Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Indie filmmakers on the web...

I came across filmmaker Ricardo Mercado's 10 minute film youtube:



Overall a very well executed film, and I can especially appreciate a one human effort on these kind of films. There are definitely some good cinematic moments that stick out from the rest of the film, which will be difficult for me not to outright plagiarize for one of my next projects. The story was well thought out, and suitable for the length of the film, although could be well adapted for a feature length film. Kudos to Mr. Mercado for not having it all just be the dream of some 8 year old kid at the end of the film, like so many other 'efforts' I've seen. Some of the animation could use improvement, in particular the character animation, but if you have no room for improvement then you are just going to stagnate as an artist. Ricardo: keeps up your efforts and keeps increasing your skills, I'd love to see more films.

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Most Powerful Way to Get Unstuck

Interesting stuff from an article at Zen Habits by Jonathan Mead:

...not only is it valid to care about the work you do, it’s absolutely necessary. I used to think that you didn’t have a choice, or that doing work you love was some kind of luxury for the retired or gifted. And you know why? Because we’re taught that we can’t get paid to be ourselves. We’re taught that we need to become something in order to earn a paycheck.

Here’s some refreshing news: That’s an assumption...

Right on, so in a nutshell, you aren't really alive unless you are doing something with your life. Something creative... Oh, say, an animated film or something...

His list of suggestions follows as such:
I've got most of those covered. Except maybe the revolution bit. There's a growing momentum of indie animators and filmmakers, empowered by technology and the internet. Hopefully someone will make a better film than me. Lots of animators, with great ideas and way more skill and talent than I have. Maybe you're one of them right now, working on some big studio flop-buster, just itching to get your own idea out.

I want to see that. If you watch Archon Defender, and think "shit... I could make a better film than that", then get to it. No seriously, make a better film than I can. I'm not trying to boast here... I actually want you to make a better film than I can. (I might even seed it until my ratio reaches 1)

Here's my suggestion:

You can do something epic, an amazing legacy project, and still hold down a shitty 9 to 5 crap job to pay the bills.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Animation workflow

It takes big studios like Pixar roughtly 4 years to go from initial pitch to finished movie. It's taken me just under 3 years to get Archon Defender done, and it'll be roughly 3 years and a few months (now that the sound fx is almost all done) The studios have hundreds of artists working on their films, and render farms that should pose no restrictions on rendering and compositing workflow. I'm able to make my film while also holding down a full time money job (the key is no TV. or friends :(

So how is it that Pixar isn't coming out with 50 movies a year?...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

3D Animation



I've been thinking lately how cool it would be to do a film in 3D... actual 3D with the glasses, kind of like Pixar's newest effort. Seems the movie industry is kicking into a new 3D movie fad, doomed to fail again unless they come up with a way of making movies 3D without having to wear glasses.

That's the problem with making a film in 3D. The technical aspects are all there in 3Dmax and After Effects: just render with 2 cameras instead of one. Makes it a bit of a bugger for compositing because now all your particle effects have to be 3D too. But the major problem: Having to wear 3D glasses for the good part of 3 years :( Red / Blue glasses aren't exactly easy on the eyes (although the red/cyan anaglyphs look the best.) You can fool around with dual monitors if you want to sit crosseyed, but it's not a very audience friendly method.

The monitor companies need to get moving on making 3D direct view no glasses no BS displays, and make them standard so everyone has one, real cheap on sale at Wal Mart kind of deal. Then you'll see some really great looking movies.

At least once the novelty of poking stuff out at the audience wears off...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The fine tooth nano comb of sound fx editing

One of the side ''benefits" of sound editing is that it affords one to step frame by frame through the entirety of the film, with all the mistakes, rendering and comp errors staring one right in the face. Laughing at you. Mocking your best intents to do the perfect job.

Makes me wonder how many 'screw ups' actually make it into a pixar movie. Not the fake 'blooper reels' that they tack on at the end that takes actual extra effort to do. But nit picky little things, like something composited at 95% opacity for a frame or two, or a bit of 50% grey visible for another frame or two, or a stairstepped shadow map somewhere.

On the upside, there's obviously room for improvement ;D If I was able to make the perfect film 10 biullion% over 9000 super awesome best film ever... ...I'd have to stop making films. So as cool as Archon Defender is going to be, the NEXT film will be even better. (hehe especially with some of the crazy sh** I have planned... ;)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Sound FX progress ... Voiceover progress

Day 1049 (shy of 3 years)

The sound effects editing is coming along quite nicely. I have 41 mins 21 secs done out of the running length (minus credits) 1 hour 4 mins and 43 secs. This is into day 48 of sound fx. Now for comparison, it took me 572 days of 3D animating and compositing to get 41 mins done. (646 days if you count the time I spent in initial previs and script writing from the day that I got the idea for Archon Defender)

I knew the sound fx would take a lot less time than the rendering. Plus it's important to do it all at once, so you that all the sounds will be consistent over the course of the hour long film.

The only thing left after the sound fx ( and one more bit of music for the last 5 minutes..) is the voiceovers. These will be even "easier" to sync up, and I almost have all the voiceovers recorded.

Voice Actors

I've received an overwhelming response to the casting call. A lot of you who I initially contacted have sent back your recordings... And did a totally awesome job of it. Those of you who actually came to my "studio" to record: I don't know how you escaped, but rest assured I will find you. You can run, but you can't hide >:D

There's a few of you who expressed interest, and I still have parts that need recording... ...I will be getting back to you in the next couple of weeks as soon as I get around to it, being a one man operation and all ;D

A couple (three, in fact) of you have yet to send back your parts. You will be hounded mercilessly by me in the weeks to come, so to spare yourselves some misery, you are cordially invited to get your recordings done and to me as soon as you can manage it.

Otherwise I record myself for those parts, and I would hate to have to inflict THAT on anyone >:P