Making a Scene in Unity

Animation

I decided to make a scene about a crazy cat lady. My concept was to have her crawl around her apartment on all fours making meowing noises whenever she went inside a cardboard box.

The learning curve was steep. I spent many hours trying to get her out of the goddamn floor:

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Eventually I realized that I needed to add humanoid rigging to each individual animation. With the help of a vertical input, I managed to get her crawling in place!


I then added a horizontal input and decided to make her horizontal movements a “zombie crawl” for variety’s sake. Getting the character’s body to move wasn’t difficult, but it looked really wonky because the crawling animations I downloaded from Mixamo only went in one direction (so her arms and legs would claw forwards but her whole body would move sideways). I found some code that allowed me to rotate the character in the direction I wanted, but I ran into a problem when I attached the main camera to the character:


The character was impossible to control from this perspective. I realized a limitation of the rotation code I pulled is that each arrow key is paired with a cardinal direction. In other words, hitting the left arrow key only ever lets the character face West. It doesn’t make the character “turn to the left”.

Triggering a sound event was surprisingly challenging. After a barrage of error messages, I discovered I was using an outdated API that was no longer compatible with Unity 5. But even after using the correct function (GetComponent) I was totally unable to get my character to trigger the sound. Eventually I noticed that I had set the scale height and radius of my character controller to zero (because it was weirdly making my character levitate, as seen in the video above), so there was nothing “colliding” with my collision box. I made the adjustments, and the heavenly meows issued forth. Here is the scene in its current state:


Things I would like to adjust in the future:

  1. Fix character rotation and make the camera angle 3rd person perspective
  2. It would be way funnier if instead of using an actual cat meow for my sound clip, I recorded myself making a bunch of different meowing noises
  3. More boxes!

Animating in After Effects

Animation

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.

Stop-Motion Animation

Animation

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: