ANIMATION 3: UNITY "SISYPHUS"

 
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assignment

Create a simple experimental scene in Unity and place your created character in the scene. Create a surreal, experimental or musical sequence either puppeteered live or rendered out as an application.

process

I created an experimental game in unity called "sisyphus". The player has to roll a huge stone downhill, uphill, through rocky valleys, desserts and on bizarre concrete structures. 

 
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I created the world structures, elements and terrains by hand, the player character is based on a mixamo-shape with custom textures from different assets. 

I used concrete textures on the main elements of the world including the sphere that has to be rolled. This should add visual weight and stand in a stark, brutalism - inspired contrast with the fleshy and vulnerable looking muscular appearance of the main character. The terrain features sand textures and varies between bright brown and warm red in the final rendering. In combination with the bright skylight this should invoke a dessert feel - the player/audience should feel the heat while rolling the rock around.

The formal language of structures and elements is inspired by the metaphysical/surrealist art movement around Giorgio de Chirico from the early 20th century:

 (image source:  wikimedia )

(image source: wikimedia)

I tried many times to finish the game (it goes back up to where it started, staying with the main theme of purposeless hard labour), but still have not managed it.

Here a few video-playthrough attempts to show the basic looks and functionality:

 
 

 

The controls feature walking in all directions and a push mode that can be activated with a click on the space bar. Some of the colliders are in various angles a bit off - nevertheless in most situations the player can control the rock relatively easily.

The camera is rigged to the head of the main figure to have a more realistic view of the action - it adds a small bit of camera shake to the game to achieve these looks.

The game was a lot of fun to build - I would love to continue with it at a certain point in time. I should try to play it through to the very end at first though.  

ANIMATION 2: AFTER EFFECTS "NEVERMIND"

 

(second version)

 

(first version)

assignment

Create a short animation in After Effects that has a primary character and tells a quick story 1-3 minutes.

process

We wanted to animate album covers starting from Nirvana Nevermind to David Bowie’s Black Star. The baby from the Nirvana album should travel through music albums from around that time and interact with characters/scenes in each cover: Storyboard

We started with a few rough sketches:

After aiming initially at 24 animated album covers, we quickly realized that this would take far longer than expected. We had already finished the music mix that tried to stay roughly within the 3 min time limit of the assignment and was precisely timed at the first album animations. Due to  the meltdown of my aged but trusted macbook-air three days before the deadline for the assignment we had to cut the animation short to 1 minute and fewer albums than planned. 

For the second version we were challenged by the tight mixing of the music - slowing down the narrative was not an option so we added an intro instead that tells the story of a possible breakup: A voice speaks to his ex-partner on the phone and negotiates part of the record collection. Music is always about memories, that was the inspiration for this intro sequence. The main after effects animation is still very fast, the albums and the music moves fast from one to another. We added a few frames to the end to extend the animation to a few more albums - still far away from our goal to animate 24 albums of the year from the release of the Nevermind-album until now. 

For a proper version of this animation we would possibly start from scratch again and extend the movie to about 6-8minutes. This was not possible for this assignment given the maximum length of 3 minutes for the animation.

ANIMATION 1: STOP-MOTION "PAPER_JAM"

 

Assignment

Shoot a stop motion animation that tells a short story in 30 seconds or less.

Chosen type of animation: "abstraction".

process

Our first idea was to explore the relationship between paper, geometry and shadows. We planned to use paper-shadows instead of real shadows and tell the story of an abstract geometric shape that decides to leave behind his comfort zone and family by separating from his real shadow. We tested the setup and realized that cutting the real shadows would require too much time and a nearly flat lighting to eliminate the real shadows.

After a few test shots we decided to modify the idea. We still wanted to tell a story with paper that comes alive, but in a more direct way: A piece of paper gets folded against its own will, resists the folding and finally fights its oppressor, a hand. 

We used Dragonframe as software, a Canon Mark II 5D with a zoom lens as camera and two fluorescent barndoor light panels angled on two opposite sides of the canvas for our photography setup.

The sound was recorded in post with a Blue Snowball microphone in Adobe Audition, assembled and edited in Premiere Pro. 

The materials appearing in the animation are a white foam-core baseplate as background and a blank white index-card.

After a first ideation meeting, we experimented with the initial setup of camera and lights for about 3-4 hours, the final shooting took another 4-5 hours. Recording and editing was finished after about 2 hours. 

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