Unreal Nightmare

A 3D animation introduction exercise

The idea for this assignment was to learn how to create a 3d character and then import it along with some animations to an unreal Unreal Engine environment we created. We played with different programs and ways of creating 3d characters such as Mixamo, Adobe Fuse and scanning software like ITSEEZ3D.

We learned the basics of each program. We learned how we could use the powerful and complex platform of Unreal Engine software to create a virtual world that gives you almost infinite creative possibilities. It offers you the possibility to add any possible 3d object or characters to the stage you create, images, textures, videos and sounds into it. It offers the possibility to create the illusion of having cameras filming the animations and stages you create in the unreal environment.

What I learned

I got to try all the programs and also run into every possible problem you can think off! It was an interesting, frustrating and fun process at the same time. After many hours and struggles with the computers and software I could only get to the point of importing a character to an Unreal environment I created and a couple of animations that worked a some kind of digital animated self portrait of me as an exhausted I.T.P student. I learned how much time you have to spend with this kind of software to really be able to start creating an animation piece.

https://youtu.be/E2vFpEqkWNE

https://youtu.be/rCGi1WY9cn0

 

Catsino Royale

This groundbreaking hallmark masterpiece was conceived when Mai thought about how sad was leaving Uni and Snictzel at home everyday, when she left her place. We started asked ourselves what could the cats do while she was away all day. They have a box that they love to play with. So we thought about creating a story about the cats going inside of it. Then the idea of breaking the boring routine of waiting at home led us to think about the possibility for the cat’s escaping to a parallel reality or world through the portal.

We then thought about them going to party and meeting with some other animals and then coming back home with their new friends as a surprise for Mai. We then talked about how crazy was Las Vegas, and realized we could send them to this dream like or nightmare kind of city.

We then started to gather the material and preparing the assets. Then as we started to produce the animation we realized we could simplify the story and to add a better surprise element for the end of the story. We decided to have the cats gambling and winning a million dollars, and then returning home as Lions.

What we learned:

We learned basic after effects skills, like how to animate the characters, and how to move the cameras. We realized how much work an animation piece requires. How each single detail requires so much time. Also how important the asset creation is, so you can be able to create a smooth, natural and convincing animation. We where able to use a photographic collage look for our animation.

What to improve

We need to practice after effects and spend a lot of time into it, to fully take advantage of the programs possibilities and potential. We could also try to have a longer version of the animation, or a more detailed one, while keeping the same style and look. We also have to ad the other cat to the scenes between the first an last.

The link to enjoy Catsino Royal’s first version:

Nonsense

The idea of this exercise was doing a short animation stop motion story.

The process of nonsense was completely about playing and having fun. We decided to have the theater of the absurd as a reference and starting point. We then decided to work in a playful way, improvising along the way. The basic rules we followed where doing something that made no sense at all, so people would “make sense” and make their own interpretation of the action on the video. With these rule, we also decided to choose a few elements to play with. We chose objects that had almost no rational or use connection at all, such as elephants, dice, car toys and a coin. Then, the rest just happened while we started shooting the frames and moving the pieces across our stage. For the stage we decided to use a green background, so we could then make a surreal stage for the action to take place.

After finishing all the shooting, we constructed the audio to create a surreal and playful environment. We recorded the sounds produced by the toys we used, and we found an open source soundtrack that had elephants as a source of inspiration. Then started to imagine the background. We decided to look for a sky to make it very dreamlike. We found this colorful sky that worked perfect for us, and also had this pink tones that made us think about hallucinating and seeing pink elephants.

When we played the animation with the sound, we laughed and realized there could only be one tittle for this: Nonsense.

What we learned

We found out how much expressive potential the stop motion language has. We learned how to work with Dragon frame. We also understood how important is the stage design for creating a stop motion project. We had good luck with that part of the process. We took our time to create a confortable environment to play around with our elements. Still, it was hard to move the elements around the stage. We learned how important is the coordination between the person that moves the stage and the photographer. We learned to work in a different non rational mode, giving chance and intuition some room to make unexpected things happening. We also learned how to embrace the stop motion language and turn it in our favor to give way to a particular look and feel that is coherent to the action.

What to improve

Talking about the project with everyone at class, we came to the conclusion that the animation was very fun, but it could have a little bit of dramatic tension in it, so it would be more shocking and even funnier.

The link to watch our first “Masterpiece”, we hope you enjoy it!  Nonsense

ALEA JACTA EST COLOR

Alea Jacta Est Color is a P5 sketch is a program to make interactive digital drawings. The concept behind it has to do with the ideas of chance, probability and play. This drawing is also related to the Dada, Minimalism and Fluxus movements and the modern Avant Garde art movements in general. The idea of following intructions and doing an artwork that does not require a special ability to create, different than the will to do it, and the decisions to invest you time on doing it. It is the first digital version of a series of drawings I did some time time ago, called ALEA JACTA EST. To see the project please visit  www.nicolassanin.com or see the images at the end of this post.

Why did I do a digital version?

By doing a digital version the creative possibilities expand, and also the possibility for anyone to create a drawing is easier for the common user, than using materials such as papers, canvas, wood among other traditional and both traditional means of expression. But more important than that, It also allows the data gathering more effective, precise and easy for the user.  Another advantage is the possibility to share the final result as a digital image, and also as a printable file, not even mentioning the infinite possibilities that a digital file can offer. The idea is to follow the guidelines provided in the screen:

“Roll the die and enter the color! To complete the drawing roll it 100 times… have fun!”

The user finds a six sided color die dice next to the computer. The computer has the same colors as the dice on 6 keys. When the user or users decide to finish the drawing they can export the resulting image by pressing another key that will print it to a jpg file and will reset the program to start the next drawing. At the bottom of the browser’s windows, the user can also see the amount of times each color has been rolled. The user could also cheat and write the colors he decide to…

The process

The process was thinking about how to set the amount of squares and rolls of the dice. An other decision was about choosing the colors. The idea was trying to get some bright colors that would create strong contrasts, vibrations and color interaction in resulting image. Colors that could also be tracked by a camera that would detect the results every time the die was rolled. The idea was to have a grid that would have enough quantity of squares to make it an interesting image, and also to gather some information about the die. The next step was thinking about how to write the code to make the program draw each square of the grid. First I created different variables such as the colors to be written in the canvas and the keys to be pressed. One for counting the results of each color. A variable to set the end of the drawing. I used the push function and used the key pressed function to activate the keyboard as an input to select the color to be printed in the canvas. An array was created for the colors. Also a HTML element to write the instructions for making the drawing and communicating the number of times each color resulted from rolling the die.

Things to be improved for the next versions

Something that would be good to have is a camera detecting the result of the die and the program writing it to the canvas. The possibility for the user to change the times to roll the dice to complete the drawing and the size of the squares and the canvas. Assigning a sound for each color, so the program would play a sound each time the die is rolled. Also the possibility to play the sequence both, as an animation and also as a sounds score at the end of the drawing process. The possibility for the program to keep record , to store the resulting images, and also the possibility to compare the results from the different drawings that are made. The possibility to also create a drawing with the traditional six side dots, similar to the previous paper version I did before.

the link for the p5 sketch code:

http://alpha.editor.p5js.org/nicosanin/sketches/B14vCqy-G

 

Traffic Jam

Traffic Jam Project

References and purpose

The main influence for this project is my hometown Bogota. It is a chaotic city. It was originally planned as a “damero” squared kind of city, but then it became an ever expanding place with only one constant: improvisation. The transportation system and also the street and highways where not improved as the city expanded because of different social and economic dynamics. More and more population came from the country side to the city running away from violence and looking for work and better opportunities at factories and new enterprises. Transportation system hasn’t been public, so bus companies have been sabotaging the building of the subway for more than a hundred years. For almost every mayor election, one of the main subjects is building the subway. There are more sketches and studies for building the subway than words in the Coran, Bible and Thora all together…

So that’s why in Bogota we spend a lot of time stuck in traffic jams. We have no choices like the subway. If we use the bike it’s dangerous because of lack of safe routes and the reckless driving of people. Some people spend two and a half hours on busses or cars going to work and the same on their way back. It’s a serious issue. The quality of those hours is terrible also, it’s not possible to read or even seat in most cases. So you have two options, to be patient and laugh or stress out and suffer a heart attack… But we definitely have to change this situation urgently.

For this project I have many references. The second one might be the futurist movement in early 20th century in Italy. They where interested in technology and they even worshiped new technology and wanted to break the links to the past and almost all tradition. They ended up showing many contradictions in their works of arts and ways of doing art, that’s why we can go to Museums and see their works of art (made in traditional materials as bronze and paining on canvas). They wanted to burn museums but now their works are displayed at the most “important” ones or more mainstream at least.
Something that interested me was how ridiculous their performances and sound pieces seemed to people and would also sound to us if they did them now. Also how the machines that they worshiped seem so outdated now and obsolete compared to newer versions. Also there is the dada movement and their love for creating imaginary machines or useless machines, which could be seen as ways of pointing out how technology on it’s own hasn’t improved mankind at least from a moral point of view.

So this project is a way of disrupting routine with a performative sound and visual experience. The idea is generating a playful simulation of the city landscape and some of the actors. The idea is creating a tension between noise and music. Teasing the audience so they react in their own way, but they will think about our ways of living in the city and also about the current use of technologies as cars, trains, buses and other transport systems. The idea is for everyone to feel invited to really dream about how they would like to move around in the city in some years and also about how will the city soundscape will be in the not to distant future. Also that the audience to have fun and to be engaged in playing “music” or “noise” and interacting with others like everyone interacts in the streets….

There are millions of other references, just to name a few: Science fiction stories and films: Blade runner. Tv shows like the Simpsons and Futurama. 80’s show Automan, The Transformers, Disney’s Cars, among many others…

Where to do it?

This could work in different formats of happenings. I think it would be more interesting to do this in quiet places like parks or others, to create a contrast form the noise of streets. Also to reinforce the absurdity of the noise that is being produced.

Aesthetics

I think this should look teasing as toys and musical instruments. It has to create a desire to be engaged and also not being to fancy or complex to intimidate potential users.

How?

At least 3 instruments to be available for people to play with them. Also a CD player with recorded tracks that play different music. People can choose to interact with that music or just with the sound they are producing.

Some keywords

Humor vs criticism / sense vs none-sense / noise vs music or harmony / fancy vs trashy / serious vs funny / Ridiculous vs important / Musical talent vs non musically talented / Kids and adults / Individual vs collective / divergent / fun / play / inviting / Traffic problems / questions / solutions / debate /connections.

Night delirium!!!

 

The moment I saw King Charle’s Elephants I fell in love. They are as expressive as can be… Then I imagined them spinning and moving in not too fluent movements as real elephants move.

So finally, the moment came to do a project with a motor at ITP.  It seems easy to work with a little motor at first sight. But then the problem arises: how to attach it so it can work properly? and how to attach  firmly the components it is going to move?

I looked at all the types of motors and systems of anchorage. I finally decided to chose this motor because of the way it worked, of the price, but also because it had a possibility to be mounted with screws on the side

As good pilots do, I checked the engine. So I started working… I got some scraps of wood, some screws and also the wheel I decided to buy for assembling the motor to the platform that would hold and spin the elephant. The assembling of the wheel was simple. The hardest part to figure out was how to attach the motor to a firm surface. After giving it various thoughts, I decided to create a wooden base to hold it. It worked better than imagined and I put some screws to make sure it will still remain in it’s place.

Then I focused in assembling the wheel to the platform. I  used a system of screws and nuts to do so. And after having a firm grip between both surfaces, I decided to glue the elephant to the decorative surface. Then I turned of the Arduino after strugling with cable issues (P-Com typical problems) After that it finally rotated. It was a beautiful moment. That simple movement made me feel as when I was a child at school…

So this was the process in images:

 

 

It’s magnetic dog!

It’s simply magnetic!

Magnetic!

The process for this final photography frame was not as simple s it may seem.

The idea was to take two materials and join them using something else for that purpose. I decided to play with magnets and some other material to create something interesting. I the thought about delicate, soft and light materials such as paper or light wood or even fabric. I also decided to avoid the use of glues or traditional joining methods as screws and nails. I made that a rule. I first started to play with the polarity and properties of the magnets. They seemed so nice at the beginning…

After a while I started noticing how sensitive they are, and how strong! (sounds like the perfect catch)

So I played with them and wood and created figures making junctures with magnets putting the wood together. So I then thought about bringing some functionality to the idea of joining wood and metal without gluing or using screws or nails, or staples. I then remembered I just received some nice photos from a recent holiday. So I decided to make a minimalistic kind of frame, that would allow the user to put a picture easily and also to change it for another, that way rotating the pictures once in a while… Another issue about framing photography is the problem of gluing the picture to a surface. It’s quite expensive and often difficult to do. You better us expensive acid free glue and acid free mat boards, etc. And after you complete the expensive process of doing such, you already want to frame a different picture instead of the one you invested your money in.

So I tried to make a very simple frame only using soft light wood, the photo printed on photographic paper, and wood to work as the structure between the paper and the metal structure. After 5 hours or more of struggling with the magnets and losing all the structures by the point before I finished to make the frame. I had to redesign many times on the fly, so it could work many times, with different users.

It finally worked when I started to remove more and more magnets and elements like wood. I found out that the Bauhaus principle “less is more” really applied to this idea. So after fighting against magnetism and it’s treacherous behavior, I finally could assemble the frame. It’s a beautiful frame, but it’s not as practical as you could imagine. You have to be very careful when dealing with magnets while you mount your pictures. One minor movement and they go crazy!

In the end the result is magnetizing, its beautiful to see how straight and flat the pictures look and how the light and brittle quality of photographic paper is displayed. The downside is how fragile this frame can be… But then again, it’s built for being changed and customized, not as a permanent frame.