Virtual Reality and Nonlinear Narrative in Games

Nonlinear narrative is an important aspect of the future development of video games and developing new audiences.  The resurgence of VR technology in the context of video games further affirms this idea.  Putting the control of game narrative into the hand s of the player is an important aspect for the future of video game development.

Immersive narrative enriches the gaming experience. There is documentation that nonlinear narrative will bring newcomers to video games. Recent developments in and the popularity of VR games affirms this idea. Putting players in known environments with a known story that they can expand on, is a new direction for games. From cave paintings to radio broadcasts to VR, storytelling is a way of making sense of the present. (Gera, 2019)

Immersion can be conceived in two ways: as a technological effect or as a mental state. The two cannot be totally dissociated, since the immersivity of a technology is always a measure of its ability to induce immersion as a mental state. In VR interactivity leads to immersion because it connects the user to the environment. (Ryan)

The challenge to the gaming industry is to bring this new narrative style to players to create more encompassing stories that they can relate to and ultimately create new myths. ASIMOS, (2018). For the industry this will provide more interesting and immersive experiences for the players. VR technology, VR gaming, further puts the player in the driver’s seat, controlling the narrative.  

Background

  Narrative is about the actions of people, about their relations to other people and to their environment, but not every sequence of actions and events constitutes a well-formed narrative. (Ryan)

Narrative game mechanics create a pathway for gamers to participate in the creation of their own stories, in game. This allows them to feel empowered as they build story from their own imagination within the construct of the game. (Dubbelman, 2016).

            The renewed influx in VR technology gives storyteller’s and developers new avenues to create. In games interactivity has an immersive effect since players are consumed by the desire to solve problems. The immersivity of computer games comes not only from the agency given to the players and from the desire to beat the game or other players. (Ryan)

Current Research

Games, video games in particular, are purchased and played by people in virtually every demographic. The popularity of games higher than ever. Studies and papers are being produced that look at the legitimacy of games, and their narrative myths can be considered as literature. (Domsch 31). Storytelling is one of those ancient crafts that has survived several millennia and will likely continue to exist as a pinnacle achievement of human civilization. Over the years, media has changed and diversified, technology has evolved, but people’s craving for good stories remains. (Melior, 2020)

New developments in VR tech and renewed interest by the public makes this a unique time in game development.  Developers can create entire worlds or place the players in an existing story for them to be in control of a make choices in the story in full control.  But even if their narrative potential does not rival that of novels or film, computer games still have much to gain by trying to realize this potential. (Ryan)

Storytelling, narrative, in entertainment can be experienced differently by different players in the same game. Their perceptions and choices can help determine the focus of the narrative and determine if the narrative becomes myth, or not. (A, 2018)

Like the stories once told as forms of entertainment during feasts, myths are the narratives we use as entertainment, and powerful entertainment. The popularity of a narrative can help point to what could be myth Two players may encounter an aspect of the narrative at different times and thus have different emotional responses to it. Not only that, but a different player may not experience this narrative at all.

The different levels of engagement with a game is what makes video games an interesting cultural artifact. Having studied playthroughs by numerous players in a game, it showed that the player experience was different for each, dependent on their emotional responses and choices. The more popular storylines with players, then became the myth of the game. (A, 2018)

There is no doubt that a 3D, 360 degree representation of an environment will enhance video games by intensifying spatial immersion. (Ryan)

Narrative can assist in game development at nearly every stage and can be found in most games, examples such as (Super Mario Bros.), puzzles (Tetris), fighting (Street Fighter), or narratives (Final Fantasy). (Domsch 31).

This concrete, representational dimension creates a connection between computer games and narrative, for if games construct worlds, and if players can perform actions that change the state of these worlds, there must be some kind of story that unfolds in the game world, thanks to the player’s activity. (Ryan)

Narrative myth is used most obviously in cutscenes, character dialogue and in game text.  These uses of narrative can be found interspersed between player directed action scenes. In exaggerated cases, for some video games, these narrative scenes dominate the game, leaving game play as a minor aspect of a game. A games writers and developers choices determine which may be more accentuated in the final product, giving players control of the narrative myth in a game.  (Domsch 31).

            The success of the VR narrative extension Vader Immortal demonstrates that even a variety of familiar mechanics can feel fresh and exciting when contained within the framework of a meaningful story, especially when that story has a genuine impact on the rest of the transmedia story world. (Hergenrader, 2020)

Writers in game design have far reaching impact on a project. Evan Skolnick, a former journalist and Marvel Comics writer transitioned into video game development in 2001. Since then, he is worked across different platforms and genres, on dozens of well-known titles, including Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2, Star Wars Battlefront, Mafia III, and The Walking Dead: A New Frontier. (Milano,2019)  Also an author, his book, Video Game Storytelling: What Every Developer Needs to Know About Narrative Techniques published by Penguin Random House, has earned the adoration of some of the most discerning critics in the video game industry. (Milano,2019) 

There are several primary methods to use narrative in a game.  Linear narrative is a story that is being told from start to finish. Linear-Branching, a mostly linear game but with few branching choices that lead to the same ending. There are also Non-Linear narrative games which are full of narrative but allow the character more control to explore the narrative story line that speaks to them. (Harry, 2016)

Some games structure the narrative very tightly and use writing and design and animation  to very clearly put forth their vision of the story , leaving little to the players imagination As an example, the game  Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is so carefully crafted that every little detail made to make it feel alive. A player’s level of involvement and attachment to a narrative in a video game, their emotional connection can extend beyond the time spent playing the game. They relive favorite moments and actions in a game in their mind. They recount these stories to their friends. (Polgar, 2018) 

All aspects of their involvement in the story become the players story to re tell. When they are emotionally engaged in the story of a video game through participation. This builds on the idea that video games are a modern version of myths.

Proposed Direction

The game Industry should skew its products towards nonlinear narrative products, which will create a stronger connection with consumers to their products. Nonlinear narrative is conducive to players forming an emotional connection and their own stories in game, leading to new narrative myths.

There are more tools than ever available to game designers when they integrate narrative storytelling into all aspects of their design.  This creates a challenge to designers- when and where to incorporate these tools to further engage the players.  How to create multidimensional video games with interactive and immersive storylines, where color design choices and subtle interactions are just as important to the storyline as dialogue or setting. And rising to meet the challenge, at the new frontier of immersive storytelling, is an entirely new breed of storyteller: the narrative designer. (Milano, 2019)

            In one of the most popular styles, The player explores a computer simulated world and uncovers a story that took place in this world, often by finding tell-tale objects such as letters and diaries, or simply by listening to voices that narrate past events when the player reaches certain locations in the game world. (Ryan)

            VR Technology lends itself to this style. By immersing the player in a virtual world, removing the presence of a computer (visually) they become one with a story that they can manipulate. (Ryan)

A game that is skewed towards storytelling and creating myth can have narrative scenes interspersed throughout a game at key points to focus this. Game design may dictate the timing of these events relating to player choice.  It can be surprising to non-gaming industry people to find out how much storytelling and myth creation exists in video games, or that it does at all. The research question becomes one looking at what these new narrative myths have to offer to the literary world. Do these stories contribute to the literary world? The research question then becomes whether video games offer the literary world something new and legitimate to work with. Video games are more than the common caricature of mindless entertainment and should carry more weight. (Somerdin, 2016)

An example of this move to nonlinear narrative is the video game, Dark Souls. The narrative is present, and the lore is given in small elements revealed through interaction with the world. How this is revealed, to what level, and in what order, is controlled through the actions and gameplay of the player. The emphasis is on world building, and the few elements of scripted cutscenes are esoteric at best. So, there is a high level of implicit gameplay elements, and a low level of directly scripted narrative. The narrative of the game is present but is hidden and revealed through gameplay rather than through a linear set of events. (A, 2018)

Limitations

External Validity threat is a conclusion that is arrived at using generalizations relating to the topic or data. This study relies on user experience and each user comes to a game with a different point of view or relationship to a game. Thus, their reactions become generalizations as they relate to the game.

In VR game development, the very nature of player control may be a detriment to enjoyment. If a story truly captivates the reader, the effort needed to discover it by finding a way to progress through the game world may be more annoying than gratifying. (Ryan)

Why do big-budget AAA games tend to favor the full linear narrative game style. First, games intended for huge audiences do best when they can guarantee a good experience to the largest amount of people. Having a possibility of missing interesting plot points or going down the uninteresting storyline means that a percentage of their players are not recommending the game as highly to their friends. Second, it takes a lot of money to create content. If you are paying big-name actors to voice and mo-cap your games, you are much less inclined to want to create content for dozens of optional side-quests and alternate story paths. (Harry, 2016)

Games with more cinematics than game play, more forced narrative, draw lots of criticism. The selections that large game studios produced for E3 2016 are a prime example. The clips that game companies provided often relied on nothing but cinematics to involve viewers. But is that because the publishers do not have anything else to show? Is it because their gameplay is nothing special? Or is it because the “interactive movie” is what people really want? (Harry, 2016)

Some of the more successful VR products are VR experiences, rather than interactive games. AN experience puts a player in an existing space that they can be immersed in and explore. Without having to solve game puzzles or determine paths of success, they truly are “in” the VR space, not thinking about its story but are in the story, exploring. (Ryan)

Too much realism can be another limitation to nonlinear narrative. Games that imitate real life or mirror it run the risk of alienating players with too much repetition and “real” real life action of everyday mundane tasks. Rettberg (2008) writes: ‘Though playing the game itself a form of escapism from the demands of life in the real world, it is somewhat paradoxically a kind of escapism into a second professional life, a world of work’.  Repeating tasks to accrue resources or make progress can be rewarding, although they can become mundane. However, this kind of activity in game can lead to boredom and remove the incentive of playing a game for fun. (Kim, 2014)

Conclusion

Virtual Reality technology is ideal for incorporating nonlinear narrative storytelling into game development. Additionally, narrative storytelling through video games can become myth. As stated in Games as a Myth (A, 2018) it is possible for games to have a larger impact on a person, if players are given the leeway to become as involved in a story as they would like, or the game designers will allow. Their encouraged emotional connection to a story makes video games more than “Just a game”.

Virtual Reality technology lends itself to successful nonlinear narrative and the future is very bright for its potential, which remains to be seen, a potential that is only just beginning to get tapped. (Ryan)

Citations

Somerdin, M. (2016). “The Game Debate: Video Games as Innovative Storytelling … Retrieved May, from https://scholarcommons.sc.edu/tor/vol18/iss1/7/

Milano, D., Mercante, A., & Neville, R. (2019, June 07). Narrative Design and the Future of Video Game Storytelling. Retrieved May 30, 2020, from https://www.ceros.com/originals/narrative-design-video-game/

Harry, Fernando, Dact, & DarkForestCrow. (2016, November 05). Does Linear Narrative Belong in Video Games? Retrieved May 30, 2020, from https://indiewatch.net/2016/07/07/does-linear-narrative-belong-in-video-games/

Polgar, A. (2018). Plot, Participation, and Playing Pretend: Narrative Pleasure in Single-Player Video Games.

ASIMOS, V. (2018). Playing the Myth: Video Games as Contemporary Mythology. Implicit Religion, 21(1), 93–111. https://doi-org.oclc.fullsail.edu/10.1558/imre.

Kim, J. (2014). Interactivity, user-generated content and video game: an ethnographic study of Animal Crossing: Wild World. Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies, 28(3), 357–370

Bruns, A. 2008. Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life, and Beyond: From Production to Produsage.

New York: Peter Lang.

Milano, D., Mercante, A., & Neville, R. (2019, June 7). Narrative Design and the Future of Video Game Storytelling. Retrieved from https://www.ceros.com/originals/narrative-design-video-game/.

Hergenrader, T. (n.d.). Transmedia St ansmedia Storytelling, Immersiv storytelling, Immersive Storyworlds, and Vir yworlds, and Virtual Reality. Retrieved 2020.

Dubbelman, T. (2016). Narrative Game Mechanics. Interactive Storytelling Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 39–50. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-48279-8_4

Ryan, M. (n.d.). Narrative in Virtual Reality? Anatomy of a Dream Reborn.

Gera. (2019, May 02). Not quite film, or games … is interactive mixed reality the future of storytelling? Retrieved December 18, 2020, from https://www.theguardian.com/games/2019/may/02/vr-mixed-reality-storytelling-sundance-festival-new-frontier-narratives

The Importance of Storyline in Mobile Games. (2020, May 04). Retrieved December 18, 2020, from https://meliorgames.com/game-development/the-importance-of-storyline-in-mobile-games/

Till Next Month

Dylan Smith

Mastery Journal Month Six

This month was building on the skills from the Production Management Principles course, the Game Production Tools Course equipped me with tools used in the processes of software production and project management. I was familiarized with and conduct applied research related to project management software that aids in the management, workflow, and documentation of projects – including Microsoft Project, Visio, asset management systems, defect tracking systems, and much more.

We are still learning remotely and this class worked well via Zoom. A main focus this month was the outline for my Thesis. I changed my topic a bit and then had to do more in depth research. I did get a mentor for the rest of my time at Full Sail and she is the head of the Mastery Program. My game in is moving forward with new concept art.

This month was crazy hard and I am glad it is done.

A high point this month was my interview with Bill Howley. He is a Lead at Indie and about to graduate. Below if the YouTube interview where we talk about the Mastery Program and how a dream idea turns into an actual game.

See you next month!

Dylan

*art by Wenhao Liu

https://youtu.be/awwlmnEfP3U

NewGameMonday ~ Humanity SaVR

Host~ Dylan Smith

Guest ~ Bill Howley

Developers

Travis Richardson, Ronnie Savage, Tristen Howk, Francis Young, Donald Thatcher, Doug Pfeiffer,

Kishore Boopathi

Artist

Corey Lustig, Brian Winschel, Ozgur Kaderoglu, Ahmad Haron, Isaack Acevedo, Christen Miranda-Boulay, Dylan Smith, Gabriel Rivera Negron, Sangeet Chonkarathil

Technical Art

Rahul Yerramneedi

Designers

Rohit Lad, Sergey Mysin, Brandon Ferrentino, Sowmya Ragi

Production

Bill Howley, Mark Pointer, Nivedita Rajesekaran, Vafajeet Singh

Writing

Cody Ray

Audio

Cynthia Long, Wes LaChance

Thank you!

Full Sail Mastery Program

Mastery Journal Month Four

The subject I have chosen for my Masters Thesis is “The Importance of Narrative in Video Games.” After watching a documentary on the making of God of War, I was impressed by the amount of effort in developing the connection of Norse mythology and the game’s mythology. I began research on the subject and found various articles for and against the use of nonlinear narrative in video games. Over the past four months, I have gathered multiple sources that will provide defending evidence to my theory that immersive narrative enriches the gaming experience.

There is documentation that nonlinear narrative will bring newcomers to video games. I plan on researching for more supported corroboration that the theory is substantiated.

I am continuing my work on my animated story-based series based in an alternate history, New York. If this show comes fruition, the Nerdz Garage wants to make a video game or board game based on the series.

Next month at Full Sail, hope to pitch a story-based RPG game in my capstone in the style of Dungeons&Dragons.

The two companies that I hope to work, 343 Industries and Larian Studios, have many heavy on the narrative games with multiple player choices. I have always been a creator of stories, and I hope to use that ability at work.

See you next month.

Dylan Smith

Month 22 Reflections

I made it!!!

My final class for this degree was, The Project and Portfolio VII: Computer Animation. This course uses progress monitoring to evaluate my discipline topics by reinforcing production deadlines and constraints. The course encouraged me to use higher-order thinking to create quality assets based on compiled reference material for use in their student portfolio.

The DemoReel required three assets. I continued to add textures to the ScyFy hallway scene, and I am pleased with how it turned out.

The CityScape was my most praised scene at the Portfolio VI viewing.

My third scene was a Valley. It received positive comments at the viewing and they thought the scene was reminiscent of, Lord of the Rings. In that scene, I focused on Color Correction.

Below is a link to my Art Station and DemoReel.

Thanks for the support and taking the time to read my stories. Graduation is on Friday at two, and I am number 91 in the walking order.

There is a live stream link on the Full Sail website.

https://nerdzgarage.artstation.com/resume

https://go.fullsail.edu/about-graduation/live-stream

Till Next Month! Dylan


Reflections Months 20 & 21

Been busy so here are my last two months reflections.

Portfolio 6

PROJECT AND PORTFOLIO VI: COMPUTER ANIMATION
The Project and Portfolio VI: Computer Animation course combined hands-on learning experiences. This encouraged me to use higher-order thinking to create quality assets, with a focus in compositing, based on compiled reference material for use in a student portfolio.
This was my best learning experience at Full Sail. I started by filming a hallway at a Disney Resort, hoping it had enough tracking to use for my project. Unfortunately, it did not have enough tracker points on the wall. My concept was to take a present-day hallway and turn it into a Star Trek hallway with 3D models. Entirely CG for walls and doors.
My teacher found a hallway that had defined corners, lights, and tracking. I worked for hours and hours to create CG elements. I had my friend, Adam, create a Star trek Turbo Lift that I added and textured. The tracking proved to be difficult to complete correctly. I went in off-hours to get guidance from my teacher, and it seemed that I had learned the hard way to fix things, and he showed me the easy to do everything.
I feel pretty good about how it turned out and will continue to work on it for Portfolio 7.

Demo Reel Sept 5


The second-class this month was ANIMATION PRODUCTION.
The Animation Production course develops the ability to plan, coordinate, and study assets, using traditional methods to demonstrate my strengths as 3-D artists. Working from a photograph and video reference, I learned how to develop characters, environments, vehicles, rigs, and animation ideas.
I had a verbal prompt that was 6 seconds that I had to build an animated scene to match.

This class was fine, and teachers were helpful, it’s just that animation is not in my field, and it was taking time away from my Portfolio project, which goes on my demo reel.

Raw Mo Cap Data in Cortex
Final Product

Last month I had MOTION CAPTURE learning techniques to digitize motion, edit sequences, and develop an understanding of simulated motion. I explored motion-capture setup, shooting, data tracking, skeleton retargeting, and animation correction and enhancement. I loved this class, this teacher and wish I had taken it sooner because I love working in Mo Cap. We designed a scene that included three actions, then filmed it in the Mo Cap room, (my teacher was my actor) then I take the data from the performance and clean it. Once it is clean, I assign it to a skeleton, then a rig which is the character and then animates it. This could only be done at school in the motion capture room on their computers. Did I already say I love this class??

Raw Mo Cap Data on Cotex
Complete Scene


Also, this month PRODUCTION MODELING which course is making model development as it applies to production in the animation industry. I explored a variety of topics, including developing surface flow, anatomically correct models, and pipeline techniques. It was a long, tedious process using a completely different workflow then I am used to. All and all, it was fun, and the people in my class were amazing.


Next Month Last Month!
See you at the end of the road!
Dylan

Historical Archetypes and Mythology Reflection Month 18

The Historical Archetypes and Mythology course introduced me to the connections between history, mythology, and iconic archetypes and the influence these relationships have had on classical and contemporary cultures of the world. Color symbolism was also explored to better appreciate folklore, heroes, and monsters of various cultures.

This month was incredibly interesting. I love mythology, and I thought I was versed in the subject; however, this class had about seventy-five percent new material that I did not know. Specifically, the Egyptian mythology I had learned about in high and had done my own, but I never knew it was so censored in high school.

I feel that I have a clear perspective on how to find and describe the Hero’s Journey. In fact, I cannot stop seeing it when I watch TV. I think that my paper on The Magicians was very thought out and my favorite essay I wrote this month. The paper on spiritual creatures was adventure into Japanese folklore. I love everything Japanese so picking a creature was difficult because there are so many to choose from. I ended up writing about the Tengu. He had an interesting evolution going from villain to hero over the centuries of verbal legends. Someday I hope to go to Japan and see the statues of Tengu in front of temples.

I did watch the required video on The Journey RA and then binged every video they offered. I found them so interesting.

This class had made me curious again. I have been so focused on the art that I have not read or watched anything for just fun on my own. I will remember to take time in the next months to do that because it was good for my mind and soul, like therapy.

This course has helped me delve deeper into the back story or mythology of the series I am writing. I have made myself a goal to write the Hero’s Journey for my show “Half Note Bridge.”

Till next month.

Dylan Smith

Reflections Month 17

Compositing and Scene Finishing


The Compositing and Scene Finishing class broadens the base of my knowledge by offering insight into the process of combining computer-generated imagery (CGI) with video and film elements. By learning what happens when rendered representation is integrated into the post-production process, I will better understand the core principles of proper compositing and finishing practices.
I continued to node-based compositing systems, 3-D camera tracking tools, and common rendering methods used in current post-production pipelines.

Pass One
Pass Two
Pass Three
Pass Four
Pass Five
Pass Six
Pass Seven
Pass Nine



Final Pass Turned below.


Final Pass

This is all the passes I made and had to make a CD render in Nuke. I was given all the pieces required, separately and the goal was to over four weeks put all the parts to together to match in an organized workflow.


It was much trial and error to get it to blend. The lecture videos were beneficial because they offered a step by step process.
This was my favorite class so far. I was fun as hell.


See you next month when I will be making a scene of my own design.
Dylan

Reflections Month 16 Full Sail University

This month was The History of Visual Communications which taught how people have used the visual arts to communicate stories and concepts throughout history and across disciplines. From cave paintings to digital media, students will explore how visual techniques have been used to convey emotions, break sociocultural boundaries, and share new ideas.

The first week was focusing on nature. We went to the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, which the central theme was Tiffany glass work. I was tasked to find a favorite piece of art in the Museum. I chose a vase that was delicately painted with cherry blossoms and fish. I looked Japanese.

We had to make concept art that related to our spiritual traditions and nature or landscapes.

I have always been drawn to the works of Vincent Van Gogh and Japanese Art. To me they there are many similarities. They take inspiration from the landscapes and transform them into fantastical or whimsical. The colors are bold and not necessarily the natural color for the subject.

Their landscapes which are described as mystical, lend themselves to the thought of Buddhism.

My arts foundation so far has been more towards the fantasy, mixing real worlds with my imagination. I believe that my art of nature has connections to Buddhism.

My piece was inspired by Vincent Van Gosh and his mixing of the environment around you and the twist of color and textures.

I went to the park and took pictures and videos of many things; flowers, clovers, trees, and birds. My original thought was to put the night sky in place of the clear blue sky. However, this did not work due to technical limitations. I then tried our pool water at night with waves in it. I liked the way it contrasted and matched. I ended up lightening up the water to give it more vibrant.

Next was Wabi Sabi art. The Japanese tradition of wabi-sabi offers an inspiring new way to look at your life. I drove to the Winter park to look for flowers around the lake, but when I walked around I was drawn to this tree because of the striking contrast of living, bright green leaves and dead, the hanging moss. I played with colors and framing.

The next weeks’ focus was Imagination. I had to create a deck of our own design and style. I chose to base it on the Series I want to make, Half Note Bridge, set in a bar in otherworldly New York.

The third week was all about art and propaganda.

The last week was about Imagination.

The main project was Abstract Music Visualization, which was picking a song, listening to it and then describing it through art.

John Newman – Love Me Again

The first time I heard this song, I envisioned, the reality in black and white and fantasy life in vivid color. I used it to make an AMV showcasing this idea.   

AMV showcasing my vision.

The reality is slowly deteriorating in the black and white. Fantasy is taking over. My image has the black and white burning away.

This month was awesome. I had a better connection with the projects in week one and week four. The abstract music visualization and Concepts of nature really resonated with me.

Next month is going to be amazing and totally busy.

See you on the other side.

Dylan

Reflections Month 15 Full Sail University

Character Animation
The Character Animation course focused on my animation skills by exploring methods for creating a movement that is entertaining, appealing, and clearly driven by the characters’ emotions and personality. I worked with classmates to act out and analyze methods for creating solid choices that are unique and interesting. Through discussion and analysis, I was introduced to the importance of evaluating my own work as well as the work of my peers. In other words, being critiqued. This month was very different from other classes because, though the critiques could be harsh, there was no information on how to improve the animations. I sought out clarification from lab teachers and fellow students.

The assignment was to animate to the audio clip and add the lip sync to the dialogue. This was my final turn in pass. I thought adding the lip syncing would be very difficult, however it turned out to be much easier compared to the basic walk. This basic walk had about 20 keys and brake downs for this four second animation. Then there is the addition of ears, tail, foot, hands and emotion. I thought it turned much better than the first project of just the walk and emotion. I fell like I have better understanding of animation

This was the first project and it was to animate a basic walk and an action. I am not really pleased with the final result, but there is never enough time….

This was the first brake down of the animated lip sync. This shows where I started.

This month was much more difficult then the other months so far. I am not sure if the teaching didn’t click or the amount of work in the time given.

Moving on. See you next Month!

Dylan Smith

Reflections Month 14

Project and Portfolio IV: Computer Animation

The Project and Portfolio IV: Computer Animation course combined hands-on learning experiences with summative and formative portfolio assessments. This course uses progress monitoring to evaluate discipline topics by reinforcing production deadlines and constraints. The course encouraged me to use higher-order thinking to create quality assets. This course emphasizes modeling based on compiled reference material for use in my portfolio.

This month in the project of my Demo Reel, I was able to use these techniques, almost all successfully. I was able to perform all tasks relating to the compositing process such as layering of elements, tracking, matte extraction, rotoscoping and color correction. I used 3D tracking to get the point map on my main footage. I used 2D cornerpin tracking to help stabilize the images I layered in. I used a matte extraction to get rid of the skies in all of my assets and replace them. I used color correction on all my assets to the main footage.

I definitely had to troubleshoot all the way through this project. Having only had the basic compositing class, I had an uphill battle with the Demo Reel.

This month was challenging, and I am very novice; however, I went from knowing nothing to teaching myself how the nodes interact and works. This is the first time at Full Sail that my challenges and missteps were not frustrating. It was fun to problem solve the issues. I guess it was a little disappointing that I went to tutoring and there were zero Composting tutors, and no one had any idea of what I was doing or to solve the problem.

My Demo Reel presently shows that I have attempted layering of elements, tracking, matte extraction, rotoscoping and color correction. It shows that with only a little Composting training that the time I have put in, I am determined to become a competent and hireable Compositor.

Career Module IV: Career Strategy and Planning

In this class, I planned and prepared my short-term and long-term career goals. Through the advanced structured learning activities, I built build upon my individualized career research to create a career-strategy map that identifies opportunities and establishes goals and then create a strategy for achieving those goals. I also created two tools that will help me navigate my career path: a targeted employer list and a job tracker.

 Dylan Smith

https://www.nerdzgarage.com/

https://www.instagram.com/nerdzgarage/