January 21st-25th, 2019:

Updated: Feb 2, 2019

DSN 6400 (DAIM Graduate Studio):

Approach: Going into this week, I know I needed to work on the four steps I set up for myself in last weeks post. Those being: (1) moss growth, (2) gravity fall, (3) data attachment, and (4) relationship constraints. I'm a chronological worker, so I began with approaching the week with the moss growth and moving into the gravity fall. Last week, I posted some tutorials I found and began with those.

Choices Made: After looking at the tutorials I posted last week, I found that instead of using the Ivy paint brush effect, they actually had one for vines, which saved me a lot of time and trouble. Of these, I chose to use vineSpecular because it allowed for the most adjustments in regards to thickness, color, leaves, buds, twigs, growth speed, etc. It really allowed me to not simply makes vines for a plant, but those that looked like the most I wanted to hang from the trees.

Here, I have a play-blast the first trials of the Spanish moss growth. Eventually, I am going to want this to happen all over the tree, but for now this is the start. I am trying to figure out though how to get it to render with Arnold since it is a paint effects brush, which is something I have not worked with much. I've found a Maya Support page to look into more on how to do this.

Next Steps: Moving forward into next week, I want to render the moss growth scene and the gravity falling scene before Tuesday's (1/29) class. That way the first half of my video can be completed. Then on Tuesday, I want to address the data attachment for the relation constraints. This is the bulk of my project. What colors are going to be affects and how do I get the 'gemstone' effect that I speak about? Something Maria also commented on is the angle at which my camera is, because it needs to be looking up like in my reference photo. That will give the feeling of riding a bike and looking upward rather than just standing on the ground and taking a straight ahead shot. It needs to feel like I'm being hugged by these huge trees above me. But also really push the lighting technique. That is the key goal of this project - light. So figuring what style I'm aiming for here will be big. I'm hoping to show progress to Maria by Tuesday at the end of class and see her opinions on where to tweak intensities and motion.

How valuable was the work this week, what did it yield for you? What did you learn? What didn’t you learn?

This week, my work helped me break into areas of Maya I haven't played with yet. I discovered playing with Paint Effects to get the formation of the twiggy moss I wanted, which was something initially I thought I would have to model. But why utilize all of the time to model something, when the program can do it for you? It just took a little research and then play-testing to figure that out, and the effect is much better than if I had tried it one my own. I learned what to do - more research and testing in areas outside of my comfort zone. I learned not to stick to what I know, and waste my time in a safe-zone.

What would you have done differently?

I think I struggle with doing the "chronological order" process like I said above. Part of me wishes I had begun with the lighting tests since that is the core of the project, but I also go back and forth thinking - well if I didn't test the moss growth and tree dangling first then I wouldn't know what I am looking for in the lighting and how it hits those vine features and the shadows it casts.

What technical knowledge do you still need?

One thing Maria suggested is how to play with the cyclical motion of the bike tire and connecting that in some way to the growth of the vines. It's the parallel of the motion that can be manipulated, and how they intersect could be an interesting visual to play-test. I still need to figure out the technical process of morphing that transition though and if I like the visual of it, or if there is even time for that before this project is due.

ACCAD 5194.01 (Performance and Narrative in VR):

  • No class this week due to MLK Day

FILM 7001 (Feminist Film Theory):

This week, we discussed Spectatorship and the Female Spectacle within film history, focusing primarily on the film Blonde Venus (1932). Discussion Readings:

  • O'Neill, "The M-ma-Mama of Us All"

  • hooks, "The Oppositional Gaze"

  • Petro, "The Hottentot and the Blonde Venus"

  • Weiss, "A Queer Feeling When I Look at You"

During this class, we discussed psychoanalysis and queer theory within the film, ranging from black communities, gay communities, lesbian communities, and race and class representation within the film. It was a difficult film to relate to with all of the narrative changes and little thread between them all, but the discussion brought up a lot of issues. I've included my notes to try to get a better grasp of what we discussed.

GRA (Graduate Research Assistant):

This week on Wednesday (1/23) we had a demo of the Dementia project for a group of medical researchers/workers. The demo included Dreama, Alex, Vita, Maria, and Jeremy to demonstrate where we are in our portable system and Vive tracking system rather than using the motion capture suit.

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