My favorite time of the year is finally here and I could not wait to make a Holiday special! The newest video “Oh Christmas Tree!” is a step further in the right direction – focused learning, additional characters, props and sets, and even some more camera angles.
Of course we had to make some printable activities to go along with this video!
Decorating Mitzy’s shop for the Holidays was the best part – All assets are from Adobe Stock or the Epic Marketplace – This was the Christmas Decor marketplace asset I purchased and it had the coolest Christmas Tree blueprint which allowed full control of the tree size, ornament positioning and other customizable features. It also included some particle snow that was perfect.
It took me one full day to decorate Mitzy’s shop and build the second set. Most of the time was spent finding the right assets and importing them into Unreal. It took me another day to do the entire video, which included recording both Mitzy and Daisy’s performance, adding camera angles, character/prop placement, rendering, cutting together and adding some audio/sfx.
The next exciting part was introducing Daisy, my new character. Daisy is supposed to represent all of the scientific and mathematical wonders found in nature. Due to COVID restrictions and the lack of the right gear, the process for voicing and animating Daisy was a bit more difficult. One of my friends in San Diego recorded the lines on her iPhone, then I would act the lines back out and record my facial performance onto Daisy so there would be animation that is sync’d to the audio. My friend in San Diego does not have an iPhone with the FaceAR capabilities, nor a machine powerful enough to run Unreal and record. Using some camera angles and trying to record some idle reactions for Mitzy allowed me to fake the back and forth conversation scenes.
Mitzy’s world is quickly growing and this video got me so excited for what is to come. I am shifting gears to finishing the book, for a release in early 2021.
Mitzy is here to celebrate National STEAM Day with you! Here’s a short little video showing how Mitzy uses STEAM in all of her projects and every day life.
Mitzy Makes It is a STEAM focused brand aimed at inspiring little girls to make and create in fun new ways through a series of children’s books and short form digital videos all made in Unreal Engine. Mitzy hopes to change the stigma around STEAM and inspire a new generation of builders, creators, and makers. The brand’s mission is to empower little girls to pursue futures in STEAM, which adds diversity to leadership and problem solving in the tech industry.
STEAM doesn’t have to be complicated or hard, you use it all the time in your daily life – from making toast to counting toys.
This months video is celebrating Halloween while learning how to count to 10! Mitzy has made a Costume Making Machine that generates 10 costumes based off of her favorite things and popular Halloween Decorations.
This video was focused more on embedding basic STEM principles into the video and creating a longer piece of content to increase engagement.
In addition to this months video, I made a couple work sheets based off of her costumes! The worksheets are made by using a Toon Shader post process material in Unreal Engine. It allows me to re-use the assets from the video and create activity pages very quickly.
Mitzy spilled her buttons all over her shop. However, she realizes this is a perfect opportunity to organize them by color and size. Her imagination runs wild as she thinks about all the things she can make with these buttons!
This week I have created some downloadable activities that go along with the video to reinforce sizes, colors and counting!
After your kids finish the activities, you can cut the buttons out for them and let them imagine what they could make from buttons!
For you techies – The line art version of Mitzy is actually rendered out of Unreal. I added a post-process toon shader material to the scene and rendered it. A super quick way to make coloring pages and activities out of all the assets.
After a successful splashdown of the Endeavor yesterday by SpaceX and NASA, I thought it would be great to make a video of Mitzy being inspired by this recent event. Something Mitzy and kids can share together. The beauty of working in Unreal Engine is the ability to create things real-time and take advantage of making content that is fresh and relevant for kids.
This was made in less than an 8 hour work day. From quickly coming up with a script and doing some quick layout in engine to figure out the shots, to final renders (which of course took a couple tries again because I kept missing some things)
I used the new Control Rig in Unreal for some of the animation and it was great to quickly pose and animate some hands and feet. I do not have any formal animation training and the goal was to post something quickly – trying to not get caught up in the small details at this stage.
I’ve been trying to get some Mocap Animation packs to retarget to Mitzy correctly, but she’s so tiny with drastically different proportions than the UE4 Mannequin, that not many have been working out of the box. I did have a Moon Walk animation and I knew I had to use it for this video.
I’ve been using Adobe Stock for various 3D assets and Audio. They actually have a ton of free assets you can download. They have a bunch of Space assets – Suits, Planets, and Spaceships that are all free and were perfect for this (Link Here). I grabbed one of the Spacesuits and just grabbed the helmet part and somehow made it work for Mitzy’s head – although you will notice she never turns around haha.
I continued working on Mitzy’s Maker space today. I started thinking about how she would move in the space and how is should be organized.
In the middle of working on this, I realized it would be helpful if I had a CG Model of Mitzy to place around and figure out the scale of this world. I made a rough one in Maya just to help me get a better idea of her size – She is small but mighty! (Mitzy will eventually be modeled by a professional, but until then…)
My first goal for this project is to begin building the world. I’m using Unreal Engine ( https://www.unrealengine.com/en-US/ ) for this project. I can use CG assets purchased from the Epic Marketplace to build out the environments. The goal is to expand the children’s book into a play along app. Creating all of this in Unreal initially will allow me to easily create the app.
First, I browse to see if I can find assets that fit the look and feel I am going for. This is going to be a fun and vibrant world, but still practical. I start importing all of the asset packs that I think will be useful.
Had fun curating all the assets I am going to use. Hoping to nail down the layout soon so I can start decorating.