Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The new M Dot Strange film "I Am Nightmare" is finished, and if you pre-ordered (like me then you've got a sneak peek at it before it's impending release date. M Dot Strange delivers another twisted masterpiece, this time more family friendly but at the same time dark and twisted, if that's at all possible... ... and it is, and M Dot pulls off another Uberected offering, upping the game for other filmmakers to follow. The Nightmare creatures with their comedic top hats and 'boing boing' sounds are a particularly notable touch, creepy like the creature in The Thing, but at the same time comical. Gonna have to step up my game after watching this one.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Modeling sets and characters over the holidays

I've been busy over the holidays modeling sets and characters which I had not gotten around to building yet, some of these are only in a few shots as well, but they still have to have enough attention to detail to fit in with the other parts of the film.

The Grand Hall of Craftminster, seat of the Alchemic Council

Getting a mesh driven by an armature to clone properly in Blender is a bit of a trick...
...but I got it to work ;)

Today was "spiral stairs" day, made easy thanks to the Array modifier in Blender

I'll we working on a few more sets over the next couple days then it's back into production again.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

How to do storyboards the Uberector way.

How to do storyboards the Uberector way:   Get a bunch of recipe cards from the office supply store, I usually get a 3 pack of about 300 cards... get the blank ones, or use the blank side (unlike these shown here) For action scenes I divide a card into 3 sections, and draw action sequences. If it's a fight scene, for example, I then mix and match these sequences until a bigger sequence starts to take shape. Coloring the storyboards can help to keep track of characters and make it easier to follow what's supposed to be going once you come back to them after a while. Here are some storyboards from 'Archon Defender':

Archon Defender is out on VOD, get it on Itunes and google play today!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Teaser Trailer for Cold Dark Mirror

Just in time for halloween, I'm happy to announce a new teaser trailer for Cold Dark Mirror:

Set in a realm where magic and technology co-exist as the Discipline of Craft, Cold Dark Mirror follows a young Witch-Hunter, Lydia, who stumbles upon the dark secret of the Unseen World; a shadow world of dreams and nightmares which lies just beyond the mirror’s edge.

A dark and ancient power, the Time Shadow, seeks entry into the corporeal world, a power some on the Alchemic Council are in league with, and whose existence they seek to keep secret above all else.

Together with her Cat Familiar Callista, Lydia must face the Shadow Council, and avenge the death of her mentor, the Maegis Acheron.

I'm working solo on this one, as with all my previous films (visit for a full rundown of these ;)   I'm just over 20 mins in runtime at the moment, with some furious set building and secondary character modeling in the works over the next few weeks.   Follow my intermittent updates and progress reports on my production right here on this blog.

This will be the first film I've done entirely in Blender, start to finish, for everything except the sound fx and music.  I'm aiming for a 2014 release at some point, in the meantime you can catch up on my previous works at the links up above, including my first feature film Archon Defender out on DVD and VOD in USA and Canada right now.

Grab your 3D glasses for the extra awesome version:

Friday, October 25, 2013

Animating some dialog shots

I'm working on some dialog shots, these are easy to crank out, and are necessary to balance out the film and advance the plot along.  As long as your entire film isn't dialog (unless you're making an Ayn Rand Ninja movie...)  and you've got enough action packed sequences...   You'd think these kind of shots are pretty straightforward, though there's actually quite a bit of animation and shot timing necessary to keep these interesting.  The performance of the characters, and the emotional performance of your voice actors, has to carry these shots,  and with the camera locked down there's not a lot of room to hide mistakes with an excess of motion blur here.

Modeling this cloister set was actually pretty quick, the arch elements are instanced using Blender's null object group instancer.  I made the 'master' (hidden on another layer) exactly 2 'blender units' wide, so I can move these around, snapping to the grid, and they'll stay in place.   The most complex part of the set is the angel statue, which I modified slightly from a model downloaded from BlendSwap which is a great Blender community website where users can post models, and assets (animation clips, textures, materials, etc) with various licenses according to the taste of the creator.  This one is CC0 - public domain.   A lot of the BlendSwap models are CC0 or 'Attribution' , some have Non-Commercial licence, but the site makes it clear which is which. 

For a project like Cold Dark Mirror,  I'll go onto BlendSwap and look for CC0 or Attribution models, whenever I feel like saving some time in modeling.  I ususally have to modify models to fit my own visual style:  this angel model I severely ran through the decimate modifier which cuts the poly count and makes it look blocky, then I added my 'HF' sketch method on top to give it the 'painted with polygons' look.  But this whole scene took me only 5 hours to setup from scratch, using preexisting models (the wall lamps, some of the statues in the back.)   The architectural look I've established in this shot will be carried over into a few other sets I have yet to build.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

20 mins done

20 minutes done, an important milestone which means that I'm starting to get an actual film going here ;)   And it's almost 20 continuous minutes too...    So if the film is supposed to be 80 minutes or so, then I only need to do that 3 more times and then it's done.... easy stuff...