THAÍS ALVARENGA


THAÍS ALVARENGA 

Creative Technologist  |  Narrative Designer  |  Environmental Designer  |  
04/12/2023

ANIMATION, ANIMATION ANIMATION! (AND XR SCENES)





Summary: Worked on finishing the animations for the capstone project. The coloring for the first part is done, still 4 to go (;-;). Fixed porting to Oculus by creating a new scene that has the title sequence and then making a transition between that and the actual scene of the experience. Went to prop loan to check for couches/majilis. Working with João to do the voice effects.




Animation


This past week, I mainly finished the rough animations of the scenes in my capstone. I had previously done a key frame animation and was considering leaving it like that for the capstone showcase, however, after talking with users who both read the script and saw the animation, I decided that I would do more in between frames and do the animation in 4’s and 3’s (some are in 2’s but not all). The reason is that my script is reads very fluidly and because the environment is made of sand (which moves fluidly too), thus the animation should have that fluid character (in my opinion).

This is an example of the rough animation of one of the scenes (in 4’s). The numbers show the frames in the loop.





Additionally, I had issues starting the coloring of my animations because I was not sure about which brushes to use for the coloring. Originally, I wanted a very stylized oil painted look for the animation. I thought of replicating the style of the Crow. I did some attempts to replicate it using both Photoshop and Harmony brushes. None of them really gave me that look.

Meanwhile, I started to try color palettes for the character that would contrast well with the environment. In those tests, I decided to use a charcoal brush from the Harmony brushes. I really liked how that brush replicated a sand like texture, but was unsure is the simple look would be good for the project.

I went to Ume, our wise visual art instructor, for advice. In our meeting, we talked about the concept of my capstone, the importance of the environment, the fluidity of the animation and how the art style should highlight that. I decided to go for the charcoal Harmony brush because the texture was really speaking to me and integrates well with the environment I made.

Here is a preview of how a colored animation is looking like.





Animating has been extremely time consuming, but the more I do it, the easier it is for me to do the spacing and the squash-stretch of the drawings. I also took reference from the Animator’s Survival Kit to have a better grasp at handdrawn animaiton techniques (and animaiton principles in general).

For this final week, I am finishing the coloring of all animations and exporting them to Unity.


Oculus Build


For the exhibition, my advisor said I should have both an Oculus build and a projected experience since my capstone works on both. The initial start screen was not working on the Oculus. I fixed this by having a separate scene with the start UI, connecting the play (I changed it to start a few minutes ago) button to the actual scene of the experience and making a transition between them. João, who is helping me with audio recommended having some sound cue for the button press and for the transition between the start screen and the actual experience.

Note: the Oculus wouldn’t require an extra set up, I just plan to put the headset on the pedestal (if available).


Other stuff


I emailed and went to the prop loan to find a couch or low majilis that I could use for the exhibition. They have a few options but I didn’t have much time when I went to check it out on Monday so I will go back again on Thursday to make a final decision.

I checked out a Mac mini and tried out the build I currently have with the projector. It works well and the headphones are good to go (just need to measure how long they can stay charged to see if I only need one or if I should have them connected to the mac Mini instead).

I had some setbacks with the voice actor. I hope to have the recordings done by Friday and João is helping me understand what effects I can use to get the result that I want (based on the Hades dialogue system).

Still a lot of stuff to get done. To be honest, it feels like I am getting a lot done, but at the same time, there’s still a lot to do. It’s the last stretch so I’ll do my biggest effort because I’ve had a great response to my story and I really want it to have an impact on the people who see the exhibition.

Feel free to reach out to me for more work inquiries or to chat!


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