Dance Battle in Unreal

For the last assignment we were asked to explore the softwares Fuse to create and animate characters and Unreal, to create a 3d world and animate the elements using lights and cameras. The exercise consisted in two different phases divided in two separate weeks.

The first week consisted in developing a character in Fuse in order to export it to Mixamo and b able to generate 3d animations with the predesigned character. I decided to start with basic shapes and eventually move to a more specific character design.

Character Design in Fuse

Character Design in Fuse

In Mixamo I choose two different animations for the first character: dance and walk. When it came the time to think about the animation that I wanted to create, I decided to work in a dance battle between two different characters, therefore I created male character with different dance and walk moves in order to use them in Unreal.

Animation in Unreal

Animation in Unreal

Once I was ready to work in Unreal, I imported the skeletons of my characters and individually imported the animations. I also created a 3d world with a very simple “house” to use in the dance battle. I placed my characters and animated their movements as well as the lights and the camera in order to create the illusion of a dance battle.

This exercise was very interesting because it allowed me to understand how to manipulate elements in a tridimensional space and how to use light and cameras for storytelling.

ITP post final roulette

This week’s assignment for fabrication consists on mounting a motor and creating some kind of creative implementation for it. I decided to work with a standard servo motor and to buy a mount for it.

Standard servo and mount

Standard servo and mount

I used an elliptical plastic piece that I found in the junk shelf and I decided to find a way to attach it to the servo geared top end. After trying different cords and wires I decided to try with resistors and joint them from the back of te plastic piece in order to secure it to the movement of the servo which turned out to be an improvised but fairly stable solution.

Resistors as joints for the ellipse

Resistors as joints for the ellipse

Attaching the ellipse to the servo

Attaching the ellipse to the servo

I mounted the motor with screws in the top of a piece of wood in order to make it stable for when I plugged n the Arduino code. Buying a mount online turned out to be a very good investment and secured the servo to the material enabling me to later decipher the concept that I wanted to follow for the interactivity of the motor.

Top view of the mounted servo

Top view of the mounted servo

Perspective view of mounted servo

Perspective view of mounted servo

I encounter some problems related to the lack of sleep… judge by yourself!

I finally did a quick fix to the design. The final result is a n ITP post finals roulette that spins slowly 80 degrees from left to right and viceversa. The aperture in the plastic piece that I used gives the possibility to visualize different icons that represent the activities that I (and I am guessing some other ITPers) want to do once we are done with finals.

After finals I want to...

After finals I want to...

Perspective view

Perspective view

36 out of 100

36% of women in the US have experienced physical and/or sexual violence from an intimate partner at some time in their life and 13% of women in the US agree that a husband/partner is justified in beating his wife/partner under certain circumstances.

Feelings of guilt and shame (among other reasons) encourage them to remain silent and as survivors it is difficult to open up and share the experiences lived. There are many untold stories and my intention is to provide a voice in order to share some of them in an anonymous and intimate way.

The installation consist on a switchboard that contains a visualization of 100 women represented with circles, 36 of them will have jacks that will play a story when the user connects  a phone (1 story per each jack).

*Note: The content shared in each story might be a trigger to some users therefore I will create a content warning. The data that is being represented comes from an study made by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development on 2014 about women in the US however the intention of the project is not to exclude women identifying, transgender, and gender-nonconforming individuals.

Final result front view

Background

According to a study made by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development on 2014 36% of women in the US have experienced physical and/or sexual violence from an intimate partner at some time in their life and 13% of women in the US agree that a husband/partner is justified in beating his wife/partner under certain circumstances. 

As a Latin American, I am used to hearing stories about violence against women every day. My intention was to design a project that will give voice to the survivors of the stories that are going to be told in order to use this piece to make a physical data visualization using storytelling as a mean to create awareness.

User Interaction

Initially the audio of the instructions and the narration of the data will come out of speakers connected to the computer and when the user pick up the phone, the audio will pause so that the user can plug the phone into one jack of their choice, the audio then will come out of the telephone as a way to tell the story in a more personal and individualized way. The user will be able to change the connection to another jack at any time and when they put the telephone back to its “holder”, the instructions audio will start playing again from the speakers.  

User interaction

Circuits and components

For the piece I decided to divide my content into two different means of communication, the data and the stories. As shown in the sketch below the way that I choose to solve the division of the sound was by using an audio jack divided in left and right. The data audio file is stereo but it is only coming out of the right channel, and the stories audio files are coming out of the left channel only, therefore the speaker is only connected to the right plug in the jack and the phone is only connected to the left one and both of them sharing a common ground.

I decided to work with an Arduino Mega so that I could plug each of the jacks to an specific digital pin, therefore I didn’t have to use a Multiplexer. The other two elements connected to the Arduino are the phone switch, which consists on a pulldown switch and the jack that connects to each one of the “stories” which also consists on a pulldown switch by itself since I am not using it as a conductor of audio but instead as a connection to send the data to p5.

Fabrication Process

I focussed a lot on the fabrication because I knew that my piece was very simple but at the same time, I needed a lot of details to be able to communicate the story that I intended to tell. the beginning of the fabrication was the enclosure, I worked with recycled pine wood in order to create sort of a frame, I jointed it with L brackets because I needed a very stable structure. I continued by laser cutting the MDF board that goes in the front of the box, it contains 100 circles, I cut 36 of them and the remaining are only etched, each circle with its corresponding number, I also laser cut the holes for the screw so that I could place them easily on top of the pine.

Another important component of my fabrication was the switch to hold the phone, that piece has two main functionalities: one is holding the phone in a position that is intuitive for the users to pick it up and the second is to create a physical switch that stops the audio loop that is coming out of the speakers so that the story audio will come out only from the phone. I decided to work with pilled up MDF profiles that would have the space for holding the switch inside. I started by sketching the component and later on laser cutting the pieces and putting them together with screws in the pine.

The last step of my fabrication was to ideate a way to keep all the components inside the box and be able to simulate that the wires are coming out of the box, while ensuring them in a good way so that the users can’t unplug the wires by accident, I realized I needed a physical barrier that would hold the wires from coming out. Also the door would enable the piece to be more self contained, therefore I would have the possibility to attach it to a wall and displaying it as if it were a phone booth.

Serial Communication

In order to be able to create the interaction that I intended I decided to use Serial Communication from Arduino to p5.js. I created physical switches with the jacks inserted in the holes of my front board so that each time a user plug the cable Arduino would receive a number and that number would be sent to p5.js. I decided to work with states in the Arduino side of the code because I had to make sure that the only moment when the audio will be played is when that condition is met (when the switch is on but it was previously off).

When a condition is met, Arduino sends a byte to p5.js and the way that I decided to do it is sending the number of the story that was connected, therefore, when the user plugs the circle #1, Arduino defines byteToSend = 1 so that p5.js can use that input to compare with another condition to play the sound.

Arduino code

Arduino code

Arduino+code

In the p5.js side of the code I defined the condition if(fromSerial == 1) so that when it receives the number 1 from Arduino, it will play the story#1 audio file. I also created an array with all the sounds so that I could go throw the array and check if any of all the jacks was unplugged, I can stop it. I used the console to check if I was receiving the correct numbers and it was a great way to troubleshoot during the process.

p5 code

p5 code

p5 code

p5 code

Audio recording and editing

I recorded and edited the stories with its corresponding closure statement. It was a very interesting process since I wanted to transmit emotions in the way that I narrated the stories. The maximum capacity of p5.js represented a challenge because the files couldn’t be more than 5MB, therefore I decided to record without a zoom recorder (since the files where extremely heavy) and instead I used my earphones microphone, I had to do quite some editing to get rid of the ambient noise but in general it was a very efective solution since it allowed me to generate good quality audio in a decent file size.

Audio recording and editing

Audio recording and editing

Final Result

Final result

Final result

Final Result side view

Two materials and a weird fastener

This week’s assignment was to joint two different materials by using a fastener, I decided to work with pine and with cork in order to generate a shape around a central axis.

Materials and cuts

Materials and cuts

I started by drawing the shapes in both materials and cutting them with an utility knife in the case of the cork and with the band saw and sanding in the case of the wooden base. Y also made a hole in the middle of each one of the pieces in order to use this weird fastener that I found in the shop, which has two different levels.

Stacking layers of cork

Stacking layers of cork

Cutting the wooden base

Cutting the wooden base

I used the first level to screw into the wood and the second level to joint the 5 layers of cork that I have previously cut. Once they were all together I screw together the two separate levels in order to generate a concentric shape of two different materials.

Assembly process

Assembly process

The final result is the union of two different materials by using a mechanical joint, which can be de assembled in order to take all the pieces apart and the shape is intent to simulate elements of the nature such as as flowers.

Final result side view

Final result side view

Final Result side view

Final Result side view

Friends Forever Animation

Friends Forever is an animation developed in After Effects and edited in Adobe Premiere in collaboration with Stefan Skripak for the Animation class at ITP | NYU.

The project started with an ideation phase in which we discussed the possibility of using the animation in order to communicate a message related to the environment, we decided to work in an underwater scene in which a jellyfish would meet a new friend (a plastic bag) that would later invade the entire ocean.

As part of the ideation process we created a storyboard in order to be able to generate the scenes.

Storyboard

Storyboard

The next step of the process was to generate the assets in both Illustrator and Photoshop, my focus in this process was to create the illustrations (Jellyfish, fish and plastic bag) and my partner’s focus was to create a scenario in Photoshop in which we could put the illustration on top.

Illustration process

Illustration process

The next phase of the project was to import the assets in after effects and start building the scenario in order to generate the animation with the scenes that we have previously planned in the storyboard. The process was very well handled by both of the team members and we didn’t have much trouble collaborating with each other. We decided to work on specific and individual tasks that would allow us collaborate but without depending on each other so that we could both make progress. The final result is a 2d animation that follows the original concept defined in the ideation phase.

36 out of 100 women enclosure

For this week’s assignment I decided to work on my final project for ICM/ Pcomp and build an enclosure for it, the fabrication part of the project I need to create 36 holes to embed 36 female inputs for an audio jack. I decided to build a wooden frame with tick solid wood and to laser cut the cover that would have the holes on it.

First sketch of enclosure

First sketch of enclosure

I started by cutting 45 degree angles on my recycled wood, I measured the sides and tried to calculate very well measured angles so that I could then ensemble them as a frame.

Cutting the wooden frame

I was able to fabricate 4 pieces with 45 degrees. I developed the first test of the cover in recycled pre painted wood, however since it was bend I had to create a second piece changing the material for a flatter one so that the laser cutter would work in a better way.

Assembly of the frame

Assembly of the frame

I ensemble the four pieces of wood together with L shape mechanical drilled joints to ensure the stability of the structure.

L shape internal support to hold together the frame

L shape internal support to hold together the frame

Finalized wooden frame

Finalized wooden frame

The second test of the cover was developed in the laser cutter, I edged the numbers and the circles that do not need a hole and I also included in the Illustrator file the cut of the circles for the female inputs and the holes for the screws so that I could ensemble the cover to the frame in a very robust way.

Laser cutting second version of the top

Laser cutting second version of the top

Drilling holes to support the top to the frame

Drilling holes to support the top to the frame

The final step consisted in putting together all the 36 female inputs for the audio jack on with the cover laser cutter piece.

Placing the 36 inputs

Placing the 36 inputs

Placing the 36 inputs

Placing the 36 inputs

Final enclosure in the back

Final enclosure in the back

The final result is an enclosure that will be used for my final ICM and Pcomp project, the fabrication was made in a very robust and strong way thinking in advance about the user interaction and the manipulation that they might give to my piece. Since the audio jack will be changed from one female input to another multiple times, I needed to make sure that the structure and functionality of the piece remain good throw the entire time that it is going to be displayed to the users.

Final enclosure design

Final enclosure design

Five imperfect necklace holders

This week’s assignment consist of repetition: Fabricating “5 of the same”. The ideation process started with a quick benchmark research of simple projects for beginners in the treatment of wood, because since the assignment was announced in the class I knew I wanted to work with that material. I also knew I wanted to create something useful and that I could hopefully give away to my friends.

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Final Project ideation | ICM and Pcomp

Concept: Physical Visualization of violence against women.

Compare two different data sets using human interaction to define the product of the digital (or physical) visualization:

  • Attitude towards violence: The percentage of women who agree that a husband/partner is justified in beating his wife/partner under certain circumstances.

  • Prevalence of violence in the lifetime: The percentage of women who have experienced physical and/or sexual violence from an intimate partner at some time in their life.

Steps:

  • Define dataset: Data set

  • Choose a Visualization Paradigm (consider p5 vs d3 or combine both?)

  • Design a meaningful interaction between the human, the data and the 3d elements of the visualization.

Ideation sketch

Ideation sketch

Prevalence of violence

Prevalence of violence

Attitude vs prevalence

Attitude vs prevalence

Normalized Cubes: Stop Motion Animation

The assignment for the first animation class was to create a 30 seconds stop motion animation. As a team we discussed about what kind of materials we wanted to use in order to tell a story and we decided to work with clay. The storyboarding process helped us to decide which narrative elements we wanted to incorporate in our piece. As part of the scenery we decided to use electronic components in order to create a city in the background and we decided to keep the people moving in the background as a metaphor of ourselves being at ITP and not letting others to influence too much on our personality.

Scenary setup with electronic components simulating a city

Scenary setup with electronic components simulating a city

The scenery setup was crucial in order to communicate our story therefore we dedicated quite some time making it look the way we planned. It was also very important to dedicate time to setup the camera and the lights as well as the animation characters.

Camera and scenery setup

Camera and scenery setup

A s a team we decided to take turns to take the pictures and move the elements as well as directing the whole process following our initial storyboard. Having previously defined the sequence of the movements and emotions that we needed from each character was crucial in order to keep track of the movement of the elements.

Shutting process

Shutting process

The final result is an stop motion animation of characters made up of clay that takes place in a miniature world created with electronic components. The sound design was divided in two different components: background song and sound effects. The layering of the sounds was crucial in order to help our characters communicate their emotions.