Thursday, December 31, 2009

WTF

Hmm... so let me see if I understand this correctly:
I'm unable to watch my own film from the very same computer that I, the sole creator of the film, created the film on, and this on your page that just links back to my youtube page where I have it released free without any restrictions on viewing. ':|

Now, I don't mind people linking to my film and spreading the word around, that's why I put it up on youtube in it's entirety for free. But at least be smart about it :/

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Production begins again once again for the first time...again...


Back in production, the first shot for the main sequence of 'tales from the afternow'. Most of the sets are modeled (at least the complex ones that is) and most of the characters are modeled.

The animation process:
  1. Storyboard based on the script (in this case portions of the audio transcript from the original episode...)
  2. Sscanned in the storyboards
  3. Cut an animatic, synced to the audio (narration in this case, but this is where you would record all the voice actors if you do a film the normal way, which I dont)
  4. Figure out the frame timings of each shot, including overlaps for any transition effects, so that you don't end up rendering any more than you need to.
  5. Animate and render the shots
  6. Comp in effects, edit, sound effects and music
  7. Send film to festivals at your own expense, fail miserably, and turn to drugs and alcohol instead of making films
So right now I'm in the middle of rendering the first 'official' shot of the main sequence, as seen above. In this shot, as opposed to my usual shots, I decided to make a long camera tracking shot, which means rendering full frames for the whole shot (418 frames at 24fps = 17.xx seconds) Typically I'd render overscan and fake camera movement in after effects, to cut down on rending the background for each frame...saves a lot of time. However, every now and then you have to render full frames.

So I've got all my render nodes going right now:

node frame time
p4 1.4 ghz 5:24
p4 2.0 ghz 4:10
p4 2.6 ghz 2:51

yup, so a bit of difference in the performance of the computers, time to get another cheap off lease one to replace my p3 500 that I don't really use anymore. Not exactly top of the line, but I'll leave these guys overnight and then it's on to the next shots.

Now what's taking so much time is the face that the 'sketch effect' renders a frame 5 times instead of 1, plus doing full frame renders. Ouch. Not much I can do about the x5 bit, but I try to avoid camera tracking shots as much as possible... when you need something to stand out or an important bit that carries the story. You can get away with a lot by spicing up static shots with fake camera panning in post.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Dark City

I'm starting to be happy with the look of the street level city set which I will need for several different shots. These shots are from different angles, and so the set must work up close as well as distance elements. Together this makes for a challenging build, as all elements must work together seamlessly to fill the shot without any obvious gaps. As I stage the actual shots, I'll have to extend and move elements so as to fill the frame. For example, the foreground 'PanoShiba' building doesn't actually extend much above the frame at the moment, although it's intended to be a taller building, and I have a shot planned which will be looking up towards the sky at it at some point, so the models have to be created with modular construction and flexibility in mind.


I'm happy with the way the office lights in the far buildings turned out, that's a bit of a cheat and I'm going to have to use that method a bit in the future to make my life easier when modeling city buildings.

As you can see, the set has to work looking down onto street level as well, plus I intend to recycle the set elements for any other city shots I have planned.

So this all took 4 days on and off to build, and I didn't previs it with a concept sketch, so I was kinda pulling the rabbit out of a hat on this one, luckily some reference jpgs of Toronto helped out a bit on this one. (Modeled loosely on Queen St...)


This is what the set looks like from a distance:
As you can see, there's no point in modeling anything that
will not be on camera.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Low poly 4 lyf3

Low poly buildings for the distance, high poly buildings for up close.

Street level scenes are one of the most labor intensive environments to set up. There's tons of little details to create, both up close and in the distance. And your buildings have to be varied enough that it's not totally obvious that you are recycling them. Also don't forget to model all the little street details such as:
  1. garbage cans
  2. light poles
  3. electricity poles
  4. posters and remnants thereof plastered on any available surface
  5. graffiti
  6. sewer drains
  7. litter
  8. cardboard garbage boxes
  9. dead squirrels on the road
  10. cars
  11. signs
  12. bus stops
  13. stop lights
  14. newspaper boxes
  15. manhole covers
  16. etc...
One of the biggest mistakes I see in 3D animation and 3D stills is not enough detail on street level. I'm even guilty of it myself (rocketmen ep 1) You just gotta spend the time putting all the details in, and when you think you are done, time to spend another day or two because your shot still sucks.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Set Building

I've spent the last week working on this set. Seems time consuming, but if you want it to look cool then you have to put in enough details until you are happy with the result. Plus, this set has to be used for multiple angles and shots, and so has to be a full 360° set. Which means enough detail from enough angles that I might want to use and no black space. For some shots you can get away with just building the straight 'on camera' set, not in this case. But I'm finally happy with the level of detail and I can add small changes in production if I need to.

I used a couple tricks in this to make life easier. Notice how the ground fades into the horizon color as objects become more distant. This gives depth to the image, plus I don't have to model a whole bunch of stuff in the distance because it wouldn't be visible anyway.

All the textures are created with procedural fractal noise, with multiple layers to add large scale and small scale variations to the texture. This is set to 'world space' coordinates, so that I don't have to worry about two objects having the same texture when I clone and move them, plus objects textured in this way will automatically blend in together when you put them side by side (such as in the case of two ground planes, for example)

A lot of the distant objects are simply modeled as silhouettes: the cranes, the hydro towers, even the chainlink fences. With the distance fade effect applied, these blend into the background but don't need to have as much surface detail themselves. The sketch effect I use also helps to add more detail to these objects, so there's a certain amount of detail that they need, but beyond that it's unnecessary.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Angry Mob


Well, it was bound to happen eventually.
My voice actors found out about all the negative
comments about them on youtube,
and came after me with crowbars and nail boards.
(as above)

Revenge: not so sweet when you're on the receiving end :(

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Low poly clones

In the future, only the clones will police the clones.

Low poly clones: the easiest way to fill a shot where you need lots of characters, but don't want to spend forever animating. 3D max has a handy object called the 'mesher' (seen here to the left) This does exactly what you'd expect it to do: it creates a copy of any object you pick in your scene, matching any animation frame by frame. The time offset value lets you adjust the timing of the clone, so that the copy isn't doing identical motions as the master.

A couple things to keep in mind when using this:
  1. Your model has to be one mesh, if you have separate objects for the hands (like I do) or for prop objects (like the shield and billy club the SWAT guys above are using) then they need to be welded to your model, and the proper vertex weights assigned in the 'skin' modifier so you can animate the model properly.
  2. Your clones are all going to share the same motion as the master. To add variation to the models, you have to animate a 'lead in' time 5-10 seconds (or more) depending on the length of your shot, and set the time offsets so that it's not too obvious that you are cloning the motions
  3. I'll typically have 3-4 master characters, and 6-8 clones off them with random time offsets, then scatter those clones around (color coordinated) so that no two clones from the same master are standing side by side
  4. It can become a pain to choreograph all your clones if they are doing much more than standing around, I have yet to try this with an actual action scene where characters are fighting each other, for example.
  5. You should vary the height of the clones by 97-103 % to add further variation.
  6. Not to mention, slight variations in materials between characters: assign slightly different skin color / clothing color / variations in procedural texture 'seeds'

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Awesomesauce

Two days of modeling from scratch... (actually from my 1/2 of a human generic form scaled to my standard biped size model) ...and my general purpose Swat / Guard / Soldier model is done, complete with M16 and gas mask:

Boots are too shiny though,
I'll have to add some vertex colors
and dirty up this fellow a bit.

Go ahead. Make my day >:|

Still have to make a riot shield for when I use these guys for riot police, maybe some of those clear plastic face shields they use too instead of gas masks. Plus I can totally change the insignias and uniform colors to vary the characters a bit too.

I've been recycling a lot of the Archon Defender characters for Tales from the Afternow, but I've also been creating all the main characters from scratch. This way I can use pre-existing models (fixing the arms and applying the 'sketch' effect modifiers) cutting my development time for this project considerably.

I should really go through all my project files from Archon Defender and save out individual models of every object I created (furniture etc...) Could come in handy in the future.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Main character modeling

This is the main character for TFTA, Independent Librarian Dynamic Sean Kennedy the Sixth, who I will hereafter refer to simply as "The Librarian" for short. I finished up the modeling on the main character faster than I thought I would, although I still have a younger version to make who will appear through the majority of the short.

Notice how the toon shading is responding to colored lights a lot better than the method I used in Archon Defender...

You can see the polygon paint technique gets quite exaggerated up close, I was going to fix this but I've come to like the look of this, so it stays.

Some Technical 3D max stuff that might be boring to you:

One thing I've noticed is that this method lets you get away with lower poly models than I had for Archon Defender. Let's say you make a low poly character mesh, and put the meshsmooth modifier on it to smooth out the polygons (which is what I did here.. and for Archon Defender.)

Meshsmooth will divide polygons into 4:
  • step 0 ... 1 poly
  • step 1 ... 4 polys- This is where I have it for these models
  • step 2 ... 16 polys - This is where I set it for Archon Defender
  • step 3 ... 64 polys - ouch onoes you are starting to hurt your computer
  • step 7 ... !!!!!!! over 9000!!!!! polys
Some More Technical 3D max stuff that might be boring to you:

This technique is designed to maintain the 'painted' look by shifting the geometry of the models using a noise modifier, synced to the frame rate of the animation, so that the effect is consistent from frame to frame, and doesn't 'wiggle'

What I noticed from my test animations so far, is that this technique actually 'wiggles' the polygons visibly when *skinned* characters move. This is simply a result of where I have put the noise modifier in the object's modifier stack. Above the skin modifier, it wiggles when they move. Below the skin modifier, it doesn't.

So it's well within my ability to "fix" this, I just happen to like the way it works. My reasoning for this: It serves to separate living elements from inanimate objects and mechanical objects, which are not 'skinned' in 3dmax, and therefore will not have a visible wiggling effect when they move.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Character modeling - updated models

I'm updating some of the Archon Defender characters to use as extras and background characters in Tales From the Afternow.

Step 1: A quick fix of the arm length, to silence 50% of my complainers.

Step 2: A new lighting method that reacts to colored lights and allows me to fine tune the highlights on the models

Step 3: Adding the polygon sketch process to these models, which is easy now that I have it fine tuned to the look that I want.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Official Rejection: Why Film Festivals Suck

Less self referential than a documentary about itself would be: Official Rejection is a new documentary film about the film festical (*1) scene (and why it sucks) I haven't seen the whole film yet, but I'm ordering the dvd as I type this:



Now I could go on at length about how I've come to hate film festivals (and rather quickly since I've only been finished Archon Defender for about 4 months now... I'm a fast learner... it comes with being a solo animator ;)

M dot Strange has a good blog entry about film festivals:

Here's how it goes...

You pay a fee... $50 - $100 for a feature

A) You get rejected AND they are nice enough to keep your money
B) You get accepted THEN they send you a page of EXACT technical specs you must meet so they can screen your film

Example: "We are the Strange" was HD.... so my cheapest full quality option was HDCAM which cost about $1,500.00 for one copy

Now in just under a month (3 weeks actually) since Archon Defender was featured on the front page of YouTube, the film has been viewed over 200,000 times, with 500 feedback comments both good and bad (and of the "complainer" comments, 0 postings of their own solo animated feature films) Not only that, but the first batch of DVD's I sent to Filmbaby.com sold out already, with a new shipment sent to restock them today.

You just aren't going to get this kind of response from the film festicals. At best you'll be faced with general apathy (from both the festivals and the 'film media') At worst, you'll end up out big cash, selling off the rights to your movie to some distributor who will use fancy accounting tricks to further screw you out of your due, or just sit on your film while it languishes in obscurity.

YouTube has been a fantastic outlet, and I encourage any indie filmmaker, animator, or episodic 'original content creators' to approach them with your project. In terms of building exposure while sharing in ad revenue, you come out ahead on both counts. This is also why I am supporting OpenIndie.com and their efforts to set up a system for indie filmmakers to screen their movies to their target audience, an audience built online through word of mouth. The future is crowdsourcing, the old models of media monoliths are obsolete.





(*1) Not a typo ;P

Monday, November 16, 2009

How to build a dump truck (made easy)

3D Modeling time again :) Time to build all the sets, models, vehicles, and actors for my next film project. One of the things I need are dump trucks, so it was off to google image search for some reference material, and then 3D max to push some polygons around.

I based this model on the CAT 769 dump truck. It's not super accurate by any stretch, and in fact I eyeballed the whole thing instead of actually measuring anything. The total build so far is just over 12 hours over the last several days.

Now I didn't build this exactly in this order, but it shows the layout of the model:

Chassis

Engine block. Not at all accurate, as it'll be hidden in the model most of the time but it is visible dimly from the side at points, and has to just look mechanical enough to fool the average movie watcher.

Wheels. The wheels on this truck are as tall as a person, so I had to load in a character model as reference to base the rest of the model on.

Adding the cab. The best thing here is I can build other stuff on the back if I want to change the truck. (Which I will need to do :)

And the dumper, ready to cart away the mountains of cash that will be coming my way soon.

All that's left is to 'dirty' up the model with some procedural noise and some vertex colors, and to apply my 'polygon paint' effect to the whole model.






Update with the texturing and paint method applied to the model:

Monday, November 9, 2009

My next project is already looking cool...

My next project is already looking cool (if I do say so myself, which I do)...



(and I haven't even really started at it hard yet.. :P

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Character Modeling

It's been a while since I've had to do character modeling. For Archon Defender, I based all the characters on the same original model and modified them as I needed to make new characters. This is one reason why the characters look similar, though I did tweak the face and body proportions for each of the main characters. Having a pre-rigged character that I could go back and edit the clothing for came in quite handy.

It's also the reason the characters have (apparently) "short arms" (a major "complaint" I've received) That's because I never noticed the arms were short until I had 20 mins of the film done and I wasn't about to go back and re-do all those shots. So. If you want to complain about short arms to me, you should have mentioned it 3 1/2 years ago when I modeled the first character >:P

Yesterday and today I spent about 9-10 hours total modeling and rigging my latest character, for the Tales from the Afternow short:

Too Much TV: A victim of the Couch Potato Famine
'cross eyed' 3D pair
(the actual film is not going to be in 3D :(
I'm not going to sit here for the next 2 months
cross eyed or wearing stupid glasses)

This is the character 'Icuubi' from afternow Episode XV: The Digital Totem. If you haven't checked out Tales From The Afternow yet, you should. (It'll at least keep you occupied until I finish this next film... not no mention it's the shizzzzzzzzz)

Icuubi is kind of a bit player in the film I'm working on, but an Afternow animation just wouldn't be right without him ;) Plus, it was good to warm up the modeling skills to get the main characters ready in the next week or two. Starting off from a box, with cheerful source material (pics of death camp victims and anorexics :/ ...) the modeling took about 7 or 8 hours and then the texturing and fine tuning, plus the robe, and then rigging and fine tuning vertex weights (fun stuff) He's pretty much ready to go (aside from the hands, which aren't fine-poseable yet) Plus I've got a couple things to add onto him that I thought up after the fact...

You can also see the 'polygon paint' sketch effect at work on this example, It's turning out really good, and I can't wait to see what a full sequence animated with this technique is going to look like.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Concept art continued...

More sketches for Tales From The Afternow:


Yup I'm going to have to build all this in 3dmax. Luckily, a good portion of the film takes place here, so it's important to plan this in detail before I get started.

Not precisely to scale or accurate or anything, more of a way to get down the ideas and elements that I want to build for the actual scene.

Random video stuff



Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Previs Sketch Process

I'm working on my next project, a short film this time based on Tales From The Afternow by Sean Kennedy of RantMedia. The script is done (more or less, with some finessing as I go along in production) It's going to be a short film (the animatic came just over 10 mins, but there will be a bit added on at the beginning and end..so 12 mins or so) The main storyboarding is done, so now it's time to do a little previs concept sketches, so I know exactly what I'm going to have to build in 3D. I'm starting with the environments, for example this storyboard frame from the introduction:


When I storyboard, I'll sketch in some details and ideas for the shot, but obviously not in too much detail or it would take forever. Sometimes it's just stick men and arrows, depends on how complex the shot is or what I'm trying to convey to myself later. This is the stage where, at Pixar or Disney, you would "pitch" your storyboard to a committee of people whose job it is to ruin your movie.

A quick sketch of the environment as I had originally imagined it as I was doing the storyboard frame, with details embellished and added (like the water, the debris) Planning out small details like the electrical connections on the walls, the steel framing beams and metal details will make life easier when it comes time to build this in 3Dmax.

Color adds a lot to a scene, which is why I use it even on storyboards, you can clarify a lot with colors, in these concept sketches I'll try to keep the colors close to the intended texture colors as possible. If I'm doing storyboards, the colors are a little looser: I may use purple or green or something to keep track of a certain character through shots, for example.

I also did a mockup of the lighting which I will be reproducing in after effects for the final comp.

Now the main goals of this project are to:

A) Improve my 3D character modeling and rigging skills
B) Develop the 'polygon sketching' 3d technique and adapt that to the 'tooning' style I used for Archon Defender.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Painting with Polygons

After looking at the technique described by Isaac Botkin, "Painting with polygons", I decided to attempt to duplicate this in 3dmax 6 for my next project. After a bit of tweaking with my standard 'tooning' technique that I used in Archon Defender, I was able to come up with a pretty cool look:


As you can see the new technique improves on the old 'tooning' method by introducing light color control. The new tooning material responds more to light color, as opposed to the old technique which didn't at all.

The sketch like effect is created using the multipass camera effect, in 'motion blur' mode. This subdivides a frame into 5 passes, which are different slices in time of the same frame, blended together (you can do 1 to 32 passes, each one taking more rendering time) The base object (here the teapot) has a noise modifier which distorts the polygons of the object, the cycling of the distortion is set to be synchronized with the frame rate. This means that the 'paint effect' will be consistent from frame to frame, otherwise the sketch effect would 'jitter' from frame to frame. (which could be handy for fire and effects... I'll have to experiment)

Now, because the camera is set to multipass, and the mode is motion blur, what I found is that any object in motion will blur instead of having this effect applied to it. To fix THIS, I set the frequency of the distortion to a ridiculously high value, so instead of one distortion cycle per frame, you get 100 or so. Then, I set the interval between the passes to a very short period, 1/100th of a frame, so you have pass 1 at 1 second, pass 2 at 1.001, pass 3 at 1.002 etc. This eliminates the 'smearing' of unwanted motion blur, the high frequency of the distortion 'cycle' maintains the sketch effect.

The only drawback is that this method takes 5 times as long to render. (because I am doing 5 camera passes.) After experimenting around, I found 5 passes to be the ideal trade off between artistic look and rendering time.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Film Marketing How (not) To...

Filmmakers will do anything to convince suckers fans to go see their films. Case in point: the legendary B-movie horror filmmaker William Castle:

* Homicidal (1961): This film contained a "Fright break" with a 45 second timer overlaid over the film's climax as the heroine approached a house harboring a sadistic killer. A voiceover advised the audience of the time remaining in which they could leave the theatre and receive a full refund if they were too frightened to see the remainder of the film. To ensure the more wily patrons did not simply stay for a second showing and leave during the finale Castle had different color tickets printed for each show.[8] In a trailer for the film, Castle explained the use of the Coward's Certificate and admonished the viewer to not reveal the ending of the film to friends, "or they will kill you. If they don't, I will."[9] About 1% of patrons still demanded refunds, and in response:

"William Castle simply went nuts. He came up with 'Coward's Corner,' a yellow cardboard booth, manned by a bewildered theater employee in the lobby. When the Fright Break was announced, and you found that you couldn't take it anymore, you had to leave your seat and, in front of the entire audience, follow yellow footsteps up the aisle, bathed in a yellow light. Before you reached Coward's Corner, you crossed yellow lines with the stenciled message: 'Cowards Keep Walking.' You passed a nurse (in a yellow uniform?...I wonder), who would offer a blood-pressure test. All the while a recording was blaring, "'Watch the chicken! Watch him shiver in Coward's Corner'!" As the audience howled, you had to go through one final indignity -- at Coward's Corner you were forced to sign a yellow card stating, 'I am a bona fide coward.' Very, very few were masochistic enough to endure this. The one percent refund dribbled away to a zero percent, and I'm sure that in many cities a plant had to be paid to go through this torture. No wonder theater owners balked at booking a William Castle film. It was all just too damn complicated."

(wikipedia)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Friday, October 16, 2009

Archon Defender in the press

There's lots of buzz about the film building on the web as more people discover my film and spread the word:

Robukka, a fan of my films since the brickfilming days of the Rocketmen vs Robots series, has been busy promoting the film all over teh interwebs, check out his blog here.

digipendence.com got the 'scoop' way before my screening at the Revue Cinema

Someone on the gamers-underground forum found my film

Animation World Network posted my press release verbatim. If I'd known that would happen, I would have used more words like "genius" and "all hail our glorious imperial dictator" to describe myself.

The film did not escape the notice of M. Dot Strange, who gave me some good tips on how to proceed with the online distribution of my film.

The super-genius Chris Gomez at enginealpha.com also has a good writeup of the film.

And finally, a review from someone who has actually seen the film up on the big screen where it should be seen.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Limitations (breaking free thereof)

M Dot Strange was recently typing about boundaries. The limitations that filmmakers (specifically, but this applies to anything creative) put on themselves to appeal to the established norms and practices of the 'industry'.

Money calls the shots. If you're a filmmaker in the industry, you make the film that the money wants you to make. You might even try to rationalize to yourself somehow that you are putting your own creativity into it in some fashion. Every now and then a good film manages to sneak through and out of the hollywood film machine. Movies such as Dark City, Children of Men, The Fountain, District 9. More likely a film will fail to live up to the potential of it's underlying premise, such as the recent movie Surrogates. Or worst case scenario, a real turkey just in time for thanksgiving.

As an independent filmmaker, there is no money calling the shots. This also means that there's no money, which can be problematic in it's own right, usually resulting in you working at a garbage dump or call center. But artistically, there is no reason not to go whole out on your film.

Above all, I think it's important to be inspired without being derivative, which is to say that as a filmmaker you should definitely have your own ideas and develop a deep mythology and foundation to the world you are portraying on the screen. This should define your film entirely, and drive the stylistic aspects such as art direction, animation techniques, character design. The characters and story should develop from this foundation, and feel as if they are anchored in your world. With filmmaking, and especially with animation, anything is possible, although you should stay within the bounds of the coherent whole of the world you have created. There's no reason not to create whole new realities to explore in your film.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Archon Defender Premiere Screening - And now free on Youtube



Today is the world premiere screening of Archon Defender at the Revue Cinema in Toronto.

If you can't make it to the premiere, you can now watch the entire film here on youtube. If you want to support my filmmaking efforts, you can buy the DVD at filmbaby.com, as well as digital downloads for your mobile device.

Visit my official site archondefender.com for news and updates, and join the mailing list for updates on cinematic screenings in your area.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

All possible movies are contained in the mathematical abstraction of Codec Space.

Digital movies, such as are commonly transfered over the internet in DIVX or MOV or H264 format are encoded as a finite sequence of digital bits, one and zero.

Let's start with a simple example which I call 'two bit codec' In this codec, only two bits are used, and the resulting combinations of "movies" which we can encode are:

00
01
10
11 (my favourite)

in this space there are 2 combinations per bit (1 and 0) multiplied by the number of bits (2)

or 2^2 = 4 combination of "movies" we can encode.

Now, let's expand on this model, to a larger finite binary space. Movies are commonly encoded to fit in the space of a standard CD-Rom.

Let's examine the capacity of a cd rom:

1 MiB = 220 bytes = 1,024 kibibytes = 1,048,576 bytes

the net capacity of a Mode-1 CD-ROM is 682 MB or, equivalently, 650 MiB.

or

681,574,400 bytes

or

* 8

5,452,595,200 bits


Similar to our 2-bit codec space in the first example, we still have a finite mathematical space, Let's assume a single codec, such as the Divx codec, a variation on the mpeg 4 definition.

By encoding a video into the divx codec space, assuming a constraint of 1 cd rom, we have 2 ^ 5,452,595,200 possible 'movies' which we can encode.

A 'movie' in codec space is simply a finite number within this limit which, when decoded bit-wise through the codec, can be represented in a visual manner, at an arbitrary combination of frame rate, resolution, bit rate, or other codec 'encoder' setting. These particulars are not of great consequence, simply the fact that for ONE PARTICULAR 'number' in codec space, a movie exists at that mathematical point.

Or may exist. There are going to be far more numbers which represent a CORRUPT codec stream, and therefore either represent PART of a movie or NO MOVIE at all. There will also be other numbers in codec space which are RESONANCES of the movie, in different resolutions, different frame rates, different codec BITRATE encode settings.

In this codec space, there are going to be RESONANCES of a film that are similar to, but divergent from the original. Like the director cut of a film, for example.

In the finite mathematical bit space of a CD-Rom, we have to assume that there are certain movies that cannot be encoded to fit onto a single CD-Rom, simply because the space is finite.

The corollary to this is, that if we remove the limit of the cd rom, and expand our view to infinite mathematical space, then there must exist within this new view of codec space, all possible films which can ever be imagined.

Even whimsical fancies such as:

  • A version of Star Wars where Darth Vader is blue
  • A demonstration video on how to build a time machine
  • Episodes from the 9th season of the original Star Trek series.

In this expanded view of infinite mathematical digital space, all possible 'films' exist, and our divx codec becomes like a radio receiver, and we tune it to a particular mathematical 'channel'.

The channel exists, the number already exists, the only thing preventing us from finding these POTENTIALITIES is the overwhelming NOISE of corrupt channels.

If the promise of quantum computing can be harnessed to the point where 'mathematical potential codec space' can be browsed as easily as we can currently scan up the radio dial for radio stations, then we will be able to open our myopic view of our reality to a wider, hidden world of potentiality.

OpenIndie project: For independent filmmakers and animators

I'm supporting the OpenIndie project, started in part by four eyed monsters filmmaker Arin Crumley. This initiative is aimed at supporting independent filmmakers like myself through the building of an online community of fans with the aim of facilitating local screening of indie films, such as Archon Defender, where YOU the fan want to see it.



The premiere screening of Archon Defender at the Revue Cinema in Toronto Canada is now less than 2 days away. I've already seen a preview of it on the big screen, and it looks amazing in it's full HD glory. If you want to see a screening of my film on the big screen, the first step is to sign up for my mailing list. (I'm not going to sell your name to spammers or anything.. I hate those guys as much as anyone) Once OpenIndie gets fully up and running, that's the time to storm it with support for Archon Defender. Or any other indie film you want to support, for that matter.

Four easy steps:
  1. Spread the word
  2. Tell everyone you know about Archon Defender, and how it's possible for YOU to join the online revolution, unleash your own creativity and make your own film
  3. Tell your filmmaker friends about OpenIndie, and get them to join the growing online community of Indie filmmakers and Animators
  4. Chill out, relax, drink a beer, roll a joint, smoke some crack and rob a liquor store, and just enjoy the true creative art of indie filmmakers.
The way it works is simple: I already know that Archon Defender is awesome, otherwise I wouldn't have made it. If you think it's awesome, then spread the word, tell all your friends, or at least anyone who is into Anime, Sci Fi, Fantasy, and films like Dark City, The Fountain, Band of Brothers, etc. Me sitting alone in my house knowing that my own film is awesome is fine and dandy for me, but if you are sick of the garbage that is thrust upon us by the money studios then you need to spread the word about cool indie animated films.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

1st Place Animation Trophy Award Ceremony

I received a mysterious box in the mail today, which much to my surprise contained my award from the SkyFest festival:



So with an impromptu award ceremony I was able to award myself with this prestigious award... Finally something to replace my 'Call Center Employee of the Week Jul 8 2007 - Jul 14 2007' certificate.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

hmm...

So the IMDB won't let me add my award for
First Place in Animation, Because they don't "recognize" the festival.

Funny. I'm holding the trophy, certificate, and cheque that I got in my hand right now. >:P


I'm only mildly annoyed, in fact it's not really that big of a deal. Hey IMDB: I won't be able to check back in a few months because I'll be so rich and famous with millions of dollars, mad scrizzy up in the hizzy, and surrounded by papparazi and hot actresses and fashion models.

Smoochy dropped by to give his opinion on this:

Thursday, October 1, 2009

I went on a recon mission to the Revue Cinema today to sort out some final details for my Oct 7th Premiere screening. The Revue Cinema has been in operation since 1911, and aside from a 2 year hiatus (2006-2008) has run continuously in the face of the faceless and soulless multiplexes.

In comparison, over the last 20 years here in Durham Region, the big cinema multiplexes have been torn down and replaced with bigger and more flamboyant locations at least 3 or 4 times in that period alone. The old downtown cinemas that I remember from my youth (where people lined up around the block to watch the first star wars movies) are long gone, long converted into serial failures of nightclubs, carpet stores, or other such "ventures"

Which is why it's important to preserve places like the Revue Cinema, places which welcome the Independent filmmaker, like myself. We need to preserve these places, in order to preserve the sense of community and independence which they represent. Culture today is too fast food, portioned out by the big box stores, and subdivided into the hive houses of the suburbs. Just as fast food is unhealthy for the body, fast culture is unhealthy for the mind and the soul.

But, there is a growing awakening, a growing awareness of the shallowness and sustainability of our modern culture. This is not to say that I'm opposed to technological advances, in fact it is advances in technology which are enabling this awakening. A connection of the technological future with the spiritual past. And places like the Revue Cinema are the temples of this new awakening.



Now... as I was saying I was on a recon mission to sort out HD playback of the film, which is BTW going to look WIN up on the big screen. So I met with Tim, the Revue manager, and he gave me the grand tour of the place, which is an art deco masterpiece from the 1920's. It's not in pristine condition by any stretch, but rather has the character of accumulated wear and tear of the last century. plus. So to get up to the projector room, you access the most treacherous flight of stairs. From a side door in the men's washroom. Stairs, a ladder would be more appropriate a term, but also safer. A reminder of the days before building codes. So up the stairs and into a world simultaneously frozen in the 1940's, but with layers of the technological encrustation of subsequent decades.

The projection room. The projectors are from the 1940's (or so, according to Tim) The lamps are newer, 1950's or so, not to mention the huge reels of 35 mm film. The faded Marilyn Monroe poster on the door, and an admonishment for the projectionist to focus, written on blank frames of film and posted onto the wall ( sometime in the 40's. )

Now the new tech is high speed, the digital projector is this huge box with some german company name I don't even recognize, connected to a DVD player or alternately a playstation 3, and it this is where the delicious 1280 x 640 15fps divx avi is served up onto the big screen.

DVD's available at Filmbaby

If you can't make it out to the Oct 7 Screening at the Revue Cinema in Toronto...

The DVD's are now available at filmbaby.com

(and digital .MP4 downloads for your mobile...)

DVD Features:

Full length feature 66 minutes
Chapter Selections
Directors Commentary
Animators commentary
Making Of and Production Tutorial Videos (over 60 mins)
Trailers and Music Videos
Concept Art Slideshow
Top secret hidden easter eggs !!!



The digipack dvd's are WIN, and environmentally friendly too (I elected to use the smaller "CD" type format) To celebrate my contribution to a reduced carbon footprint, I'm going to BBQ me up some greasy ol' ribs and burgers. :9 mmm mmm

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Archon Defender Awarded #1 in Animation Category at SkyFest


Archon Defender has been awarded 1st place in the category of Animation at the SkyFest 2009 Film and Script Festival in Asheville NC. This marks the first such occasion, and the first time I've actually received an actual award for one of my films (though totally pwning renderfest a few years back was totally worth it...)

So apparently a nice shiny star shaped trophy is on it's way in the mail. I'll post an hour long tutorial on how to properly polish your film trophy once it arrives.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Waiting for the DVD's

I'm busy waiting for the first run of DVD's to come back from the manufacturer, well that is to say I'm NOT particularly busy waiting... I've been studying up on self promotion techniques of the rich and famous , and getting everything ready for the official release once I get the DVD's back.

I'm still looking for an online outlet willing to work with an independant filmmaker to offer digital downloads in HD for my film. All the 'big boys' seem to be exclusive to the money studios. (They haven't caught on that it's the future already.)

So. I should have the DVD's ready for release in about a week, the moment you've all been waiting for: You'll be able to watch the film, and I'll be so rich and famous while I drive around in a rolls royce drinking champagne, smoking cigars wrapped in $100 bills with a monacle and top hat.

Right :P

In the meantime I've been working on the next project. It's super secret right now, and I'll be putting more energy into promoting Archon Defender in the next couple months, but it's important to always have a new project to work on.

These guys are happy to see you.
I'm sure the feeling is not mutual :S

Monday, August 24, 2009

Cinematic Trailer - Final 2009





Final cinematic trailer for the film. I'm busy getting the dvd ready and out to the manufacturer, as well as arranging a premier early in October in Toronto. Exciting stuff, stay tuned for more updates. (...just as soon as I know about them...)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Reaktor 3 'Engine' Synth


Here's the reaktor 3 synth I created for sound effects editing. Some of you have messaged me saying you want to poke around with it, so here you go ;)

Animation is easy.

Making a animated film is easy. All you have to do is write the script, storyboard it, create the concept art, design the characters and environments, build the 3d sets, props, models, characters, texture and light, rig the models, animate, lip sync, render, comp, fx, edit, sync audio, music, final comp, and done!

The only difference between a short and a feature is the number of shots you have to do. Anyone who thinks it's too much of a task doesn't know what they're talking about, because I've done it, m dot strange has done it, Jeff Lew has done it, Matt and Dan O'Donnel did it.

I've never heard anyone tell me that I couldn't finish Archon Defender. Guess I wasn't listening. (too busy making my film)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Archondefender.com goes live

I've been busy this week: finalizing the DVD layout and DVD extras, getting the DVD print layout done. And working on my film website, which is now finally finished as well ;D Check out archondefender.com for information and trailers. I'm in the process of getting ready for the DVD release.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Some Stills to make you salivate

Now that Archon Defender is done, you are all probably just itching to see it ;) I'm in the middle of getting the DVD ready, and getting online distribution arranged as well (filmbaby.com is looking like the best option so far)

In the meantime, here's some stills from the film to tide you over: