College student creates mesmerizing animations for research project about synthetic ASMR triggers

ASMR Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response UniversityMarcus Nystrand is an undergraduate student in the Visual Communications program at Beckmans College of Design in Stockholm, Sweden.

For his graduation project he decided to create videos with synthetic ASMR triggers and survey if they are able to stimulate ASMR in viewers.

What are “synthetic ASMR triggers?”  Marcus created computer-generated animations that have some properties of ASMR triggers (e.g., movements, sounds) but without the presence of human forms (e.g., hands) or human objects (e.g., brushes).

In short, his project is asking, “Can non-human motions, items, and sounds trigger ASMR?”

His animations are extremely high quality,  very imaginative, and deeply mesmerizing.  Will they trigger your ASMR?

Read on to learn a bit more about his project, then click the link to view his amazing videos and answer his short survey questions.

In my interview with Marcus he shared his inspiration for this project, how he created his visuals and sounds, his biggest challenge, and where he will be posting the results of his project.

Below are my questions in bold, his replies in italics, and a link to his animations and survey.

What inspired you to do this project as your graduation project?

Before this project I didn’t know about ASMR.  I was doing research on meditation because I was interested in creating virtual relaxation rooms.  In my research I stumbled upon ASMR and I realized that I have been experiencing it since I was around 12 years old. 

I remembered specific occasions where friends showed me things on maps and I totally zoned out because of the strong tingles I had.  When I looked up “ASMR maps” on Youtube I found out that this is actually one of many sub-genres of ASMR.  That made me feel like I share this phenomena with others and that inspired me to explore it.

How did you create the visuals and sounds in the animations?

The videos were created in Cinema 4D, using both simulation and animation tools. Most of the sounds are recorded on my cheap AKG Perception 100 microphone, but some are also sampled from Youtube videos.

Most of the sounds are actually layers of several sounds to make it sound fuller. One friend of mine also recorded sound for one of the objects because he loved it so much.

What was the biggest challenge about creating these videos?

I actually made 20 videos first, but decided to survey only 10 of them. This is because I wanted the survey to be quick and easy to do. The biggest challenge was to decide which of them to keep for the survey, because killing your darlings can be really hard sometimes. To do this I beta tested them on my friends to get a feel for which ones had the most potential.

When and where will you exhibit your final project?

It will be a graduation exhibition on May 17-22 at Beckmans College of Design in Stockholm, where the graduating students show their graduation projects. There will be around 40 other projects exhibited, in visual communication, product design and fashion. Here is a preview website for the exhibition:

Will you be posting or sharing the results of this project online?

Yes, the results will be public on the 14th of May on There will also be an ASMR video featuring the surveyed objects and a summary of the results.

Do you have any other ASMR-related projects on the horizon?

I’d love to make some kind of digital ASMR generator that produces random visual and audio material. That could perhaps be a solution to tingle immunity. I’m not sure how this would be done though, but maybe in the future I will try to create it!

Links to the animations and survey, and more about Marcus:

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This post brought to you by ASMR University.  A site with the mission of increasing the awareness, understanding, and research of the Art and Science of Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response.

4 thoughts on “College student creates mesmerizing animations for research project about synthetic ASMR triggers

  1. Pingback: Results from the ASMR Synthetic Trigger research project | ASMR University

  2. Visually the videos were indeed pleasant to watch, but not to the point of giving me tingles just from visuals alone. The sounds, in turn, were too synthetic and too repetitive to really work – each pass was identical with the previous one and that was what prevented me from getting tingles. Plus the sound quality wasn’t very good as if recorded on a cheap microphone. That didn’t help either.


  3. I don’t know if my comment can be linked to survey results, but I want to say that I just don’t get the asmr tingles from any videos at all. Bummer! So the fact that I indicated that I didn’t get tingles and that I didn’t find them relaxing probably is not typical.


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