Final Reflections

20 10 2011

Stephen, Rachel, and I set out to create a mapping that really interacted with the existing architecture. When we saw this frame we were all very excited. We wanted to the viewer to be completely surprised by seeing something unexpected in our projection while still matching the style of the environment. The gargoyle is obviously not something you would expect to find here, but he blends with the overall feel of the building. There are other faces carved all around the top of the building. Also, the large torches fit in with the massive columns in the front of the building.

We were able to accomplish this project mainly through the use of Maya and Blender. We used these programs to create the models, lighting, animation, etc. VPT was only utilized to help skew the video in real time. The key feature that make our projection work is the matching of the 3D modeled frame and the actual architecture.

The work flowed through to each person very evenly. We all collaborated on the story and then split the work up. Rachel created a storyboard, modeled the architecture, and animated. I modeled, rigged, and skinned the gargoyle, found the sounds for the animation, and animated the frame shattering. Stephen modeled the torches and wrote a script to make them look like they are flickering, animated, and took the lead on rendering.

Rachel’s storyboard

Stephen’s torch

For the most part the process of creating the projection went as planned except for a few snags. The first thing we struggled with was getting power to our projector. The outlets on the front side of the building did not work, so we used 3 power cords spanning about 115ft to stretch the distance. Then, it took about 3 or 4 test runs to get the architecture model to match up with the actual frame on the building. Each time it would be slightly off in different places. In the end we were able to recreate our projection set up so closely to the right spot that it only took a couple tweaks in VPT to get the projection correct. We had to put a lot of thought into the placement of the camera in Maya. Finally, it took a few different shatter scripts until I found one that worked well.

In the future, of course, we would like to fix some of the flaws that we simply couldn’t due to the time constraint. For example, the gargoyle flies outside of the frame for a short time. This breaks the illusion of him actually being in front of the building. The project would also look more convincing if we had added much heavier shadows. The projection on the building washes out the slight shadows that do exist to the point where they are virtually nonexistent. Finally, it would be a simple fix to add something the the render that covers up the projection that spills onto the section of the building that comes forward on the left.

We feel the project still has a lot of potential to expand. With more time and more projectors, we could extend the projection up and down the entire height of the building. This would allow us to utilize the existing windows and give us more room for the character to fly around.

Rendered video (with sound)

 Video taken at location

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