, creepy vibe.

  • Fatema Alhalal
    May 1, 2019 1:45 pm

    Awesome sketches!! I loved that you used Arabic words in your project, I bet it wouldn’t look as good in English! The Arabic font is an aesthetic area that you’re clearly really good at! Good Job!

  • Luke Collier
    May 1, 2019 1:20 pm

    Wow! The models look hand-drawn, but it is actually finely laser-cut! I really like how you played with shadows that expand outward from a close point source. Good job on your post.

  • Clare Bork
    May 1, 2019 1:20 pm

    Hadeel, I loved your sketches, the thought behind this project, and the fact that one side says dream and one says nightmare. The light really brought this project to light and the video you made was amazing!!

  • Peilin Yang
    May 1, 2019 1:19 pm

    I like your aesthetic concept in your project. Deep dark color combined with fairytales is quite an eye-catching combo. Nightmare with little girl is a typical cult story! So glad to see you really achieve your goal.

  • Christopher Seighman
    May 1, 2019 1:18 pm

    This came out awesome! I really like how you utilized the alternate angles of the light for the dream/nightmare sides of the shadows

  • This is such a great post, thanks or including so much detials about the project. The mood board idea is new to me and I think it’s a great idea at the beginning phase of any design work. The details of the shadow is amazing I didnt’t expect, the effect looks great in the bigger scale compared to the acrylic board itself. Good job!

  • Danielle Glanville
    May 1, 2019 1:12 pm

    I really like how your project turned out and I think the aesthetic you chose fits perfectly. I like that you made a mood board and used that for inspiration, I wish I had done something like that. It’s nice that you showed your whole design process, too. Good work!

  • Shalil Jain
    May 1, 2019 1:12 pm

    The aesthetic is interesting and very intricate. This must’ve been hard to design since playing light doesn’t stream as straightforward but its neat how you converged your hand sketches into digital sketches. It was smart to use your photochop skills that you already have to help make your project. Its cool that you bring in arabic into it as well. Great job!

  • Yousef Alqattan
    April 29, 2019 9:05 pm

    I really like this aesthetic as I have always been a fan of the unknown. Integrating Arabic with western styles of horror works out quite well honestly, the long thin pointy letters resembling claws blend in well with this aesthetic. Adding the element of light and creating shadow figures of what you’ve drawn will magnify the horror aesthetic you’ve gone for, especially if use a candle as the light source as it will give the shadows a living effect.


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