week 14: final project documentation (Moon)

Partner: Jerry

Project Name: Ghost Talk

Link: http://imanas.shanghai.nyu.edu/~jy2122/final_project/

  • Inspiration

In this project, we want to make a detective game. However, as we think traditional detective game may be too normal as many people have made similar games, so we decided to make some different point:

1.One important element in our project is the clock. Users can interact with the clock to adjust the time, and there will be different elements accordingly.

2.The way to “detect” is the ghost communication–the soul of the dead can talk with different things and find clues in those communications.

3.The killer, in the end, is the dead himself. Because he cannot accept the truth that his wife died 1 year ago, so he had split personality disease. Part of him act as his wife and part of him act as the husband, which makes him do a lot wired things and finally leads to his death.

Actually there were several different ideas in my mind when thinking of the story, one is about AI: maybe a AI machine in this man’s room killed him because it have autonomy, so that we can provoke people’s thinking about people and AI in the future. Another one is that the man is actually living in a virtual  world like The Matrix, maybe he finally find out that all his memory is fake and his brain, his consciousness, his sense are all controlled by machine, which could also have some profound meanings. However after discuss we decided to choose the split personality story as it is easier to convey the message.

 

  • Working process

First is to have a basic idea of what’s going on in this story, in other word, how split personality killed the man? Then I came up with the idea that the man’s wife has illness, and he fed his wife with the medicine that day–which is feeding himself the medicine. But the medicine is harmful and poisonous to normal people, which makes sense, and he dies because of it.

Then, we decided the materials would be in comic format, as it would be very time-consuming if we take video, also, real video recording have too much restriction, and comic picture would help convey our ideas a lot. So we began to searching for suitable pictures. As learned from my comic project, all the pictures and elements in our picture is “from the same world”, though it is very difficult to find many pictures of the same style, but it worth the time because it makes the visual effect a lot better. There are something I want to stress about the pictures:

  1. The dead man: I  make the picture all in grey, because I don’t want to show the gender of the dead very clearly at the beginning, as he act as both the wife and the husband. I first use cut out the died man part from a picture then us PS to make it into grey and deal with some details.

2.The goldfish: Because time is a important element  in this story, so at 11am, there are three alive goldfish, and 2pm, there is only 2 alive, with one dead. This gives user the information that the goldfish died because of lack of food, and the man’s wife is responsible of feeding them. At first this is the materials:(the original picture only have 2 fish)

But after some user test, people said that the dead fish in the 2pm picture is not clear enough, so we finally decided to made the dead picture out of the bowl–on the table, which is much clear.

3.picture on the wall: There is a portrait of the deceased for his wife, but the man hide it behind a picture on the wall. This is the original picture I found in the Internet:

however, the wall in the picture is not horizontal:

if put the picture directly on the wall, it looks wired, so I changed the shape to make the Perspective Effect:

Finally, because a bare picture on the wall look not very natural, so I drew a nail and lines there, so this looks more like a mural painting hanging on the wall. And in the game, users can remove the picture to find out the portrait of his wife.

4. Because time changes, so the light should be different. We put the two pictures together and adjust the opacity of each one to make it get darker. Here are the four different background pictures. (Pay attention to the light and the setting sun effect outside the window)

5. Also, because we want the “ghost” to “shaking” rather than stay still, but no css animation can satisfy us, so we first use AFTER EFFECT make this still image to a gif, then we cut the black background frame by frame to achieve the effect we want.

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The Script is another important part, as we rely on the words to tell the story and the fact. Because split personality, we need to show the contradiction between his memory and the fact, so we think a dialogue between the soul and the things should be a good way rather than only the things tell what they “see”. We wrote the dialogue directly in the txt so that they can appear on website:

Then, because we think that have a voiceover would be super helpful, so we asked a friend to record the man’s voice. However, for the objects, in order to create a sense of non-human, we used virtual sound which assembles by machines. In this circumstance, we use google voice Api to constantly turns text into audio.

  • Reflection

Overall I like our project, but there are some point I think we can improve:

1.I think we can have a more logical story to make the end more surprising to users. I think it would be better if at first people assume the murder is someone else, and finally find out that it is the murder himself. But in our current story, the only suspicious people is the delivery man and the wife, and there are not many information which can mislead users to think the delivery man is the killer. Though we tried our best to form the story, maybe there are still some details that we can improve. Maybe if we have more time, we can read more detective novels and it can help us construct the story.

2.Another thing we may improve is the animation. Because our project is based on static pictures, the only dynamic thing is the “core flame”. If we have more time we may put more dynamic things on the picture to make it look better, for example, we can make the goldfish swimming, make the shadow moving with the time. Also, when the soul merge with the “core” of different things, there could be flicker to make it looks more amazing。

3. There are some minor logic problems regarding the sequence of the items. Because I wrote the dialogues based on time, so we restrict people “jumping” from time–people need to follow the time sequence. Also, inside one single period, we make the “fire” to appear one by one if there is strong logic, for example, the medicine and ring in 4pm. But inside some period, such as cup and TV in 10am, it should better to first talk to cup then talk to TV, because the conversation with TV begin with “Hi! The cup told me there was a person came here at 10am or food delivery, did you see that?”, which causes a time sequence. But we didn’t notice this beforehand, and this need to be improved.

4.I think it would better to have 2 clocks rather than one, so that users can switch from time to time more easily.

Week 12: Final Project Proposal (Moon)

In our final project, we decided to make a detective game. As we think normal detective games are not creative enough, we added “time” as the key elements and interactive part in this game.

First, the detective will be the dead himself. After he dies, his soul becomes the “detective”. Then, there will be a clock, he can adjust the clock time to trace back to what happened at that time, and interact with the different element at different time. For example, he can interact with the broken glasses, and the glasses will tell him what make it broken. So he will collect information gradually and finally know who kills him and why.

Because of time limitation, our materials will mainly be comic and audio, and main interactive way would be adjust the clock and click different elements. Maybe finally we will ask the users to select the murder from 3 people and show the truth.

Week 12: Response to Web Work: A History of Net Art (Moon)

In this article, the author introduces the emergent and development of the web work. It is interesting that the internet was primarily used to convey information which only have primitive HTML, which included simple texts without any visual effects. Then, the Internet developed to use other styles to convey messages like images and animations. What’s most surprising and interesting is that the net art that casts such huge influence on people’s lives was actually a result of an accident.

I think the Internet is an amazing thing. With the internet, everyone can reach art work easily and net art can be spread much wilder and quicker. Also, something very unique with the internet art compared to other forms of art is that it is cheap and easily accessible almost to everyone who has an internet access and a computer. Internet art gives people an experience which otherwise they can not feel without a presence of  the browser.

Week 11: Video Project [Moon]

Working link: http://imanas.shanghai.nyu.edu/~cz1317/project4/index0.html

Partner: Cherry, Chenchen, Vivian

  • Inspiration

In this project, we wanted to convey an idea that “you cannot make decision based on the partial reality you saw”. We were inspired by a misunderstanding story we saw before and create this story–a man goes back home and finds his wife holding a knife towards his ill mother. Should he divorce with her?

After discussed many ways of interaction, we finally decided to make it into the way that ask users to check 3 CCTV videos from 7–because of the low battery. We set the background to be that the man has doubted his wife for a long time so he installed CCTVs days ago, and so he can check the videos in the past 7 days, and there are 7 folders in the webpage, the users can click the folders to see the corresponding videos.

After finish watching 3 videos, user needs to choose between divorce or believe, and they will lead to 2 different endings–the wife leaves, or they hug. Finally, because users may still be confused, we show the 7 videos with wife’s voiceover to show what’s really going on. It turns out to be that the wife is actually taking good care of his mother and she is really considerate, but users are likely to choose divorce with her because they only see partial “reality” and assume the wife is a bad woman.

Here is our storyboard:

  • Working Process

First need to shoot videos. I played the wife and Vivian played the mother, then I asked Sumner to act as my husband. Then we decorate dorm’ room to make it more like a home, find the right angle, then shoot.

The first several scenes are more difficult, for example, the “sleeping pill” and the “drip” one. This two scenes both need zoom in to show the details, but it is very difficult to zoom in stably and smoothly, and we need 2 people to adjust at the same time:

Also, because I need to put the sleeping pills in the specific position(because we use MF here) with a specific orientation, we use pencil to draw a circle on the table:

We shoot this scene for more than 20 times to get this successfully:

After finish all the shooting work, we divided following work to be more efficient. All of us are responsible for 2-3 video clips and 1-2 website index (We have different website interface so we decided to built 6 html, because that is more convenient to split work, and we use window.open to connect them).

-Video Part

First, because we show videos in the CCTV’s format, I use Final Cut Pro to add the filter and adjust the time and date, then I use iMovie to adjust length, sounds and other details.

The most difficult part is dealing with sound. When recording the videos, there are continuous annoying noise of the camera in some clips, and it is very disturbing. So I decided to remove all the sound of the video and record them again. The conversations, the sound of opening a door, the sound of phone calling etc. But after apply all of those sounds, I found that it is a bit unnatural, because it is too quiet–there are no background noise as it should be. So then I find a quiet place to record the white noise of quiet environment, then add the white noise to the videos, finally it sounds natural.

Another thing is, after the preview class, we found that some users cannot figure out the relationship of the 3 characters in the beginning of the video, and it is not a good idea to add a picture like this:

verbal words should be more effective, so we screenshot this picture when there are both wife and mom, and made the husband to introduce the relationship:

To make it more clear, I use Ken Burns to zoom in and zoom out while the husband is introducing:

Also, we use fade in and fade out a lot when dealing with sound to reduce the background noise and make the transition more natural:

-Website Part

  1. Code for first page is here, in this page, we just add instructions and show the relationships here, and users can press “Enter” to start. I combine html, css and js files into one here:

2.In the second html, we use window.open to connect, and played the video that the husband went in and saw the wife holding a knife.

3. Then in the third one, we mimic Macbook to design the interface. At first we used the alert function, but it is not good-looking and too small. So we use Photoshop to create the picture:

4. After users see three videos, we give them 2 choices, and each button lead to different end, we use Photoshop to make the button so it is prettier, and the code is here:

5. The final 2 html is two different endings. First we show what the wife thinks and then the button “reality”. Then we display the video of the true story, and the story ends. The code for the bad ending is here:

  • Reflection

After all, I like our project. I believe the idea is successfully conveyed and it is educational. But there are still some point that I think we can improve.

  1. First thing is the quality of the videos. Though we tried our best, but there are still some points that there are slightly shake or unsmooth movement. 
  2. Personally, I would like to improve my acting. For examples, the clip where I toss and turn restlessly, I think I should have act better to show that I am stressed out and cannot fall asleep. Also, the clip where I leave with my luggage, I think I should do some other things to show my reluctance to leave, so that the user may be more guilty afterwards.
  3. As for website, I think our website is a little bit too simple. Though I don’t think too complex is a good idea, but if we have more time, I think we can add some more suitable functions to make it more interactive and more interesting. Also, I think combine all 6 file into 1 is a good idea that the code would more beautiful.
  4.  Because we use CCTV format, some clip’s angle are too low. We have considered this problem but finally we decided that it is the best shooting angle, but it cause inconsistence. So I guess if we have more time we would figure out a way to adjust it to make our project more consistent.

Week 11: Response to Computers, Pencils and Brushes [Moon]

There is no doubt that the computer is a great invention in the 20th century, however, there are people arguing that computers limit our ability to create, but I don’t think so. As the author said in the article, “It’s only a tool, like a pencil or brush”.

IN my point of view, I think it is a proper comparison.  Computer is just like pencil or brush, it is just a tool that helps us to draw or to design, and it is more convenient than the traditional ones. I don’t think people’s thoughts and creativity would be restricted by it just because it is high-tech. People who have things in mind will never be restricted by anything, only those who is easily influenced by others and don’t have a solid and independent mind may be influenced by the tools. So in conclusion, computer is not a barrier for creative activity. But if it is a person who don’t have a solid and independent mind, he can be influenced and restricted by anything, and it is not computer to be blamed.

Week 11 – Response to “Hackers and Painters” (Moon)

In this article, the author brings up an interesting idea that hackers are like painters, because the working process of both are highly similar–both of then create some work by their imagination and creativity, and convey some ideas through the work.

I think hackers are also artists, but compared to those traditional artists, they are more logic-based artist, because coding requires a lot logic thinkings. They are artist because they create some marvelous things by playing with code, and finally present us with amazing projects.

That’s why IMA is a kind of art I guess. I have dealing with code to create some sort of interactive projects, and now look back, I would say those process are all arts. Ideas and design matters as we are painting, and then we make ideas into reality, that’s a process of art, and I  enjoy this a lot.

Week 6: Response to Theft & Artistry (Moon)

Culture appropriation is a new concept for me, and now I realized that there should be distinctive boundary between culture appreciation and culture appropriation. From my point of view, I think that culture appreciation is when people get to know and learn a new culture, however, culture appropriation happens when people don’t have a comprehensive understanding of a culture and misinterpret and distort the culture. I think the Coldplay’s music video in that article, is cultural appropriation. Because I think Coldplay didn’t really tried to learn the culture respectfully and their use of India as a backdrop kind of distort their culture. This actually remind me to think about how my understanding of a culture is influenced by songs, article, or movies, which may carries culture appropriation. I think when people only learn a culture from others’ work, usually they cannot understand the culture comprehensively. Moreover, I believe that’s how stereotype comes. So after all, we should be careful when “learning” other cultures and try not to influenced by culture appropriation.

Week 5: Response To Embrace the Remix(Moon)

When I first watch the video, I found it is hard for me to accept this idea–every new things is based on old ones. I always think that invention is invention, it is something totally new. However, after the vivid illustration of music and clothing, I was persuaded.

There are new song, new music everyday, but they are all “remix”.  There are a lot similar things in  lyrics and beats between different songs, and even the melody sometimes. Because people are actually influenced by the music they’ve heard when they “create” new music. Also, for clothes, it is more apparent–designers bases their new style on previously seen styles and ideas to create a. updated version of the item, which is a “remix”.

But after all, though I believe in the “remix” theory, it is definitely wrong to just copy others work and claim it is a “remix”.

Week1: Response to “The Garden of Forking Paths” (Moon)

In Garden of Forking Paths, Jorge Luis Borges focus on the concept of the parallel world and discusses a lot about time and space. I think the most interesting part is the story Albert told Yu Tsun, because he introduced the idea that every story should have different endings, which is result from different choices people make.

This remind me of a movie maned “Mr.Nobody”. It is a story about parallel world, or about choices. The old ill people is lying in bed, and recall his whole life. Then time flies back to the moments when he make important choices, and shows different results because of the choices. At the end of the story, tears fell down the man’s face, and he is not regret for the choices he make. This is a wonderful and touching movie because it tells us that no matter what the choice you make, don’t regret, and enjoy it.

Week 1: Basic Webpage in HTML(Moon)

Here is the link:http://imanas.shanghai.nyu.edu/~cw2527/comlab/

This is my first webpage, so I decided to use it to introduce my favorite South Korea band–TVXQ. There are brief introduction of all members and videos showing their works. Also, there are tour date and links for people to buy tickets. In order to make web content clearer and easier to read, this page uses centralized alignment.

Ariel