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Paper prototyping in movies, video games?

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  • Robin Dymond
    It would be interesting to hear from a person who designs games or sci-fi movies, about the role sketching and paper prototyping plays in the construction of
    Message 1 of 17 , Sep 16, 2004
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      It would be interesting to hear from a person who designs games or sci-fi movies, about the role sketching and "paper prototyping" plays in the construction of these products. It seems, from watching a few "how we made the ... movie" (ie. Matrix) that the paper sketches really define how the scenes are developed and rendered.
       
      Perhaps there is something to learn from their process?
       
      Anyone from Pixar willing to contribute? :)
       
       
      Robin Dymond
       
    • Jeff Patton
      ... sci-fi ... the ... I think South Park is our best example of paper prototyping in action... ;-) Lots of cut out moveable components on a static
      Message 2 of 17 , Sep 16, 2004
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        --- In agile-usability@yahoogroups.com, Robin Dymond <robind@c...>
        wrote:
        >
        > It would be interesting to hear from a person who designs games or
        sci-fi
        > movies, about the role sketching and "paper prototyping" plays in
        the
        > construction of these products.

        I think South Park is our best example of paper prototyping in
        action... ;-) Lots of cut out moveable components on a static
        background.
      • Ron Vutpakdi
        ... sci-fi ... we made ... how the ... Well, if I understand it correctly, storyboarding as used in UCD was originally taken from the storyboards created
        Message 3 of 17 , Sep 16, 2004
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          --- In agile-usability@yahoogroups.com, Robin Dymond <robind@c...> wrote:
          >
          > It would be interesting to hear from a person who designs games or
          sci-fi
          > movies, about the role sketching and "paper prototyping" plays in the
          > construction of these products. It seems, from watching a few "how
          we made
          > the ... movie" (ie. Matrix) that the paper sketches really define
          how the
          > scenes are developed and rendered.

          Well, if I understand it correctly, storyboarding as used in UCD was
          originally taken from the storyboards created before movies are shot
          in order to essentially "prototype" all of the shots in the movie.

          I've seen snippets of "making of" documentaries for everything from
          big action movies to Disney animation films that show people working
          through ideas and shots based on various revisions of the storyboard.

          There was an interesting "tutorial" at last years DUX conference on
          the creative process and the role of visual/graphics designers in
          Hollywood productions.

          Ron
        • Joshua Seiden
          ... Bill Buxton s did a great session at forUSE 2003 on sketching. He noted that it seems to be a method common to all design disciplines, and set out to
          Message 4 of 17 , Sep 16, 2004
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            > It would be interesting to hear from a person
            > who designs games or sci-fi movies, about the
            > role sketching and "paper prototyping" plays
            > in the construction of these products.

            Bill Buxton's did a great session at forUSE 2003 on
            sketching. He noted that it seems to be a method common
            to all design disciplines, and set out to investigate
            the idea. The talk considered questions including:
            * What is a sketch?
            * What is the nature of the process?
            * How and why is it useful to designers?
            * (And not incidentally) why are all of our current
            computer-based tools so badly suited to the activity.

            Some of the more interesting attributes of a sketch:
            (I'm working from memory here--someone please correct
            me if I get this wrong.)

            - disposable (in fact, *intended* for discard)
            - low fidelity
            - rapid
            - created in multiples
            - uses a special grammar to indicate sketchiness

            The session was called Software Product Design: From
            Theory into Practice. Check out the conference
            proceedings, if you can.

            There is no shortage of writing about storyboards in
            the film-making process. I like the intro in Film
            Directing Shot by Shot by Steven Katz. It's probably
            too detailed unless you have some interest in film, but
            it contains some interesting discussions of
            visualization techniques.

            http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/094118810
            8

            Finally, I've always been interested in storyboard
            software--too bad it doesn't really apply to software
            design.

            Storyboard Quick!
            http://www.powerproduction.com/home.html

            Check out the demo movie:
            http://www.powerproduction.com/quick/example/quickmov.h
            tml

            JS

            _______________________________

            Joshua Seiden

            josh@...
            www.36partners.com
            _______________________________
          • Chris Pehura
            When doing research in the area, I found directors had various styles. Some were very visual, doing sketches and taking photos, (computer models too). Some
            Message 5 of 17 , Sep 16, 2004
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              When doing research in the area, I found directors had various styles.
               
              Some were very visual, doing sketches and taking photos, (computer models too).
              Some were more auditory, using verbal direction, music and sound effects.
               
              And others would have a few sentences describing the scene, and let the actors act by the seat of the pants.
               
              And still others used colored tacks, chalk boards, white boards, note pads, puppets and the list goes on.
               
              -----Original Message-----
              From: Robin Dymond [mailto:robind@...]
              Sent: Thursday, September 16, 2004 12:49 PM
              To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: [agile-usability] Paper prototyping in movies, video games?

               
              It would be interesting to hear from a person who designs games or sci-fi movies, about the role sketching and "paper prototyping" plays in the construction of these products. It seems, from watching a few "how we made the ... movie" (ie. Matrix) that the paper sketches really define how the scenes are developed and rendered.
               
              Perhaps there is something to learn from their process?
               
              Anyone from Pixar willing to contribute? :)
               
               
              Robin Dymond
               

            • Hugh Beyer
              _____ From: Ron Vutpakdi [mailto:vutpakdi@acm.org] Sent: Thursday, September 16, 2004 5:03 PM To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com Subject: [agile-usability]
              Message 6 of 17 , Sep 19, 2004
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                _____

                From: Ron Vutpakdi [mailto:vutpakdi@...]
                Sent: Thursday, September 16, 2004 5:03 PM
                To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: [agile-usability] Re: Paper prototyping in movies, video games?


                --- In agile-usability@yahoogroups.com, Robin Dymond <robind@c...> wrote:
                >
                > It would be interesting to hear from a person who designs games or
                sci-fi
                > movies, about the role sketching and "paper prototyping" plays in the
                > construction of these products. It seems, from watching a few "how
                we made
                > the ... movie" (ie. Matrix) that the paper sketches really define
                how the
                > scenes are developed and rendered.

                Well, if I understand it correctly, storyboarding as used in UCD was
                originally taken from the storyboards created before movies are shot
                in order to essentially "prototype" all of the shots in the movie.


                Not sure what you're referring to as "UCD". For the specific case of
                Contextual Design, we were consciously borrowing from the filmmaking
                process. We had been using what we called "redesigned sequence
                models"--textual descriptions of how a specific task would be done in the
                new design. They were very like scenarios.

                What we found is that people weren't designing well with these. People
                couldn't see the what they were designing and tended to do a lot of sketches
                (particularly of UIs) on the side. So we decided since people needed the
                visualization, we'd borrow from a work domain that had been making
                storyboards work for years.

                We're pretty happy with them. Both because of their pictoral and their
                story-telling nature, they keep the elements of the design coherent in a way
                that other techniques (use cases, story cards) don't.

                Hugh
                www.incent.com
              • Mike Kuniavsky
                To me the relationship between movie/game storyboards and UI paper prototypes, other than the superficial one that they re both on paper, is that they re both
                Message 7 of 17 , Sep 20, 2004
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                  To me the relationship between movie/game storyboards and UI paper
                  prototypes, other than the superficial one that they're both on paper, is
                  that they're both a kind of sketch. The fact that they're a sketch lets
                  them be easily changed, reorganized, discarded and no one has hard
                  feelings about it. These days, having drunk the agile Kool Aid, I think
                  remembering the contingency of decisions is the most important thing when
                  designing anything, so that's what's great about the techniques. That's
                  what I like about the XP index card story stack, too.

                  Tangent: That, actually, can also be traced to film. I can't remember the
                  exact quote, but I reember reading an interview with David Lynch, the film
                  director, who said that he was struggling with the screenplay to "Blue
                  Velvet" when some older Italian film guy (it must have been Dino De
                  Laurentiis, who funded "Blue Velvet") said something like: "Take 40 index
                  cards. Write one scene description per card. That's your film."

                  I'm not sure you can do that with any UI, but it at least shows how the
                  basic ideas of enforcing simplicity by using the informationally shallow
                  index card can show up in unexpected places.

                  On Thu, 16 Sep 2004, Robin Dymond wrote:

                  >
                  > It would be interesting to hear from a person who designs games or sci-fi
                  > movies, about the role sketching and "paper prototyping" plays in the
                  > construction of these products. It seems, from watching a few "how we made
                  > the ... movie" (ie. Matrix) that the paper sketches really define how the
                  > scenes are developed and rendered.
                  >
                  > Perhaps there is something to learn from their process?
                  >
                  > Anyone from Pixar willing to contribute? :)
                  >
                  >
                  > Robin Dymond
                  >
                  >

                  --
                  Mike Kuniavsky
                  mikek@...
                • Mike Kuniavsky
                  A little more Google found the actual interview. Here s the relevant part: Accepted into the institute s Center for Advanced Film Studies in 1970, Lynch
                  Message 8 of 17 , Sep 20, 2004
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                    A little more Google found the actual interview. Here's the relevant
                    part:

                    "Accepted into the institute's Center for Advanced Film Studies in 1970,
                    Lynch studied with the Czechoslovak film maker Frank Daniel, whose course
                    on film analysis shaped his writing and directing habits. "It's a simple
                    thing he taught me," says Lynch. "If you want to make a feature film, you
                    get ideas for 70 scenes. Put them on 3-by-5 cards. As soon as you have 70,
                    you have a feature film." Except that he now dictates to an assistant,
                    Lynch still works this way."

                    So I was wrong about all of the details after all these years but the
                    idea's the same. ;-)

                    Here's the full interview, from the Jan 14, 1990 NY Times magazine:

                    http://www.geocities.com/~mikehartmann/intnyt.html

                    On Mon, 20 Sep 2004, Mike Kuniavsky wrote:

                    > To me the relationship between movie/game storyboards and UI paper
                    > prototypes, other than the superficial one that they're both on paper, is
                    > that they're both a kind of sketch. The fact that they're a sketch lets
                    > them be easily changed, reorganized, discarded and no one has hard
                    > feelings about it. These days, having drunk the agile Kool Aid, I think
                    > remembering the contingency of decisions is the most important thing when
                    > designing anything, so that's what's great about the techniques. That's
                    > what I like about the XP index card story stack, too.
                    >
                    > Tangent: That, actually, can also be traced to film. I can't remember the
                    > exact quote, but I reember reading an interview with David Lynch, the film
                    > director, who said that he was struggling with the screenplay to "Blue
                    > Velvet" when some older Italian film guy (it must have been Dino De
                    > Laurentiis, who funded "Blue Velvet") said something like: "Take 40 index
                    > cards. Write one scene description per card. That's your film."
                    >
                    > I'm not sure you can do that with any UI, but it at least shows how the
                    > basic ideas of enforcing simplicity by using the informationally shallow
                    > index card can show up in unexpected places.
                    >
                    > On Thu, 16 Sep 2004, Robin Dymond wrote:
                    >
                    > >
                    > > It would be interesting to hear from a person who designs games or sci-fi
                    > > movies, about the role sketching and "paper prototyping" plays in the
                    > > construction of these products. It seems, from watching a few "how we made
                    > > the ... movie" (ie. Matrix) that the paper sketches really define how the
                    > > scenes are developed and rendered.
                    > >
                    > > Perhaps there is something to learn from their process?
                    > >
                    > > Anyone from Pixar willing to contribute? :)
                    > >
                    > >
                    > > Robin Dymond
                    > >
                    > >
                    >
                    >

                    --
                    Mike Kuniavsky
                    mikek@...
                  • carlaugustsimon
                    A new trend that s developing ra[idly is making movies with game engines. It s called machinima, after machine cinema. This appears to be a very quick way to
                    Message 9 of 17 , Sep 21, 2004
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                      A new trend that's developing ra[idly is making movies with game
                      engines.
                      It's called machinima, after machine cinema.

                      This appears to be a very quick way to storyboard action and already
                      has quite a cult following.

                      See http://machinima.org/ for more details.

                      --- In agile-usability@yahoogroups.com, Mike Kuniavsky <mikek@o...>
                      wrote:
                      > A little more Google found the actual interview. Here's the
                      relevant
                      > part:
                      >
                      > "Accepted into the institute's Center for Advanced Film Studies in
                      1970,
                      > Lynch studied with the Czechoslovak film maker Frank Daniel, whose
                      course
                      > on film analysis shaped his writing and directing habits. "It's a
                      simple
                      > thing he taught me," says Lynch. "If you want to make a feature
                      film, you
                      > get ideas for 70 scenes. Put them on 3-by-5 cards. As soon as you
                      have 70,
                      > you have a feature film." Except that he now dictates to an
                      assistant,
                      > Lynch still works this way."
                      >
                      > So I was wrong about all of the details after all these years but
                      the
                      > idea's the same. ;-)
                      >
                      > Here's the full interview, from the Jan 14, 1990 NY Times magazine:
                      >
                      > http://www.geocities.com/~mikehartmann/intnyt.html
                      >
                      > Mike Kuniavsky
                      > mikek@o...
                    • Mike Kuniavsky
                      I m still not convinced that it takes a LOT less energy to storyboard with Quake/Unreal/etc. than more traditional means. Hollywood has used 3D shot
                      Message 10 of 17 , Sep 21, 2004
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                        I'm still not convinced that it takes a LOT less energy to storyboard with
                        Quake/Unreal/etc. than more traditional means. Hollywood has used 3D shot
                        simulations for quite a while, though many directors still use paper, if
                        they storyboard at all. All the machinima stuff I've seen actually takes
                        a fair bit of work on the part of the participants, though it looks like a
                        lot of fun.

                        On Tue, 21 Sep 2004, carlaugustsimon wrote:

                        > A new trend that's developing ra[idly is making movies with game
                        > engines.
                        > It's called machinima, after machine cinema.
                        >
                        > This appears to be a very quick way to storyboard action and already
                        > has quite a cult following.
                        >
                        > See http://machinima.org/ for more details.
                        >
                        > --- In agile-usability@yahoogroups.com, Mike Kuniavsky <mikek@o...>
                        > wrote:
                        > > A little more Google found the actual interview. Here's the
                        > relevant
                        > > part:
                        > >
                        > > "Accepted into the institute's Center for Advanced Film Studies in
                        > 1970,
                        > > Lynch studied with the Czechoslovak film maker Frank Daniel, whose
                        > course
                        > > on film analysis shaped his writing and directing habits. "It's a
                        > simple
                        > > thing he taught me," says Lynch. "If you want to make a feature
                        > film, you
                        > > get ideas for 70 scenes. Put them on 3-by-5 cards. As soon as you
                        > have 70,
                        > > you have a feature film." Except that he now dictates to an
                        > assistant,
                        > > Lynch still works this way."
                        > >
                        > > So I was wrong about all of the details after all these years but
                        > the
                        > > idea's the same. ;-)
                        > >
                        > > Here's the full interview, from the Jan 14, 1990 NY Times magazine:
                        > >
                        > > http://www.geocities.com/~mikehartmann/intnyt.html
                        > >
                        > > Mike Kuniavsky
                        > > mikek@o...
                        >
                        >
                        > Yahoo! Groups Sponsor
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                        >

                        --
                        Mike Kuniavsky
                        mikek@...
                      • Ron Vutpakdi
                        ... storyboard with ... 3D shot ... There probably also are the intangible elements of it feels like a rough sketch that comes with a traditional looking
                        Message 11 of 17 , Sep 21, 2004
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                          --- In agile-usability@yahoogroups.com, Mike Kuniavsky <mikek@o...> wrote:
                          > I'm still not convinced that it takes a LOT less energy to
                          storyboard with
                          > Quake/Unreal/etc. than more traditional means. Hollywood has used
                          3D shot
                          > simulations for quite a while, though many directors still use paper, if
                          > they storyboard at all.

                          There probably also are the intangible elements of "it feels like a
                          rough sketch" that comes with a "traditional looking" storyboard:
                          directors are used to traditional, pen and pencil looking storyboards
                          and, perhaps more importantly, things don't feel finished and set in
                          stone.

                          On the other hand, some may be using tools like Alias's Sketchbook Pro
                          (http://www.alias.com/eng/products-services/sketchbook_pro/index.shtml)
                          or SketchUp from @Last (www.sketchup.com) to electronically draw a
                          scene but then the rendering makes it look like a rough sketch.

                          If you haven't played with SketchUp yet, I encourage you to do so.
                          It's a 3D graphics package geared towards architects. Pretty easy to
                          use. One of the nifty features is the ability to switch on a mode
                          which makes what really are precise lines appear more like a sketch
                          (the lines are a little fuzzy/jagged/rough, extend beyond where they
                          should stop, etc).

                          I'd love to see such a mode in Canvas (or Illustrator) that would take
                          objects and then render them in a "sketchy" fashion.

                          Ron
                        • Hal Taylor
                          Hi Robin. I spent some time at Disney. I was not personally involved with the creative processes there, but had ample opportunity to observe that was going on.
                          Message 12 of 17 , Sep 22, 2004
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                            Hi Robin.

                            I spent some time at Disney. I was not personally involved with the
                            creative processes there, but had ample opportunity to observe that
                            was going on. Indeed, animated films typically were mapped out on
                            "paper prototypes" ("storyboards", they're called). They were then
                            turned into rough animation sequences, perhaps partially composed of
                            stills which were strung together and partially more tightly animated,
                            as they developed and tweaked both story and visual aspects.

                            Does this help? I'm not sure exactly what you're looking for.

                            - Hal


                            ----- Original Message -----
                            From: Robin Dymond <robind@...>
                            Date: Thu, 16 Sep 2004 11:49:22 -0600
                            Subject: [agile-usability] Paper prototyping in movies, video games?
                            To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com

                            It would be interesting to hear from a person who designs games or
                            sci-fi movies, about the role sketching and "paper prototyping" plays
                            in the construction of these products. It seems, from watching a few
                            "how we made the ... movie" (ie. Matrix) that the paper sketches
                            really define how the scenes are developed and rendered.

                            Perhaps there is something to learn from their process?

                            Anyone from Pixar willing to contribute? :)


                            Robin Dymond


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                          • Petteri Hiisilä
                            ... Me too. - Petteri
                            Message 13 of 17 , Sep 22, 2004
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                              >
                              >
                              > I'd love to see such a mode in Canvas (or Illustrator) that would take
                              > objects and then render them in a "sketchy" fashion.
                              >
                              > Ron
                              >

                              Me too.

                              - Petteri
                            • Petteri Hiisilä
                              Yeah, that helps. We could use some more room in our office and copy the movie approach. - Then we could walk the personas through the scenarios using real
                              Message 14 of 17 , Sep 22, 2004
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                                Yeah, that helps.

                                We could use some more room in our office and copy the movie approach.

                                - Then we could "walk the personas through" the scenarios using real scetches that display the usage logic of the final product. Five feet of raw "screen shots" from right-to-left (or left-to-right, if you happen to work in Arabic :) ... like a cartoon. Just like they do with movies. Printed on paper or drawn on the wall ... or the whiteboard :)

                                - That would be an easy and cheap way to point your finger at the weak usability, and everybody else would see it too. Before you replicate the mistake in code.

                                - That just needs a big room with lots of space in the walls. If we don't find such a room, maybe the product scope, or the interface scope is too big? Should we divide it to smaller roles, perhaps? If we can't fit the interaction in one room, can humans fit it in one head?

                                - If the lines of pictures get terribly long, that might be an indication of clumsy usability. Any small and simple task should not take 20 steps to complete, at least not without a very good reason. Easy and efficient are not the same thing, you know.

                                - If we see that there's just few scenarios that aren't that long, maybe we have found the simplest complete solution?

                                 - Petteri



                                -- 
                                Petteri Hiisilä
                                Palveluarkkitehti / Interaction Designer /
                                Alma Media Interactive Oy / NWS /
                                +358505050123 / petteri.hiisila@...

                                "The unbroken spirit
                                Obscured and disquiet
                                Finds clearness this trial demands"
                                 - Dream Theater


                                Hal Taylor wrote:
                                Hi Robin.

                                I spent some time at Disney. I was not personally involved with the
                                creative processes there, but had ample opportunity to observe that
                                was going on. Indeed, animated films typically were mapped out on
                                "paper prototypes" ("storyboards", they're called). They were then
                                turned into rough animation sequences, perhaps partially composed of
                                stills which were strung together and partially more tightly animated,
                                as they developed and tweaked both story and visual aspects.

                                Does this help? I'm not sure exactly what you're looking for.

                                - Hal


                                ----- Original Message -----
                                From: Robin Dymond <robind@...>
                                Date: Thu, 16 Sep 2004 11:49:22 -0600
                                Subject: [agile-usability] Paper prototyping in movies, video games?
                                To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com

                                It would be interesting to hear from a person who designs games or
                                sci-fi movies, about the role sketching and "paper prototyping" plays
                                in the construction of these products. It seems, from watching a few
                                "how we made the ... movie" (ie. Matrix) that the paper sketches
                                really define how the scenes are developed and rendered.
                                 
                                Perhaps there is something to learn from their process?
                                 
                                Anyone from Pixar willing to contribute? :)
                                 
                                 
                                Robin Dymond
                                 

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                                ADVERTISEMENT


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                                -- 
                                Petteri Hiisilä
                                Palveluarkkitehti / Interaction Designer /
                                Alma Media Interactive Oy / NWS /
                                +358505050123 / petteri.hiisila@...
                                
                                "I was told there's a miracle for each day that I try"
                                 - John Petrucci
                                
                                
                              • Petteri Hiisilä
                                ... Oops :) Okay, don t mention: I know I have a twisted head. We don t write right-to-left here in Finland, although some of us might think that way
                                Message 15 of 17 , Sep 22, 2004
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                                  >
                                  > - Then we could "walk the personas through" the scenarios using real
                                  > scetches that display the usage logic of the final product. Five feet
                                  > of raw "screen shots" from right-to-left (or left-to-right, if you
                                  > happen to work in Arabic :) ... like a cartoon. Just like they do with
                                  > movies. Printed on paper or drawn on the wall ... or the whiteboard

                                  Oops :)

                                  Okay, don't mention: I know I have a twisted head.

                                  We don't write right-to-left here in Finland, although some of us might
                                  think that way sometimes. Endless, dark winters must have something to
                                  do with it. I may twist your head too. Highly contagious. Be warned!-)

                                  - Petteri
                                • Lynn Miller
                                  ... My company creates software that is used in making special effects in films so I have some background in this. The people who create special effects in
                                  Message 16 of 17 , Sep 30, 2004
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                                    Robin Dymond wrote:
                                    >
                                    > It would be interesting to hear from a person who designs games or
                                    > sci-fi movies, about the role sketching and "paper prototyping" plays in
                                    > the construction of these products.

                                    My company creates software that is used in making special effects in
                                    films so I have some background in this. The people who create special
                                    effects in movies do use a method of low-fidelity prototyping.

                                    To create a CG shot, the animators are given a storyboard that shows a
                                    sketch of the first frame of the shot and the timing to the next shot.

                                    The first thing they typically do is create a simple shape (like a cube)
                                    for the character and run it along a simple motion path to show the
                                    movement of the character through the shot. This is an extremely
                                    low-fidelity prototype but it shows them if the shot is going to work.
                                    After this stage they may have to go back to the director and say that
                                    the character can't walk from here to there in 3 seconds without looking
                                    unnatural. Then they come up with a solution which may be the scene
                                    gets 6 seconds, or maybe the character will leap instead of walking (it
                                    really depends on the director). I think this is directly analogous to
                                    our type of initial paper prototyping in that it is really cheap to do
                                    and uncovers the big problems right away.

                                    Once they have the timing and gross movement right with the simple
                                    stand-in, then they can slowly add more detail - building up the design.
                                    For the characters, this usually involves a lot of paper sketches as
                                    they try out ideas on what the character should look like.

                                    But they don't start the 'implementation' phase - going out and getting
                                    motion capture data, modeling and rigging the characters, etc - until
                                    they have completed the 'design' using low-fidelity methods.

                                    Just like with software, it is much harder to change a character once it
                                    has been modeled so the low-fidelity up-front work really pays off.

                                    Lynn Miller
                                    Alias
                                  • Robin Dymond
                                    Thanks for the insights Lynn. How do you use Agile methods at Alias? I understand the application is very UI intensive and designers need many tools within a
                                    Message 17 of 17 , Sep 30, 2004
                                    • 0 Attachment
                                      Thanks for the insights Lynn.

                                      How do you use Agile methods at Alias? I understand the application is very
                                      UI intensive and designers need many tools within a few clicks. What are the
                                      trends in your industry and how are they validated with users?

                                      Cheers.
                                      Robin Dymond
                                      Critical Mass

                                      -----Original Message-----
                                      From: Lynn Miller [mailto:lmiller@...]
                                      Sent: Thursday, September 30, 2004 8:23 AM
                                      To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
                                      Subject: Re: [agile-usability] Paper prototyping in movies, video games?

                                      Robin Dymond wrote:
                                      >
                                      > It would be interesting to hear from a person who designs games or
                                      > sci-fi movies, about the role sketching and "paper prototyping" plays
                                      > in the construction of these products.

                                      My company creates software that is used in making special effects in films
                                      so I have some background in this. The people who create special effects in
                                      movies do use a method of low-fidelity prototyping.

                                      To create a CG shot, the animators are given a storyboard that shows a
                                      sketch of the first frame of the shot and the timing to the next shot.

                                      The first thing they typically do is create a simple shape (like a cube) for
                                      the character and run it along a simple motion path to show the movement of
                                      the character through the shot. This is an extremely low-fidelity prototype
                                      but it shows them if the shot is going to work.
                                      After this stage they may have to go back to the director and say that the
                                      character can't walk from here to there in 3 seconds without looking
                                      unnatural. Then they come up with a solution which may be the scene gets 6
                                      seconds, or maybe the character will leap instead of walking (it really
                                      depends on the director). I think this is directly analogous to our type of
                                      initial paper prototyping in that it is really cheap to do and uncovers the
                                      big problems right away.

                                      Once they have the timing and gross movement right with the simple stand-in,
                                      then they can slowly add more detail - building up the design.
                                      For the characters, this usually involves a lot of paper sketches as they
                                      try out ideas on what the character should look like.

                                      But they don't start the 'implementation' phase - going out and getting
                                      motion capture data, modeling and rigging the characters, etc - until they
                                      have completed the 'design' using low-fidelity methods.

                                      Just like with software, it is much harder to change a character once it has
                                      been modeled so the low-fidelity up-front work really pays off.

                                      Lynn Miller
                                      Alias



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