All right, since the last post: I made up a basic patch template and based it on users choosing a musical note, since it’s more directly emotive. The final output wasn’t as developed as I’d hoped, but I was hoping to come up with as much as I could within Max before bringing it to Morgan, and honestly the most difficult part was learning the objects in Max and getting the playback to be reliable.
At first the soundtrack was looping, and then there were just some general bugs with sending messages and forgetting when bangs were sent and what types of messages go where and etc, but it was working (almost!) near the end. I forgot to test for looping, though, and so the videos ended at their respective frames when it was meant to restart.
The choice was basically based low to high, with higher notes being the higher energy/happier choices and lower being the worser ones.
I also made a quick presentation mode. I tried to choose a font that reminded me somehow of socks/laundry but I realized it was more 50’s-60’s style laundromats (the signs and the interior, with laundry machines lined up). And I guess that time period in general also had a lot of focus on home keeping and domestic, which laundry is pretty important for (luckily, I’m not a 50’s housewife). Also I associated it with the jumpiness/imperfection of stop motion.
Anyway, the main result of the user experience was that it was a little hard to choose notes without testing them first. I was so excited to have the videos connected that I didn’t consider it until testing it with someone.
Also, I think explaining that the higher notes were usually better endings kind of influenced the user to agree more with that and look for that.
Regardless, I think I’d focus on more extreme emotions (fear, anger) if I could do it again, or more dramatic situations versus the sock’s movement and personality if I were to do something directly related to emotion. I was worried about the connections being to obvious at first and black and white, but I think they ended up too subtle. I was really caught up in getting the gestures of the sock and involving different characters, though, and I’m happy with the shot layout and the general narrative.
I don’t know why I tried Safari in the first place, but…
The last video wasn’t uploading, so I installed Google Chrome after it failing a few times. It still took a few hours but it’s finally up.
I’ve been doing Max tutorials and am working on my own patch, still. I’m actually trying imovie instead of jitter, since I’m not editing the footage playback but just sequencing the clips. Then I should be able to troubleshoot it tomorrow and get it all together by Tuesday. hoorah.
final update: part 1
I presented (kind of) at the undergraduate show, looping the positive alternatives of the stop motion story (which, oddly enough, ended up being the longer and more developed plot lines). We resorted to having the audience chose a color using buttons, and sending messages to outlets based on his/her choice that chose the movies, rather than using Max for actual color detection. The final frame of each movie had instructions to click on the laptop screen, and I’d filled in button colors ahead of time to correlate with the emotions that I felt would lead to the character making certain decisions.
Unfortunately, though, the patch ended up breaking and I wasn’t sure which parts to fix from the template Morgan had given me ahead of time, and I assumed the problem had more to deal with my own syntax, but there was an unforeseen problem getting the first movie to start & lead to the rest. At first, the video seemed to be flashing through to other videos below that were playing but not being sent to the screen (since Max loads the videos internally once they are read in) — and the soundtrack kept looping — but it was paused on a single frame and we couldn’t get it to play from the start.
Anyway, from here I’ve been starting from the basics of Max and working on developing & editing a new patch, and will communicate with Morgan at the start of next week to troubleshoot what I have.
And: I went ahead and uploaded the video that looped during the show. At the moment, YouTube says it will take 615 minutes but hopefully that’s temporary. I embedded it below:
All right, here’s a run down of the past week:
Monday-Wed morning: finishing major scenes, trying to get dramatic timing right
Wednesday: trying to find new supplies, versus the MAKE supplies suggested, + Arduino/GSR overview. Finished footage shots that had to be scheduled outside of my apartment.
Thursday: trying to find LM amp; investigating patch. Adding continuity shots. Filmed intro scenes with actor. Re-did shots to make more fluid.
Friday: getting comfortable with Max; switch to color detection out of lack of LM 741 amplifier.
Saturday: working with Max, still. Trying to get:
color calibration || adding a transitional movie to wait for the color picker patch, or
adding a freeze frame @ end of movie with instrucitons || making sure the videos flowed & color picker worked
I couldn’t get jit.qt.movie to pause at final frame (screenshot included — tried to use jump to reverse a frame after loopnotify), but wasn’t sure if my syntax was wrong or if the logic was at fault. I was struggling getting familiar with the flow for Max and a little exhausted and gridlocked, so I decided it might be safer to use Flash & have users choose color manually.
Sunday: Was coding actionscriptLoading when Flash crashed after I changed the video loading levels to allow for a constant soundtrack (by loading onto Level 1 and having the base movie on level 0, meaning the other SWF’s overlap). Couldn’t open my files afterward; different problem source than project 2.
I’m very frustrated with the result. I’m avoiding complaining too much about it, though, and just going to go back to my After Effects files and either Max or GSR this week, which was the plan anyway.
I plan on giving all the clips to our professor, if requested, and continuing work to get it in as soon as possible. I’m actually happy with the animation itself, for the most part. There are choppy parts, yes, but the socks seem lifelike and I think the shot composition/choices worked out, especially considering the scope is over 50 separate shots, each with 30-125 frames. I’m looking forward to finally getting it together and getting feedback, etc.
other filming pictures.
I took a little over a minute more of footage total yesterday — approx 700 more shots — and more today. This time, I started shooting major event scenes versus going straight by the storyboard so that if I need to cut the those pretty (but ultimately surplus) shots then I won’t be stuck without the main story points.
Filming the quick title scene with the actor (live action) tomorrow [refer to the story board; just some quick shots of socks and an establishing one]. Also included: him leaving with the laundry basket, and a few overheard lines he has.
On top of that: filling in extra scenes, redoing some that had bad lighting/weren’t clear.
For the sock movement, the animals I had immediately in mind were inch worms (and other animals, cats/dogs for personality movement). I looked up this video & made a few quick notes about what part of the body pushes forward the movement. & timing. But since it sits up, I added some upper body movement that makes it look like the sock is pushing its weight back and forward.
However, that took a while for each shot, and although I liked how it was turning out and felt like it weighted the sock well, I figured that when the sock is trying to move quickly or quietly, he should “creep” more — in which case his upper body stays balanced and low while his tail undulates. I didn’t look up any visual refs since it’s a simple wave, but it reminded me of flagella.
Other than the camera problems & hold ups, the main issue is shooting only in daylight. The armature is holding up well, and there have been a few difficulties with balancing the sock body along the way but nothing that couldn’t be solved with tape or adjustment. The shoe strings were actually more challenging, as simple as they are.
There’s one particular shot, though, where I didn’t notice light creeping up from the open window until I took 10 minutes to anchor a shoe string and found the light covering the shoe. There was enough animation to get the point across before that, but ideally I’d be able to re-shoot it without the traveling light.
I’ve been trying to balance the shots, etc, and not get too much of the apartment in the frame so that the sock is the main focus, etc, and so that I don’t have to shoot a lot of him just moving/’walking,’ but rather have cutaway shots & entering/exiting frame cuts. I included a picture of the shoe & sock to show what I mean.
Uh. I bought the wrong supplies. & couldn’t find one piece. It’s going to be rushed but I’m calling places tomorrow to try and find the LM 741 amp that’s needed. If all else fails, I’ll probably go back to color detection.
Been shooting. I got an actor/voice kid a few days back, and so I’m planning on doing the live action introduction, etc scenes Wednesday around 5:30 PM.
Found out shooting after dark is a no go since there are a lot of scenes with windows. And I had some camera supply problems, but rented a lower quality one from WCL. It just pops AA batteries like candy.
Anyway, I’m posting some references I looked up during animation, after reviewing shots and trying to find ways to make the socks emotive. I found most notably Jan Švankmajer’s work. Pretty artsy, but still good stuff. A lot of it’s a little grim, but here’s what I’m going for as far as creating gesture etc with simple movements & voice/sounds (note: there’s nothing graphic, but there’s some innuendo. I’m assuming we’re all adults though): here.
As well, I thought I should mention part of the sock puppet idea came from a Vizzer’s work I saw a really long time ago. It always surprised me that, despite the simplicity and awkwardness of CG socks, the scene actually turns out pretty funny & gets across what it’s intended to (here).
I couldn’t find the animation of laundry running around and making noises that I saw in Germany but… it was collage-styled and also pretty effective at making the clothes seem personable. etc.
Also: buying GSR stuff. Working on that on Wednesday in class. And getting the Max patch.
And sequencing things in AFX & uploading clips so far to YouTube soon. Oh, and I’ll probably upload motion test sketches I did before shooting the socks.
By “going to work on character construction today in class,” I actually meant “going to be late because of forgetting supplies in the first place, then end up forgetting the socks anyway and make a more detailed list of tasks for the project” in class.
I tried out a few different types of wire. The wire I’d originally gotten was just a little too flimsy; I was expecting the sock material to basically rest on it & wanted to be able to make really small movements, but the sock wouldn’t stay in a pose with the wire. Anyway, I got a few different types of floral wire (one of which I’d used for the last project for the wolf) & tested them out. I was experimenting with the limits of movement, so I made a few basic poses to see if things could balance & how it felt to move the character.
The thicker wire was (obviously) a little easier to balance, but you had to apply pressure to a lot of different places to move it in more curled positions & it’d end up leaving artifacts in stop motion. And. For smooth animation the motions should be smaller anyway. I posted a few posed pictures & the skeletons.
I rented out a camera and am working on the introduction today/night. I’ll probably transfer the photos in class & download more Adobe Trials of things on my friend’s Macbook from 2007 to sequence the shots & see how that’s going. And. Possibly modify the character skeleton or storyboards, etc after that. Since the armature & ‘character’ intentionally simple I can take it out and/or remake things pretty quickly.
Here are my schedule & storyboards. I realized pretty quickly that I’m not sure how smoothly the narrative timing is going to go & how subtle the character’s movements are going to able to be, so I figured out the layout for the first scene/test that I’m using for a prototype & we can test the water with that (the other planned actions/plot are laid out in the previous post).
Today I’m going to work on the characters. I bought some nice, non-descript socks from Target, so hopefully they’ll be a good material for motion & not visually too bland. But if not, construction shouldn’t be complicated so I can switch out the skeletons.
Monday (16th): finish storyboard, research
**Tuesday: supplies & construction of characters
Wednesday (18th): character test shots, edits to storyboard, possibly start filming
Friday(20th): assembling test footage, etc; Max programming etc (in class) & predicting whether to use GSR
over weekend: continue filming.
Monday (23rd) finishing filming, editing. supplies for GSR & research
Wednesday (25th) work on GSR, finish edits (audio, etc)
Friday (27th) organizing videos in Max (class), get any extra footage, GSR troubleshooting
over weekend: program & film edits, GSR tweaking
Monday (30th) presentation