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.
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:
For our stop motion assignment, Nico and I were inspired by a few of Nico’s toys, including a pair of elephants, toy cars, a soccer ball, and penny. The elephants reminded of us of Ionesco’s absurdist play, “Rhinoceros” and we decided to roll with the randomness of these objects to create tension between the elephants and their surroundings.
We used Dragonframe to shoot 2 frames at a time and used a green cloth as their set and chose a colorful sky to comp in as the background to match the surreal, whimsical feeling we were going for. Because our process was entirely about playing and having fun, the story came to life as we improvised with the objects. We took a few risks, including the pink string at the end, which was hard to control frame by frame, but to our pleasant surprise, we thought it turned out great! The toy vehicles also made a great deal of noise, so we got a zoom recorder and recorded them for sound effects and found a track inspired by elephants on freesound.org.
Overall we had the best time working on this, and it was really cool to experience the process of having to wait to see the final product develop at the end. In a way, it felt like we had a ton of control frame by frame but also a total lack of control in the overall outcome, as this was our first try and we couldn’t quite anticipate how it would all turn out.