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What do you call the style, trend or design commonly used by bodies mentioned in the title? I always see these designs in sci-fi movies and dashboards used by FBI or CIA. Do you know any toolkit using it?


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Not sure if there is term, but if you are looking for inspiration this is a great start: – Yisela Mar 26 '13 at 3:00
These are all custom designed for whatever film they are in. They are not operational and are merely Flash movies or the like. – Scott Mar 26 '13 at 5:51
@Scott I am aware of their operational status within films but I am sure that there also real-life fully operational systems using these GUIs. – fart-y-goer Mar 26 '13 at 5:57
I'm curious why you feel there are real-life things using the fictional creations in films. Do you have evidence of that or merely a gut feeling? – Scott Mar 26 '13 at 7:24
I clarified the title, as these are typical of sci-fi in general, not any specific real world industries. – DA01 Apr 2 '13 at 15:25

These types if Ui designs are commonly created using Adobe Illustrator and then brought into Adobe After Effects for creating the video portion of the elements making them appear "in use". I don't know that they have a particular term or designation in regards to a theme.

They are in fact static short film clips and never truly functional UIs. Directors and film makers can not afford to have an actor mess up a simple UI task. So the UIs are added to the actor mimicking motions in post production.

Here is a link to a PDF from Adobe explaining the processes for the Iron Man UI.

If you have evidence that such UI designs are actually used in real life, I'd be interested to see that. As far as I'm aware, they are always fictional.

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This question reminds me of the client asking "Hey, you have Photoshop. Can you remove the car in this photo so we can see what was behind it? We need to get the licence plate off of that car in the background." - TV and film are not real life. What they do on CSI is not real-world in MANY instances. – Scott Mar 26 '13 at 9:33

I cannot speak outside of my own limited experience. I worked at a company that designed some of the GUIs for the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) products. Actually, that's not quite true... we designed mock-ups used by our software. The final product was going to be shipped to the FAA, and their in-house designers were going to customize it from there (possibly throwing out everything we did and replacing it with their own graphics).

That being said, the company also produced a very similar product for airport towers outside of the FAA's jurisdiction. Most of these international customers received a locked-down version of a GUI that was locked down by us. I believe it was originally designed by a contractor hired specifically for that job. The designs were tweaked until the company liked the looks, and then that became the GUI. In our products' case, the controls were based off of familiar standard aircraft cockpit meters and controls, so that they would look familiar to pilots and air traffic controllers.

From my limited discussions with FAA personnel and some contractors who had worked with other U.S. agencies and departments, all of this was a fairly typical process. So, in short, there's probably no standard that exists across a wide range of implementations. Each project (or at best, each agency or department) defines its own requirements based on documented needs. In some projects, that comes down to the whims of one or two people. In other projects, it could be a large committee that takes years to decide.

In movies or on TV, I would think that it comes down mostly to the artist, production designer, director, and maybe the producers to decide what they think fits the story they are trying to tell.

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I worked with someone who designed some actual heads-up displays for the US Air Force, and I've been working on C&C GUIs for a few years. The US Dept of Defense and NATO have very specific GUI requirements, none of which look like the mockups you see in Marvel film properties. – Voxwoman Mar 5 '15 at 14:42

There is no "toolkit" as it is pure work of fiction. I could name photoshop and video editing software I suppose.

In reality, the software you mentioned looks more like windows 3. Why is that? Software like that has to run for 10 years or more and has to be as simple as possible.

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The first one seems fiction, but something like this is already made by yose here.

The second one seems real to me, made with rainmeter just grab some skins and make your own.

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