## Larry– animated geek

Nearly 2 months ago Morgen Fleisig and I set out to create an animated man. The name: Larry. The language: Processing. The mission: make that man run. We encountered much hardship in the form of radians, PI, angles and arrays.  But ‘lo, we are on track and prevailing. It all started when we agreed that Muybridge was an interesting fellow, and that to emulate him using Processing would be rather rad. We tracked some of his work on YouTube and through image searches.

To make things easier we decided to make a simple wire frame human being adapted from the arm example in Processing. It was no small task (for me) to get the arm to be a leg, rotating at angles that would seem more leg like, and adding a foot. I still don’t understand a lot of the trigonometry that goes into making it work, but that’s the beauty of Processing. Morgen is the one with the architecture background, anyway. Through trial and error (my method de choice), I figured out which variables affect what. Morgen took the legs and made them into a class that we could call more than once in an array. That made it so the legs alternate. At the time of this writing, the legs still don’t reciprocate back and forth, rather, when a leg gets to the end of its swing it suddenly pops back to the front.

This is Larry_v2_3_1:

The arms still needed to be fixed at this point because they are both on the same side of his body. To spiff up the world Larry lives/runs in, I added the ground coursing beneath his feet. Gray concrete, oh the chilly world of Larry. It’s basically an array of gray squares. Speedbump was an earlier idea– we thought he would jump over stuff. We’ll continue working on them, maybe adding a PImage that will simply flow under him. The background is also an array; semi-transparent squares whose x/y coordinates are called at random, to give some variety. They fly by slower than the ground to give depth to the scene. These too will likely be changed with PImages, something light and fun, maybe a colonnade that reveals other stuff in the distance… for instance, an elephant!

Morgen took one of a series of frames from a grid layout of Muybridge film, remade the frames into individual images, and will call the images in the sketch. We’re thinking the elephant will be in the distance. Morgen is also working on a rhinoceros that comes in at the press of a key. Larry will hurl Shakespearean insults back at the rhino for all his trouble. The rhino is Dürer’s rhino, so there is a time warp theme: Dürer(Renaissance) + Shakespeare(Elizabethan) + Muybridge(turn o’ th’ century) + Larry(present) = CrashUp++!

pic curtesy of Morgen and Photoshop

The part I’m still ruminating on is having Larry jump. There is a jump function in the class Larry, which is called when the mouse is pressed. The problem at first was that the body would float away leaving behind the arms and legs (quite comical, but not effective beyond the single trick of that particular pony). Then we figured out the jump to be on mouse click, and Larry jumps as one, but then can’t jump anymore– he’s spent. To make the action repeatable, action must be taken.

Code to come soon.

Tags: ,