Wednesday, August 27, 2008

More busy...

It's on to the next sequence for now, the second set of shots in my ground battle scene, and time to make a new set. Here's what it looks like after 2 days of modeling:

This set has to be a wide open area where I can show off a neat explosion effect that I thought up ;D And of course the area has to be surrounded by buildings, which have to be, um... built. (thus the name) You can't just recycle old buildings all the time or ppl will say you super-cheated so it's going to be another couple of days before this set is ready for animating.

The world is flat... don't fall off the edge! :O

Here's what it looks like from above

There goes the neighbourhood...

I like this view so much I might just have to add it in as a shot...

The level of detail for this battle sequence is slowing down production, but in the end it's well worth it because it will eventually make for a much better film. This is another benefit of working outside of the money/budget 'industry' with all it's time constraints and 'business needs' etc. My film is going to look f****** awesome (at least to me ;) and be exactly the film I want it to be, as my own personal artistic expression. How many people who worked on certain recent theatrical releases can say the same?

Friday, August 22, 2008

Been busy lately...

I've been busy arcing* the latest scene, a battle / action scene which is super labour intensive. Which is why it's taking bloody forever to get these done, but it's worth it (trust me, these shots look great animated... ...I just cant let the cat out of the wok bag just yet)

Firstly, each shot is a long continuous action sequence lasting 15 to 20 second seach, with full 3D camera movement and framing to accentuate different parts of the action. I have 50 seconds done, in 4 shots, which kind of gives you the idea. Having a moving camera (vs a stationary cam and creating camera movement in post) accentuates the action but adds up in rendering time.

What is more labor intensive, however, is the multiple layers of effects, which can weigh in at 70 to 100 layers per shot, with nested comps, z depth maps to get everything where it should go, etc. A typical dialog shot would only have the background, the actors and maybe a background environmental effect (clouds /rain / etc) and be 6 to 8 layers max.

This is all to make the action sequence stand out on it's own, as well as accentuate the rest of the film and place it in a context of a wider conflict that is raging around the main storyline.

Within another couple of weeks I should reach the critical mass of at least 2 mins of this battle sequence, which then transitions back into the climax of the film (which is, again, another exciting and labor intensive action packed sequence)

I may be at this for a while...

* ARC, another little acronym I've made up that means Animate Render Comp. This has nothing to do with my title ARChon defender, aside from a nerdly humorous coincidence... ...significant only to myself, I suppose ;D

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Oops onoes

I have to remember how I did this effect:

for my current action scene. Trouble is I did this over a year ago, and only to cover up a screw up in rendering. I could come up with a new effect and retcon it in (I've got a few spots like that where I have to go back and polish things up) but I actually like the way this turned out. I'll have to scratch my head a bit more about this one...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Check out Nightfall, an 11 minute space epic by 3D artist Valentin Schwind.

Obviously some high production values here, though I could nit pick a bit on certain details that only the trained / experienced eye would pick up. The main point is that it's done by one person (two actually, the music was composed by the lovely Ivelina Nedyalkova) Secondly, he did this just for his own amusement and released it in HD for all to watch (*ahem*)

11 mins is a bit short, (and probably the idea) Though his site says the rough cut was originally 30 mins long. A bit long for a piece without dialog, so 11 mins fits perfectly. No dialog also means no lip syncing, so extra points for avoiding that trainwreck.

Hopefully we'll see more from Mr. Schwind in the future.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Why aren't you making your own film?...

Animator Ralph Bakshi (responisble for such animation classics as Rocket Robin Hood and Fritz The Cat) has a good comment on the animation 'undustry'* To paraphrase: computers and software enables you to make your own film instead of working for some tired old dinosaur cranking out the same boring old retread films... so why aren't you doing exactly that?

No worrys... I'm on it.. and I'm not the only one ;D

* Undustry, another word I just made up, as opposed to the film Industry ;D

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Pixar: We suck at 3D

I hate to rip on Pixar (actually, I love it... like who greenlights their films anyways? A committee of disgruntled call center ops managers? oops.. I should be nice, after all, they might be working for me some day...) Photoshop Disasters had funny bit on a recent 'Wall-E' poster:

Notice the cheap ass lazy reflection. No excuse... no excuse....

Saturday, August 2, 2008

First ground battle shots out of the wringer...

After a week and a half of modeling new sets and updating my soldier characters for the battle scene, I'm finally comping the first shot in this ground battle sequence:

I've still got a few elements to add in and refine, but there seems to always be a point of critical mass where all the modeling is done and enough details are added, plus once you have one shot done, the effect elements can be easily recycled for the next shots. I should be able to get at least 30 seconds to a minute out of this set and actors, then it's on to modeling the next set...