The Fry Chronicles: A Digital Galanty Show.
A walkthrough illustrating some of the key features of the ShadowEngine as explored in my 'YourFry' interpretation.
video: the shadow engine: process
project: the fry chronicles: a galanty show
Note: the animation in the introduction video is sped up slightly. You get a better sense of tempo and control in this video.
(00:08) Performance Layout: Note the multiple iPads controlling puppet figures and scenography. There is a custom UI written for Unity to facilitate the selection and animation of characters. The Output Screen is moved to an external project display. There is some Unity window chrome in view, but that can be physically cropped.
(00:16) Slider controls object scale. Limitation: one element can be scaled, otherwise the physics breaks.
(00:21) The OSC controller touches are mapped to different controllers around the puppets. These are not generalised yet, but unique mappings. User testing revealed issues with the TouchOSC interfaces.
(00:24) Custom Actions: some puppets have features. Here a removable and replaceable cigarette.
(00:32) VFX: Smoke and flame.
(00:46) OSC: Multi-touch. It works but not having visual targets in the TouchOSC UI is tricky. It leads to physics issues.
(00:49) Movement: There needs to smooth interpolation between the 'touch-point' and the location of the puppet controller. Currently, it jumps. The code for this has been completed and works in the camera pan and dolly controls.
(00:51) Movement: multi-touch is working. But the feeling is disorientating. Hit the rotate figure button while touching leads to a glitch.
(00:56) Play-space: Note the play space can be zoomed in or out. This is a most useful feature in performance. Note also the zoom works independently from the projected screen output.
(01:08) Glitch: the parenting of the smoke and the smoke physics behaviour is a little odd.
(01:22) OSC Multiple controllers: Here the second controller is connected to a second character.
(01:24) Movement: the single touch 'walk' is little more than jigging, and the movement is a little crude.
(01:29) Scaling: the head scaling is a proof of concept. Whole figure scaling is elusive (with the physics solution available at the time of production.
(01:35) These figures and scenes are part of an interpretation responding to the YourFry digital storytelling challenge by Stephen Fry and Penguin.
(01:37) The work was reviewed by Stephen Fry, Tim Berners-Lee, Will Gompertz and a panel from Penguin.
(01:45) FX: removable/fixable elements. The code is general an can be set up per object and target 'hotspot'. The physics settings require taming.
(01:52) Scenography: note the image in the background providing texture. Any transparent image can be added (quickly) to the shadowengine allowing quasi-improvised storytelling.
(01:53) OSC Controller 1: Is switched to a third figure.
(01:58) Multiple puppeteers on iPads control figure movement, rotation, scaling, and objects. Cinematic elements: transitions, colour, light, atmospherics, camera movement are also under real-time control.
(02:01) VFX: You can see the sun flare/shadow effect (in yellow). The character casts a broken shadow. The verisimilitude is effective.
(02:14) Performance: Objects can be quickly created, added and rigged ready for introduction into improvised vignettes and compositions.
(02:33) Performance: using the Unity interface in this way for performance presents opportunities: here multiple selections can group figures and they can be manipulated (by the mouse) all at once.
(03:04) Potential: Image making and composition
(03:05) VFX: There is a certain verisimilitude and at the same time logical absurdities presented (here for example) by the glow of the flame.
(03:17) Scenography: Keyboard presses are mapped to the appearance of images - here caption cards and scenic frames. Aesthetically, I'm remixing a sense of the projected images of silent film with performer-oriented shadow theatre.
(03:37) VFX: Detaching/re-attaching objects. There is a contact zone on the hand and the head.
(03:59) VFX and Props: The motorbike depends on physics and friction collisions to move.
(04:01) Performance: using Unity in a performance like this has interesting analogies: consider all the objects stored off-stage.
(04:04) Physics glitch: self-animating motorbike
(04:16) UI: the custom buttons offer quick access to VFX and other action: here exhaust smoke.
(04:37) Control: I've set up a attach/detach target zone on the seat and the rear of the figure. I'm attempting to connect them together to move as one.
(04:57) Control: OSC controller 1 is now mapped to the motor-bike. The mapping scale makes movement very sensitive and hard to control.
(05:06) Movement and Control: with practice multi-touch control tilts the motorcycle into wheelies and endos.
(05:55) Movement: the wheel movement is effective. The smoke, rotation and sensitivity all require re-thinking.