Company Logo

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Our group needed a different logo after the MVP assessment with the lecturers. I don’t know if we’re changing the name from Anonymous Penguin yet, but I have made the logo brighter and drew it from scratch.

We needed something happier and something more similar to our company’s general vibe (action, danger) show in the trailer. The penguin is still anonymous, but he is a ninja, so he has a throwing star.

I drew some on paper sketches, then drew this up on Photoshop with a clear and a grey background so it can be inserted into the project however the group likes.

I am happy enough with the outcome, and especially like he neck colours. Hopefully the group like it too, so far they’ve given positive feedback about it.

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Imagined Worlds Group

So far my team have been doing quite well with our Imagined Worlds project. We have done a lot of work for it so far and I believe we are on track.

Having said that, when the lecturers took a look at our Trello organisation they had some concerns about the clarity of our plans. The preproduction is all done, but we have not yet sorted it out. We need a play through of the unedited clips and all of the concept art could be put together in a clever way.

We all get along even though at times there are absences. Because of this the group will take on tasks that aren’t assigned to them to help get it all finished.

Capture

I look forward to the rest of this half term, finishing what we started, and I am excited to see the end results because we have a clear vision of what we want from our teaser trailer, Planet A.

My Essay Presentation

Motion ControllerPP watch as a slide show for full amount of fun transitions and animations and so it actually makes sense at all

For the past couple of weeks I was working on my essay about Emerging Technologies. My essay was about hybrid consoles (such as the Switch by Nintendo) and how they can steady the amount of motion control used in gaming, as motion controls have been a trend on and off since the dawn of gaming.

After we wrote our essay (which I based off these ideas) we had to make a PowerPoint presentation to do in front of the whole class. I linked mine at the top of this post, but it is mainly pictures as I talked throughout it out loud about everything I wanted to say.

I thought the presentation went alright. I followed some very good presentations which wobbled my nerves, but I wanted to do it anyway. I enjoyed speaking about everything I’ve learned and even shared some thoughts I had to do with my topic even after finishing my essay.

I don’t mind presenting as the class is patient and got involved with what I was saying. I never used to want to speak up in school whenever I presented as a group so doing this is always nerve-wracking, especially alone, but I have done it now- and I think my portfolios have helped me get used to it.

Diegetic Sound

Today we learned the difference between diegetic and nondiegetic sound.

Diegetic sound (aka. actual sound) is where you can locate the source of the noise in the scene. For example, a tree falling over and crashing; the crash sound will be diegetic as you can see where it comes from. In a way “diegetic” is where the visuals match with the audio, but don’t necessarily have to be in frame.

Furthermore, if the sound seems part of the environment, though you cannot necessarily see it, it still may be diegetic. Sounds such as wind, sirens, birds tweeting, or the TV in a living room, are all examples of sounds you may not see – but are definitely part of the environment, and are considered diegetic.

Nondiegetic sound is where the source of the noise does not come from the environment of the scene on screen. Noises such as a voiceover, or a musical score, are nondiegetic. These sounds do not come from any of the objects in the scene and are added on for effect, explanation, or mood. These sounds set a scene and control how you may perceive a scene, even if the visuals remain the same.

 

Quick Mario Storyboard

In one of Tony’s lessons we had to pick a game and draw a storyboard for it. I did a very simple one for a level of Mario, where you get powers, defeat enemies, grab the flag and run into the castle.

This was an experiment in game storyboarding as opposed to film. I focussed on the actions and general obstacles and goals of the level, rather than specific details and timings.

I drew this on Photoshop and enjoyed drawing an existing character without trying to draw a copy of the character’s style as it is only a storyboard.

I liked the bright outcome of this drawing.

mario

The Future of Motion Control?

Motion controllers have been around since very early in the gaming game. The first gaming joystick was invented in 1967 for the Odyssey by Ralph H. Baer. These joysticks worked as motion control as you help them in your hand and where you moved your hand (though not far) was what controlled the character on screen.

The joystick developed. The Atari standard joystick had a button at the top to press with your thumb to fire in games. Eventually joysticks had the ability to calculate the angle and push power of a movement more accurately and were used mainly for flight simulators and arcade games, slowly going out of fashion.

joystick

When the Nintendo Wii came out in 2006 the Wii Remote (or Wiimote) debuted. You held it like a joystick, except it was wireless and ran on motion sensor controls. A lot of games were built to purely be powered by the controller’s unique functionalities, though it was equipped with button controls for a wider range of games. It sent signals to a sensor above a TV, rather than be mounted to a base with a  wire.

Wiimote-Safety-First.jpg

Similar controllers were made for PlayStation Move, which had motion sensors and were tracked with a camera. Since then Nintendo developed smaller motion controllers for the Switch, and a lot of developers have been working on a new wave of VR gaming. New headsets and better technology allow a player to immerse themselves in more and more realistic games all of the time and use handheld controls with their headsets.

gear_vr_0_0

When I look at the future I see people attempting to make more developments on motion controls. Wii Fit and Dance Dance Revolution have used your feet. Wiimotes and PlayStation Move used your hands. Eyetoy and Kinect use cameras. VR uses your head. What if someone made a combination of all of these to make the ultimate motion control technology, or stripped it back to only the best parts of previous control inventions?

I will use this information and the questions I have to write an essay about Emerging Technologies.

Job Roles

I’ve researched into my ideal future a lot of times, but it usually leads to places very far away. I would love to do concept art and animation for a game or movie company and I used to only look at Pixar, Disney, DreamWorks etc., but since then I have opened my mind to working in many other companies in Britain. Rare is a good example of a company I would be interested in, as they made some of the games I grew up on- such as old Donkey Kong games.

I always have wanted to be a concept artist, and aimed to do a Degree in concept art, but over the last year I have began learning something I never thought I would get to do- 3D animation. Art is still important but animation is new to me and is something I tried to not aim for when I was younger as I didn’t think I would ever be able to learn it- unless I did it at university- but I took the opportunity to do it now, as soon as I could. I am considering a degree covering those two subjects the best I can find it anywhere if no apprenticeships are available to go for. I am still in early days deciding where I want to be in a year and a bit, but deciding my specialisation for next year is a start.

I want to one day design for and/or animate for a game or movie production. There are different ways of getting there, some definitely require degrees in areas I am looking into, so I will likely do one, but that isn’t the only way. The Unis I have heard do courses I might look into are Sunderland, Teesside and Sheffield Hallam. I will look into more over summer.

Marvel-lous Guests

set1In a turn of events last week, Marvel came to my town to film scenes of the Avengers in Durham Cathedral.

I love Marvel movies and a lot of us think of them whenever we’re asked to talk about VFX and what our goals would be with it. It’s so close to where I live I had to see what was going on and it was fascinating. Lots of vans were parked outside each for different things such as lighting, props and more. It showed how much is needed just to film a scene in one location.set3

The stain glass windows were totally covered also, as I assume on the inside were either green screens or black screens to stop the real sky being shown, so they can make it look like it was in a different location. The fact that they did that shows a huge amount of physical props are used during filming to help the post production VFX. I heard the scene is set in Asgard and the inside of the Cathedral had some harnesses, green screens and props in place, so the windows will probably show that.

set2It was interesting to go to and the atmosphere was different to regular Durham. In summer there are people around the cathedral, but (though you cant totally tell) lots of people were huddled on the grass and talking to security guards trying to see inside. Some people signed up to be extras and some met Chris Hemsworth nearby. I was just happy to finally see a real movie set which is WAY more complex than I would expect for a non studio scene. I realised more prep goes into it with equipment- even in outside locations- than I guessed.

Hardware Limitations and Breaking Expectations

Today we are thinking about the way hardware, particularly the controllers, for games can affect the design of the game. A lot of the time it is a decision of whether the developer will fit their games into the limitations by cutting or changing controls, breaking the limitations by using the quirks of the controllers to their advantage, or designing the game based totally on the unique functionality of the controller/console.

The first game that came to mind about using the controller’s uniqueness to the advantage of the game was let’s Tap for Wii. The Wii remote was a revolutionary step for Nintendo, which influenced other consoles making motion sensor controllers. Games like WarioWare, Wii Sports, Wii Party, and Mario Kart for a few examples showed users how to use every function of the controller to do so many different things, including adding attachments (steering wheels, rackets etc.) to the controller to make the experience more specific tot he game. Let’s Tap was a simple idea- place the Wii remote face down on a cardboard box, and tap the box to make the figure on the screen run and jump through different levels and races. This idea is used in touchscreen games sometimes where tapping the screen makes the player move, but Let’s Tap just used the remote’s sensitivity to control the game. The game is targeted at all age groups, and can easily be picked up. One simple instruction to follow “tap” is universal and easy to understand.

Let's_Tap  nintendogs

Nintendogs for the original Nintendo DS was limited to a few buttons, but was one of the earliest games to grace the Dual Screen handheld. The touchscreen was probably the most used control on the entire game. When using the touchscreen for  menu, you could watch over you dogs on the top screen (just like the Gameboy Advance screen), and it was the same for almost all activities on the game. Most of the time you would use your stylus to care for your dogs, from scrubbing them down int he bath, to holding their leash whilst walking. You could even train your dogs to do tricks and throw them frisbees with the touchscreen, then enter them into competitions as their skills progressed. The DS also has a mic which you could use for the first time to train your dog to recognize its name in your voice. Nintendogs took total advantage of the new screen, rather than rely on the Gameboy-esque buttons. In fact it almost ignores the buttons altogether. This game is directed at young children, so the lack of buttons is helpful to teach them to just touch what they want, so gets younger audiences to play DS.

The Sims series was something that only used one main control on PC, the mouse. It is aimed at 12+ year olds because of some of its grown up content. For a game that is based on human lives, the daily routines of a household of people in a town of characters with individual traits, it seems odd that everything is based on a selection, but multiple choice just works so well for the franchise. Yes, you can make a person, in recent games more unique than ever, and raise them, letting  them form deep connections and complex careers (and even have babies) but you can’t live an entire life through them. You can’t type in something to say to another Sim, you need to pick a topic. You can’t write a book which other Sims will understand, so you jut let them write their own in ‘Simlish’. The multiple choice game-play eliminates the idea of such complicated personal touches, and the fact that they speak a made up language helps the player only want to make the characters bring emotions to other Sims, rather than know exactly what they are saying. Movements are even multiple choice, where you select where you want to go and how you want to get there, rather than use arrow keys. This places the movement in a queue behind the actions the player is already doing. This makes the game manageable, and takes away being able to have 100% control, so it almost feels like you’re controlling the events of a reality TV show.

sims.JPG

If Sims let you move your sim in real time with your arrow keys, they wouldn’t be able to complete the actions you’d set (talk to a sim, go to toilet, go to ed) because they need to interact with the object. There is no use for the keys if they have no tasks either, because you still have the option to click and select a destination. Without the use of cheat codes and mods there’s not much use for any of the keyboard keys. If there are shortcuts, they can still be completed through selection- which explains why they have mobile apps and games on consoles too (which are more limited)

VFX Studio Research and New Ideas

Our first lesson with Gary introduced us to another side of VFX. We were told we could start coming up with ideas for our own project and were shown how movies use so much VFX- even in scenes you wouldn’t expect.

I know now the extent of what layers of VFX can do to create an entire realistic scene for a film, pictures on top of footage overlapping one another until you have something that looks totally believable.

Firstly, though, we were asked to look at some VFX studios and pick one to write about and, though I could choose one I recognised more, I decided to look into ‘Milk’ because I’d not heard of them before now and they’ve worked on a few things I’ve seen.

Milk Studios is based in London and Cardiff, and is an independent VFX company. The company is owned by Will Cohen, Sara Bennett, Nicolas Hernandez, Jean-Clause Deguara, and Murray Barber.

In the past few years they’ve won awards, such as an Oscar for feature film Ex-Machina, an Emmy for Sherlock (The Abominable Bride special) and 3 BAFTAs.

They’ve worked on other things, such as Doctor Who, Divergent, Snow White and the Huntsman, Thunderbirds, and more.

The studios are currently looking for Lighting TDs , Senior animators, Modellers, Texturers, and CG and VFX supervisors. I’d personally be interested in the animation.

I would want to animate for a big production company because since forever I’ve had a passion to learn the craft and I finally am, and a visual fx studio like Milk would allow me to use those effects to enhance my work and incorporate it into scenes.

To submit applications they ask for CVs and showreels to show off your talent.

I really like the look of this company, they definitely pulled off a brilliant twist in Sherlock, their work is really impressive and it is inspiring me to have more interest in what I make in VFX.

I’m really looking forward to doing my first original VFX project with my own footage, ideas and direction. I have some way to go first but I’m excited to learn!