— Alexia @ITP

I have always wanted to make a zoetrope so I thought it would be a good idea to take advantage of this assignment to create it. I found these three plastic materials on the junk shelf:

  1. A plastic base


2. A plastic plate


3.  A motor

I measured the motor’s diameter with a digital multimeter to make a hole in the center of my plate so the motor can pass through my plate using the drill press.

I then sanded the excess black piece around the motor to make it look smoother.


I bought some foam and laser cut a base to create a softer surface for the motor to “sit” on because it wouldn’t be easy for the fan to spin on the hard base. I used hot glue to stick the motor through the soft base.

 

I soldered the wires and tested the spinning of the plate.

The spinning was good but I noticed that the fan was getting a little bit stuck on the edges of the plate so I used hot gun to melt the edges.

LASER CUTTER FILE

I designed the strip to be the same length as the circumference of my plate and made my slits the same distance apart as the pictures. I cut the strip and etched my bird animations on an oil board. I used oil board because I really like its color and I  wanted to use something thicker than matboard so that it can be stable.

FINAL RESULT

Here is my final result. A bird animation zoetrope made primarily out of plastic and oil board.

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I found an enclosure on Amazon which was perfect because it had removable metal face and back plates so that I could customize the box easily. I was also interested in working with metal for this project because it’s a material I haven’t worked with much yet. I wanted to make an enclosure for a speaker.

I bought my buttons from Tinkersphere and started making different holes on wood to make sure I had the right drill bits for these specific buttons. It was quite challenging to find the exact size bits for my holes because I also had different buttons. This was my first time using the drill press and I also used a spade bit for my bigger button for the first time.

 

I learned quickly that because of the rigidity and thinness of this metal pieces, both sides of the plate had to be clamped down to get the perfect hole. One of my holes is a little eaten up because the bit wasn’t tightened very well. I found it tricky to tighten the drill bit well in this machine.

 

I then etched on the metal which was definitely a step I had to do first because it was really hard to position the etchings right under the holes and find the exact position. So I started by testing with cardboard and matching my metal plate on top of the cardboard after just to make sure the position is correct.

 

I then inserted my buttons. My on/off button had to be glued because my whole ended up being bigger so I used hot glue to fill in the gap between my hole and my button which I felt like was my only choice. If you have any other advice please let me know.

 

FINAL RESULT


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Unfortunately, we experienced some technical issues in our Lab this week. We all wanted to record more movements for our worlds so we can bring them into Unreal. We started off by placing all the necessary points for the skeleton to be tracked properly on all 37 points but our skeleton was not showing up. We re-calibrated the room and started the whole process from the beginning by using a different body to add the points  but we had no success. Therefore, I could not record and export the scenes and bring them intro Unreal.

I used level blueprint to modify my script so that it turns my  light on when the player enters the room and turns off when we exit our room.

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For our third lab we have to review our data from one of our recorder MoCap session and correct and fill any data that were missing as well as assign back to their original position any unassigned markers. Overall our MoCap didn’t present many gaps and was smooth throughout.

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I created my character Avra  using Fuse and created some animations in Mixamo. I built a new world this week and tried out different materials and textures for my mountains. I have become a fan of 3D pastel animation and was looking at Anny Wang’s artwork. I love how Anny works with mixing pastel colors and holographic reflections, surrealist arrangements of geometric objects and still life. So I tried creating a world inspired by this artist and a character that would “fit” this surrealist world.

I imported my character and Samba dance  animations successfully in Unreal by following Todd’s tutorial. I wanted to create an awkward trippy dance movement for my world.

via GIPHY

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I was inspired by a personal story that I experienced in the past year in Athens and wanted to bring this story to life. So I made these two characters riding a motorcycle through the city of Athens. I wanted it to look like a set design so I created three layers inside an open box. I found almost all the images online and traced them in illustrator apart from the houses and the mountain which I drew in illustrator myself. What was challenging is getting all the measurements right for creating the box because I had to think of a lot of details and had to go back and change my designs constantly. Laser cutting these images was quite easy. I didn’t have any issues with the laser cutter but I had to change the speed and power because the cardboard settings where not cutting the cardboard as deeply as I wanted. I used hot glue to stick the box together and I could easily fold the box because I designed lines of small squares around the edges in illustrator.

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The evolution of machine technology as well as automation technology have significantly changed how individuals perceive, assess and react to the power of information. Creation of new and transformation of existing media have incited the creation of a society much more complex and difficult to navigate on. As presented extensively in the text, the “the medium is the message” because it is the medium that shapes and controls the scale and form of human association and action. In the digital age, with the rise of the Internet the reach and scale of information has taken breads unconceivable in past times. Access to information has become very smooth, while the rise of smartphones has brought this power in the palm of the hand of each and every one of us. The power of medium has strengthened considerably, with consequences that we experience in our everyday lives. On the positive side, people can learn and educate themselves very fast utilizing relatively low levels of energy. On the negative side, the size and spread of so-called fake news is a notion that will trouble generation to come. Written and published content with the intent to mislead in order to gain financial or political power is something that we have all experienced to a certain degree throughout our lives. As the text states, “Once we have surrendered our senses and nervous systems to the private manipulation of those who would try to benefit from taking a lease on our eyes and ears and nerves, we don’t really have any rights left“. Therefore, it may be fair to assume that it does not matter whether the “content” of writing or print is speech, since the reader is almost entirely unaware either of print or of speech, however the notion of content does play in integral role on how we would like to steer our society in the future, in terms of how that content is perceived and acted upon. Unfortunately, in our society ill willed actions are prevalent and societies can be easily demagogued and manipulated. Examples of this we have witnessed extensively during the 2016 US Presidential Election, where specific foreign governments have been accused of coordinating intelligence campaigns in favor of a specific presidential candidate predominantly via the use of social media. Since content can be relayed to with no significant third-party filtering, fact-checking or editorial judgment, an individual with no track-record or reputation and reach very quickly as many readers as big incumbent news players. Furthermore, because usually fake news tend to involve content that is fairly exciting and vibrant, usually fake news tend to be more widely shared than the most popular mainstream news stories, thus achieving much greater virality and impact. It is alleged, that fake news might have been pivotal in the election of President Trump. I cannot comment on the assessment of this claim, one way or another, however, if a medium and its content may yield such an immense power over society, then this definitely raises my eyebrows, on how to best regulate and harness such a power. Therefore, proper regulations and boundaries need to be set, in order for the evolution and automation of technology not to become a medium of a few demagogues to manipulate and take advantage of public opinion.

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 If you had 3 minutes to communicate your truth to 100,000 people what would you say, show, and or play? 

This would be my 3 min speech:

My name is Alexia and I grew up in Athens, Greece.

I am very fortunate because I grew up in a great family with parents that loved me and supported me very much and they offered me everything anyone could dream for. I really had the perfect childhood. However, in the age of 7 my grandfather died from cancer. Even though I was really young, I was really close to my grandfather. In the beginning my parents were hesitant to talk about his death and its cause. But they decided to be honest about it and not tell us the typical lie that parents usually tell their young children like “your grandfather went on a long long journey” or “he went to heaven.” They just said the truth:  “He.Died.from.Cancer.”  I think that was the first time I heard the word “cancer” and the word “death”. I remember in his funeral even though my parents didn’t want to, I followed the crowd after we went to the church up to the point where they buried him. I didn’t understand what was really going on at first but it was definitely disturbing.

After my grandfather’s death, I started questioning almost everything around me. I was constantly over thinking things. There were nights that I couldn’t sleep because I was obsessing about the tiniest of details and role-playing different situations or scenarios about how the future may or may not play out. Therefore, I started developing many many fears especially around death and serious illnesses.

When I was 20 years old, in a span of 2 years, I experienced the death of a really close friend of mine, my mom’s battle with cancer and a major heartbreak. While I was going through these difficulties, I really tried to block all my emotions and all my negative thoughts. Everyone would tell me all of these clichés such as “think positively” or “everything happens for a reason” and I really did try to think positively. I was strong for my family, my friends and myself.

But all these suppressed emotions finally found their way out… So one day, which was probably one of the most relaxing days I had in the past few years at that time, I was literally in a Greek island with my friends on the beach, I suddenly started having difficulty breathing, my heart started racing so fast that I could hear it in my head. I thought that I was having a heart attack. I felt like I was going to die. My friends called an ambulance and I went straight to the hospital. The doctors said that everything was ok and that I just had a panic attack so I went home. However, I was so traumatized by this experience that I was constantly afraid that it was going to happen to me again and again and again. And it did happen. I suffered through panic disorder for 3 years. There were days that I couldn’t even get out of my house because I was afraid of having another panic attack. I felt depressed and helpless.

These self struggles and bad experiences have definitely hunted me for a long time and to some degree tortured my existence, however I think they have definitely shaped me, not only on the negative side but also have provided me with positive attributes. Namely a great sense of empathy towards individuals as well as the society as a whole. I found a way to use that empathy when I came across a humanitarian crisis that was unfolding at a great extent in my home country Greece and which has provided me with a sense of purpose, responsibility and impact. In February of 2016 I went to the island of Lesvos and worked as a volunteer at a refugee camp for one month.

By interacting with people that are experiencing serious loss and trauma I found a way to channel my struggles into something constructive. I could feel that even though my issues were obviously so small compared to the refugees’ struggles,  these people really felt that I could empathize with them in a different level compared to other people that had never experienced personal trauma before. We had a different kind of connection.  What really gave me strength was the smiles of those children who had lost their parents and their homes; yet somehow, their playfulness and bloom of childhood remained. Being able to give these people a reassuring smile in uncertain times and expressing my deep love and compassion for the refugees’ struggle  made me find my inner strength and control.

As one of my favorite Greek writers Nikos Kazantzakis once said “In order to succeed we must first believe that we can” so this experience I had made me gain that vital first step of believing in myself.

I realized that by worrying about something that does not yet exist I create it and every time I feed my fears I’m making them stronger. But, when I don’t obey my worries, when I talk back to them, challenge them, correct them, that’s a win for me.

So the silver lining in all this is not that I completely surpassed my anxieties because they will always be a part of who I am but it’s about adapting, finding new paths to use these anxieties into something effective and really understanding who I am and where I stand.

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For this week our assignment was to create multiples of something, 5 or more. From the minute I heard multiples the first thing that came into my mind was this famous Russian toy I had when I was younger called “Babushka”, also known as a nesting doll which is a set of wooden dolls of decreasing size placed one inside another. I wanted to work with wood and thought about creating wooden jewelry boxes one inside the other where each box would have a quote from a movie and every time you open one box you would see the quote from the other smaller box on the cover and it would be like unraveling a story.

So I started by cutting some wood in the band saw and immediately realized that this was going to be a very challenging to make one box fit inside the other since it’s really hard to even create same sized boxes because it’s really hard to make all the pieces exactly the same size. So I decided to minimize the scope of my project and just make 5 same size jewelry boxes. I wanted to create 45 degree angles to put all the pieces together like a puzzle but because the pieces were very small it was really hard to do this on the Miter Saw and very dangerous. Therefore, I just made all equal sides and decided to just stick them together.

 

I started cutting on the Miter multiples of sheets of wood together but they were not straight at all so then I decided to redo them and use the band saw for more accuracy.


I started putting the pieces together depending on which pieces were more equal. This was really frustrating because I had to go back and re-cut a lot of them and sanded them so they can all be equal.

I sticked everything together with wood glue.

Then I went to the laser cutter to etch the quotes on the boxes. I then drilled the lids. (post to be continued I am having some issues uploading my final images)

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This is my first trial in working with Unreal Engine. I really wish I had more time to work on building my world more because there are so many things I want to create but I just wanted to familiarize myself with the interface first and start feeling comfortable. So I spent most time watching and reading several tutorials and did some small experiments at the same time.

My Character

My main character’s name is Avra. Avra is an adventurer and she loves to dance. She is afraid of the dark. She lives in a tiny planet with her aunt Sandra. Every day she wakes up and looks at the sky with all the planets nearby.  There is something mysterious about these plantes; They disappear when it’s dark. Since she was a very young girl, she was intrigued by those planets and always imagined how they would look like…However, she had been told by her aunt her whole life that the outside world is a dangerous place. Finally, on the day of her 18th birthday she decides that it’s time to finally find out by herself what is really out there so she goes on a little adventure with the help of her best friend Syrus.

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