Honors Thesis 1 – an overview of the past 6 months of concepting

Oh wow how does one sum up so much time and work. The project hasn’t even started production yet it feels like an eternity. I’ve gone through 7 completely different ideas, 2 storyboarded films, 16 scripts, countless visual tests, and not enough mediation sessions. Alas, here we are, on what I believe (and hope) to be the actual idea.

At the moment, the story is about Larry, a window washing robot who loves to dance, and his struggle to cheer up a sad office worker by finding the right rhythm.

This is the most updated version of the script, which will likely be revised further this weekend.

I am approaching this project on two levels:

  • making a great story that brings people happiness
  • technically challenging myself to learn new skills

The technical levels

  1. This will be my first project I ever do 3D animated human characters. There are several levels of effort this could involve (from modeling/rigging/type of animation) that I am not sure how much I’ll invest in it.
  1. The largest technical question comes from what software I will animate this in (between Maya and Blender). The pros for Blender are I am already relatively familiar, which will alleviate a lot of time spent solving technical issues. The pros for Maya are I would gain experience in the industry standard software. I still need to think this one through…
  2. And lastly, I am playing with the idea of using AI generated art to create what it feels like to dance in an expressionistic way. I’ve spent a lot of time testing out different AI’s and so far like Nightcafe’s Coherent the best (due to aesthetic of images and ease of use). Here are some initial tests I’ve done with this (I like the third and latest one the best):

I’m achieving this effect by exporting the individual frames of a 3D animated dance (ex shown to the right), running each one through the AI, and then redownloading and sequencing the frames.

Here’s an initial animation test I did in Blender. This is my first ever human animation (I did it from reference footage of myself).

The creative level:

I really don’t have the time to get into the full creative roller coaster of excitement and frustration at this project. It’s been a challenge to hone down this idea. And a larger challenge to choose between multiple ideas I developed at the same time. In the end I chose this window washing one because it seemed most feasible story scope wise (not necessarily technical wise though).

I’m also struggling with the creative feedback process. I feel sometimes that I value other’s opinions too much, in that if someone gives a note I immediately accept it as truth, which has led to a lot of confusion on my part in what the hell I’m trying to say with this film. I will process this thought/feeling more later.

Looking ahead:

  • finalize story
  • decide what software to animate in
  • find someone to collaborate on music with
  • interview dancers on what it feels like to dance

Alright this has been helpful to splurge out my thoughts. There’s a ton more where this came from, but I’m going to go do homework for class now. Talk to ya later.

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