Lorraine's DREU of 2011 - Journal
Final Report


This was a daily log I kept of my progress during research.

Week 1 from June 7 to June 10

I finished the Unity Scripting tutorial and Unity Platforming tutorial this week. I finished the IRB quizzes as well. I've begun working on a series of seven Blender tutorials to familiarize myself with the program. So far, I've finished the first and second Blender tutorials, which deal with modeling, and I'm almost done with the third which deals with texturing.

Week 2 from June 13 to June 17

I finished the third Blender tutorial; in this tutorial, I had to model an entire steam locomotive. The fourth tutorial consists of animating this train. I got to page 47 of this tutorial. I stopped looking at the tutorial here since I think I've got a good idea of how to animate in Blender now. I also finished a tutorial on Blender materials. Wow, there are so many tutorials out there!
I finished creating the pediatric room for the research project this week as well, including basic textures like floor tiles. I also began to familiarize myself with Blender 2.4, a previous version from the one I have been using. I am currently on page 48 of a character animation textbook Jeff let me borrow.

Week 3 from June 20 to June 24

Jeff helped me learn how to set up rigging in Blender, and Toni helped me design the mother model in Poser. I had some trouble getting the clothes to fit the mother model as well as getting textures onto the clothes. Poser is the most frustrating program I've used yet, as I haven't figured out where to properly place files so the library works.
I also continued to improve the pediatric room I created last week. I added an extra chair, the doctor's swivel chair, and a jungle-themed wallpaper for the room.

Week 4 from June 27 to July 1

Toni and Jeff helped me get the mother model into Blender. The mother model at the moment is complete.
I found a character rigging and animation tutorial online. It has 184 pages, but I somehow managed to finish it this week! The only thing I cannot figure out for the life of me how to save animation files. I got through everything else working though!

Week 5 from July 5 to July 8

I began rigging the mother model. I also worked a bit more on Blender modeling practice; the work went towards a small surprise for my fellow REU students working on Palmetto Island. =)

There have been all sorts of problems with rigging the mother model! She simply does not look like she bends naturally. I finally finished rigging the mother model, but I had issues with skinning her. All day. AAARGH. When I merged objects, textures started disappearing, and after taking care of textures, when I went to move her again, all of the work I put into weight painting the model somehow disappeared, so deformations showed up all over the place! Regardless, the mother is ready to be put into the room in Unity now. I also finished rigging and skinning the child, and I took screenshots of the mother and child in the room.

Week 6 from July 11 to July 15

I finished joining objects in the room, and I added Jeff's hand rigs.
I have finished all of the child animations on the list, including

  1. swinging her legs
  2. tugging on her ear
  3. looking at the room
  4. looking around the room
  5. looking at the nurse
  6. looking at the nurse and nodding 'yes'
  7. looking at the nurse and shaking her head 'no'
  8. leaning back
  9. leaning forwards
  10. a second version of swinging her legs
  11. two rocking side-to-side animations

There were a couple of set-up problems with the mother model that I had missed, so I fixed those this week. I also finished the mother model's animations of

  1. looking at child
  2. nodding her head yes
  3. shaking her head no
  4. crossing her arms animation
  5. putting her hands on one leg
  6. crossing her knees(This one included a separate hand motion so her legs would not cover up her hands, which are originally put on both knees!)

I spent the rest of the week fixing previous animations so they look more natural.

I also added breathing to each model and cut the animations so they can loop easily when called, if needed.

Finally, I attended two one-hour experiments for other labs, one measuring brain waves while driving and the other measuring brain waves while reading.

Week 7 from July 18 to July 22

I added at least six hand gestures to the mother for her to use while she talks, and three animations for her putting her hands on her hips. The hand gestures have been the most complex and time-consuming of animations so far!

I also gave the child more animations, including

  1. a more realistic looking around the room
  2. patting her knees
  3. tapping her fingers on her knees

Finally, I gave the child and mother head tilting animations to be used if they are asked a question, or want to express that they do not understand a question. This wraps up making animations for my summer research.
I also began on my research paper. I currently have about two paragraphs of the basic idea about what I've worked on. I printed out a bunch of related articles for a starting point. There's so much reading to do!

Week 8 from July 25 to July 29

I finished writing my two-page research paper, and, after many revisions, the PowerPoint poster to go along with it. On the last day, I presented my research along with the other DREU and Clemson REU students. I can't believe the summer's gone by so fast! Although I got stuck at some points, I had a great deal of fun learning to work in Blender, Unity, and Poser. Thanks to this DREU experience, I've decided that I'm definitely applying to Clemson University for graduate school in the fall.