Self Portrait Avatars

Making my avatar with Fuse was an emotionally taxing process. First off, I started over multiple times because I was indecisive about whether to go for one of the more realistic models, or the animated. I settled on the animated one finally, and ended up spending far too much time trying to get the facial features right, only to realize I could actually rotate the avatar to look at it from sideways- which of course, looked crazy.

After trying to fix the face from all angles, I realized I was never going to get the eyes right, or the nose, or the lips for that matter.  I thought about going for a more abstract representation, but it was past the point of no return. In hindsight, I wish I had gone with the more realistic model to see if it could produce a more accurate representation.  As a cop out, I change my skin color and hair, and body metalness (which I realized I could change much later in the process) to push the eery over to scary.

So here’s my Fuse avatar that sort of vaguely might resemble me but not quite:

My bitmoji on the other hand, was much easier in comparison. Having preset options as opposed to a seemingly infinite combination of sliders was much simpler. And in the end, I think the bitmoji looks much more like me, perhaps because it’s so abstracted:

discussion thoughts based on readings:

  • what happens when someone’s preferred avatar is a representation that is traumatizing for someone else? (i.e a hitler avatar) and if that behavior is illegal in certain countries, how do we regulate a global community of players (and/or should we)?
  • Ethical issues on commenting on physical appearances of avatars- do harassment laws apply?
  • Will gender fluidity in games influence cultural expressions of identity?

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.

Fab // Cat Tags

I made cat tags for my laser cutting assignment because never got around to getting tags for Uni & Schnitzel and I wanted to try etching. I also made them for 2 other cats I know.

Using the laser cutter was really intimidating and I wasn’t looking forward to it, but I love the look of clear acrylic so I’m happy I now know how. It took more tries than I thought it might. My first one was wayyy too big, and when I made them smaller, the etching was really faint, even though I ran it at least 3 or 4 times and lowered the speed:

So someone suggested I use the 75 watt laser cutter to get better results. I only had to run it through twice for it to cut through smoothly and engrave deeper:

I printed 2 sets so I could do one version with the sharpie / dry erase trick to make the etching stand out more. I thought I’d prefer the clear ones, but I think the sharpie version is cuter. I’ll probably end up making more as gifts!

Fab // Cat Toys x5

Since I had all this yarn left over from my last project, and all these cats at home, I made some cat toys to make up for all the time I don’t spend at home with the cats. Here’s what I started out with:

I found some scrapped wood in the trash, fuzzy fabric, and foam (I was hell bent on scavenging this week). I started by cutting and sanding the vertical parts of the wood into 5 rods:

I then started wrapping the yarn around the one end of the rods- I really wanted to avoid using glue or chemicals of any kind for the safety of the kitties, so I had to find ways to wrap the yarn around itself to keep it secure on the rod:

Knowing the cats’ preferences, I picked out the fuzziest fabric I could find in the “free fabric” bin, and cut them into square pieces, to wrap around foam, which I cut into round pieces. I poked a hole through both to pass the string though and tie the string around itself, again, to avoid using glue.

They’re not the prettiest, but I’m pretty happy with them 🙂

and my user-testing session was a huge success!!

Fab // Flashlighty Magic Box

Here’s my process of making my flashlightbox:

I came across this pile of yarn on the junk shelf:

I felt the need to do something with this, but went down to Canal street for further inspiration, where I found a pink battery-powered LED string light and pink-ish shiny translucent thin plastic sheets:

So armed with pink stuff, I thought about what I could do with these materials and remembered a hanging lamp that I bought from the MoMA store made of similar material, which came unassembled with instructions on how to put it together with pre-cut paper:

I love the look of this and the light it emits, and the concept of folding material together without any adhesives or hardware. So I decided I’d attempt to channel my childhood origami skills to make a box filled with light.

I started by testing it out on printing paper:

I wasn’t sure how the sizing would work between the top and bottom boxes, but I took started with a slightly smaller sheet of square paper for the bottom box, which worked well, so I replicated this for the actual and started folding:

The two boxes ended up fitting pretty well, and I managed to incorporate the pink string to tie it all together. I do wish there were a more elegant solution to turning the light on and off (I have to open the box now to get to it). I also wish the folds on the inside held better, since I prefer to stick the concept of not using adhesives. But all in all, it turned out better than expected.