Animation project: Cornelia.

Back in 2011, I worked on an oral history project aimed at collecting stories from individuals who had been displaced by Hurricane Sandy in New York. One of the people I interviewed, a Dutch woman named Cornelia, had been evacuated from her home in Long Beach before the storm hit. During my interview with Cornelia, she told some stories about working in Holland after WWII, living in Paris and meeting her Vietnamese American husband, moving to America, and finally the ordeal of being evacuated from her home.

For our animation project, Regina and I knew that we wanted to animate based on an existing audio interview. We both liked the idea of an elderly person telling a story about their youth – and I remembered my interview with Cornelia.

We plan to animate a story Cornelia told about how she met her husband in Paris and the pains he went through to convince her to marry him. Here is the storyboard we created for the final animation:

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Stop motion animation: Kawaii sushi.

tumblr_mduybmjHVq1qzqwamo1_500Sushi by Benjamin Ang (GIF by Nathan W. Pyle).

My parents are currently living in Tokyo, Japan. This past summer I took a trip to visit them and get a peek at what their life looks like. Knowing my parents and their proclivities for Japanese cuisine, the trip began with a comprehensive tour of Tsukiji Fish Market, the biggest wholesale fish and seafood market in the world. I tasted some of the best sushi I’ve ever tasted outside the market. I also was introduced to “kawaii culture” in the form of adorable sushi cartoons with button noses and big eyes.

Kawaii culture, or a love of all things cute and adorable, is a global phenomena that has its origins in Japanese teenage culture. Kawaii is an aesthetic style of making things as cute as possible – even household objects. According to one culture theorist, the “culturally odorless” characteristics of the kawaii movement have made it a global hit, resulting in Japan’s global image shifting from being known for austere rock gardens to being known for its “cute-worship.”

I was surrounded by these kawaii artifacts in Japan and I became interested in how the practice tends to anthropomorphize inanimate household objects such as food.

Example of a sushi animation from Lainey on Vimeo.

When we started discussing what types of materials we would like to include in our stop motion animation, my partner Regina and I decided we wanted to work with food. At first we thought about the different textures of candy and sugar, but finally we fell in love with the idea of using sushi ingredients in an animation in which the sushi “makes” itself.

We thought about the different “characters” that would be involved in the animation: raw salmon, raw octopus, raw tuna, rice balls, sesame seeds, avocados, etc. The characters will be ascribed with human characteristics. For instance, we imagined the octopus to be mischievous, the tuna flirty, and the rice balls authoritative.

Here’s our storyboard for the stop motion video:

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Junk food heaven. Or, my first game in p5.

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This week’s assignment for computational media was to build something that uses (1) a button or slider and (2) an algorithm for animation.

I immediately knew that however this project played out, I wanted it to involve both junk food and the Beach Boys.

Play the game here!

I was assigned to work with Jamie Ruddy. Jamie and I decided within the first 30 seconds of our conversation that we wanted to build a simple game using interactive elements and animation. Because both of us were drawn to the playful Japanese emojis that we use when we text, we designed a simple game in which the player moves a tongue that catches various pieces of food: hamburgers, apples, eggplant, etc. The player gains points for eating healthy food and loses points for eating junk food.

Here’s the initial sketch I drew:

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There were a lot of steps to build this game. First, we had to create a welcome screen that changed to the game screen once you clicked a button.

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Then, we had to create an assets library of PNG images to load into the game. Each piece of food would drop into the screen where the x-coordinate was random and the y-coordinate started at 0 and increased at each frame.

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Then came the most difficult step in the entire process. In order to animate the emojis and make them interact with one another, we had to create an object. This was a first for me, so I spent a lot of time reviewing the p5 reference library’s explanation of how to create an object.

Within the object, we created a function Food() that displayed each item of food, made it drop at a different rate than the other food, and then checked to see if it had touched the tongue. It also checked to see if the food had hit the bottom of the screen (y=height); if yes, then start the food again at the top of the screen (y = 0).

From there, we needed to ensure the score was increasing/decreasing based on which object the tongue touched. For instance, the apple would +10 and the hamburger would -10. Get to 50 points and you win.

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And for a bonus surprise: Eat the poop emoji and you just straight up lose the entire game (because, gross).

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To make the game more fun, I added the Beach Boys’ “Kokomo” to the sketch. It was simple to call the mp3 in the library by using the preload() function.

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Success! There’s a lot more I’d like to do with this game. For instance, I’d like there to be a location-based animation whenever the food hits the tongue  (right now the screen flashes white).

Here’s a video of how the game works: