Kia Valdez Bettcher

Designer/Drawing Addict

Inspiration to Reality: Exploring Generative Art

You know that sense of awe when you see inspiring work? The kind of feeling that makes you say “wow, I wish I could do that.” Seeing Ash Thorp, GMUNK and Joey Camacho’s CG work makes me feel that all the time. There’s so much thought that goes into their compositions and I wanted to see if I could emulate some of that using Blender. The following is a summary of what I’ve learned through experimenting with CG. You can also see the final results of what I made here. I hope this encourages you to have fun making your own crazy creations after reading!

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The Dragon Age ISS

In 2014, we worked with BioWare to create the ISS: an interactive, animated cinematic of a player’s history in the first two games of the Dragon Age series, narrated by one of the characters, Varric.

When we first met with BioWare’s online team to discuss the Interactive Story Summary, we were floored. It’s always a privilege to work with one of the best game development companies in the world, and the ISS presented a challenge that was perfectly suited with some of the tech we have been focused on for the last few years. The goal of the ISS is to summarize the complex narrative and decisions that players have made in previous games in the series, and give them control of those choices leading into their latest chapter, Dragon Age: Inquisition.

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Orcastra: Live Web Audio using CreateJS

We recently spent some time playing with a new feature in Chrome called Web Audio Input, which provides access to a microphone or other audio input.

The result was “Orcastra” (ha!) which allows users to select one of five deep sea characters who lip sync along to the user’s audio input.

Orcastra

Creating Orcastra was quite straightforward. The characters were all created in the Flash CS6 IDE (MovieClips with timeline animations) and exported to HTML5 using Toolkit for CreateJS. We used PreloadJS to load all our assets, TweenJS for simple tweens, and EaselJS as the display layer.

We use feature detection to ensure the browser supports audio input, prompt users to allow access to their microphone, then listen for volume changes (with maximum mic gain) to confirm audio input before showing the character selection screen. Once the user picks a character, it’s just a simple matter of syncing the CreateJS animations with the current input volume level.

Orcastra should work with any Web Audio Input enabled browser. This currently includes the latest version of Chrome for OSX, and Chrome Canary for Windows, but you’ll need to enable the feature with chrome://flags and restart your browser before trying it.