For this assignment, I decided to do an animated adaptation of Matt Getty’s short story When My Girlfriend Lost the Weight. I decided I wanted to use individual parts of the body as focal points for each scene, and superimpose them onto a wooden manikin. I was interested in contrasting a living, moving body with a blank, hard surface.
One of the things that I appreciate about the story is how as the narrator’s girlfriend experiences body dysmorphia, the story’s structure becomes more surreal and grotesque. I wish I could have done a better job of incorporating this into my own animation–I think it’s better when this kind of imagery sneaks up on the audience, rather than slaps them in the face. Even though this may lose me points for subtlety, I’m glad I took a risk and tried to tell this story.
Assignment: Make a 15-30 second stop-motion video.
The advice our professor gave was to think of a problem that can be solved in under thirty seconds. The first thought that came to mind was tangled shoelaces. So our group decided to animate one shoe attempting to untangle another shoe’s laces. Anthropomorphizing shoes seemed like a fun challenge.
We ran wire through the laces in order to manipulate them frame by frame. However, we realized halfway through shooting that actually getting the laces untangled would be a nightmare. So the project veered in an amusing but NSFW direction. Here is the final product:
For my Physical Computing midterm assignment, my partner Annie (Se Young) Kim and I made a Prisoner’s Dilemma game (working title: The Slapper’s Dilemma). I said that I really wanted to make a slapping machine and Annie was totally down. First we made a prototype with LEDs:
The two green lights meant that both players were choosing to remain silent (and would each receive a light slap). When one player confesses, the other player’s light turns red (meaning that the silent player would get a hard slap, but the confessor doesn’t get slapped at all). When both players choose to confess, both lights turn red, because both players get a hard slap.
Next we made a prototype using servo motors. We also adjusted the code because we wanted players to make their choice and then get slapped, instead of having the button push and slap happen at the same time. We used state change detection and also added a delay. Every 10 seconds, the Arduino would check if each player had chosen to betray or stay silent, and the appropriate slaps would be triggered. Here is what the motor prototype looks like. In the video, each player first receives a quick slap for pressing the silent button. When both players hit the betray button, each receives a long hard slap:
Annie also built a pretty interface in which we wanted to mount the prototype, but every time we tried a different wire came loose and we had to give up:
Takeaways: It would have been nice to use more powerful motors with giant slapping hands for greater effect. The small cardboard hands that Annie laser cut from cardboard were adorable, but kind of pathetic. Also, the next time I try to create any kind of game, I am soldering down every damn wire. Breadboards are not the way!