This drawing represents how the main computer in the animation will be arranged. It’s loosely based on my actual computer layout. Yes, voicing the Richard character from the script isn’t going to be a stretch for me!
In real life, my center display is an iMac and I have a my Mini set up to be a shell server. I don’t think that the Richard in the animation would need a set up like this… instead he probably has a couple of home made linux servers under his desk.
So, what needs to happen next… I have to model a set of headphones, customize the monitors so that three distinct monitor models exist. I have to model a mouse and my Griffin Powermate… and I need to start working on the videos that will make up the monitor content. The latter will be the most challenging, I’m sure. I honestly don’t know how video as a texture will render.
Over the weekend, I was having serious trouble modeling out what I thought the assembly area on the desk would look like.
Originally I had envisioned an aligator clip contraption, sets of tweezers, and a magnifier lamp. That all seemed kind of boring though. I then came up with a stepper motor kind of arm contraption that would be used in place of the aligator clips. As it turns out, this is a hard thing to model without some kind of visual reference… and since it’s a fictional piece of equipment… well… I had to go back to the drawing board… literally.
The actual size of this armature would be pretty small as what it held would be the primary focal point of the magnifier lamp. Since it’d be pretty small, it’s impractical to adjust the thing by hand, so I came up with a set of dials which will connect via wires to the robotic armature.
Here you see three knobs, which ostensibly control three axis of adjustment that the arm can move in. The larger, shorter section of the knob is used for “course” movement and the smaller, longer inner knob is for “fine” movement.
My first stab at drawing this thing had all 3 knobs lined up in space, but it occurred to me that if I did that, the gearing of the knobs within the housing would all intersect. Because of that, they’re all offset from each other slightly in the drawing… and will also be in the model.
I’m finally getting into the grave details of modeling robot optics. There is something that I’ve noticed about sci-fi movie optics that make no real sense logically, but they definitely add drama and emotiveness… the idea of eye color.
In just about all movies we’ve seen featuring robots, bad robots have red eyes. Often we see as a robot makes a transition from being a good robot, the lights on that robot itself change from say blue to red. I decided to add this color change concept to the robot optics I’ll be using for Little Robots.
The way I’ll do this is, behind the aperture, I’ll have a set of three colored lamps. As I want to express different emotional states, I’ll dim or intensify the corresponding colors. I’ll probably look up the Mood Ring color scale and just use that as my palette. The lights themselves will reflect off a white surface at the back of the optical cylinder and should show up through the aperture of the robot. Nice and tidy.
Speaking of apertures… I discovered that well… I had no idea how a mechanical aperture worked. Instead of chickening out and using something lame like a square aperture, I messed around and discovered that really, apertures are just little sheets of rectangular metal (well, more like trapazoids) that rotate about 15 degrees. Check it out:
Here you see my aperture which is made up of eight rectangles. On the left, it’s in its closed state. On the right, I posed it open. Each aperture blade rotates a small amount in place and whammo… you have an open aperture.
I think that this will be the basic eye design that I go with for Seña. She’ll have a single camera lens style eye with a traditional looking aperture that has protective coverings which allow it to open or shut. I’ll assume that when shut, the lens cleans itself somehow. I’ve also added four sunshade petals which will be independently posable. These are really not functional in my opinion, but they aught to add some level of expression.The entire eye assembly itself moves vertically along a covered track not unlike the telescopes at large observatories.
At first I wanted to detail out the entire internals of the assembly like I did with the skeleton, but then I remembered, I’m not actually designing something to build… I’m simply sketching out what something looks like to model. The actual machine, while it needs to suspend disbelief doesn’t actually have to function in real life. Oh the joys of make believe!
With this bit done, I should be able to start some initial models of this robot. As the model comes together, I’m sure edits will take place. It’ll be interesting to see just how closely my finished product resembles the actual concepts.
The design for the robot, Seña is influenced largely by the Turret from Portal 2. While it may not be obvious from this basic skeletal image… you’ll see. When the white shell drops on over the rounded body, the relationship will become more clear.
If you notice the front legs are on a hinge giving her the ability to extend or contract the front legs independently. I’m hoping that this will help give the robot some form of expressiveness in anotherwise static design. The rear wheel can’t really contract, but can rotate giving Seña’s tadpole design steering capabilities.
The only other piece of Seña that I definitely have to model out is her eyepiece. Seña will be a cyclops design with a single camera mounted much like the old observatories were. The eyepiece will be able to rotate upward and downward along a fixed track. An important aspect of the eyepiece will be it’s ability to express emotion. In both Wall-E and in the two robots from Portal 2, we see a remarkable amount of expressiveness in the eyes, not just through aperture movement and focus, but through lens coverings and general eye motion.
Hopefully I’ll come up with a good design.