Thursday, 1 October 2009

Final Film

Since I never actually put it up on here, maybe it's time to link to my final finished film. This version is actually slightly different to the version I handed in for my degree (for which I got a 2:1, by the way). Some of the shots have been re-lit, others re-rendered, and there are a ton of extra sound effects. The sound effects, it turns out, make the damn thing - and I wish I'd had time to add them before handin because, who knows, I may have even got a 1st.

Anyway, pontificating aside, la film:

Saturday, 7 March 2009


It occurs to me that I've never (ever) actually done lip-synch in CG before.
So, to mark what I see as a small but important victory, here is my first ever speaking computer animation!

- LINK -

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Version 4-and-a-bit.

Because I actually think my girlfriend may actually kill me if I don't update this blog:


And, because Adam's today told me that I'm not progressing fast enough and I was in panic mode already, that's all you're getting honey.
Now, back to the animation!

God that's hideous quality! Sorry everyone.

Saturday, 31 January 2009

Told ya so!

It's only been three days, folks, and I'm back with another exciting installment!
See - I can do this blogging thing.

As promised, there are images of the finished shoplifter, showing off his well-crafted shoulders, expressive face, and funky Chinese tattoo - as well as a size-comparison and a production sketch. A pat on the head to anyone who knows what the tat says, by the way.

In other news, I have begun work on the character who, whilst technically the protagonist, is forever doomed to be called "the dead guy".
It turns out that he is the toughest challenge yet, just as I predicted. But it's not just because his carcase gets itself tangled and caught in things, but also because he is our hero.
When storyboarding, the looks of the guard and shoplifter slowly evolved until they barely needed tweaking before I could model them - but I treated ol' dead guy like he was a prop - just a generic bloke tacked on the end.
I now see that we need to be able to relate to him (even after his death) in ways that we don't relate to the other characters who are both antagonists of one sort or another.
So, where both characters before had angular faces (the shoplifter actually looks a lot like a skull), Dead Guy (I think I'll start giving them all capital letters) needs to have softer, perhaps less stylised, features.
And, of course, on top of that, Dead will be the first character with actual hair. The Guard (see below) is balding and be-hatted, and Shoplifter is apparently a burns-victim without so much as eyebrows. Dead Guy needs, not only hair, but hair that will flop around with the rest of his limp body.
So, yeah, quite a bit to think about whilst working on character the third but, happily, his face won't need to be nearly so expressive as the Shoplifter's is. Phew!

Back soon - wish me luck!

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

I Live!

I came here to do two things: Chew bubblegum, and animate. And, at long last, after almost a month of modeling and rigging, I'm all out of bubblegum.

Bizarre John Carpenter references aside, this has been an extremely important week for my film and I. I've finished my second character - the shoplifter - and, wonderfully, he's much more poseable (which spell-check says isn't a word) than the first. And, just to test this out and finally take a break from the battle of wits that is my preproduction, I've animated the first two shots of the movie. Six whole seconds in total.

And dear god it felt good.

I've missed animation so much - although maybe that's just the sleep-deprivation talking.
I want to be an animator - not a modeller, not a rigger - and though I do kinda enjoy all this, and understand that it's entirely necessary, it's just keeping me from what I really want to do. I've been so frustrated recently - slogging away solidly every day, but never having anything new to show in rushes or even in my pilot, because all the work was technical in nature. Getting some animation done has really helped alleviate some of that and for the first time I actually feel vaguely accomplished.

There isn't a lot more I can do with just the two characters I currently have. Maybe two or three shots at most before I have to do more modelling. But I feel re-energised and ready to face the toughest challenge yet: rigging the dead guy. He needs to be able to twist and bend into very unusual positions which the other characters don't need to worry about, not to mention that his fingers need to come off. Should be fun!

I'll probably include some more detailed pictures of the shoplifter, as I did with the guard, later in the week. Yes, you heard right - this week. I'm going to make a real effort to update now, if only because my girlfriend has threatened to hurt me if I don't.
So, until then, I'll leave you with my first six seconds:


Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Last-Minute Update

It's becoming fairly apparent that I am not good at this blogging business. I'm supposed to be handing in a transcript of this blog along with my third-edition animatic today (complete with a phenomenal six - count them, six - keyframes of animation; all of which will probably need doing again).
The only real change to the animatic is the inclusion of some 3D backgrounds. Certainly not finalised 3D backgrounds, but a basic mock-up at least. Other than that it hardly differs (the shoddy spoken sound-effects are still there and everything).
I have attempted to add a running-away coda, as suggested by Adam, but am not happy with it at all. I tried a couple of angles and running towards camera works best, but still not well - although that's probably down to my reluctance to lose my cut-to-black ending. Perhaps I could show him running away after the credits? That's fashionable these days...

Anyway, since it seems that I won't be gaining any marks for my spectacularly underwhelming animatic - and that I will probably be losing marks for this even worse blog - I will try to earn some brownie-points by showing you my first character. This is what I've been up to pretty much solidly since I got back (because, damn am I bad at modelling). I designed and started modelling over Christmas and now (apart from a couple of minor-ish skinning problems) he's a completely animatable character. Only three more to make, and then I'll have my principal cast!

While the body has somewhat dodgy shoulders (which, thank god, the script doesn't require him to use very much) I'm rediculously happy with the face. There are a couple of extreme faces he can't quite pull, but he should be capable of full lip-synch and a fair range of emotions.

So, yeah, maybe that will help drag my grade out of the mud. But probably not.

Who sez blogging makes you emo?

I should probably mention that I've received my first rough draft (is that the right phrase?) of my soundtrack and it seems to be exactly what I'm after. There's not enough of it to actually include in my animatic yet, but it is heading in the right direction.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Animatic (v.2)

As I said in my previous post, my aim was to have some form of proto-soundtrack ready for rushes this week. Well, rushes are tomorrow, and my soundtrack is proto indeed:


I've added new establishing shots, as promised; rewritten the particularly hideous diologue, as promised; and I've even forced my girlfriend to rerecorded my hideous female impression of it.
All in all, a good couple of days work. I'd have done a lot more, but I lost several days by going home for a posh Christmas do, don't you know.

I'm fairly happy with the music. It is, for want of a better phrase, much too epic for a story set in a shopping mall; and I'm slightly afraid that it distracts from the action for that reason.
The main reason for it is that I wanted something reasonably fast-paced, as this is essentially a chase, and it boiled down to either being slightly too epic or far too techno; so I chose the lesser of two evils.
In places it is too upbeat when it should be downbeat, and conversely so - and throughout it is a tiny bit too heroic for a shoplifter-cum-murderer. But it is the best I have found (and I promise that I did try a lot of musics) and I do like it.
And, for all my foibles with the main score, the ambient elevator moozak is nigh on perfect.