Simulated Life in Films – Kieran Selmes

Simulations and virtual lives have been a huge part of the movie industry as well as our lives. Many popular films have been created on the basis of a simulated life and because it’s become part of our own lives, it’s become a big part of movies.

First movie I’d use as an example is Hardcore Henry. Now this movie is entirely shot in first person which is incredible. It’s the first movie ever to do that. In this film the main character, Henry, has been brought back to life after this horrific accident where he lost limbs and his voice and memory. He’s introduced into this simulated world where this beautiful woman who turns out to be his wife is kidnapped and he must complete a mission to save her and bring her back to him.

This movie goes through all this amazing effects to make it look like he is in this simulated reality where he’s being fixed up and made indestructible to save this woman. He’s got one person covering his back all the way but this guys seems to die every 5 minutes and is then brought back to life where he’s a completely different person. He’s dressed differently with a different accent and name but we can see he’s the same person. This film uses the idea of simulation to basically give this guy a second chance at life but first he must complete this big mission in saving the woman he once loved.

As far as it goes within simulation and effects that make that simulation look realistic, it’s really good. The story line works really well too. The film is based on simulation and how that this guy is living a fake life created around him and how he must act out this sort of play to get his wife back and have a life again.

 

Second film I want to talk about is Pixels. This is a very controversial movie in the sense of reviews and ratings. In my opinion it was a great movie and really gave us an experience like no other. It’s about this alien spaceship that brings old retro games to life. It creates a simulation in the real world and only 4 people can defeat it all. These 4 people know each other from years ago when they were kids and played in gaming tournaments. 3 were best buddies. 1 was a rival. When a simulated game of Caterpillar is released into the real world, these 4 people are called together to fight and win against it because they basically trained for it as teenagers playing these games.

This film is an excellent example of simulated revolution is movies. The CGI and special effects really bring the movie together and actually make it look realistic. It does look like they’re fighting against these simulations and games like Pac Man, which is a huge part to the movie. Columbia Pictures really made a great movies which actually shows how far simulation could go into the fact of bringing something so classic to life and into our world

 

The last film I’d like to use as an example is actually a film coming out soon. Of course I haven’t seen it but I’ve seen trailers and read the plotline for the movie and I think it’s a perfect example to end on. It’s called Ready Player One. This is a story about our world in 2045. Life itself has collapsed, our world is destroyed and the people we love are gone. The film follows a character called Wade Watts who lost his parents and now lives alone.

Now instead of sitting indoors all day and doing nothing, he uses a virtual reality headset to play games which is how he survives in this life. Their becomes this huge tournament in which the grand prize is $100,000 which is enough for the people to live off for a lifetime but they can only win by putting on a headset and playing the game. However when they enter the game, they’re digitally reimagined into these avatars they create themselves. This is how they play the games. This is how the world continues now and everyone is after that prize and must fight for it.

Now as this film is yet to be released, I’m very excited to see how it turns out. But looking at the trailers, it couldn’t be more focused on simulated life than any other movie. It actually shows us how virtual reality could become our life. It shows how our lives could just become simulations and living by playing games and being these avatars we create. It’s sort of the movie that looks to the future and what could become of us if we let simulated life rule us.

 

So these movies really do make great examples for how virtual reality and simulated experiences have shaped the movie industry and how we’ve now become more obsessed with movies based on simulated lives.

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Technology Advancement – Kieran Selmes

As we’re looking into Virtual Reality and creating a simulated world using technology, I’ve looked into other sorts of technology which kinda creates a new life or tricks your mind to create cool effects.

First of all I looked into Nintendo. Now over the years Nintendo has created some super cool gadgets and games consoles like the Cube, Wii and DS. As that all progressed, so did the technology. When the cube was realised, it was like any other console. A controller plugged into a console in which you control a character on the screen to play games. It was a good console which you could play some classic games on.

But as Nintendo progressed, they began creating even more cooler devices and consoles. The Nintendo Wii was a big revolution. It was a smaller console which stood up on its side and used a tiny remote to play games. Instead of moving joy sticks around, it used you. You’d move your own body around to simulate the actual games you were playing and this was a revolution. The fact we could play sports or go karting without leaving the house was incredible. It simulated a real life in which we played real sports and games through technology. Today the Wii still goes strong and is still very popular

A few years ago, Nintendo released a new games console called the DS. It was a small portable handheld device which you could play your favourite games on without plugging it into all those sockets and using all these cables. It was amazing. As the years went by, more and more DS’s were released but in different forms until recently they created the 3DS. This is effectively the same as a normal DS except there is a small slider at the bottom which turns your screen from a normal game experience to a 3D one. Sound weird but it’s tricking your mind into thinking the game is 3D. It’s an amazing piece of technology which enhances gameplay, however it has been known to cause many headaches. I myself have used the 3DS before and after a short period of time, I began to get a headache and had to switch off the device. So Nintendo have made some fantastic devices which do simulate life but not in the way VR does

 

Second piece of technology I would like to use is a virtual reality experience recently released by Lenovo. It’s called Star Wars: Jedi Challenges. Now it seems a little pointless to bring up another virtual reality technological set when we’re already talking about it but it’s slightly different. Normal virtual reality allows you to look at many different things from the mundane like a walk into a shopping centre to the exciting like a rollercoaster. This new Lenovo set is different. In this you are able to create your own life in a universe of Star Wars. Now many people have dreamed of this because it’s a popular franchise and has become a worldwide phenomenon. But this virtual reality kit really brings it to life.

In this set you get a VR headset, a lightsaber hilt and a tracking beacon. With these, you are able to lead your own life in the Star Wars world including lightsaber battles, holochess, flying, dogfights and many more. Instead of it using something we’ve all experienced, it’s created something we dream of experiencing and bringing it to life using these little devices. It’s a new step into virtual reality and has really brought us closer to experiencing the life of our favourite franchises. Who knows what they’ll do next

 

Last one is 4D experiences. It’s not portable technology. It’s not gaming. It is a simulated experience though. These days there are more and more 4D experiences being made. I’ve experienced a couple myself which are the 4D experience at Cadbury world and the 4D experience of Lilo and Stitch at Disneyland Paris. Both were completely different but used the same sort of techniques to create a simulated experience for you to enjoy.

The Cadbury World one was like a cinema theatre. There was a screen and large rows of seats. You sat down and began watching a movie on the screen which showed you how their chocolate is made. However, during the film your chair is brought to life to really show you what it’s like. For example, when they are explaining the process of grinding chocolate beans up, your seat shakes and wiggled as if you’re moving along a conveyor belt. Or when the melting of the chocolate is shown, they spray the smell of melted Dairy Milk from your chair to give you the feeling you are actually there watching it melt. It’s still a simulated experience because it’s giving you the feeling of being there in that film

The Disneyland Lilo and Stitch one is different though. When you go into what seems to be a big theatre screening, you notice glass tubing behind a sort of fence. Within seconds creatures appear in these glass tubes. What’s really clever is it’s done using projection mapping where they map out the character they’re putting into this jar type container and organise it accordingly. Whilst watching this all unfold, you have smells and movement to feel like they’re real and that you’re actually with them. For example, when Stitch is in this glass container, he begins jumping up and down inside it to show he’s frustrated. At that moment, the floor begins moving around the simulate his frustration and how it would feel if he really was there. Or when he starts to mock the creature who captured him, he burps and the smell of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches fills the room

So even though it’s not considering like a big piece of technology, it does show how that it’s still part of a simulated world in which we can experience without the need for headsets or electronic devices

In the end, our technology has become very advanced and does show that we’ve come a long way in a creating a different life for ourselves to experience whether it’s through games, phone applications or cinema theatre experiences.

Research: Original idea source for this project — Kaiyuan

My very first idea of this project is from a picture by Gregory Scott:

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Gregory Scott, Is a Painter and post modernist Photographer, He started off as a painter then became a photographer. He then combined the two disciplines. As you can see from the image below, he rejected the rules of modernism and composed the image unconventionally.  Mixing media to create a new version of reality…Or… making an observation on the assumed perceived reality of reality..

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Gregory Scott once based his paintings on photographs, but while working on a series of tightly-cropped figure paintings, he discovered that the relationship could be reversed. At first just using a camera to see what would happen if he used his own body to extend the painted figures beyond the canvas, Scott was soon incorporating paintings into photographs specifically to build emotional narratives or play with the differing notions of dimensionality and illusion in painting and photography. The selections from the Imposition series in this portfolio sometimes use the painting to mimic reality, standing in for an action or posture obscured by but quite possibly the same as the rendering. Other photographs push for the unbelievable, as Scott comes face to face with himself, is transformed into a woman, or twists and bends as part of a tree.

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Gregory Scott was born January 16, 1957 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. In 1979 he received a BS in Visual Communications and Photography from the Institute of Design at Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, Illinois. He has since taught in the School of Art and Design of the University of Illinois, Chicago. His work has been published in Lenswork Magazine and Direct Art Magazine, and exhibited at SNAP 2004 National Juried Photography Exhibition, New Mexico; McNeese National Works on Paper Exhibition, Louisiana; and Around the Coyote Art Open, Chicago. Scott is currently the owner, creative director, and photographer of Nobox Design.

Research/test ideas – Interoceptive Senses – Aisha

In the matrix Morpheus says to Neo “what is real? how do you define real? if you are talking about what feel, what you smell, what you can taste and see, then real is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain”

one way in which we can critique a simulation is through Interoceptive senses. Interoceptive senses are senses that our internal such as brainwaves, sweat, heart rate, and blood pressure.

With our project one thing I’m looking at how we could compare VR experience to ‘real’ experiences such as virtual bowling to real bowling or better scary games to something like London dungeon.

In terms of the games  want to know whether you can simulate the real on a interoceptive scale. This would require comparing heart rate or brainwaves of the two experiences.

I want to test this notion using a ECG machine. Have a person playing a VR game like ‘Face your Fears’ and record their ECG reading and then do the same while they face their actual fears such as visiting a haunted forrest at night or do to experience London Dungeon. Both these experiences would be recorded on camera as well to show any jump scares or narration times.

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The problem I am facing is getting ahold of the ECG machine I need to do this test. We can’t buy the equipment so the only option is to borrow it but can’t get ahold of it from anywhere.

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Research – Fragance Oils – Aisha

After looking at how to make fragrances I thought I’d look to see if I could find relevant fragrance oils for the simulations that we could go on to create.

Firework –

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Cold Air-

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Fire –

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Grass –

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Coffee –

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Hot Chocolate –

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Wood/Earth –

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Water –

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Paper/Books –

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Ideally I would want to smell these oils to see whether or not they actually smell like what they are claiming to smell like.

One idea that I would like to try is doing a blind scent test; we would blindfold people and see if they can guess the smell. This would be good for our simulations because it would show whether people can distinguish smells without seeing what they are off. The problem is buying enough of these oils to do this experiment could cost more money including shipping costs that wouldn’t be in our budget. Furthermore, we don’t have enough time to order these fragrance as some take long to arrive as they are being shipping from America. However, I have ordered one of the fragrances in the hopes to have it arrive in time to experiment with it.

If we have the ability to I would have likes to do a brainwave scan to see how the brain is affect when a person if introduced to different smells.

An Article I found about how scents affect you

Research – Fragrances – Aisha

Looking in to scents and how we could simulate smells in our “Simulated Space” I came across fragrance oils.

Fragrance oils are generally used in soap and candle making. I’ve been looking at turning these oils in to sprays. I came across this recipe

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The combinations that were given on this website were to create generic air freshers such as citrus and floral scents. For our project we need to make smells that are specific to our project so I’ve looked up oils we could use to do this.

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We would need to use the recipe I have found and experiment with creating a spray. once we have done that our next step is to create a rig that would spray these fragrances are the appropriate time for the simulation.

Alternatively, we could use the oils in a candle and let it burn throughout the simulation. This would be better for a smell thats is going to be used throughout the simulation. Airwicks have a melting pot that does this very effectively. I use this in my home as the smell is a lot more prominent than a candle. If we use this then we’d need to find a way to disguise it in the scene.

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Research: 3D photography guidance (Frontier in technology) — Kaiyuan

How The Shot Was Taken

Taking a 3D photo is actually really simple, but with some limitations. Most importantly: this technique will not work with a moving subject. You won’t be able to take good photos of moving water, leaves blowing in the wind, people you can’t direct, or anything else which does not stay still for a few seconds. Feel free to give it a go if you think your subject is still enough, but the effect may not work well.

The technique is called the “cha-cha” method because all you do is rock from one side to the other when taking a pair of photos.

Find a subject that you think will look good in 3D. These photos look interesting because there are rocks and outcrops and overhangs and grass and all kinds of things going on in the depth of the photo which you can’t see in the 2D version. Use a relatively narrow aperture, as out of focus parts of a 3D photo can be distracting rather than attractive. A faster shutter speed also helps to reduce camera shake, since you are hand-holding.

Compose your shot and pick out a feature that’s not too far away from you to be a reference point. This will probably be in the lower third of the photo, near the centre. Now stand with your weight on your right foot and take the first photo. Then, while watching your reference point and trying to keep it in the same place in your viewfinder, put your weight onto your left foot and take the second photo. And you’re done! The magic happens in the processing.

We see the world with two eyes, and that tells us the depth of a scene. Most cameras can only capture a flat plane, destroying any depth the original scene had and robbing it of a great deal of its impact. This technique lets you capture photos of certain scenes that contain the depth of the original, and with a little bit of practice most people can learn to see these photos simply by crossing their eyes.creek-100717-049-hdr-3d.jpgcreek-060830-159-3d.jpgcreek-081129-131-3d.jpgcreek-040506-091-3d.jpgcreek-090308-295-3d.jpg2013-05-28-22_33_50-Left-Imagecreek110319-133-hdr-3d.jpg

  1. First things first. You’ll need a good camera (point-and-shoot or DSLR).
  2. Prepare to take shots from different angles. However, make sure that you do not do this against a wall or anything similarly flat. This will defeat your purpose of creating a 3D image.
  3. Your main subject must be in the center. Once you are sure that it is properly positioned, take a photo of it. This is what taking a straight shot of the subject means.
  4. The next step is for you to move your camera or tripod carefully to around two or 2.5 inches to the left and once your main subject is in the center, take a shot of it. Then, slowly move the camera or tripod to the right and repeat what you did on the left side.
  5. Make sure you cover all the angles – up, down, left and right. Depending on your subject, you must be thorough in taking pictures so you won’t miss a part. If you’re making a human head 3D, make sure you cover the top of the head and bottom of the chin. If you want to 3D the whole body, also take photos of the underarms, sides of the body and the crotch. All these tips also apply to statues and toys. You are now ready to create your 3D photo.
  6. Next, transfer all the photos to your computer.
  7. Once the photos are saved into your computer, you can easily access and open them. Choose the software of your choice. In my case, I use the Agisoft Photoscan 3D software for three-dimensional photo editing needs. For a complete tutorial on how to use this software, click here. If you want to see some sample 3D outputs and demos, click here. I have three 3D photographs that you can play around with. If you’re planning to use Photoshop, though, check out what you need to do: For best results, convert your photos to grayscale first. Then click on the images one by one and select RGB, which will keep the photos in their black and white mode. Click on Window and then choose Channels. Hold the shift key and choose Blue and Green. Understand that if you are using a different software, the procedure I defined might not apply to you. Take note, however, that the general instructions and goal are basically the same.
  8. To get the 3D effect, you should click on the right photo and select ALL (CTRL + A), and then click on the left photo and paste this on top of the right photo. Make sure that the photos are well aligned. Do the same procedure for your center photo.
  9. To view the 3D effect, print photo. To further enhance the experience, use 3D glasses.

 

Portrait or landscape?
For free viewing, it’s best to take all of your 3D photos in portrait orientation. This requires you to cross your eyes less and is thus more comfortable. Also, two landscape photos side by side are very wide and will thus make the whole image appear smaller on your monitor. However, if you have a 3D TV or monitor and you are taking 3D photos to display with it, then landscape is the better choice. These displays overlay the two images, so a landscape oriented photo will fill the screen.