3D Avatars & Unity

This week we scanned ourselves using structure sensors and Skanect, to create 3D avatars that we can animate in Mixamo. It was difficult to get a good scan: things to consider were keeping the sensor level, maintaining a wifi connection with the computer running Skanect, moving the sensor in the right direction at the right speed, and making sure to stay very still. Post-processing in Skanect allows you to color your scan, edit out the ground, and rotate the figure for importing into Mixamo.

While I maintained “claw hands” during my scan, I must have moved a little bit and my hands just messed up anyway. So when I rigged my figure, I used the fewest number of joints, giving me a mitten-hand effect.

As a next step we imported our Mixamo-animated Fuse characters & our own avatars into Unity, and experimented with creating scenes:

NYC sewage system: toilet projection

I recently went on a Newtown Creek audio tour, a project by ITP professor Marina Zurkow, & alums Rebecca Lieberman & Nick Hubbard, where I learned many things I didn’t know about the sewage processing facility there. I was already fascinated by how cities process sewage and where there are opportunities to intervene to create a more sustainable system. Among other things, projection mapping offers an opportunity to put video in unexpected locations, so I thought it would be interesting to put information about NYC sewage system at what is for many people, the most obvious place they interact with it: the bathroom.

I did a bit of research and found some information and a number of videos on the topic. I decided to use “How NYC Works – Wastewater treatment,” an easily downloadable video from vimeo. I also incorporated sounds of urination and flushing, and the sounds of rain (rain in New York is known to cause Combined Sewage Overflows).

As an initial experiment, it was very useful to see what worked well and what didn’t. Below are some still of my favorite parts.

Hansel & Gretel with Twine

I teamed up with Angela Wang to re-imagine the fairy tale “Hansel and Gretel.”¬†You can play here.

Our first step was to deconstruct the story to its main elements, symbols, and themes. We wanted to maintain important aspects but play with other elements: character portrayal, setting, plot. After a lot of ideation that included ideas inspired by the Hansel & Gretel show at the Park Avenue Armory, physical installations, and 360 interaction in the web, we settled on using Twine.

We imagined parallel story lines and different endings–this was the most fun and time consuming part! It was fun to riff off of each other and modernize the creepy aspects of the story. By allowing the different themes and storylines to manifest, it highlighted the oddness of sharing this story with children for so many years.

Some of Gabe’s feedback was to delay the reveal of the story, and to incorporate more of the Twine elements. It was definitely challenging to incorporate all of the game-play aspects that Twine makes available. Aside from fixing things like some awkward language and typos, I think it would also be good to incorporate the 2nd set of questions in the story in a more cohesive way.

Since presenting in class, we’ve had other people play the game, and I think the response has been pretty positive. People find it funny and disturbing, which was our intention. There’s also a certain amount of surprise when people try to go back in the story and find a different path, only to find that they are led to an even more evil ending.

Ricoh Theta: in-class experiment

In class we experimented with 360 photo and video using the Ricoh Theta camera and software. I ran into issues transferring the footage onto my new macbook using Image Capture, and ended up needing to load the camera as a drive.

I took video from different parts of the journey to Bobst library and different areas of the stack, but I haven’t gotten a chance to edit different parts of the footage together. Unlike last year, vimeo now supports 360 video, so I took just one of the scenes, from on top of a glass case, and uploaded that: