Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Silent Research

Just to match the last blog with my work in. ;)

Here is the research and the images that I've collected in the time since my last blog post. Some are for characters and other parts are for inspiration on the AR side of things, so hopefully you'll find it to be of interest!

First up is something that is slightly related but that I mainly just found to be really cool - Disney have developed a colouring book app which brings the images to life in 3D AR as you colour them in. Here's the video:

It isn't necessarily something that is related to my research in a direct way, but it did get me thinking about ways I could expand my idea - and that's an important thing!

Next up is a project that Jim showed me (thanks Jim!) called noticings. It seems to be finished now, but it was a game that challenged people to look at the spaces around them to find things they wouldn't normally notice, post them on social media and gather points for these images. Looking at the archives page it seems that a lot of the images are of sad looking, homeless socks, but there are some interesting ones. Here's a link if you wanna check it out.

Now onto the self taken research. I'm sorry if this gets a little bit too long, I just want to describe my reasons behind taking these pictures so that they don't slip my mind and so I don't sit staring at a screen with no idea why they're there the next time I see them.

Let's start off with the fire extinguishers:

Jim made a very good point of it being important for me to not just focus on things that we have in the games studio, and to consider objects that people who don't go to the games studio would see - like a fire extinguisher.

Fire extinguishers are extremely common for obvious reasons, so I think it's a good idea for me to bring one to life. That'll be one of my next characters for sure. :)

Then we have light switches:

                                          Inside of a lightswitch (diynetwork, 2015):
                                          Inside of a Dual Lightswitch (wikimedia, 2015):

(These images were taken from my Pinterest board which you can find - with credits - here!) 

I mentioned in my previous post about picturing the light switch board as beds for little characters. I really want to make this vision come to life, and the first thing I need to do to make that happen is create the characters that'll be used in it! 

Google is a tricky one for finding references for the inside of this particular style of switch and I don't think the games studio would appreciate me taking apart their lighting system, but I did find a couple of reference pictures that I can work with, so all is saved. ;) This is what I'll be working on next, so they'll most likely be in my next blog post! 

Then here are just a few extra pictures of the actual light switches since some were on and some were off today:

 Finally, here's a little guy I noticed while walking to uni:

He doesn't look too amused but it was a bit rainy outside so that's understandable.

That's all I have for this entry, thank you so much for reading if you did and have a nice day!

Silent Progress

I've been a little bit quiet the last week because between uni work and work work I've been too sleepy to write a blog post, but I have been getting work done! Now just to get back up to speed on this blog...

So the first thing I did since I last posted was create and finish the second vent character I had modelled. Here are some progress gifs to show how that went:

(Just click the gif to open it in a new tab and see it in much higher quality!)

Hopefully looking at those both spinning next to each other doesn't make your head go weird like it did mine. @_@ 

I also worked on my first vent character some more by animating him as you can see below:

(Please excuse the terrible quality - I recorded it on my phone because I'm yet to figure out how to export a decent quality gif in Maya)

I also tested Augment again (who were super lovely and gave me a student licence, so thank you guys so much! <3 ) and wanted to see how he would look in the real world:


The answer is very shiny... Gonna work on that!

Then for my final bit of vent-related work, I wanted to see what my character would look like in place of the actual vent that's in the studio. Ideally I'd like to see about making it possible to replace the vent in AR, but for now a Photoshop picture does the job. ;)

So the next step for me is really to just continue where I'm going. I want to think more about larger sized objects that I could create characters of (most likely starting with the building I posted about here) as that is something I'm finding interesting. I also want to think more about the reasons behind my project - WHY I'm doing it, and what it is that makes me see these characters. 

As far as my next characters go, there is a lightswitch panel with a lot of switches that has caught my eye. I picture the switches being like little beds - when the switch is on the character is awake, but when the switch is off they are sleeping. Here's a quick sketch I did on a photo to show my idea:

I haven't designed the characters to go with the light switches yet, so the ones sleeping aren't an accurate image of what they'll look like, it was just a quick sketch to add some variety into the image. :) Gonna get to work on making them now! 

That's all for this post, I'm going to make another post after this with more research images that I've collected, so look out for that if you're interested and thanks for reading!

Friday, 16 October 2015

A larger scope?

Now onto some more researchy type things! 

I was walking home from work a couple of days ago and for some reason this particular area (pictured below) really caught my eye:

It was the large pipe-like building in the background which caught my eye in particular, and it made me think - what if instead of just working with small scale, I could also create characters for large scale buildings and structures that people see in day to day life too. The imagination doesn't stop with small characters, characters are large and small and people see faces in things regardless of size, so why should I limit myself when there could be so much more out there for me to work with?

I quickly added some faces just to give a picture of what I mean:

 (thumbs up if you see the second face that I added in the top picture ;) ) 

Obvious things that people see faces in would be houses - the internet is full of pictures of houses that look like faces, and Pixar even created a short, 'The Blue Umbrella', which is made up of a lot of characters created from things we see every day but don't really pay attention to. If you click the name of the short it'll take you to the video. It really is charming and you should definitely watch it if you haven't already. <3

These are a couple of examples just in case you haven't watched or can't watch the video! 

I'm going to look out for more examples when I'm walking around and when I find some I'll post them too. :D 

Thanks for reading, have a nice day!

A child is born

Or more specifically, an air vent.

Since my last post I've finished the character designs that I had sketched out as well as modelled one of them in Maya. Next step is to model another of the characters and then hopefully get them to take their first steps!

Here are the finished character designs:

I have a soft spot for the top right hand side design for some reason, so I then modelled him in Maya. Hopefully this GIF will work...

 It's a little bit fast but there it is! Technology truly is amazing. 

So the next step was to texture him! Here are a few very dramatic looking screenshots taken in UE4, followed by another turntable. :)

I'm pretty happy with how he ended up, though I still need to practice a lot more to get my Maya skills up to scratch. Hopefully the next character I make (who will be another of the vent character designs!) will be a lot more professional looking. :) 

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Inappropriate Mushroom

Progress is happening! I got approval from Jim on my idea which is great, and I've been continuing to find things to inspire designs and ideas.

As mentioned in my last post, I was going to create some character designs based on the air vents in the games studio. I've started those, so here they are:

I'm hoping to have them tidied up and brought to life by the end of tomorrow, so I'll update once they're done. :)

I've also been gathering more inspiration and places that look like they could be hiding little creatures. Here are the images I've taken:

Very close to where the above image was taken is a cute thing that someone else has done - they clearly saw the same little houses that I do and wanted to show people! Here's a picture of it:

They've drawn a little door and some windows on it, and with smoke coming out of a chimney they've written "Imagine... Why not?" It's hard to see in the photo I took because it was night time and I took it quickly, but I will take a better photo and update so that you can see the whole thing. It's pretty great. :)

And then finally, something I found today...

I got so excited because a large mushroom had seemingly shown up overnight on the grass next to Victoria Building, like something out of a game really, and I was happy because I instantly had a bunch of ideas going around in my mind. Sounds great, right? It was, until I got closer...

Now I'm not normally one to point these things out, but do you see what I see? Exactly. Oh dear. 

So sadly I am now on the hunt for another large mushroom, preferrably one that doesn't look so 'private'. 

It had so much potential. :'(

Friday, 2 October 2015

Thank you Josh!

I've just had a really great and inspiring talk with Josh about my idea, and now I'm feeling full of inspiration and drive for this project. :)

First we talked about a current trend that seems to be going on - people building tiny Fairy doors at the foot of trees. This is something that completely appeals to me and I think it's adorable. I can't walk past a tree or a rabbit hole or a strange hole in the ground without thinking of the worlds and characters they could lead to. Here are some images from the trend: 

There are more images and information on the little doors that are appearing in this article. :) 

We then talked about Augmented Reality and the different apps there are, namely a really great app called 'Geocaching'.

Geocaching is a treasure hunting and exploration app, where players can put hidden treasure in a specific location, upload it to the app, and then other players can go and find it. Players can swap trinkets or sign a logbook of who found the Geocach and when, and it really is one of the most amazing things I've ever heard of. 

This strengthens my idea of making creatures for hidden nooks and crannies - what if you could look at a letterbox with an app and have a little character pop out of it? People could see how many different characters they can find, and make a log of it on their app. These characters could be where you least expect them to be and encourage players to be on the look out and keep their creativity flowing wherever they go. 

An app I used for my Futures project last year and which was really useful is Augment - an Augmented Reality app which allows you to upload 3D models and the scanners that you want to activate them.

Looking at where my project is going, I think it would be a good idea to go back to Augment and reuse this (with my own 3D models this time and not the Eiffel Tower...).  It's perfect for placing different trackers and testing the waters of my idea. 

We also came across this video on using Unity3D and Vuforia to create Augmented Reality, so I will definitely be looking into these options also.

The last app we looked at (which unfortunately is no longer available) is an app called String. Here's a video showing what it does:

It's quite similar to Augment in a sense that it uses trackers to generate 3D models, but unlike Augment the player can actually get these 3D models to move around by touching where they want it to go. 

Unfortunately with the app no longer being available I won't be able to test this, though I think I maaaay shoot the developers an email and ask if there's any way they'd let me use it for my project. Can't hurt to try!

I think I just about covered what we discussed. If I think of anything I've missed or find anything else to add then I'll be sure to update. :)

Congratulations, your idea evolved into something a bit more substantial!

I talked in my last main blog about wanting to do something similar to my 'Virtual Realitea' project with AR and characters. There's an aircon vent thingie in the Games Design room (the exact one pictured below) and it has always fascinated me a little bit.
I touched down a little in my last blog about seeing faces and characters who may live in environments, and this little vent seems to have kick started that idea just a little bit more.

So, I took some pictures of places around the Games studio (excluding the corners on both sides because they're kinda busy and I don't wanna disrupt people... I'll get to them soon!) that look like they could be home to some creatures.

Now I know I talked about this in my last blog and that info isn't really anything new, but stay with me...

Pokemon Snap. I love Pokemon Snap. Many, many people love Pokemon Snap. There's just something about going around in your little safari car and taking pictures of Pokemon* that is magical, and I want to do something with that same magical feeling.

*Also throwing a rock at Charmeleon so he falls into lava and evolves... Ah, sweet childhood...

There are so many places that we pass by which look like they could be homes to characters and little families of creatures. My only concern is that I may end up getting too close to my BA Honours Project, so I need to take time to make sure that it is as different as possible.

I'd love to be able to use VR and make it so that people can hunt for these characters in places, kinda like in Pokemon Snap. I love the idea of looking up at some pipes and seeing a little guy run across it, or seeing some happy faces peeping out of the aircon to greet you. It encourages people to look at their surroundings and imagine, rather than just look at a wall and see nothing. 

Here are the images that I have taken in the studio so far:

 The next step for me is to take these images and create characters for them. I want to make them as different as possible so I'll have to really look at the locations and see how their environment can affect their design. I'll update again with a blog containing these when these are done. :)