Digital Creators Club: Animation Project

I’ve been hosting a small lunch club for the last 4 years at Seaquam. It started as just a few students interested in learning about 3D printing but has evolved into a small 3d animation and modeling studio. This year we decided to create a demo reel of our work around a common theme: food!

Of course I agreed to make an animation too. Here’s my contribution to the club’s demo reel. I limited myself to only working on it for 10-15 minutes every Wednesday at lunch.

The full reel is still being edited by one of the students and will be posted soon.

Lightsaber Wall Hooks

Laser Cutting Project

A good friend of mine needed something to mount his lightsaber over his desk. Happy to have an excuse to use the laser cutter I offered to help. I asked for some basic dimensions and then quickly modeled a hook that could be easily cut from acrylic and assembled in two parts. This could also be done with 3D printing but I think the acylic has a much more refined look.

The final look turned out quite good! But I would use thicker acrylic next time. 3/16″ is just a bit too thin and I had to re-cut because it cracked when I tried to join the pieces.

FJ Cruiser Customization

Modular Storage System

Here’s a fun summer project I did to add some extra storage and a sleeping space to my FJ.

I started by getting measurements of different parts of the truck bed.

It has a lot of irregular shapes because the seats pushed down cause a slope which makes building a flat frame difficult.

As the dimensions became more complex I soon found that I needed to do more 3D represenations so a rough isometric view helped to figure out how all the parts would fit together.

I then found materials and cut to size. Most of the materials were used from salvaged plywood and boards but I did need to buy some long bolts and some carpet for the surface.

The finished design! All camping gear stored neatly underneath.

Sound Visualization Works!

Thanks to that audio tutorial I found plus the rope script I already had on hand for the tetherball I was able to slap together a quick and dirty sound visualization that uses a 3D line segment.

Next up is to balance the levels a bit and then add it to the theremin’s screen. I also still need to properly texture the theramin model as its using a bunch of different materials right now (horribly inefficient for rendering).

Data Mapping

One math thing that I’m finding I’m doing a lot of with the theramin is mapping positional data to a set range of integers. The midi library uses a range from 0 to 127 for pitch. So I need to map the distance value between the controller and the pitch rod to that number.

One technique is to convert the value of range 1 into a percent and then multiplying the maximum of range 2 by that percent to get your new value (and then rounding to an integer). Because I already know that its only going to work inside the trigger box, I compare the current distance from the rod with the maximum distance to get a percentage.

But if one range uses negative numbers and the other uses positive numbers then that becomes a bit harder to do. So another technique you can use is a mapping algorithm.

I found a pretty great forum thread where people are sharing different algorithms they use for remapping:

Theramin: Day 1

Generating music by pressing buttons is one thing but I thought it might be cool to be able to play music by waving your hands in the air. I’ve always wanted to play the theremin so I figured, “why not make it in VR?”

Right now I have the controls working based on trigger volumes and basic distance measurements between the rods and controllers. It uses the midi library to generate the tone which I can change to any instrument in the midi library (currently only from editor).

Does it work?

The volume control works really well but the pitch control is a bit more tricky to get smooth. I’ll post my first “performance” soon!

Music from Text

There are a lot of games that have music-like vocalizations from characters in place of speech. I am exploring what could be possible using the MIDI system plus a handy script I found to create a Typewriter effect in the UI. In the end I had to write my own code to make it play nice with the MIDI library but the link above would work for most typical situations I think.

How it works?

As the typewriter is typing out the text, each time it starts a new word, it picks a random note from a provided range to start a chord from. Then it increases using a 4, 3, 5 semi-tone pattern to create the major chord, repeating this pattern if there are more than 3 letters in the word. When it finds a space, it picks a new random starting note.

What’s Next?

I would like to experiment with different instruments as well as different expressions such as volume and pitch bending to create emphasis and inflection in the generated vocalizations.

Making Music

So I started falling down a rabbit hole of VR music generation and so far I’ve been able to load in a MIDI library and link it up to the buttons I already have.

With some really janky hacks I just finished implementing a sensitivity system so you can hit the button softer or harder to have the note play louder or softer.

Next up is fixing the damn buttons because they are REALLY not great. I need a better button system that can detect harder/faster presses. Basically they need to make it better, do it faster, harder better faster stronger.