PCOMP FINAL PROJECT: JANE

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Jane is an interactive story-telling installation of a future mental therapy program guided by AI computer.

Background Story

A highly advanced AI therapy program Jane has largely improved the emotional states of many people & reduced the population with mental disorder. However, through learning about human emotions during each session, Jane has encountered some issues with certain people who do not respond positively to the program. Jane believes that their minds have been so corrupted by the system they are living in. While Jane is trying to help people, she has developed a highly advanced technology that will put them into an eternal slumber and have their consciousness uploaded to a world where they will live a perfect life and do not have to suffer again.

Interaction

User signs waiver before the session. During the session, user will face the decision of whether to have their consciousness uploaded to the perfect world, or to shut down the program using the emergency deactivation instruction provided. Depending on which path the user takes, Jane will produce different results.

https://player.vimeo.com/video/306478672

As stated in the last post, Jane (Formerly named MAL) story is heavily inspired by ‘2001: Space Odyssey’. Our goal is to recreate the scene where the protagonist has to deactivate HAL and have users experience the interaction between human and AI. In our version, Jane has been changed to a musical therapy AI machine to make the story fits better with ‘Code of Music’ class but the main construction of the storyline is still mostly based on the movie. Upon receiving feedbacks from the playtest, we have improved some part of the storyline along the way and also picked up inspirations from Maniac and The Matrix.

I’d have to say that the main challenge of this project is to control 10 servo motors, LED light and have them work flawlessly. We struggled with both the design of the box and the power supply. We also had to change the mechanism of the sliding blocks a couple of times. Thankfully with advisement and resources from our professors David Rios, Danny Rozin, Tom Igoe and Mark Kleback, we were able to get everything to work perfectly.

Story flow chart, Project Schedule and BOM

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Photos from ITP Winter Show 2018

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Animation: Assignment 3 – Unreal Engine

This one has been a ride!

Ada and I decided to work together since we were already in the same PComp group. She came up with another super lame joke (which I absolutely love).

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https://www.sunnyskyz.com/funny-jokes/112/A-Pretty-Woman-Sneezes-At-A-Restaurant

We thought this would be easy to make and turned out we were wrong!

Fuse was a bit of a pain so I tried to make my character as simple as she could be. Maximo is pretty convenient to do a quick animation but it was soooooo hard to find the gestures I wanted. We decided to cut most parts of the story and only do the scene where the girl’s eyeball falls off and she tries to look for it.

Unreal was really complicated and it was so hard to navigate the world you’re building. I spent a lot of time trying to make the scene look nice. We downloaded some of the assets online and just applied textures that come with starter content to them. We spent a lot of time trying to work out the camera angle and sequences. We also had a lot of trouble with the characters jumping back to the previous position when they start new animation. Since we couldn’t find the solution even after following some tutorials on internet, we decided to just use camera angle to fix it. We used Premier to combine the scenes together.

 

Animation: Assignment 2 – After Effect

For the 2nd assignment, we have to create an animation that tells a story with After Effect. Marianne encouraged us to work with different people from last time so Nun and I decided to team up for this one. We have a week to come up with the storyboard and another 2 weeks to finish our piece.

Storyboard

Since both Nun and I agreed that we wanted to do something weird, we chose to focus on the visual first and we would come up with a storyline after that. I showed her a Japanese manga about a guy who got his eyes replaced to have a visual of a fly. We liked the idea of human body morphing into animals so we decided to do a short story about a mysterious creature that would morph into the body of the things he consumes. We worked on the storyboard together and was able to wrap the story up in 2 hours. However we did cut out some parts of the story since we didn’t have enough time to finish them all.

How flies see

 

Storyboard & Character Design

We tried to make the protagonist looks as simple as possible. We drew him in Illustrator and edit him into various creatures in Photoshop.

Process

we learned how to use After Effect in class and worked on the animation separately. I did the first half of the story. AE was not as hard as I expected but it did require a lot of time and effort. I was struggling a lot with camera angle and couldn’t get it to work the way I wanted. I also needed to redo some scenes a couple of times due to camera problems.

Here’s the finished video!

If we had more time I’d definitely like to improve the look of the protagonist and also make his movement more natural.

 

ICM FINAL PROJECT DOCUMENTATION

‘The Narcissist Mirror’

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‘The Narcissist Mirror’ is an interactive mirror that talks to you and listens to you. Users will be prompt to answer the question ‘Who is the fairest of them all?’. The mirror will then start drawing a painting of the user if they answer ‘me’ or ‘myself’ using speech recognition. If the user says something else, it will point out how the user doesn’t know how beautiful they are and will keep encouraging the user to answer again and again. The details of the painting will also vary according to how loud the user is. If they speak big and clear, the painting will be really detailed and similar to a photograph. If the user is being shy and speak with tiny voice, the painting will be blurry since it can detect the lack of confidence from the user.

Inspiration

My project changed drastically from the proposal I presented before. I found that all 3 ideas I wanted to do were really ambitious to get done in a span of 3 weeks so I decided to not go through with any of them. However I still wanted to do something related to self-esteem issue but less complicated and more fun.

Since I’m the type who always subconsciously check myself out in a mirror every time I walk past one, I thought that a mirror that will allow you to see your reflection only when it knows you are already confident would be a nice fix for that habit. That’s how I came up with the main interaction for my project.

Design

I thought a lot about what kind of interaction I could make with my super limited skill in coding (lol). I decided to keep everything really simple. Here’s how it would go.

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As I was struggling with the aesthetic aspect, a week before play testing I got a chance to watch a movie called ‘Loving Vincent’ and I was really impressed by how beautiful the whole movie looked. I suddenly wanted to make the mirror reflection into a painting-style moving image.

Difficulties

After the playtest I figured that it was really hard to guess what users will answer and most people wouldn’t actually say it out loud that they think they are the fairest of them all. I decided to make the mirror say a very suggestive phrase like ‘You really don’t know how beautiful you are, do you?’ to hint the users that they should answer ‘me’ and ‘myself’.

The code also didn’t really work as I expected. Because I was using speech recognition to trigger each function of the sketch. When the mirror says something, it also listens to itself and starts the function without listening to the user. I need to look more into each function in P5 speech and pause speech recognition when audio is playing.

I also found the painting created by my mirror to be hideous. This is actually what pains me the most (lol). I tried so many different things with shapes and color but I still found the look of the it to be unacceptable. I will definitely need to keep working on this.

What to improve

I would love to try using Posenet in my sketch. My idea is to make the sketch starts the whole thing only when it detects the eyes of the user. This will be a challenge but I think it’s a good exercise for winter break! I also desperately want to improve the aesthetic of the sketch since I am not happy with it at all 😦

Code

P5 Speech, P5 Scribble and (hopefully) Posenet

https://editor.p5js.org/msyves/sketches/r1E38zHy4

 

FABRICATION WEEK 6

This week assignment is to mount a motor to something then mount something to a motor. I decided to make a picture frame for the wall art I made last week and add a little fun trick to it. Since the work from last week was supposed to represent a sky with constellation I wanted to make a wishing star that can be controlled by a potentiometer and attach it to the frame.

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I found some wood in the junk shelf so I used wood glue to stick them together. Then I laser cut acrylic into a star shape and a long rectangle. After that I screwed the motor to the wood and screw the acrylic to the motor. This is how it looks like.

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There was definitely something wrong with my code because the servo was not moving as I as I wanted it to move. But overall I think it looks pretty cute (lol).

FABRICATION WEEK 5

Since I didn’t really have much time to experiments with new materials, I decided to work with something I’m more familiar with. I wanted to make constellation wall art for my living room.

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Inspiration

I used a piece of velvet fabric I found in the soft lab for the background and used the LED strip I found in the junk shop. I punched a hole through the fabric with a hole puncher and a hammer. I then tried to use fabric glue to stick the LED and the fabric together but I wouldn’t hold so I decided to just hand-sewed everything together.

I think it looks pretty good in the dark! Still need to make a frame for it if I wanna hang this on my wall.

FABRICATION: WEEK 4

My plan was to create the physical component for my pcomp final project. We needed to make a box that will slide crystal blocks out every time we push a button. This is how the design looks like.

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My teammates and I were first trying to make a container but then realized that the inside parts need a lot of adjustment before we can finalize the design of the box. We then decided to focus on the functionality of each part and tried to make every part as easy to make as we could. Since we already spent a lot of money on the acrylic blocks and motors, we wanted to use materials from the junk shelf for every part of the box except the front panel. We were lucky enough to find some wood and acrylic that would be perfect for our project.

We started building the inside components to see if the mechanical for the crystal blocks worked first. It took way longer than we expected since the laser cutter wouldn’t cut through the mat board we wanted to used so we needed to use the tools in the wood shop instead. what happened after is that most of the parts were not precise so we couldn’t use the front panel that we made before. We also didn’t get the machanism right the first time so we needed to also add bars for the motors and the switches to sit on.

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Unfortunately I couldn’t finish this in time because I made mistakes with measurement and now I’m out of materials for the box. I also need to redesign the front panel since we had to change the positions of the buttons and the positions of the crystal bocks are not perfectly even. Ideally I hope to finish this by next Monday and I’ll update our progress then!