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.
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
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
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.
Been busy so here are my last two months reflections.
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.
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.
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??
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
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
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.”
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.
Final Pass Turned below.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
Compositing fundamentals This month was the beginning process of compositing which is incredible. I first put a CG truck over a live scene that was filmed on our Back Lot. I made a 3D scene in Nuke. My final project was a group three projects tracking in geometry nodes in 3D. What was easy for me that it was all node-based projects, which is easy to understand once you know what each node does and how they connect to each other. I had trouble with rotoscoping. It is where a manual green screen where you cut out people or things out of the scene, and it has to be done for each stage. It is tedious, and it must be perfect, or it is very noticeable.
I had a great conversation with my Compositing teacher the first week about what my discipline would be, and by the third week, I had decided that I love compositing. You can do so much with it, and it is my chosen discipline for my degree in animation.
In my free time, I am working of flushing out the characters for the animated series I am writing. It is called Half Note Bridge and set in otherworldly New York in a time reminiscent of the twenties.
Fundamentals of Physics My other class this month was fundamentals of physical science and movement This class had online experiments that were interesting. One test was playing Angry Birds to shows physical movement and angles. Each week I had to design a diagram template that showed movement in Inertia, the force of buoyancy, the effect of sound waves and light waves. My favorite was week four when we worked space and dark holes.
Each week you could ask the teacher ANY question, and he would answer it. I asked a question about time travel, and he said that is subjective and not factual… as of yet. My other question was what would happen if two dark holes where in close proximity to each other and his answer was what I suspected, that they would fold into each other. Each month goes at warp speed, and I am learning so much.
These reflections that I am sharing are to help me remember my time at Full Sail University.
Visual development, which is texturing in high definition in Substance Painter was trying to grasp the first week. Trial and error worked a lot, and the reference key made it more clear. I could not have done it without the references provided. When I got down to scratches dust and grunge maps, that was all me with non-reference assistance. The scraper I made really worked. I was well graded because I was able to hold it in my hand and the look got cleaner because the students were holding it repeatedly. I made it look like the one in my hand (cleaner) rather than the pictures online, and that extra effort was given a high grade. I loved this class and this discipline but, during this month I cracked my toe and was in a boot also adding that I got sick all in the same week. The teachers noticed what I was going through and gave me a chance to rework my models in the final week and adjust my grade. On the pain medicine, I received a 56, and my final grade was a 90. I really connected with that teacher. Every time I work with texturing I love it and hope to work with it in the future.
Rigging, which is adding the bones to a model and creating scripts to the model to make it move. This was what I thought I wanted to be major discipline. This was what I thought I would love, sadly it did not click for me. The scripting of writing the code was not something I enjoyed. Coding is not for me. I know people who really love it, but I did not. What worked for me was making the joints and testing them that they worked and the I-K F-K systems were decent to use. If rigging was just that I would pick that as my discipline.
Next month I am required to pick my discipline for the rest of my time at Full Sail. I am meeting with a few teachers for guidance, but I am leaning towards Compositing or Look Development.