Stormtrooper Makeover

I cleaned up the stormtrooper model that I created from PhotoScan using a modeling tool called Zbrush. The process was a bit rocky at first due to the application's user interface and navigation, but it got easier as I kept using it. I eventually ended up with a nicer model.

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I then created a new UVMap by first setting the UVMap guidelines along my model's back. 

zbrush-textureset

After exporting the now cleaned up stormtrooper, I imported it back into PhotoScan. It looks so nice and clean. I then exported it one final time after building the texture.

Lookin' GOOD. Still needs a paint job though.

Lookin' GOOD. Still needs a paint job though.

model before... lumpy and deterioating

model before... lumpy and deterioating

model after! smooth and sexy

model after! smooth and sexy

UVMap before... what a mess

UVMap before... what a mess

UVMap after! what a yes!

UVMap after! what a yes!

Everything looks much better! The model is much better after filling in the parts of the body that the photogrammetry process was unable to scan. The UV map also makes more sense, albeit a bit creepier. There's still some green coloring leftover from the green screen, so I will eventually have to clean that up.

I finally uploaded the new model onto Mixamo and rigged a body to it.

Success!

Success!

I noticed that during some animations, the area in between the stormtrooper's arms and body (the armpit area) was too connected, causing some weird body movements. I went back to Zbrush to try to disconnect the arms a bit more. I then edited the UV map in Photoshop. I got rid of the green and thought that it would be cool to invert the colors of the storm trooper. This is the result:

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stormtroopa.gif

I honestly loved this entire process. Although some of the tools were a bit unconventional to use, I got used to them quickly and it became addicting trying to create the perfect model.

Cloning a Stormtrooper

In preparation for the next Star Wars movie coming out in December, I've decided to 3D scan a stormtrooper.

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I first had to drill a hole in the stormtrooper's butt and impale it with a stick. Sorry bud!

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The setup for the photoshoot can be seen below.

After numerous retakes, I was finally able to get a photo align that surrounded my stormtrooper.

After applying the dense point cloud, the mesh, and the texture, my stormtrooper was finally modeled.

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Although the results were not perfect, I was happy that I was able to get to this point. I tried to get clean up the model by deleting the green, the pole, and separating the arms from the waist.

Hopefully, I will be able to edit the model to fix all the imperfections and get rid of the green from the green screen.

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I also like how the sphere in the middle of the view kind of looks like the Death Star.

Midterm Proposal - Long Time No Talk

I rarely use my actual phone number these days to talk voice to voice with people. There are so many chat applications that have implemented online phone calls, that my actual phone number has been rendered almost obsolete. When the network is bad, there would be a delay sending my voice data from my phone to the other person's phone. I would sometimes say something and then half a second later, hear my own voice on the other side. It's distracting but I've gotten kind of used to it. I want to explore this slightly annoying feature and utilize this feeling in my final project.

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My proposal is to create an application that resembles Marina Abramovic's "The Artist is Present" piece. The application would essentially be an online video chat application used by two people. Everything is normal at first. However, as time passes, the delay between the users sending and receiving their video data would grow. The delay would increase gradually, going from a couple millisecond delay to several seconds. I would like to see how this gradual growth of delay would affect the speech and communication between two users. The delay would eventually grow to a suitable amount for the users to be essentially looking at each other in silence, as they realize that their ability to communicate has been rendered almost useless. The application would then gradually, at a slightly faster pace than previously, return back to normal. 

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I am interested in exploring areas of discomfort, this case being control and intimacy. Control due to the fact that the users' ability to communicate slowly deteriorates, and Intimacy since the users are forced to look at each other through screens.

Discomfort Final Project Pitch

For my final project, I would like to go towards the "A Serious Conversation" route. 

IMG_20171009_144455361.jpg

I rarely use my actual phone number these days to talk voice to voice with people. There are so many chat applications that have implemented online phone calls, that my actual phone number has been rendered almost obsolete. When the network is bad, there would be a delay sending my voice data from my phone to the other person's phone. I would sometimes say something and then half a second later, hear my own voice on the other side. It's distracting but I've gotten kind of used to it. I want to explore this slightly annoying feature and utilize this feeling in my final project.

IMG_20171009_143958439.jpg

My proposal is to create an application that resembles Marina Abramovic's "The Artist is Present" piece. The application would essentially be an online video chat application used by two people. Everything is normal at first. However, as time passes, the delay between the users sending and receiving their video data would grow. The delay would increase gradually, going from a couple millisecond delay to several seconds. I would like to see how this gradual growth of delay would affect the speech and communication between two users. The delay would eventually grow to a suitable amount for the users to be essentially looking at each other in silence, as they realize that their ability to communicate has been rendered almost useless. The application would then gradually, at a slightly faster pace than previously, return back to normal. 

The type of discomfort would be both Control and Intimacy. Control due to the fact that the users' ability to communicate slowly deteriorates, and Intimacy since the users are forced to look at each other through screens.

Discomfort Journey 2

In one of my previous projects, Embodied Violence in Film, I created an interactive film that allowed users to interact with violent scenes in films. The violent actions were all physical actions that utilized the users own body, so punching and kicking. I wanted to take the same concept to another level by introducing external weapons. In my original project, most users would see my project as a fun way to exercise while watching a movie. I think this was due to the fact that although users were copying the same violent actions as the actors in the films, there was nothing physical for them to interact with. I believe that introducing hard tangible objects to the project would enhance the empathy a user would feel for the characters in the film.

One movie scene that I always found gut wrenching was a death scene in Saving Private Ryan. It involves a US soldier getting slowly stabbed by an enemy German soldier. By introducing an object for them to hold, it would simulate the user as the one plunging the knife. The initial state of the user would be the user holding an object that felt similar to a knife and the hand holding the "knife" would be held above the user's head. The user's knife hand would then be the controller for the above clip. The video would play at the same rate as the movement of the hand in the Y axis. 

 

https://alpha.editor.p5js.org/shooby/sketches/BJCEbfgnb

Discomfort Journey 1

I often forget about messages I've received through texts and email. It's rare for me to ignore someone on purpose. Sometimes I'm in the middle of something important and I automatically dismiss and forget about them. Sometimes I'm half asleep or inebriated and I'm not in the best state to respond. It happens! 

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One of the more uncomfortable feelings I get is I look back at past messages and realize that I totally ignored someone for more than a week. Multiply that feeling by 10x if read receipts were turned on. I think that this feeling of uncomfortableness can be utilized to help me and others like me to get better at being responsive and respectful to others.

What is the feeling? I am uncomfortable because in my mind it lowers my reputation as a reliable person. My own fear of what others will think of me enhances these feelings. I imagine design solution to this problem would be to bury me more into this feeling.

My solution to this problem I have is to simulate further messages from people that I have forgotten to respond back to. For example, let's say my mom texted me "We miss you back at home! When are you coming back?" I get the text but I clear my notifications by accident so I never see it. I propose an application that detects when you have not replied to any message received after a set amount of time, let's say 2 hours. The application would then fake a text from that specific person with a guilt ridden message like "Nevermind, just forget about it." These types of messages would definitely get my attention, increasing my anxiety to force me to check the texts. Of course, when I check the text, the application would inform me that it was not a real text. However, hopefully this feeling of discomfort would encourage me to reply back to my mom with a greater sense of empathy.

Simple Chat App

I've applied my phonetic keyboard portrait from last week's assignment to this week's. Now anyone can control my voice. I ran into an issue involving browser compatibility. It looks like it runs semi-well on FireFox, but there are bugs on Chrome. I'll need to investigate why, but it seems to have to do with how currentTime() is handled on the two browsers.

demo

Here is a version without socket in case you want to see how it looks.

https://bryanjhsu.github.io/phonetic-chat/

More to come!

Avatar Creation

The first avatar creation tool that I used was Bitmoji. I was a bit familiar with this since I've seen my sister and mom both use it in our family group chat. I thought it was stupid. 

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And now I love it.

I've been responding to texts and messages primarily with Bitmoji these days. My family and my friends seem to enjoy it as well. The amount of different Bitmoji stickers is huge and really fits with how I communicate to my family and close friends. Below is a timelapse of the actual creation of the avatar.

My girlfriend helped me in the process of making the avatar. She says that my Bitmoji really captures the essence of Bryan. I think it's primarily due to the glasses and the body type I chose. The glasses look exactly like the ones I'm wearing now. I also gained a bunch of weight over the summer. You can tell in the video that I was wavering between choosing the fit body versus the chubby one. I ultimately decided on the chubby Bryan, not only because I felt that it showed my current state more accurately but because it also represents a big part of who I am: a happy guy who eats a lot of food.

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The second avatar creation tool that I used is called Line Play. It is a game where you can purchase clothes and accessories for your avatar. It also includes a house that can be decorated with furniture and lots of other stuff. The first character creation screen was a gender, I saw that there was a third choice of Animal. I chose this option.

It was interesting to go through all the options of creating an animal version of Bryan. I tried to choose parts from different animals to represent different aspects of myself: a bear face because I'm a big guy and I eat and sleep a lot and dog ears because I'm well behaved yet playful. And of course I needed glasses. I found that being able to choose these features that are from all these different types of animals gave me more freedom to express attributes of myself that I would not be able to if they were human features.

I found that when creating avatars, it's good to exaggerate both physical and non-physical features. It's a bit like a cartoonist emphasizing your slightly larger front teeth by turning you into a rabbit. By using a more hyperbolic representation of one's self, character traits and personalities are more easily definable in an otherwise static avatar.

Self Portrait: Phonetic Keyboard

When I was a teenager, I always found myself much better at talking to people over online instant messengers like AOL Instant Messenger than in real life. In real life, I was awkward. Online, I was a George Clooney. 

I decided to create a version of me that speaks whatever I typed. I recorded a short video of me saying the phonetic sounds of each letter of the alphabet. I then associated each alphabetic key on the keyboard to the specific timestamp of when I said the corresponding letter. 

It ended up being more of a beatbox soundboard thing, but if you type at the right cadence, it sounds kind of like English.

demo: https://bryanjhsu.github.io/phonetic-keyboard/

code: https://github.com/bryanjhsu/phonetic-keyboard

Synchronous Technologies: Youtube shared and Showgoers

YouTube has recently released a chat app to watch videos with your friends. I've tried to adopt this chat app and tried to force it upon some of my closer friends. Its usage lasted for a whopping two days. The purpose of the application was so that you could watch Youtube videos while chatting about with your friends. However, there were a bunch of disappointing features of the app

You're not really watching the video with them. I expected some sort of live control, where the video would have shared playhead control access among all the users. If we were all watching the same content at the same time, we would feel connected. It would feel like I'm hanging out with my buddies at someones house. Without this feature, this app no longer becomes special because it loses that "live" feature. Also, the keyboard covers up 50% of the screen real estate, covering up all of the chat. This drives the unconnectedness of this application even more.

While I was in a long distance relationship with my girlfriend, we used this app called Showgoers. It was, among many others, a Google Chrome extension that allowed multiple users to sync and watch a Netflix program. If I paused the movie, the movie would pause at the same spot on her screen as well. We were connected by this strange limitation. We used this app along with Skype so that we could see each others faces in the corner of the screen while watching a movie. This was an example of a live technology that actually felt "live". It was like I was watching the movie right next to her.

I feel that "live" technologies require interaction with other users. If something is live, you need to be able to affect others that are using the same technology as you. If I told my long distance girlfriend to watch a movie by pressing the play button on our separate Netflix accounts, I could easily in the middle of the movie pause the movie to go the bathroom and she would never know. There needs to be something that connects the two users so that we can both see and hear each others reactions as they are happening.