Capstone Final Korean Afterlife

Korean Afterlife

The uncertainty of death, other than its inevitability, naturally draws people to question the role death plays in their lives. Because the physical decay of the body cannot be denied, strictly binding a person’s being to the physical is a devastating thought, as it would mean the conscious ceases to exist as the cells eventually wither away. To cope, many cultures tap into metaphysics, and separate the conscious from their body, granting themselves an extension of their lives through a belief in the afterlife. I address this phenomenon through a VR project that takes the player through death as imagined by me, largely influence by Korean oral traditions and mythologies.

The afterlife often restructures the meaning of people’s lives by promising either a reward of a punishment based on the overall quality of their lives. The study of these afterlife designs provides a deeper understanding of each culture’s world views and realities, as these concepts tend to mirror cultural values. These values are especially prominent in their methods of judgment and description of hell, where cultures pinpoint taboos and choose how to punish each ‘sinner.’ Unlike the popular Western ideology of going straight to either a ‘heaven’ or ‘hell,’ many Asian countries depict death as a journey in itself.

Mainly rooted in Buddhism, many believe they have to go through ‘hell’ and earn their way to ‘heaven,’ and this journey is commonly illustrated as a dark underworld of pain and suffering. However, Korea escapes these imageries despite being heavily influenced by its neighboring cultures carrying these beliefs. In old Korean texts, afterlife seems to be an untouchable fantasy with messy and world, but also dreamy elements. By providing a modern and personal interpretation of ‘Korean Afterlife,’ this project invites the players to experience my imagined death, as well as reflect on their own spirituality.

Video of snippits from each level:

Extra stills:

Link to PPT Presentation IMA-CAPPY22222

Capstone Sound User Testing

Current state: Finishing touches on models and textures.

User testing: Gathered audio for spatial sound for the final level (hell). I sat with people and played a minute of each audio. I then asked them to tell me how it made them feel/what it reminded them of. Below is a collection of their comments:

Sound 1: Boats on a stream, nature, peaceful, East Asian, soft, Chinese movie star, commercial for a moisturizing skin product

Sound 2: Death penalty; people dancing around a temple; ominous; journey to something bad; a crowd of people

Sound 3: Daisies; peaceful; smooth; hardship but light at the end of the tunnel/like something worked out

Sound 4: There is a beautiful girl, but she is marrying another man (supposedly a happy situation, but not for you); hidden misery; Russian folklore; slightly sad/tragic

Sound 5: Japanese soldiers say goodbye to their families (sad), then goes to China to attack (conflicting feelings directed at the soldiers); intense moment; testifying in court

Sound 6: Beautiful naked girl bathing in a waterfall; getting out of the bunker and realizing it’s the end of the world; deserted; in awe and horror

Because I want the environment to have an ominous feel, I took out all the sounds that had ‘peaceful’ as a descriptor. Based on their reactions, sound 2 or 5 seems the most fitting (yet to make a decision). It was interesting to see how each person’s experiences shaped their imagery (esp feelings directly corresponding to their cultural background), and am excited to see the differences in their interpretations of the final piece.

This Week’s Progress Capstone Michael

After user testing last week, I started to model the characters. Originally, I wanted a glossy/fleshy texture on the spirits, but after playing around with it, I decided I liked the flat/paper feel better, so I matted the characters. I also played around with their bones and what they’d look like standing around in hell.

I’m going to continue modeling and plan on having everything modeled by the end of the month.

Week6 Capstone User Testing

Because my target audience is people interested in exploring these themes in VR, I tested students who were interested in VR experiences. Two users were only partially familiar with the platform while one of them have been working with it for a while.

To test, I sat each of them down separately and described each scene and layer with reference pictures (both my drawn and textures pulled form the internet). I went through the process, and took comments after we were done.
I didn’t realize how much detail I had to go into when describing the project, because for each person, I kept missing pieces of descriptions. By the time they were done, they had questions about certain parts that was clear to me, but not to them. This gave me a better sense of the parts I need to clarify in my blueprints and planning out stages. Having the reference images out, especially because none of them were familiar with the concept of hell in Korea helped me explain the visuals to them a lot more easily. For the first test, I had to go back to my files to show them my reference picture because I realized half way through that I wasn’t doing a very good job illustrating the scenes, but for the rest, I had them prepared.
I got a lot of feedback on my visuals, because I realized there were so many kinks to work out while modeling. I had a vague idea of what I wanted my spirits to look like, but when I started modeling, I realized I didn’t have any of the details down. I talked through with each of them and talked about how they would imagine the design to be (whether eyeballs were necessary, etc). I was also surprised at how okay they were at the idea of being pulled out of the chair physically.
One of the most helpful comments I got was that she is excited about the color contrasts of the layers, which I hadn’t thought about at all before this. Moving forward, I think I need to definitely pay more attention to the color scheme not just as individual layers, but as a part in a fluid story.
Other notes include: use Optitrack, get chairs that actually fall back instead of just reclining (more similar to beach chairs), think about the chance of motion sickness (although one of them suggested this might be justified because they are experiencing hell anyway), have the Korean grim reaper hiding in the ‘alive’ scenes to see if they notice (which I will be implementing), do a rain of blood instead of just a river.
Moving forward, I’m going to continue working on the models and have everything modeled and textured by the end of this month, as planned. I’m working from the bottom layer to the top, so that no matter what happens, the actual level of hell gets the most attention.

Face Anim Progress Saturday 11/11 MAKEUPCLASS Cha Mi Kim

**All files are in NAS: folder titled “ck1925_DSFA_FA17_A3PROGRESS”

I first redid my hair because before, I had too little hair strands that was giving me bald spots even with full volume:

Applied hair groups:

 

Cleaned up the hair in Outliner:

Played with three point lighting with spotlights:

Sculpting facial expressions in Mudbox:

Connecting to Maya and importing expressions to keyframe:

MVP Journal Entry

Cha Mi Kim

My definition of a minimum viable product was “something that gets the job done with the least amount of resources (time, effort, money). There is no excess– the simplest way to present and solve the problem.” For the most part, I think my definition still stands, but my understanding of the whole process changed. At first, I thought it was a one-step process, but I realized we cut down and changed our prototype and project during every step of the process.

Instead of inventing a new product, we improved already existing products and changed its usage and delivery. We changed our target audience quite a lot, because at first, we were going to just sell the projectors to individuals for their personal homes. But (during the meeting) , going back to the problem we wanted to solve, it made more sense to implement it in a work/study space. That’s is where people are most stressed but have the least amount of resources to solve the issue. We also changed the product then, because we thought the service was the core component of the problem solving, not the physical projector. Once we had a set customer, we could really focus in on the core problem and solution. We then moved all the other features we wanted to keep to “extra features.”

 

I think our prototype ended up being the perfect example of an MVP, because it created the space we wanted with the absolute bare min components (projector in a room). We also dragged in a beanbag and found a carpet which I think helped the room feel a lot more cozy.

 

 

What do wish you had more time to continue working on?

I wish we had more time to continue prototyping. We could only open up the space for a couple hours the one day during midterms, so we only got about 10 responses. I think having a lot more people come in and experience the space would help us with design (+implementation) improvements. Their responses could also help us root out potential problems we aren’t noticing right now.

What are you most proud of and why?

I’m most proud of our business model because it took a long time to get there (from a thing to a service). I’ve never had to set up a business plan, so going through the process of who our client was and how we direct our product and pitch was really helpful. When we got to the business model canvas, it was really easy for us to fill out, which, to me, meant we did a good job of cleaning up our project (narrowing down our problem and solution clearly). It was also nice to have things organized on one sheet that forced us to be concise.

What was your most surprising discovery (if any!)?  

This isn’t much of a discovery, but the interview method was really interesting to me. I thought the interview process would be based on asking questions about the product, but instead, we weren’t allowed to talk about the product–only focus on the demand/need. This was a step I would have completely written off before the class, because we tend to make dangerous assumptions that go unchecked.

Another surprising thing about the project was that the prototype got positive feedback. I was still pretty skeptical as we were setting it up and kept thinking this wasn’t enough. I kept thinking “it would be so much better if we had X” (although that defeats the purpose of the prototype). But even with just the projector and a small room, people still go the effect we were going for, which I was happy about.

Fairy Tale Project

STORY

Set up:

The fairy tale I chose is a Korean origin story, and I modified it by reversing the characters of my story: instead of the two children getting chased by the tiger, the biggest and scariest threat at the time, I had two tigers getting chased by a hunter, the biggest and scariest threat of our time. To keep the Korean elements in tact, I used traditional Korean palettes for each character, and to give my animation a story book/paper feel, I used low poly/geo shapes for the models.

Development:

Initially, I had four characters. Two tigers as the protagonist, the mother to set up the scene, and the hunter as the antagonist. However, when I started modeling and story boarding, I found it was going to be a lot more work than I anticipated, so I cut out all the non-essentials. I got rid of the mother completely, and decided to indicate the hunter’s presence only with bullets and gun sounds. I also cut down a lot of scenes from my initial story board to simplify the overall story and the number of animations I has to make.

Making:

I realized it didn’t make sense to have sun and moon like lights if they were going to turn into the sun and the moon at the end of the story, so I created an environment with non-realistic skyscapes. I kept the overall texture and color theme when creating the environment.

STORYBOARD

Notes:

During the final critique, Sarah mentioned parallel shots for the beginning and ending scenes to show the closeness of the tigers, which I really liked, so I changed my camera angle to first show the tigers playing in a circle very close to each other, and kept the last scene of the distant sun and moon. At first, I will have the title page with the words “Sun and Moon” and fade it out to have the second “o” of “moon” turn into the position the tigers are playing.

As mentioned in class, please disregard the weird positions of the models (I couldn’t fix the glitch at the time). Also, some grass are floating in the screenshots, but all of that is fixed.

*The yellow line is the camera path, red and blue lines are the tiger paths, with blue being the one that trips*

Sound:

There will be music, fast and slow (ominous, etc) depending on the situation. Will also add bullet sound effects for when they hear the sound and stop, and as they run. It’ll fade out to indicate they are moving further and further away from danger as they move up with the rope. No dialogue.

Animations:

Here are the playblasts to the animations that are needed (they will be looped as needed):

Run Trip Walk UpRope LiftTurn

Set Up:

Story: 

**ropes that didn’t show up for the screenshots the other night:

Because I have the paths and animations done, I just need to layer the animations into the characters (fix a couple in between frames as needed) and render.

MOVING FORWARD

I definitely plan on rendering it out in full, then adding in the title page, credits, and sound post production in After Effects (will keep you posted).

THOUGHTS

I really enjoyed going through this class because it took me through the entire process from coming up with a story to producing a product. Being forced to question these stories and really taking them apart was something that I had to learn to do, because I was so worried about “ruining the original story.” And although I either changed or heavily simplified most of the elements, I feel like we can still quite obviously see the remnants of the original story. I really like that my current animation can be traced back to the original, but also be a different enough of a story to be called its own.

Story boarding was another thing I’ve never done, and I realized I overlooked so many frames and scene changes. I first thought it was going to be 6-8 panels but it was a lot more, and I am still at 24 panels after cutting it off by a lot. I had to question the distance and placement of the characters in each shot and why, and having to visualize and actualize it on paper helped out a lot. I decided to lower the camera to level it with the tigers for a sense of vulnerability, and kept it to be in “one shot,” so it feels like you are really following them, instead of it having multiple points of views or jump cuts.

Taking out the hunter and only alluding to him with sound and bullets was something that took me a long time to do, but I also like the idea of not having to literally show everything that is happening to the viewer. I wanted the character to be vague and general so I had it modeled without much of a face/characteristics, but I think leaving it to the viewer has a stronger effect (and less for me to animate).

 

Sweetie Project Response

I’ve only thought about CG in terms of media and entertainment, so putting it into the context of the Sweetie Project, a project designed to catch pedophiles, was fascinating. It’s frustrating to see that despite catching hundreds of men who contacted and offered money for underage sex acts, it’s not as easy as simply persecuting them because the acts technically weren’t against a real person (although it should count because they didn’t know the children weren’t real).

The idea of “intrusive surveillance” was interesting to me because while privacy is important , I feel like this project wasn’t necessarily “intrusive” because they were the ones that approached the project. Although I see the dangers of non-professional investigations, overall, I feel like this project was carefully laid out and successful, so I’m here for it.

The animation and modeling itself, while impressive (understanding what making that would have entailed with technology available at the time), showed me once again how fast these programs and CG improve, and also how fast we adjust our expectations. While those men fell for those virtual children then, most probably won’t fall for it now; if we ever wanted to work in this field, we’d have to constantly be keeping up.