DSN 6400 (DAIM Graduate Studio):
To-do lists are becoming extremely helpful and overwhelming. For me to try and focus on what I need to accomplish in regards to my thesis, and my phase II project, I'll be structuring this post based off of my to-do list. For this week, here is what I needed to accomplish:
1. Theoretical Framework
2. Case Studies Framework
3. Goals for thesis project
4. Challenges for thesis project
5. 2nd Year Review Writing
6. Phase II
7. Art of Animation notes
8. Create a protocol
9. Update diagram with timeline changes Theoretical Framework:
This section of the project encourages me to articulate the issues or considerations that are at the root of my research interest in a clear and concise way, make connections between the scholarship of others and my own interests and ideas, recognize the ability of specific bodies of theory to inform my research, infer how theory can encourage new ways of approaching my research, and organize my literature review in a focused and strategic manner.
Year 01 Theoretical Framework Attempt: In DSN 6300, blow is what I pitched as my very first attempt at a theoretical framework. I focused on three subjects I thought might inform my work - narrative, immersion, and performance. All of which still do inform my work, but adjustments have been made to an extent, in updated theoretical frameworks posted later in the blog.
At the end of my first year review, my theoretical framework was updated to the following changes:
Since year 1, I have avoided doing a theoretical framework, because honestly it is intimidating. But Maria assured me that I am not becoming an expert in these fields and creating new theories, but rather building on top of these theories that already exist. This semester we need to find the connections between the theories influencing our work, and what we are doing. It's easy to search what theories could relate to our projects, and also create projects, but what is that connection? How? Why? What is it doing to inform my decision making? This is where I need to invest more time.
In our presentation about our thesis project, I continuously am putting up this theoretical framework:
My theoretical framework continues to grow smaller and smaller as I narrow down what is working for me, and which isn't. I am trying to figure out the primary ones designated for design in performance though. With the design process that I am creating, I am focusing more on emotion and performance and straying away from immersion and narrative.
So here is what I am proposing for my new theoretical framework:
Case Studies Framework
Goals for Thesis Project
Project Goals: At the end of my time at ACCAD, I want the project I produce to have complete work and in-progress work which showcases the values I have in my writing. The complete work for the project is scene 01 - where I will implement staging, body capture, facial capture, and placement marking. This is the big scene where our user will walk, as if they are Ruby, down the sidewalk path into the school. For this scene, my goal is to have each of the characters, whether they have individual time allotment, such as the government officials and Lucille Bridges, or the crowd as almost secondary characters, elicit the idea of being overwhelmed and an 'other'. Lucille Bridges will elicit confusion, caution, and fear. Government officials will elicit authority, focus, and direction. The crowd will elicit anger, un-easement, and prejudice.
Writing Goals: For my writing, I aim to answer my questions of how to tell a narrative performance story in Virtual Reality with enhanced layered animation over motion capture data. What steps are necessary and how do I measure their success? This is a development and exploration, and I hope to learn from this process. I also want to write clearly, and not be repetitive or redundant, but do so where anyone can read it, not just academics or designers.
Personal Goals: There is very little opportunity these days where as a designer, you get full control over your choices and decisions. With my time at Ohio State, I want to create something meaningful. And every artist says that. And you can do so with a film or a painting or a book - but I have an opportunity to do it with fresh, infant technology that is a learning process for everyone in this day and age. I want to create an experience, that users step into, and feel empathy, compassion, anger, and an urge to change. Does that mean I'll achieve that? I'm not sure. But I want to work towards something that has elements of it all.
Challenges for Thesis Project
2nd Year Review Writing
For Phase II, I proposed to move forward with scene I of the project – the portion where the crowd is yelling at the user. I know that right now, it has been discussed that scene I is the priority, but because of Phase I, I need to reshoot the beginning portion of the car sequence in scene I, and cannot do so until late April. I know I have also suggested working on the government official of scene I for my Phase II project, but if I am reshooting Lucille Bridges’ portion, I know I will have the official in the scene as well for her to play off of, so I would like to recapture both, with the assistance of Jeanine there, to make sure the entirety of their actions/reactions work together and for the scene.
For the latter half of scene I data, with the mob, I am focusing on the non-facial performances I have, and clean that data. That will allow me to single out the shots worth using, get feedback, and proceed forward.
I've been working on the coffin lady specifically, since she is an important aspect of the crowd, especially towards the end of the walk sequence. This week in class, I'm going to ask for feedback on what to do with her more. Here is the data so far:
Art of Animation Notes
Last week, when I uploaded my notes to discuss with Maria, I got the feedback of,
"It is a good idea to have notes, however I would like you to make notes about how these items that you are pointing out may or should influence the work that you are doing with actors. I think we should also acknowledge that you are actually directing actors to inhabit a puppet (the avatar) rather than inhabiting a character – this is different and you should articulate this difference when you discuss in your writing and with the actors."
So with the following three chapters I read, I am going to include my notes directly, but focus on how these are influencing my current/future work in directing the actors.
Ch 3: Character
- Personality is expressed through action (25)
- Character and thought, said he, are the two natural causes of action (26)
- Quality of movement rather than the motive behind movement (26)
- Character analysis (27-28) – I need to write out personality description, character history, and physical description
Influence: I should go about answering the following characteristics per character that I have in the scenes.
- Male or female? Age? Physical health? Appearance? Hygiene? Intelligence? Diet? Culture? History? Religion? Income? Occupation? Education? Sexual orientation? Family? Friends? Inner rhythm? Psychology (introvert, extrovert, etc.)? Goals? Name?
- Eighty percent of what is happening to a character is under the surface, tied up in context, character background, given circumstances (32)
- It is true that humans will respond emotionally to the emotions of other humans (34)
- As artists, we are in pursuit of empathy, not sympathy (36-37)
- What matters is that your characters project their personalities through their actions, and that these actions are consistent with their respective personalities (39)
Create a Protocol
As I prepare to do more motion capture shoots, Maria suggested I create a protocol for those involved to understand my intentions. Here is the example for the Dementia one that she gave me to work off of.
My protocol for thesis:
Update diagram with timeline changes
NEW Diagram 04: This updated diagram integrates the time line of how much I invest into each of the sections of this 5 step process. Directing is about 15%. Performance capture is about 20%. Animation/Remapping is about 55%. And Virtual Reality is about 10%. But each one of these steps is vital in the process to create an experience of character animation within a virtual reality setting.
I've also created a diagram to showcase the 360° aspect that comes with both motion capture and virtual reality.
Motion capture has 360° in the environment. The actor needs to know that the entirety of the space captures them and that there is no single camera. They must perform with this in mind.
Virtual reality has 360° in the camera viewing space. The option to turn anywhere completes this circle of the environment, and the perform needs to think of the VR headcam as their camera.
ACCAD 5194.01 (Performance and Narrative in VR):
The environment scene is complete with textures and all. This week we practiced putting together the live stream of our character into the environment scene. I need to continuously figure out the rigging portions for the props though, which is what we are going to focus on for next Monday's class.
FILM 7001 (Feminist Film Theory):
This week, the first five pages of my research paper are due. Here is where I am at with it so far:
Goal: I want to compare two films concerning dance and the Hollywood ‘exotic’ character, aiming to discover how they represent the dancing, in-between, racially mobile female, and what affordances have/have not changed for their representation in this time in Hollywood. The first being Flashdance (1983), where we have an unidentifiable lead female who has 'inbetweenness' and 'racial mobility', but in actuality, the actress who portrays her (Jennifer Beals) is half black and half white. The second being Honey (2003), where we have a lead female from New York, identifying as the Nuyorican Latina who dances, where the lead actress who portrays her (Jessica Alba) is of Mexican descent.
GRA (Graduate Research Assistant):
This week, my focus deals with:
1) Cleaning up the motion lab closet
2) Start building a new character the looks similar to Bob for the MCIVR