Wednesday, 4 February 2009

How to Capture a Kahoot!

Character SketchesI’ve finally finished all the remaining design issues in Kahoots so now I can finally post something! There would’ve been more goodies in the game but...well let’s just say they didn’t last long enough... Anyway, enough talk about sweets (for now) and more about design and animation.

We knew we wanted to use claymation for the characters in Kahoots and, after much debate, finally settled on buttons, sweets (uh oh..that refrain didn’t last long!) and other random items for level graphics as they made for a more interesting aesthetic. After drawing some simple character designs, we chose the one we liked best, after which, I made the model. I started by making a basic wire frame skeleton for the inside of the model. This allows you to pose them far more easily than if they were solid plasticine, it also gives you an excuse to use glue guns! I used polystyrene in the frame to pad out areas without the need for tons of plasticine, which would be heavy and more difficult to work with. Once the frame was made, I sculpted my design over the top using white plasticine, that way we could manipulate the colours in Photoshop once the animationMORE character sketches had be done.

The Cardborg was made in a similar manner, although his wire frame was covered in plasticine and tinfoil. My advice now that I’ve experimented in animating something that’s covered in tinfoil is...don’t do it!! Absolute nightmare as the tinfoil ripped every time I moved its arm or leg! The Cardborg also has a cardboard box head and I made a selection of cardboard eyes and mouths for us to stick onto the box and decide what combinations worked best.

When the characters were complete, I set about animating them. I used a webcam, desk lamp and made a mini red screen area so the characters could be keyed out after animating. I used a program called MonkeyJam to take single frame shots of the models ( All you need to do is position the model in the frame, ensure its lit well and capture the image. Then move the model a little bit and take another picture...then move it again and’ve guessed it, take another pic! Repeat the process until you have all the frames you need, which you can then put together into what should hopefully be a full animation cycle. I animated all the basic actions needed for the game, a walk cycle, falling, smashing boxes etc. All of the separate frames are shown in a previous posting; below I’ve included a walk cycle of the Kahoot as I captured him and how he appears in the game.

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