I’ve worked on my bachelor thesis in computer sciences in summer 2010 together with my nice fellow student Thomas Bretzke. Our title was, translated into English, something like: “Helpful Avatars – context sensitive assistant for user guidance on Internet pages – conception and implementation on the basis of a fictitious youth-portal”
So we wanted to create a little character that would help children visiting websites. It should use some sweet animations and talk to the children to let them know where they are and what their possibilities were on the website. Furthermore it should also become a little friend to them, so that they would like to visit the website and the character again. Our first idea to achieve this additional idea was a “clothing” possibility, so that one could choose the look of the character and it’s accessories as you can see in the little preview at pinkbunnylilli.de.
This is the cover of our bachelor thesis. The illustration was done at the very last minute in a hurry… but I still like it.
Our first step was to think deep about our project and what we want to achieve and we visualised those thoughts in this colorful mind-map. 😮
We also did an online survey with some firms who would possibly use this kind of gimmick on their platform and included the feedback into our work. We asked questions like: where they would use a character like ours and what it should help the children with on their specific platform.
My practical part in this whole work was to create the character itself, animate it in different positions and actions and include the changing parts and accessories.
I used three different programs to design the character. First of all Photoshop, for the first impressions and design options for our online poll on my gaming page. The second was Illustrator, because the character needed to be vector based in order to animate it smoothly and with llustrator there are plenty of options to create great vector graphics. And finally there was Flash, in order to animate the character and code some of its options and the connection between my part and Thomas’s.
As there were a whole bunch of different characters to choose from in first place, I’ve started an online poll on my www.pinkbunnylilli.de website and the winner (by just one vote) was some kind of green flubber like something called “Wobble”. I’ve also animated the bunny at the end because it became our second test character, as we were planning to make the whole system suitable for different characters and platforms.
Wobble now got three new colors to let the children choose their most preferred. It also got some accessories and arms to be able to do things at this point. You can see some of thouse things in the little preview at pinkbunnylilli.de.
Now there was still a lot of coding and interlacing left, to let the character easily change its parts and accessories. Not forgetting about the connection of my part and the integration into the portal Thomas was working on.
To create the different character animations also used a lot of time…
…but it was lovely to see the final character come to life at the end. 😮
The structure of every single animation got very complex in the end.
But all in all it was fun to create our bachelor thesis together. At the end our system never got to a final version. Some issues with the integration and some reaction time problems stopped us. Never the less, we got a very good mark for our colorful work and thereby finished our computer science studies.
In autumn 2011 I’ve now started with my digital media master studies.