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3D Animated Virtual Home

Creating a 3D Animation

Content and text treatment
The basic ideas are outlined, along with descriptions of the animations that will occur in each scene. The "text treatment" becomes the design document that specifies how the content will be presented, the ways in which the learner interacts with the material, and how the learning portions of the program will take place. The content is then reviewed by an interdisciplinary team and comments are incorporated in the text treatment.
The web designer then takes the text treatment and creates the storyboards. When a section is completed, it is reviewed by an interdisciplinary team to make sure that the drawings are accurate and that the individual animated frames work together as a whole. To date, we have had seven rounds of storyboards – with each round, reviewing corrections and additions from the previous round until we are certain that the amount of detail included is appropriate and that the content is interesting, accessible, and usable.

Selection of interior furnishings and creation of 2D drawings
Our animation has over 250 items (e.g., chairs, hospital beds, walkers, and bathtubs) that have to be either selected from existing computer graphics artwork or hand modeled. After the furnishings and architectural details are chosen/modeled, the sets (individual scenes in the animation), are drawn in 2D. This "pre-visualization" phase is a quick, easy approach to experimenting with the appearance of a scene before committing to building the more labor-intensive 3D version.

Three-dimensional home
To create a realistic home environment in which a typical older adult might live, we chose a floorplan from a design of a home built in the 1950s. Architectural measurements for every room of the house, including ceiling heights, door and hallway widths, had to be entered into the software program, Maya.

Three-dimensional patient
A virtual patient was then created using static and functional anthropometric data. This measurement data enables the geriatric figure to engage in realistic body movements. Measurements include stature, face, hand and foot dimensions, joint range of motion, step length and maximum balance time. Using advanced 3D software programs, a realistic virtual figure is created that interacts in an architecturally scaled virtual environment – the 3D modeled character, its movements, and the 3D home are all designed to one uniform scale.

Capturing realistic body movement
For scenes that require animating a complex series of actions, we first videotape either the web group or an older adult (when appropriate) engaging in the activity. After studying various body movements, we then create the virtual animation.

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