Final Project: Mouse Trap

Goal To synthesize all of the skills you have learned throughout the quarter to create a short film with a small team of peers.

Group Assignments

Mouse Rig

MouseTrap Board

Examples: The Cheese Trap, Sacrifice, Remix, All About The Cheddar, etc. (many more on YouTube)

This project will be the longest, but also the most rewarding so far. In a small group, you will create a short film from preproduction to final rendered product. Your film will focus around the game of Mouse Trap and the mice that interact with it. This project has many different stages, which are described in more detail below.

  1. Each group will receive a set of game board pieces from Mouse Trap that they must model. Try to model these pieces as accurately as possible because they must eventually all fit together into a single virtual Mouse Trap game. To aid with this, please model all the pieces at a consistent scale. We will be using a scale of 1 inch = 1 Maya unit. Several copies of the game should be available in the lab for reference. Use a ruler and the Grid in Maya to model your objects scale. Also make sure that the object looks correct when smoothed. Apply a basic shader to your object to match its color and shininess.
  2. One team will be responsible for gathering all of the finished pieces into a single scene. The constructed scene will duplicate, as closely as possible, the physical board game. The chosen group will find the following image useful when creating the game board.
  3. Each team will develop a story revolving around the mice and their interaction with the Mouse Trap. The most straight forward use of the Mouse Trap is to activate it and have a character get caught in the trap, however you are free to explore more creative ideas.

    The story must involve at least two characters and probably no more than three. For simplicity, it is best to stick to mice, but if your story calls for it, you can have other types of characters. You can create characters from scratch or use ones you find. In general you should aim for quality, not quantity.

    You will be required to express your story in a variety of formats as the project progresses. Below is a list of several things you will be producing throughout the project.

    • 7 Steps and armature
    • Detailed story written out in paragraph form
    • Thumbnails of the shots of your story
    • Storyboards of the shots of your story
  4. You will pitch your story idea to the class by having the members of your group act out your story. One group member can provide narration if necessary. The staff and your colleagues will give you feedback. The staff will be considering whether your project is feasible in the amount of time you have. If they feel you are getting in over your head or if what you have presented is not challenging enough, they will let you know.
  5. Each group will break their film into a series of shots. Think carefully about how to support visual storytelling as part of the design of your shots. Each shot will then have a Maya file with the motion for that shot. You will have to create any asset that does not already exist. Each group should split the modeling, motion, shading, lighting, and rendering work among its members.
  6. Once each shot is finished, it will be rendered out into a series of frames. Do not underestimate the amount of time it will take you to render your film. Everyone else will be attempting to render at the same time, so try to factor this into your schedule. Take advantage of open computer time by sending off renders whenever you leave at night. Renders will not always turn out correct the first time, so expect to render your shots multiple times.
  7. Lastly, you will compile the rendered frames of your shots in After Effects, from which you will render out your shots in video format. Using Premiere, you will take these video files and create your complete film. You will be expected to have a title and credits in your film as well as sound, but these can be relatively simple.
Turn In You will be graded on the following: What to turn in and when will be described throughout the course of the project.