Spring Quarter – Week 4/5

May 2, 2013

The Friday meeting was cancelled last week and will instead be held this week.

I conducted the tests to see how the rendering speeds have improved as a result of the new models for both the lashes and the teeth. I did four different tests.

Using a script given to Marie and I from Dr. Wolfe, and with various animations also provided to me by Dr. Wolfe, I was able to open the old Paula model and implement the script which took the animations from a text file and transferred it onto the model. I did the same for the Paula model with the new geometry. I performed this process for all four animations. This insures that the animations are the same for both tests.

Next, I used another script that calculates the duration of a render. You execute the script once before rendering. Then, following each render, you call a function the outputs the render time to the screen. The names of the animations and the times of the renderings of the old and new model with the amount of improvement is listed in the table below:

Screen Shot 2013-05-02 at 4.57.28 PM

Overall, we are very excited about the improvement. This week we look forward to testing out the new models.


Spring Quarter Week 2-3

April 25, 2013

The last few weeks Marie and I have mainly focused on completing the proposal for the School of Computing Research Symposium. We put together an outline a few weeks ago and then flushed out the full proposal last Wednesday. Once that was complete, Marie presented the proposal to the ASL meeting on this past Friday (I was unable to attend due to other obligations). She received comments from the other ASL members and made additional changes to the document. She submitted the final draft on Tuesday, the 23rd. We hope to hear back in a few weeks on whether our proposal was accepted. If so, we will begin creating a poster. In fact, we may begin creating a draft before then so that we will be ready in the event that we are accepted.

Marie has continued to create a new texture for the teeth. She is creating a full panoramic texture generated from images taken of the old teeth. This should be a lot more seamless. I believe for this new texture to work, she has to adjust the UV lines of the geometry she created so that it matches up correctly.

This Friday, Dr. Wolfe will help everyone install the new version of Paula into the animation package we are using. Everyone will be able to test it out see how the new model works.

Within the next few days I plan to do a few official tests to see how the rendering times have improved due to the changes Marie and I have made.

Spring Quarter – Week 1

April 7, 2013

Marie and I met with Dr. Wolfe on Friday. We laid the ground work for what we will be working on for the remainder of the quarter.

First up is completing the abstract for the School of Computing Research  Symposium. Marie and I will be finishing that up over the next few days. Once that is complete, we will move on to preparing a poster.

From there, we will start to do a few test runs to see how the rendering times have improved from the old models versus the new model with the updated lashes and teeth.

In a few weeks we will have a group ASL meeting where we will install the updated Paula on all of the computers so that the ASL animators will be able to use the new Paula model.



Winter Quarter – Final Week

March 29, 2013

Marie and I met with Dr. Wolfe over the last few weeks. I gave Dr. Wolfe the current model of the lashes that I had been working on. She experimented with Paula, and fixed a few things and was able to get the current lashes functioning properly. The old eyeliner that Paula had was reused and this fixed the problems the lashes had with fitting on her eyes properly.

The next step is to do a few tests to see how exactly these lashes have improved rendering time. This will be done in the first few weeks of the Spring Quarter.

Also, Marie and I will give a submission to participate in the School of Commuting Research Symposium. We will be writing a paper summarizing our current work and if accepted, we will create and present a poster.

Winter Quarter Week 6-9

March 7, 2013

Over the past few weeks I have continued my work with the lashes. Marie and I have continued are weekly meetings with Dr. Wolfe, with the exception of Week 7 because Dr. Wolfe was out of town.

The previous problem that arose with the lashes that I made were that they did not stand out when the camera was far away. I then set out to make the lashes as thick as I could. Instead of redrawing them, I experimented in photoshop and was able to take the original set and thicken them.

Below you can see the results:

Also, they stand out a bit more when viewed from farther away:

Now, having arrived at a pair of desirable lashes, I then deleted the old set, and parented the new set to the Upper and Lower Lid Bones so that they move in conjunction with Paula’s lids when she blinks.

ThickerLashes5   ThickerLashes7  ThickerLashes6

One problem is that they do not move properly with her lids, so this needs to be adjusted. It is believed that some adjustments to the pivot rotations will fix this issue.

The other issue is that the model for the upper lash does not perfectly fit Paula’s lids. When I originally modeled the lashes, I tried to get them to fit as closely as I could to the old set. That old set included a spline that served as Eyeliner I would say. This extra piece will not be included with the new lashes, so my model is a bit off. I am hoping that applying a few modifiers contained within max will allow me to make adjustments to the plain so it better fits Paula’s lids.

ThickerLashes3   ThickerLashes2

I will begin this process soon.

The next step, once I have fixed the lashes and have them properly placed onto Paula, I will do a few tests to see how the New lashes improve rendering time as compared with the old lashes.

I am in the Final Weeks of the Winter Quarter. I hope to get some progress done on this but I may not be able to focus as much time as I would like. We will see how things go.

Winter Quarter Week 3-5

February 8, 2013

Last Friday we did not meet with Dr. Wolfe due to bad weather and illness. However, we did meet today and Marie and I showed the progress that we have made.

I have continued working with the Lashes. After initially trying to use an old texture that belonged to Paula, I finally decided to just create my own lashes. I started off trying to make lashes in Adobe Photoshop, however I was unable to get the brushes to create an effect that closely resembles how lashes look. I wanted them to be thick at the base and then taper off at the end. I finally ended up drawing my own lashes with a Sharpie. I started off with printing out a template of the model of the lashes in 3DS Max, and then I placed a blank sheet of paper on top and drew out the lashes so that they would closely match the shape of them.

Here you can see the template and a portion of the hand drawn lashes:

LashesBlackLashes lashesScanned

After that, I edited them a bit more in Photoshop, and then I brought them into 3DS Max and applied them to the planes as a texture. It took a bit of tweaking, but I finally arrived at a desirable result.

Here you can see some of the process behind texture mapping. I first had to line up the UV’s so that the texture would apply nicely. From there, I had to fit the texture on as closely as possible.


Below you can see how they currently look:

LashesRender3 LashesRender2 LashesRender1

And here are some before and after views of the lashes on Paula:

LashesOnPaula3 LashesOnPaula2 LashesOnPaula5

The next concern is how the lashes appear when far away from Paula:


As you can see, the lashes I have made do not stand out very well when zoomed out. The next step is to create a thicker pair of lashes. I may either take the kind I have and adjust their thickness in Photoshop, or I may have to draw another pair, perhaps using a thicker Sharpie/Marker.

From there, I will parent them to Paula. I will work on this in the coming weeks. However, Midterms are currently on going and a lot of my attention is focused on that. I will dedicate as much time to this as possible.


Winter Quarter – Week 1-2

January 22, 2013

Marie and I have met with Dr. Wolfe on Fridays for the past two weeks. Marie has been experimenting with The teeth. I have continued my work on the lashes.

I finished getting the base model for the top and bottom of the lashes, which consists of two plains modeled to be in a shape similar to what Paula’s old lashes were. Right now, the top and bottom lash total 330 polys, a significant reduction from the previous lashes.




The next step as been to apply an opacity map to the lashes. I started off with looking at some of the textures Paula already has that perhaps used to be used as lashes. I experimented with getting them to fit the shape of the lashes I made, and then apply an opacity map to them.



I struggled with getting the two images to match up to achieve the desired effect. However, I got the idea to just color the lashes black, and then apply the opacity map, which would eliminate the need to match up the two textures. Below you can see the current results.


I hope to continue tweaking it. I need to get the lashes to line up better, and to clean up the spots and speckles/noise that shows up in-between the lashes. If that is unsuccessful, I may have to make my own lash texture from scratch.

I will continue working on it this week and get input on what I have so far from Dr. Wolfe.






Autumn Quarter Final Week

December 4, 2012

November 9th was our Final Meeting. For this meeting, Dr. McDonald showed us how to install graphics cards into the computers. I had never done it before myself, although I have removed one before.


Here is the box that new graphics card came in.


This is what the new graphics cards look like.


After disconnecting the towers from the monitor and unplugging the power source, we removed the side panel from the tower to expose the interior. From there, he explained various locations of key components of the computer. From there, we removed the old graphics card.


This is a close up shot. You can see how dusty it is.

Once we removed it, we installed the new ones and closed everything back up. We plugged it all back in and turned the computers on to check and make sure the cards were properly installed and to update any drivers if necessary. All in all, it was pretty simple and fun!

Also, I talked briefly with Dr. Wolfe about the current progress with the lashes. So far, I have a pretty good model for the base of the new lashes. Right now, the top lash is complete and I need to finish the bottom lash.



Here are a few views. Because the lash is a single surface and not individual objects the polycount has already been significantly reduced. Currently, this single surface is 240, or 480 polys as there will be two of them. The number should not be that much higher once I finish the bottom lash.

From here, I will then texture the lashes and apply an opacity map so they look nice on Paula. I am currently on Winter break, but I do plan to have the bottom lash completed and have the textures applied before the start of the Winter Quarter.

Autumn Quarter – Week 8

October 30, 2012

This past Friday, Marie and I met with Dr. Wolfe. We used this time to briefly discuss what are plans are for the remainder of the quarter and to also practice for our Saturday Presentation at Saint Xavier University for the ChiWIC, Chicago Women in Computing, event.

I hope to spend some time this week working on the lashes for Paula as they are the biggest concern at the moment. I did a practice run last week by manipulating a plane to conform to the general shape of her lashes. It did not turn out quite the way I would have liked. This week I hope to explore creating two lines that meet the overall shape and then extrude/loft a plain along those lines.

As I mentioned, we gave a practice run of our presentation for Dr. Wolfe and a few other faculty members. Then on Saturday we attended ChiWIC. Overall, things were quite successful. We enjoyed the opportunity of sharing our current project and to have the opportunity of learning and hearing from other women in the field.

Things have gotten even more hectic as we are coming towards the end of the quarter due to Final Projects. I do hope to make more progress over the next week or two with Paula.

Autumn Quarter – Week 6 – Week7

October 20, 2012

This week Marie and I are preparing for the Chicago Women and Computing Conference that is to take place on October 25-26th. We are going to do a Lightning Round presentation covering what we are currently working on this year. We were able to put together a presentation for it and presented for one of Dr. Wolfe’s classes on Tuesday.

Dr. Wolfe, Marie and I met again this Friday. We went over the finishing touches of our presentation, adding a few additional slides to the powerpoint, and Dr. Wolfe gave us tips on how to best prepare. We will present again on Tuesday for one of Dr. McDonald’s classes, and we will run through it again this coming Friday for Dr. Wolfe. Hopefully by that Saturday we will be prepared.

Another thing we talked about on our Friday meeting was our remaining goals for Paula. As previously mentioned, we identified key components of Paula’s model that have an excessively high number of polygons thanks to the script Marie wrote. As it stands, there are about 67,000 polys in the entire model. Of that 67,000, about 45, 320 are distributed through the lashes, teeth and tongue, sweater/pants, face, hands, feet and hair. The teeth and tongue hold about 8900, the hair about 8000 and the lashes are about a whopping 17,000! This is something that needs to be addressed.

To help us track our progress, Dr. Wolfe has provided us with a script that tracks how long it takes to render out an animation. Marie and I will both perform tests to track how our editing of the model’s geometry affects the rendering speed. Starting off, in the initial tests we will render out about 50 frames of Paula as she currently is. We will keep track of the time, the date and which machine the test was performed on. From there, we will begin to make modifications on Paula. Once we have remodeled or edited those key areas previously mentioned, we re-render and take note of the differences in render times.

When beginning these changes, we will tackle each aspect one by one. Marie has already started making modifications to the hair mesh using the ProOptimizer. The results aren’t exactly perfect so further work will be done to come to a suitable solution.

I will begin tackling the lashes.

As you can see, each lash is made using a line that is rendered out as a tube/cylinder. Up close, it is not very attractive looking either.

I plan to tackle this by creating a plane that conforms to the general shape of the lashes. Then I will make and apply an opacity map to it and hope that this will provide a suitable solution for a good looking pair and low poly count set of lashes.

I am still finishing up with midterms and concentrating on the ChiWIC Conference. I will begin work on this as time allows and will hopefully make progress within the next 2 weeks or so.