Unreal // Club

For the Unreal exercise, I wanted to have a woman dancing in a nightclub, so I made my character in Mixamo and exported her T-pose and two different animations – ninja idle, and hip-hop dancing.

I ended up spending a ton of time on the building the scene itself and learning how the materials and lighting work together:

Everything was working fine until I tried importing my character and changing its material settings in Blueprint, at which point Unreal kept crashing while compiling the changes. Lowering the Engine Scalability settings seemed to get me further and I was able to load the two fbx animations into the Sequencer, with a cross fade between them to make the transition smoother.

I definitely want to delve further into Unreal Engine since this Blueprint format seems rather approachable.  I didn’t get to try scanning with the ipad, but I would like to explore that, as well as scanning objects into Unreal and making them move using keyframes in the Sequencer.

After Effects // Catsino Royale

For our After Effects project, Nico and I decided to combine our passions for casinos and cats to create a narrative around the question of what my dear cats Uni & Schnitzel are up to while I’m at ITP all day and night. The cats have a cardboard box that I often find them hanging out in when I get home, so we were inspired to use the box as a portal to a parallel universe where the cats are expert gamblers in Las Vegas.

We initially wanted the cats to win a bunch of money and bring other animals back to my room for a giant party, but after having shot a bunch of assets of the cats, we realized we animating a ton of animals might be beyond our capacity. We decided to have the cats come back to my room as lions instead – this ended up being such a happy accident as a solution to a problem; I think it works so much better narratively for the cats to come back as lions.

We added a track by Empire of the Sun called, “Walking on a Dream”, and it synced up perfectly to the mood we were going for.

I’m really happy we got to fully delve into After Effects, and that we decided to take on the more challenging route of animating real animals rather than use standard animation-ready assets. It definitely ended up being a lot more work in the end, so perhaps what we ended up with doesn’t feel like it reflects all the days and hours we put into it, but as a result, I feel very comfortable using basic After Effects, and pursuing its tools further.

I love our piece so much and so do my friends! Here it is below:

icloud aka maicloud

This motor mounting assignment was not as painful as it could’ve been thank to this adhesive mounts / zip tie combo, which saved my life.

At first, I tried to hot glue cotton directly on top of the motor to create the cloud, but it ended up being too heavy.

and when I tried running the motor it was a complete disaster as cotton went flying about. So I tried to decrease the power by using a AA instead of a 9V, and it slowed it down a bit, but the cotton was still flying everywhere.

I found a piece of white wire and I realized I could use that as a structure for the cotton to sit on using hot glue and that worked great!

Using the backlight of the iphone created a nice effect for the cloud as well 🙂

Two Materials

For my PComp/ICM final, I’m projecting a 180 degree video onto a paper lantern that people can stick their head into. However, there’s a metal tension rod that usually holds up these lanterns structurally to expand them into a sphere, and the metal runs through the middle of it, which would obstruct the whole experience. Without it, it looks a little sad:

I initially thought I might weigh down the bottom to make it expand, but then remembered that in class we got to see vinyl material that was somewhat flexible. I thought using strips of that kind of material to adhere to the inside might work as a more elegant solution.

I went to Blick and found a 36 inch sheet of plexi, which was, right down to the inch, the perfect length. I also got some velcro, since I wanted to be able take the strips out to collapse the lantern/sphere for easy transport.

I started attempting to cut strips of this using a box cutter, which was basically impossible:

Someone suggested I use the bandsaw, and I was really grateful that I had the chance to hone my skills with the duplicate assignment, because this wasn’t as intimidating as it could’ve been.

I ended up with pretty decent cuts, which I added velcro to, as well as on the inside ends of the sphere:

When I tried attaching the plexi to the sphere with the velcro, it worked really well, but I realized I would need to cut two more because using just two of them distorted the shape a bit

By the time I did the 3rd of 4th strips, I got really good at making fast, straight cuts on the bandsaw 🙂 I’m really happy with the result, especially since this was a tricky design issue with the material being so fragile. Now I have my sphere!

Enclosure // More Light Box

For my enclosure assignment, I wanted to expand on my flashlight box to add buttons and holes for the switch and cable. I want to use this for my PComp/ICM final, as a controller for video content and I’m really happy I got to dedicate some efforts towards making this look decent.

I started off by going to a store called 8 Bit and Up Video Games in the East Village. They had an amazzzzing collection of buttons:

I pick clear ones, since I wanted the light from the box to shine through them. I unscrewed them to draw the circles to cut in the box using a box cutter to make them fit snug.

One I cut the holes, I screwed the buttons on from the bottom and I’m really happy with the result – the box has a flexible feel to it because it’s not totally rigid, but it also holds up well structurally.

I also managed to cut out some holes for the light switch on the side and the usb cable, as well as draw icons on the inside layer of the buttons.