Research

About 3 years ago I was provided with a research grant to develop research ideas (Cinematics and Narratives). I developed an animation system that externalizes aspects of the artistic process. We developed and experimented with a system that placed some of the stylistic design decisions outside of the artist and into the audiences’ control. This system is comprised of a linear narrative that takes pre-designed motif based archetypal forms and blends them to create a new design. As a result I have an award winning movie that guides the audience through three different visual experiences seamlessly creating one impactful narrative.

In research, my goal is to incubate animation concepts by developing a simple though robust pipeline for the development and testing of content. Using a fixed chain for the technical implementation of animated works, I aim to focus my efforts on creative expression, generating and testing a diverse range of content. With a small research team, I am launching tests that evaluate our material directly in the open market. With this facility, my research intends to gauge the popularity of our work based on downloads and interactive engagement.

My currently funded research, “Game Design for Entertainment: a content development think tank” investigates content development and appeal in the context of Talking, Thinking, Acting Characters hosted on the site Artificial Comedy. This research tries to understand the qualities that form comical appeal in simulated intelligent characters. Created at the Multi-plAtform Game Innovation Centre (MAGIC), and funded by Media Development Authority, under the National Research Foundation of Singapore the research extends the idea of adaptive design explored in earlier research by creating characters that can actually talk to the audience and interact in such a way as to seem alive. I intend to investigate the use of conversational interaction as a means of attracting the interest of the user.  Using an online platform that includes a live character and a YouTube channel hosting comical short form vignettes for testing libraries of design, e.g. visual development, animation and behavioural characteristics, we will have an environment  where we can prototype our ideas in digital sketch form before investing the time and resources needed to fully develop an idea.

Why is it that some ideas succeed and others fail? The potential successful development of an idea bearing international appeal holds lucrative rewards. Developing artists, animators, filmmakers and game designers that can reliably author creative content with unique and popular charm is a difficult goal to achieve and is something that holds the interest of many artists working in animation media. Content research and development for animation entertainment is a costly and uncertain effort. My research tackles these issues in an attempt to create genuinely unique animation IP.

In this research, I will attempt to understand through practice, active experimentation, review and revision the qualities that form comical appeal in animated characters.  In a content development model where a culture of innovative and collaborative relationships match and propel the larger goals such that I have now in my current research at MAGIC, creative ideas will result in unique and entertaining ideas with tested outcomes. With proven outcome as demonstrated by the awards received on work conducted in earlier funded projects, I believe that my research will continue to result in tangible success. In the context of my research, artistic thinking is an integral part of innovation. Being surrounded by people with their own innovative ideas and enthusiasm guarantees our success.

Research Statement

[VENGEANCE + VENGEANCE]

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In a world where scientific achievement has merged the boundaries between man and weapon, one woman stands apart. The Resnick Corporation through advanced genomic research stands poised to control weapon development with an advanced soldier prototype. The only problem, the prototype has gone wrong. The movie is set in a dystopian future where human life is toyed with by the powerful. Science has become the key to domination and those who control it the rulers.

[Vengeance+Vengeance] is a movie authored in a game engine. We varied the look interactively between three design targets. Our cute style targets cartoon-like round shapes and soft colourful tones. We use this style to draw empathy from the audience making the character more child-like and vulnerable in appearance with colours that convey optimism. Standard style targets naturalistic proportions and colours. This is our action setting. Extreme style attempts a more film-noir look with exaggerated though human proportions, more texture detail and an overall more contrasting tonal treatment. Typically this design style is used to convey threat in a scene. The movie is created interactively by blending through these three design styles in an interactive director driven authoring system. Then it is rendered for standard movie playback. What is presented is the final outcome of academic research.

This research led to secondary funding in the form of another grant from the National Research Foundation (NRF) Multi-plAtform Game Innovation Centre (MAGIC), Game Design for Entertainment: a content development think tank. In this research I am developing “Talking, Thinking, Acting Characters”. The goal is to create digital characters that can be directed in a short film-making, a trans-media project that utilizes contemporary animation technology and artistic design strategies.

Official Selection