Unity is a cross-platform game engine developed by Unity Technologies, which is primarily used to develop video games and simulations for computers, consoles and mobile devices. I found it very difficult to work with, in part due to software issues, but it is very important for one to navigate in order to better understand the breadth of work that goes into gaming and simulations. Creativity can really make ideas come to life using Unity, even if not my preferred platform.
Our class intro into Unity involved scanning our own bodies, importing that 3D scan into Mixamo, and applying a series of motions to make the scan come to life. I had issues with auto-rigging, so in the end, I used a computer generated female figure in gym clothes, and applied a series of boxing moves. Part of the “puppeteering” aspect of the assignment was to allow keystrokes on our keyboard to dictate actions. After several tries, and some script work, I was able to achieve this, but had to forgo a series of moves (with the camera swiveling around the figure). My end goal was to show the user the capabilities of the figure before allowing the user to try out moves on their own. I applied Bill Conti’s “Gonna Fly Now” from Rocky, as the background music, for extra cinematic appeal. I also tried adding a sphere to make my figure collide with it, so that it would bounce like a boxing speed bag. No such luck.
One aspect that really interested me was the ability to use Unity to make something come to life. For example, holding a piece of paper with a soldier printed on it in front of the computer camera, would trigger a 3D scan of the soldier to stand on the paper. I intended on exploring this concept further as part of my final project, but decided against it, as I thought it diminished the message I was trying to convey. Another student, Jasmine, did apply this concept in such a creative, educational way, allowing users to explore the biological happenings on a sunflower and the soil around it. See below. Kudos to her for an awesome integration, which I hope she will expand further.