Celebrity Heads – Testing transitions

I continued the development of the celebrity heads, testing what a transition would look and feel like in the Oculus. We had a scaling animation planned in our animatic where the heads would shrink to meet bodies.  After trying scaling animations in the Oculus before, particularly when something comes towards you, I knew that it can be quite startling. I was slightly dubious about this part of the piece, but wanted to test it out regardless, because you never know.

I started by creating a set up where I had a seated body and a detachable head. In Maya, I set these up for animation, key framing scaling and position transforms. From here I baked it out for Unity, exporting everything as fbx files. I then created rough textures in Photoshop so that we could see the alpha channel animation working in sync with the scene.

The scenes worked and animated in Unity, but when I added the textures the transparency created a strange illusion with the animation due to the lack of depth references. We are placing flat single toned textures onto an invisible 3D mesh, so the brain can’t distinguish the front from the back as easily. As the textures were only rough(I may have drawn a smiley face on the model’s chest), this is something that can be worked on, but I do worry that by over animating the bodies and heads could become confusing.

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While these tests don’t really give any answers, it does bring us one step further in our development. One thing we know is that we will have the large celebrity heads, animating around the scene. For now, I’m going to pour my efforts into making these work well, before working on something that may not be included. The next steps will be creating models that reflect the celebrities that they represent, and then refining their textures in a way that feels great in the Oculus.



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