Pac by wpr1947

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									Pac Man Stop Motion Using
 Lego Bricks (Legomation)




       Term Project Report
    Game Aesthetics – Gate 511
          Dr. Ugur Halici




          Sanam Dehghan
             1777499
            Winter 2011
Term Project Report                                                      Sanam Dehghan




Abstract
Stop motion animation is a technique used for making animation. In this method, a
series of pictures from stopped and static objects is used to show the movement of
those static objects. The old but still popular game “Pac Man” is the subject I chose
for my stop motion. Lego bricks were used for making this animation. About the other
equipments used in this project, I used a Canon IXUS 95 IS digital camera. The
softwares I used for editing and making this animation are: Photoshop CS3,
Windows Movie Maker and Wave Pad Sound Editor version 4.46. To make this
animation, at first I took the pictures. After that I edited and cut the wanted parts of
the pictures using Photoshop. Then I cut the wanted parts of the original soundtrack
of the Pac Man game using Wave Pad. Finally I combined the pictures and audio
files to make the animation. Editing the pictures is the most difficult and time
consuming part. I had really difficulty in this part.




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Term Project Report                                                        Sanam Dehghan


Introduction
Stop motion is an animation making technique. In this approach movement of
objects which have no movement in real life is shown. This happens by moving the
objects a little and then taking their pictures. After taking all pictures needed for the
animation, by using special softwares animation is made using these pictures which
are stored orderly.

Stop motion is one of the first “special effects” techniques invented. In past it was
used to show magic and extraordinary events like return of dinosaurs or King Kong.
But using stop motion for making animation and movies didn’t stop in past times and
we have a lot of instance in today cinema. Pat & Mat, Wallace and Gromit series,
Corpse Bride and Fantastic Mr. Fox are some of these animations.

The main equipments for making a simple stop motion animation are camera, tripod,
light sources, video and audio editing software, audio equipments if there are
dialogues in the animation and figures and set materials. Any fixed object can be
used as figures; it depends on the story of animation but the main choices can be
clay figures (called Claymation) and Lego figures and bricks (Legomation).

In my term project I chose Lego figures and bricks as set materials for my stop
motion. About the story chosen for my stop motion I thought of something related to
my studying field and this lead me to choose presenting a game. The game must be
popular which everyone knows it. This all made me to choose “Pac Man”. An old but
still famous game which anyone plays it in a period of his life.

To review Pac Man game I start with introducing characters and then continue with
the game rules. The main character (the yellow one) which is called “Pac Man”, tries
to eat all white dots in the maze. There are also four other characters in the game,
simply called ghosts. These ghosts are in four different colours: Red (called Blinky),
Pink (Pinky), Blue (Inky) and Orange (Clyde). These four ghost mission have a
common goal and that is eating Pac Man.

Game has really simple and few rules. The player controls Pac Man and tries to eat
as many as white dots without caught by the ghosts. There are 4 power dots which
give Pac Man extraordinary power when he eats them. After eating these dots
(which I show them by red Lego dots), all of the ghosts change colour to navy and
while they are navy Pac Man can eat them and gets extra points. In the game we
see fruits appear in maze and stay there for some seconds and then disappear
suddenly. Eating these fruits give Pac Man extra points too.




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Term Project Report                                                       Sanam Dehghan


The first step to start making stop motion, was gathering the equipments. For
building the maze I need Lego bricks so I ordered them from Lego site since I just
need special kind of bricks that I couldn’t find it here in Ankara. For instance, I
ordered 200 “Round Plate 1X1” which I used as white dots in the maze. It took about
1month to get the ordered Lego pieces. After getting them I made my maze which
was the most enjoyable part and also the shortest part of the project. I try to make
this maze as similar to the original one.

After preparing Pac Man maze, it was time to get into real work. I must start taking
pictures. Before starting it I must prepare the scene for taking pictures. One
important thing at this point of work was light. To reduce the effect of sunlight I
covered the windows of the room with news paper. This made the room dark even in
a sunny day, and it was what I wanted; because sunlight makes shadows which are
unwanted. I bought two study lights to use as light sources. The lamps used had
different powers with each other, since one of them was the key light and the other
was fill light. These two source light’s position is important. Putting them in a wrong
place makes more shadows in the scene. This was a problem which made me to
take my pictures from the beginning after taking about 300 pictures because there
were a lot of unwanted shadows in the scene. Generally Key light is placed in one
side of the camera or subject and has an angle with 15 to 45 degrees from the
camera. I placed my key light with 45 degrees angle to the camera. The fill light must
be in the opposite side of the key light.

Then I used a tripod and fixed it to the ground using packing tape. Movement in the
camera results relocation of Lego platform in the consecutive pictures, which makes
the editing file harder and it takes more time. This was the main problem and
difficulty I had in my project. Even though, I tried my best to keep the camera
immovable but I had this relocation of platform in a series of pictures. I start my work
over and over to omit this problem, but I had it in all the series of photos I’ve taken.
In the last time I took the pictures, fortunately this problem was reduced but not
omitted completely.

After placing the camera in the best place, I started taking photos. After taking a
picture, I changed the place of the characters (Pac Man and the Ghosts). To obtain a
smoother animation in each movement I just move the characters just some
millimetres. The other movable parts were the points the player gets, position. And if
in that moves Pac Man eats a dot I removed that dot. The other parts which may
change location between two shots are the dots that a ghost across them. I removed
that dot and after the ghost across that part I put it there again. However, sometimes
I removed the dot and then I forgot to put it there on the platform. This made me to
start taking a series of pictures again. I think this happened over and over. Once I
had to take 50 pictures again. I place the characters in the position they had in 50
former. Then I start again from that point.



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Term Project Report                                                        Sanam Dehghan


There were some other parts that changed. One of them was the fruits sometimes
appear on the platform time to time, and then after a while they disappear. This fruits
appear once in every life of the Pac Man. The other part that changed sometimes
was the count of Pac Man’s life. This one just changed after Pac Man dies. So I
changed it just 3 times.

Another problem I had while taking pictures was that I zoomed in to have the less
unwanted area around the Lego platform in the photos. Sometimes between two
shots, while I was changing place of the characters, camera automatically and in
purpose of saving power, went to standby state, or turned off. Sometimes after
turning it on, and zooming in I couldn’t have the exact same area; thus, it caused
dislocation of platform in the pictures too.

After taking all the pictures from the game itself, it was time to take the pictures of
intro part of the game and the last part of the game which is the “GAME OVER”
message. This part was easier than the other part since there weren’t much to
change between two sequential sots. It took about 3 hours to take photos related to
the Intro part.

 It took about two days to take the whole pictures of the game not considering before
attempts. I had to take the pictures as soon as possible since I used one of the
empty rooms of the dormitory I stay in for taking my pictures, and the dormitory’s
manager just gave me a weekend for using that room.

After taking pictures, it was the time to edit them. This part was also difficult since I
had about 1100 pictures to work on them. As I mentioned before I used “Photoshop
CS3” for editing my pictures. At this point I cut the area around the Lego platform.
Since I took the pictures from above the Lego platform and it wasn’t place in the
middle of the platform I had a little perspective in the picture, which means the top
edge was a little shorter than the bottom edge. I had to this problem too. So I used
“Wrap” tool in the Photoshop to solve this problem.

To wrap all the pictures exactly I recorded an action in Photoshop. In this action, the
first step was selecting the Lego platform in each picture using Magnetic Lasso and
then copying the selected area. The next step was changing the size of the picture
and pasting the selected picture in a new layer. It pastes it in a new layer to not
affect the original picture. After that it was time to wrap the selected area. Since as I
mentioned above there were lots of dislocations in the pictures so some of the
pictures need to move a little after applying wrap action for them. After that the
picture saved in a specific folder.

However, this process wasn’t that much easy it looks. Since all the platforms weren’t
in the exact places, so the select action selected the wrong area. Because of this
problem, I record a series of select action, and I check to see if it selects the right
area before applying the rest of the actions on it. However sometimes it didn’t select


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Term Project Report                                                       Sanam Dehghan


exactly the area I want and there were some pixels selected from the area around
the platform.

In the middle of the work I wrongly delete the wrap action. I recorded a new wrap
action but unfortunately the result wasn’t the same with the previous pictures. So
when making a movie this was shown by a flicker in the movie.

The next step in making the stop motion was editing the sound. I download the
original game’s audio file from the internet. Even though, its duration was shorter
than my movie and it also contain the part which plays when a ghost eats Pac Man.
This pat must be cut from audio file I downloaded because it played before the ghost
eats Pac Man in my animation. I used “Wave Pad Sound Editor” for both cutting the
audio part and extending the rest of the file. This part was done just in about 20
minutes.

The last part of the work was put this all together. I used “Windows Movie Maker” for
this purpose. However, there are a lot of softwares which are just for making stop
motion but I want to keep it simple. At first I made the intro part. I selected the
pictures related to this part and Movie Maker changed them to a movie. This part
doesn’t have any sound in the original game so I didn’t add any sound to it. Just a
short part of the intro (Get Ready) has music. I downloaded that part’s sound from
internet too. The next part was the game play part when Pac Man has two lives. I put
the related audio and chose the pictures. After that, I chose pictures related to the
part which ghost eats Pac Man for the first time, and also Pac Man’s die part’s audio.
Then again the game play and this process went like this until Pac Man lost all his
lives and the “Game Over” pictures were put there.

After making the movie I saw the flickers which weren’t recognizable when they were
individual pictures. I list the name of the pictures which have the most flickers. Then I
again tried to edit them in Photoshop. Sometimes this edition reduced or omitted the
flicker and sometimes I couldn’t gain the result I want.

The points I must highlighted here are about the frames per seconds and the
duration of showing each picture. I set these setting in Windows Movie Maker and in
my stop motion animation 25 frames shown in each seconds. In stop motion you can
have 15 fps and the result is a smooth animation. The fps and the duration of the
animation have an inverse relation. When you have more frames per second your
animation will be shorter.

The duration of showing a picture is an aspect which you can set it in the Windows
Movie Maker. When you increase this parameter your animation will be longer but
each picture will be shown longer which sometimes makes your animation boring. I
set this parameter to 0.125 second. As you see this aspect also has a reverse
relation to the duration of your animation.



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Term Project Report                                                   Sanam Dehghan


Conclusion
For making a good stop motion animation you need to just concentrate on the work,
since sometimes you must focus on very tiny details. The things which must be
focused on in making a Legomation are the lights and their position, camera and its
position, and the movement of the figures. To gain a good result you must try to
reduced and in the best condition omit camera shakes. Editing process also needs
lots of attention.




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Term Project Report                                                   Sanam Dehghan


References
   1) Breen, Christopher. “Create Stop Motion Animation.” March 19, 2010.
      Macworld. October 2010.
      <http://www.macworld.com/article/146623/2010/03/stop_motion_mac.html>.



   2) “Create a Stop Motion Animation.” WikiHow. October 2010.
      <http://www.wikihow.com/Create-a-Stop-Motion-Animation>.

   3) “Stop Motion Central Stop Motion Tutorial.” Stop Motion Central. December
      2010. <http://www.stopmotioncentral.com/gettingstarted.html>.

   4) “Stop Motion.” Wikipedia. December 2010.
      <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stop_motion>.




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