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Dearmad

A WIP of sorts...

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Wonderful work so far!

 

I am a huge Ravel fan, as a matter of fact my piano teacher in college had one of his pianos in her home. I think it was white and all ornamented...

 

I will be definately keeping an eye on your progress!

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Absolutely gorgeous images. The design is stunning and doesn`t look like anything else I can think of which is an achievement in itself. Amazing :D

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Wow, your lighting is really nice- It definetely reflects the amount of time you have put into it. You are right, it does really set a nice tone for the environment. Looking forward to whenever you get this completed! :)

 

-Andrew

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Ok, only for my fellow AM homey's, I'll share a still from the film with ya: Frame 742 of shot 0302. Shot 0302 is slated to be the most technically challenging shot of the film; AM and my computer (3200+) handled it (but it renders at 2 seconds per frame in LINE MODE! :D), so, as usual, the only challenge I continue to face is my own amateurish animating skills! :(

 

This shot is a 1350 frame long sequence in the film, I'm shooting at 24 fps, so obviously a lot more happens in this shot than what this image reveals. It took 1 week to set up, 1 week to light, and 2 weeks to animate. Actually, this render revealed a few flaws I needed to fix up, but, eh... I'm not doing real final renders yet. I'll be rendering at 2x this size to get rid of the aliasing.

 

Anyway, I'm pretty happy with this lighting set up- it took a bit of thinking but ended up involving only 4 lights for this huge set with a LOT of animated things going on in it, not all of which are seen here. I know AM is improving their lighting, but honestly, I have to say I've enjoyed working with the lighting AM has.

 

I can't believe it, but according to the proof I have on my computer, I've animated 8 minutes of this film.

 

I hope you all enjoy- as usual comments are welcome, crits too. Mostly I hope to just continue to show that dedication can make progress, even if it is slow.

post-7-1103880018.jpg

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Dearmad - Very inspiring work sir....I know what it's like to loose scenes, models etc during ur production... but can't let that stop you, and it clearly did not stop you..... Your renders look great they have a really nice style / setting to them which will really drive the story..

 

Am also working on puting together my final renders unto a site like you did so it can be better followed, god knows my thread got out of hand ;) ....

 

 

keep up the great work....

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Starwarsguy: The sky is a procedural. I did it that way so the clouds will animate and look like they're moving/swirling by- just a simple dropped action that moves the material through the surface and voila. And, as usual, it's on a sky dome shape. For this set in particular it is very large, since airplanes are involved.

 

The one in this shot is my "morning" sky- there's a bright yellow area to the right that is the sunrise and darker purple to the left, where evening still resides. I've also got a midday blue sky/white clouds, an evening sunset, and midnight sky with stars.

 

at http://www.applesnake.net/sweat.htm I've posted a sample animation of this morning sky moving. The clouds are moving ridiculously fast in the test animation, but you get the idea. It's in DiVX 5.x.

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Hey Peter;

 

Those clouds look great. Your little animation clips really whet my appetite too. How close do you think you are to being done?

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It's hard to say. My gut says I won't be done animating until this coming summer.

 

The paltry amount of evidence I can bring to support this is: There are 120 storyboarded drawings. I've finished 40 since last summer (2004). So maybe by this coming summer I'll have animated everything out. (I'm in grad school, and frankly this doesn't help my animation pace).

 

While certain things go much faster now that I've some experience animating my characters, certain other things (like greater quality expectations that result with increased skills) slow me down. So it's a wash, and I don't bank on accelertaing my pace anymore.

 

Anyway in essence this animating pass through the entire film is resulting in a rather complete animatic through quickshaded rendering, which I'm also synching to the music, dialogue, foleys, etc... Once that is done and I'm satisfied, I have two dedicated machines to rendering and a third I can employ. I'll also most likely be purchasing a 4th machine at that time. The film is looking to be about 32 minutes in length (8 minutes completed to date) as far as what I plan to render out (I may tighten it in editing), so about 46,080 frames (24 fps). I'm assuming an average of 10 minutes to render each of the frames- so that's 32 days of 24/7 rendering on 4 machines.

 

At least a month and a half of rendering, is all I'm trying to say.

 

So with all that scientifical evidence I say by Fall of 2005. :blink:

 

A little hint: When I'm posting a lot in here, it means I'm taking mini-breaks from working on the film. And when you don't see me in the forums, it means school is making me cry like a little girl. :angry:

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Whenever it does come out... it sure looks like a story that has a heart. :)

I'll be glad to wait for such a thing.

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Added a *really* incompletely animated shot to the sweatbox area- Ravel is driving his ambulance over bumpy roads with weak shocks.

 

Only have the ambulance animated- Ravel's reactions are not begun yet.

 

This is a closeup shot, so its only ambulance and Ravel (with some scenery that'll be whizzing by once I get to it). After this shot there's a cut to where we see him driving through the city street. This is from section 4 of 12 sections for the film.

 

Here's a link to the sweatbox:

 

Sweatbox

 

Here's a direct link:

Hold on TIGHT! RAVEL!

 

It's in DiVX format, only about 600kb.

 

If there are significant (or enough) complaints, I can post a QT of it, but the compression probably won't allow me to make it quite as small.

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I love it! It reminds my of a real actor in a fake car in front of a green screen or something.

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Yup! I sort of pushed the rocking to make it a little silly. I could almost imagine the guys standing around the car pulling and pushing at it.

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I LOVE THAT SKY, STILL! POST A TUT!

I'm not inclined at the moment to merely post the material- it's mine for my film for now. And I don't have time to write up a full thing on it... suffice it to say it's two gradients- one along the x, one along the y axis. Each piece of the gradients is further divided into combiners- mostly sine type noise. A few of the attributes in the sine noise combiners are the clouds, the others are the sky colors or cloud edges catching light.

 

I'm sorry, Starwarsguy, but not just yet...

 

 

Anyway, an update:

 

Because I needed to test something in a final render style (so a quickrender wouldn't work), here's the scene (0402) above with the animation for everything nearly completed- some &very& minor tweaks and this scene is done. Oh, the motion blur for it is ALL SCREWED, ignore that. Rendered without shadows too.

 

The Sweatbox for Ballet Pour Ma Fille

 

DIrect Link to the clip (about 922kb, 25 seconds, DiVX).

 

I did a QT version of this but the smallest it can get is about 3 MB, and I'm just not interested in showing something at such poor quality- the colors get really pale and ugly too. I'm no QT master, and really haven't the time at the moment to mess with it. I have limited webspace and bandwidth, so sorry to the non DiVX endowed.

 

Here's a still from the scene-

post-7-1105237721.jpg

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Attached is a clip (937 MB) of the rough render for the latest scene. Between this scene and the last one I showed there's quite a bit of stuff, but they're long scenes which reveal a little too much about the story...

 

Yes, it is a purposeful joke that: Ravel's feet don't reach the breaks, and there are no breaks anyway. One of the things is that Ravel in real life crashed his truck a lot in the war. And in real life he was also very short... so, I put 2 and 2 together to figure out why it happened... He crashes in the film too. At least he doesn't kill anyone.

 

Another little joke in the film is that the women are all taller than the men... it just looked right.

 

The file is about 900kb- DiVX codec v5.x.

web_pre0404.avi

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Here's a still from the above animation, rendered out (but shrunken, in half).

post-7-1106386854.jpg

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I`m really excited by this. It`s looking like being a beautiful piece of work. A lot of people lose momentum along the way during a project like this. It`s obvious that you are not one of these people. Respect. :D

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Like me! :P Honestly though, I've finished things and it's mostly because I started off with a script. I never finish things that I just dive into with a bunch of models. :lol:

 

Great work on those scenes! They look beautiful. When I first came to the forums and I saw the little town with the road, I set my goal to be able to make something like that. You were half my inspiration for everything I've done!

 

GO YOU!

 

P.S. I really like how the camera slides over the the incoming car and how the car kind of bounces back from stopping. That's animation!

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I did a QT version of this but the smallest it can get is about 3 MB, and I'm just not interested in showing something at such poor quality- the colors get really pale and ugly too. I'm no QT master, and really haven't the time at the moment to mess with it. I have limited webspace and bandwidth, so sorry to the non DiVX endowed.

 

Dearmad,

Try using Quicktime and set the compression to Sorenson 3, medium quality. For me, it produces ridiculously small file sizes and is very cross-platform compatible.

 

I can't wait to see the finished short. It looks great so far.

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Ok, I'll try Sorenson 3 at medium. To be honest it's wierd how I just don't "get" QT. I've tried working with it a lot and just can't get it to cooperate. I tried DiVX and it's worked well for me. But I know others have faced problems with using it even to view things...

 

Anyway, I've set aside today entirely to animate (other than some birthday dinner I have to go to) so back at it!

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Try using Quicktime and set the compression to Sorenson 3, medium quality. For me, it produces ridiculously small file sizes and is very cross-platform compatible.

 

And you can make further savings (without compromising quality) by reducing framerate (within reason) and having quicktime use less keyframes.

 

I've just come across this thread (I've been busy of late and can't use the forum as often as I'd like).

 

Your doing some great work, I'm really looking forward to seeing more. :lol:

 

Cheers

 

Mike

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Thanks.

 

Just a quick note: I updated the animation in the above post with a *slightly* better quick render- more polygons, less artifacting and flashing going on.

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notes on using Sorenson:

 

Compressor: Sorenson3. For now, ignore the others. They have special purposes.

Compression quality: "High" (it gets overridden by the next two options)

 

Select "KeyFrame every" (some large number like 100) If you leave this unchecked you get crap.

 

select "Datarate" This is the most important number, it determines the quality/filesize tradeoff. try 100 to start. If you feel your movie is too fuzzy, pick a larger number. If you wanted a smaller filesize, pick a smaller number.

 

(Unfortunately, audio compression is not available within A:M.)

 

Most people never set a keyframe rate, meaning they get way too many "automatic" keyframes, meaning their filesize is huge and still looks awful.

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As always, it's magical :D

Been stuck on commercial work for a month and a half and it's always nice to see one of the big shorts moving along. I can't wait to see the full version of this film, it's a definitive labour of love, the style is fantastic and the persistence is pretty awe inspiring as well. :huh::D

I'll race you Dearmad B)

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LOL. Thanks! I was hoping something would get you back to work on the Superhero stuff and other projects you got going on! They looked fantastic!

 

I've got about 9 minutes and 16 seconds animated (about 30% done)... although I have a feeling when I'm all done I'll go back and try to improve some of it a bit... Learning sooo much as I go on with this film.

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Dearmad, I noticed something really weird with Sorenson compression a few weeks ago. When I unchecked the "Key frame every" box, the resulting file sizes were huge! After I went in and changed it to "75," which I believe is one of the defaults, my 18MB file dropped down to 4MB with no difference in quality.

 

So try playing with that value and see what happens.

 

Edit: Oops. I just repeated what Robcat said. Wasn't paying attention.

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Hey Dearmad, are you modeling specific scenes first? In order? What? I'm interested in hearing how your work.

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The *long* version of how I did what I've done to this point can be found at:

 

http://www.applesnake.net/ravel.htm

 

Check out the prod notes stretching back over years... :(

 

 

The "short" answer is this (with some overlap between the stages):

 

 

Research:

This step went on heavily up through modelling, and continues a little bit to this day. Checked out french interior design books, styles circa 1916-1930, architecture of Paris buildings, and buildings in Verdun and villages surrounding. Lots of web research but also real library research. Costume research, military, women, etc...

 

 

Concept/Script:

Took a few months. Many many drafts.

 

 

Art/Design:

Character sketches, color scheme, "the art of" part.

 

Designed each building on paper first. Exterior buildings were sketched out, the neighborhood and relative positions of buildings planned, etc, so each piece fit with the other and looked like it belonged.

 

Interiors were designed by sketching out overhead views of furniture layouts along with planned camera positions that would look nice and character positions/movements were planned (this overlapped with storyboarding)- so this way there's no fight to position my actors and I can frame them the way I want to within my camera.

 

 

Storyboarding:

Breaking down the script into the actual shots- so I know what was going to be on camera, what objects/buildings would never be seen or need to be scene. I did this part very carefully, ensuring it told the story the way I wanted it told, and in some cases designing shots that would require only a building face, or two sides, etc... conserving a *little* bit of my effort in modelling.

 

Lighting was described for the storyboards so that I could remember the intention of how shadows were to fall, how the mood was to be portrayed, etc...

 

 

Modelling:

I went through the storyboards, and wrote a comprehensive list of EVERY prop divided by set locations (1916 Verdun Bivouac, 1916 Town exterior, 1916 house interior, 1920 house interior 1, house intrerior 2, 1920 exterior street, etc..., etc..). There are 10 locations in the film, split about evenly between interiors and exteriors.

 

Then, I simply started modelling. I made all the characters first. Some props got simple rigs (like buildings with shutters, weather vanes that moved), many did not. Scaled all my props to accurate sizes relative to each other, so that no scaling would need to take place in chors, as that causes problems sometimes. There came to be about 300 unique objects modelled in the film to this point. So, even at 1 a day, that's a year's time about. Some are variations of each other, but not a lot...

 

While I rigged my characters here- I soon discovered that the holy grail of rigs is a fruitless quest that only distracts from the real purpose of rigging: animating. It becomes ridiculous and overly specialized. So I now just adapt my rigs as I go and make them do what I want them to do when I need them to do it. This means some characters (Ravel for example) now have 6 iterations of different rigs that I use up into Scene 4 of 12 for the film. There may be more needed as I go, but its no big deal. This way I don't get caught up in stalling and fretting and twiddling my thumbs rigging all the time in preparation for real animating- I just animate.

 

 

Texturing:

I waited with about 90% of my models to texture them when I was all done modelling them. I did this in order to ensure the color scheme and look was highly coordinated. Enough said.

 

 

Set filling:

I created my "sets" which consist of Choreographies. Dropped in whatever was required and positioned things (buildings, lampposts, trees, beds, sofas, pianos). Each set was already designed on paper (see above), so this became a challenge of matching what was possible with what I thought was possible when I planned it.

 

Often during this stage more props would become needed as places looked empty or rushed over. So I made those.

 

 

Animating:

I'm here now. I check the story board, grab a set, begin lighting it for the scene as planned (this is, evidently the reverse of how the pros do it, but've come to like this order of things very much- I adjust lighting a little bit after things are animated, but not so much). I drop in my actors and hand props, position them roughly, get the camera moves roughed out (so I've framed things), check the big timings, test it out with dialogue timings (in Premiere- so I have a rough animatic), then refine the actor marks and blocking, animate them in multiple passes (a sort of straight ahead with some pose to pose approach), then finalize the camera moves to ensure proper framing.

 

Sorta like that.

 

So, the direct answer to your question is: Yes I modelled my scenes first, but I modelled ALL of them. I am currently mostly animating in order, because, frankly, I'm no pro at animating and so they're all equally hard scenes to me, and this way I get a more forward sense of the acting and can carry the performances forward from one scene to the next.

 

I did it the Henry Ford way- so I can be engulfed myself in one skill set at a time- I find it speeds things up, and allows me to become facile. It makes it that much easier to feel confident as I move ahead. Though, as I wrote above, I often need to re-rig, remodel, retexture, rethink...

 

Oh, left out that I did voice recordings with people for the roles throughout the above, once the script was was storyboarded. Also have worked a little on important foley effects that are key to the story, and been editing the music.

 

shew! Long post! -gasp- :blink:

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You said that was the "short" version, haha. Wow, I'm glad you posted that. It let's people know, if not understand, that alot of work goes into making a CG short. You've just made me more anxious to see yours -- and maybe work on some animation and make my own :).

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Here's a portion of a 3 character scene. DiVX 5.x. I made a QT version using Sorenson3, trying the sugegstions above, but am completely turned off by horrible that compresison looks. Sorry to those who don't have DiVX- but I suggest you get DiVX anyway- it's free and painless.

 

 

Some comments. This was tough. Having three actors all at once really makes for a tough scene. While this level of animation "skill" may seem a little underpolished to you guys, and I certainly can see things I'd like to improve (a lot in fact)- it dawned on me today (this happens a lot to me- this dawning feeling) that I want to FINISH this film- I can see why Pixar has so many animators for a film and they work on maybe 3 minutes of the whole thing- I just don't have TIME! It's a tough compromise between the length of the story/pacing and how much effort/time I can spend on any given scene.

 

Not to say I'm unhappy by where it's at now. Again, I consider things done at 90%. When I'm done animating the entire film, I'll go back and tweak/fix whatever I can.

 

The audio isn't "placed" into the scene yet, and is only 22khz/mono, and 8 bits(!). Needed to hit the <1MB mark to post here. Obviously this is just a quickrender with about 70% of the set "inactive" to speed up the render.

 

You can't see it at this size/quality, but the facial expressions aren't finished yet (will be by today)- such things as eyeblinks, eyebrows, mouth posture, you know... the lip synch is in, however.

 

I've also included in the next post a still from this scene- so you can have an idea of the final image, given how horribly compressed I had to make this clip. -shudder-

0406k_divx.avi

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The still. I'm not sold on my FOV settings yet, however. There is a certain "minature" feel I'm going for, though.

 

I do know the FOV does switch in this scene from Ravel and his friend to BGM and then back again....

post-7-1112126158.jpg

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Edit: Now it played go figure: Looks real nice! Can't wait to see a final product.

 

I'm totally with you on your thoughts about finishing the project - and why Pixar etc has so many animators! I read somewhere that a good animator does some 10-14 seconds of animation per WEEK. :)

 

Lot's of people can say they've animated 10-20-30 seconds or a minute of film. The pool gets a lot smaller when you talk about people who have actually finished a short!

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There is a certain "minature" feel I'm going for, though.

 

I'd say you are capturing that feel quite well.

Yours is a style that seems familiar but quite original too.

 

It's always a joy to see updates to your story. Keep it up! :)

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Dear, I'm getting an "uncaught exception" in my DivX player on your movie - any ideas? I'd really like to see it :)

 

I'm totally with you on your thoughts about finishing the project - and why Pixar etc has so many animators! I read somewhere that a good animator does some 10-14 seconds of animation per WEEK. :)

 

Lot's of people can say they've animated 10-20-30 seconds or a minute of film. The pool gets a lot smaller when you talk about people who have actually finished a short!

An exception? Anyone else getting that?

 

What player are you using and what version of DiVX you using? I've encoded it using pro5.2.1 If you've gone a few version old on the codec, try an update of the free decoder then let me know. If you're current, though, well, let me know that too.

 

I d/l'ed the clip and checked it with g-spot- it reads fine.

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I love your vehicles! The modeling and texturing is great! The animation is very good, too. Although your characters don't look AMAZING, it just goes to show you that story is more important than high-end graphics.

 

BTW, I'm not insulting your characters, they look fine, I'm just comparing them to your awesome vehicles! ;)

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Rodney:

Thanks for the sentiment. Hope the final film lives up to its promise.

 

Starwarsguy:

Don't worry. I'm not too sensitive- you wouldn't believe some of the criticism I've faced from my own wife. :) In fact I'll have to give her credit as Artistic Director.

 

Glad you like the vehicles... there's an animated scene I did (the most complex one so far in the film) that I won't reveal until the film is done where some Nieuport 11's fly overhead. It's my favorite scene so far. So more vehicles coming! But... no explosions. Not a single one. Well, actually, there is internal combustion going on that leads to smoke and sparks coming out of the ambulance tailpipes when they drive... that was a fun effect.

 

AM is such a fun and cool TOY!!

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Updated the animation clip in the post above with the final version (well "final" enough to move on to the next scene, that is). Facial animations added in, a few other minor tweaks.

 

Thanks for looking.

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