Animation Project Evaluation

Looking back over this experimental project I’ve learned a lot of new skills which I am sure I will continue to broaden and utilize in the future. Although challenging at times, I’ve found it very enjoyable and a great way to explore new ideas and themes within my work.

I particularly liked working with Luke Monet as he is very easy to work with and comes up with some very innovative ideas which were very interesting to work on. It also enabled me to challenge my coding skills by doing something I had never done before.

I also liked animating by hand and doing walk cycle test sketches as it was a great way to enhance my animation skills in general and further understand the motion of animals and characters. Learning about Blender and motion capture was also very useful and greatly broadens my knowledge base within animation.

I am slightly disappointed that I run out of time on this project to explore and acheive all of the plans I had, however through this I now have projects that I will work on in the future, such as my neon logo sign, in order to enhance my portfolio.

3 Sided Cube Android Course: Week 4

This week on the course we learned how to get data from the BBC news stream as the app loads and then cache the data so that it is not being constatly downloaded from the web.

main activity cachemanager apimanager

This is quite a complicated process as it involves using an API manager in order to get the data efficiently. We then added this into the list view we made earlier in order to create an automatically updating list of stories with headlines and summaries of text.

Animation Project: Scribble Camera Tracking

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The next thing I wanted to explore in this project was integrating computer graphics and video footage. Following on from my Bete Noir idea from earlier of animating a scribble, I first modelled a 3D scribble by bending a cylinder using the techniques I picked up during starting my name logo.

I was unsure as to what material to assign to it as most that I used looked quite unnatural. In the future I will try and make some textures to use as a base, such as a texture of pencil, and tapering of the cylinder in order to make it look like more like a pencil or pen stroke.

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Next was to track the movement of my hand in the video in order for the scribble ball to follow this movement. This proved to be quite challenging as the quality of the video wasn’t that good so using a better quality camera in the future would be a good idea.  I then linked the movement of the camera to the ball so it would move along with the movement of my hand in the 3D space.

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I added some extra movement and rotation to the ball so it looked like it actually was in the hand instead of sitting on top of it. Then I rendered the sequence out and layered it on top of the original footage. Unfortunately I messed up during rendering, so the background of the 3D ball sequence was white. As I did not have enough time I was unable to render it again. Fortunately I could lower the opactiy of this layer so the video underneath could still be shown through.

Here’s a link to the final result.

Overall I think it worked alright. The tracking of the movement could have been improved by adding more points. I could have also spent more time on the animation as I was slightly rushing this in order to see the result, with more time it would have looked more effective.

In the future I would also have used a video clip with a bit more motion as that would probably make the animation more impressive. However through doing this I now know some of the basics of motion tracking in Blender, which is a new area for me and one which I would like to explore.

 

Animation Project: Blender Still Life

As I’d had some trouble with assigning materials properly in Blender I decided to make a still life scene in order to understand how the work in this program better. As it is currently spring I decided to make a scene based around the Japanese past time of flower viewing, where people have picnics under the cherry blossom trees.

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I started off by modelling a sake set and adding a cube underneath to represent a table. I mixed some shaders together (glossy and diffuse) in order to create a shiny ceramic material.

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Next I added lighting to the scene and a room so the scene was not set in space. I like the effect of having world lighting coming through a window in an interior scene and then having a yellower light from the inside of the room as I think it makes the scene look very realistic, and I will definately keep this in mind for the future.

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Next in a new scene I started to model a cherry blossom tree branch. The flowers were quite hard to do as they are very intricate and require several small parts. Extra texture was added to the petal to make them more realistic by adding displacement to them. The material was also quite complicated to complete, as the petals needed to be semi transparent and translucent in order to appear realistic.

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I added some of the flowers and some petals to the mid ground of the scene in order to spread the pink colour throughout the frame and to make the central composition more interesting.

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Next was to model the branch. Here I should have used python scripting to do this as manually placing them was starting to overload my cpu and blender was starting to become very laggy, meaning some flowers were placed just off the branch or overlapping another flower. In  the future I am going to invest in a better computer set up with a dedicated graphics card and high processing power in order for this not to happen.

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Next was to add the branch to the foreground of the scene and to position the camera correctly. Here my laptop became incredibly difficult to use due to the high number of polygons and placement or the branch became very challenging.

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Here is the final render. I am very pleased with the result although the placement of the of the objects could use a little tweaking. I will try working on this file on a computer with a better set up in order to do this. I would also like to add some liquid flowing from the upended sake cup and increase the samples of the image to make it higher quality but for a first start I would say this is pretty good. I have learnt a lot about materials and modelling in blender through doing this and so this should help me further my other work in this project.

 

Animation Project: Keyboard Website with Sound

As we had the first version of the website working Luke Monet and I continued developing the idea in order to add sound to the interactive keyboard. Luke had the idea of adding sound to the website, which would be a notes to each of the letters with a pitch that corresponds to the notes in the Alphabet Song ( a song that is commonly used when teaching children the alpahbet.) At first I was apprehensive about the idea as the order of the notes would generally be quite mixed up, users of the site are not likely to press the keyboard keys in an alphabetic sequence, and thus the song would not be recognised, but I was willing to experiment to see how this worked.

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As a function had been written already for the keyboard function, adding sound was relatively simple to do. After Luke had recorded the notes for each letter, I added the corresponding audio file to each of the different letter divs and preloaded them so they would load when the page is loaded and not when the div becomes visible.

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Next I put all the audio ids into an array.

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Now it was just the simple task of adding a play function to the existing code (using the j integer used previously to referance the id’s position in the array), before the Timeout.

Here is a link to the updated website:

http://lukemonetdesigns.com/keyboard/indexfinal.html

Overall I think the audio adds more value to the website and makes the experience far more interesting to the viewer than without sound. My apprehensions about the song not being clear were unfounded as during testing we found it easy to pick up that the notes of the letters are linked to the song. This probably worked so well because the song is so well known and ingrained into our culture and has such a limited range in tone that it is instantly recognisible.

To continue this project we decided to look at some other sites for research. One that particularly caught our eye was Patatap a collaboration between Jono Brandel and the band Lullatone. Here’s a link to the site:

http://www.patatap.com/

Like our site, this site uses keyboard inputs to play sound and animate visuals on screen. One of the things I thought was very effective about this site is the way that different effects stack on top of one another, so the effects and melodies mix together. I can tell that this would be quite challenging to recreate code-wise but I will look into learning how this was achieved as it is a new area of web design. which I believe has a lot of potential.

Brandel, J., 2014. Patatap [online], Avalable from :http://www.patatap.com/ [Accessed 26.3.2014]

3 Sided Cube Android Development Course: Week 3

This week we added more features to the list we created last week in order to make a scrollable and selectable newsfeed timeline.

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In the Main Activity we addded some listeners that display the position of the item and the duration of the click when an item in the array of stories is clicked.

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The story activity has been set up to contain information such as the title and summary.

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We also had a go at modifying the story view to get different effects on parts of the story. The header here is in blue and the summary is in red.

Animation Project: Scribble Videos Testing

Following on from my “Bete Noir” project I decided instead to draw out me drawing a scribble, however this again did not work out very well. Next time I do a project like this I should definitely work with someone else to help set up the cameras whilst I do the action or vice versa as the camera work was extremely difficult filming it one handed with my phone. Again the use of more equipment, such as tripods, would make this easier too.

Another thing I filmed was a video in preparation for the camera tracking experimentation I want to carry out. Hopefully I will be able to model a 3d “scribble ball” and make it look like I was cupping it in my hand. Learning how to track movement on the camera is essential to make this work as otherwise the illusion of the ball sitting on my hand will not work.

This video could also be used for animating on top of. Ideally I would like to animate my scribble foxn character over this and running up my arm. Hopefully it will work well as a short test but I may have to extract the frames as images and slow them all down in the final film as at the moment it is too short for any real animation to be done.