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Star Trek: Red Squad

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I forgot to post this last night. Did up a new desktop for two reasons primarily. One being that a new character was built so I wanted to throw him in somewhere and the second is that this particular style is going to be used for the teaser trailer that's to be released in February :)

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For the teaser I've approached it in a manner I haven't before, which is to do more of an animated storyboard or animatic or whatever. This isn't the final cut of the music, but gives a general idea of what everything should look like. In the final, there will be words that periodically overlay the footage and other stuff happens when the Red Squad logo shows up, but I was more concerned with the "walking" shots than anything. SO thoughts, comments critique etc is welcome! Oh and the export didn't preserve the aspect ratio even though I told it to, so don't worry about that :P

 

Teaseranimatic.mov

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That certainly works for me.

 

I do get the sense that this is something of teaser to a teaser so I believe you could dig deeper. Perhaps there might be something at the very end that further heightens interest beyond the characters walking into view and casts a glimpse into the actual series. Perhaps that is fodder for one of the next teasers (you are going to make at least three right?).

 

While I like the symbol at the end it seems to be missing something important. (You've indicated that other things will appear there but here are my thoughts on it as it currently is. It's hard to judge what isn't there so I'm just giving you the 'this is what I see' feedback.)

 

My initial thought is that it might be the actual title (Red Squad) but it might just be as appropriately your (the creators') names. In some of the standard trailers a symbol like that might be augmented with the release date. All that seems clear is that the isolation of the symbol itself seems to be lacking. Another thought would be that the symbol would stand there quietly for awhile and then suddendly out of the silence the other Chris's battle sequence takes over and dominates the screen. This leaves the viewer with the sense of, "Did I just see what I thought I saw??!?" and they then go back for repeated viewings. The element of light vs dark, silent vs loud, subtle vs IN YO' FACE can be compelling and entertaining.

 

Note to others: Beware of the volume on this one if you often leave your speakers turned up!

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That certainly works for me.

 

I do get the sense that this is something of teaser to a teaser so I believe you could dig deeper. Perhaps there might be something at the very end that further heightens interest beyond the characters walking into view and casts a glimpse into the actual series. Perhaps that is fodder for one of the next teasers (you are going to make at least three right?).

 

Added: Some of my edited text in this post didn't make it through. It was mostly in regard to what you said would eventually appear. You may be going to add text etc. into the teaser but we can't judge any of that because we can't see it. As such we can only address what we can see. As such the following commentary mainly focuses on what is currently there and what I feel should be/could be there.

 

While I like the symbol at the end it seems to be missing something important. My initial thought is that it might be the actual title (Red Squad) but it might just be as appropriately your (the creators') names. In some of the standard trailers a symbol like that might be augmented with the release date. All that seems clear is that the isolation of the symbol itself seems to be lacking. Another thought would be that the symbol would stand there quietly for awhile and then suddendly out of the silence the other Chris's battle sequence takes over and dominates the screen. This leaves the viewer with the sense of, "Wow. That was intense. Did I just see what I thought I saw??!?" and they then go back for repeated viewings of the teaser. The element of light vs dark, silent vs loud, subtle vs IN YO' FACE can be compelling and entertaining. Like rendering out a sequence of images from A:M... you've got to set your range in order to see the results you are expecting.

 

Added: Another important thing about teasers is that you've got to give the viewer room to compare something... to tease them into making assumptions that are worth investigating. If the battle scene was set against this walk in of the crew the viewer is forces to wonder what these two sequences have to do with each other and they begin to form ideas about what that might be. In other words, by inviting the comparison, you have successfully 'teased' them.

 

The thing this setup does more than anything else is it sets up an anticipation in the teaser. The teaser then is the setup for the anticipation of the film the audience has an expectation of seeing. Of course, I assume you want them to anticipate/expect an exciting, action packed and engaging movie. So having the characters calmly walk in does this... it' lulls the audience into a (false) sense of security. But what do you do with them in that condition? One thing you don't want to do is leave them there without some kind of a payoff and then end the teaser. The effect of that will likely be, "Okay, got it. Next."

 

 

Note to others: Beware of the volume on this one if you often leave your speakers turned up!

I had left the room while the movie was downloading and was coming back and had forgotten I had my speakers turned up. The timing of the intensity of the sounds at the point of the teaser I walked in on made me think my computer was having a very serious seizure.

 

Added: Of potential interest (especially to fans of Marvel Comics) I recently posted a note from Stan Lee to Len Wein back in the 60s that critiques a comic book cover, it's usage of 'dead space' and the emotional connection between the characters and the audience (readers). Its a very short critique but it packs a real wallop when it comes to getting the audience to immediately connect with the story. It's also one of the reasons Marvel was beating the pants off of DC in sales and in the number of comic book readers.

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Yeah, fortunately, having been at a movie theatre for close to half a decade, I'm quite well versed in the styles of teasers vs trailers. There is to be three, first the teaser, then trailer 1 and then trailer 2. As for the bit where the logo is, that is Chris K's jurisdiction. I believe he intends some sort of short battle sequence to go there and then it will cut to the Coming Soon bit or whatever. But yeah, I have little control over what will be placed in the spot that has the logo. Like I'll make sure it fits in editing of course, but Chris K is the project leader for this, so it's his decision as to what will be there. I imagine it will be along the lines of some of the test renders he's shown me (I've posted a couple along the way here.) Originally he was inclined to splicing battle images in between some of the walking shots, but I suggested something more at the end as I think it will break up the continuity and atmosphere if its spliced in between. Of course that could also give a sense of dissonance if spliced in between, so a formidable argument could be made for splicing it in between.

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Here's an incredibly important document which took the better part of forever to put together and it's still not fully complete! But yeah, thought you guys might like to have a look at the Production Bible! I've removed e-mail addresses naturally as that isn't something we want open to the public. I'm only showing this to you guys too BTW, so please, no sneaking it out to others :P But yeah, have a look over it! If there's anything you think should be added please shout, this is the first production bible I've ever written up. I'm still waiting on a few credits to come in so the Animation Assets don't have credits and stuff in them, but you get the idea at least ;)

Production_Schedule.pdf

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And now I get into something I haven't really done very much of with AM....animating! Now the teaser comprises on my part of a lot of walking, or strutting more than anything. So here's try #1. I've already done a bunch of tweaking and followed TAoAM, but then remembered Robert had some walking tuts, so I played through those and tried to apply some more tweaks from what I gleaned from that. Unfortunately, I think even though it's better, it will be just as easy to re-animate using Robert's tuts more thoroughly. Regardless, I'd really appreciate pointers and advice on the strutting. Like I said, I've not done this much so I could really use some advice! :)

walk.mov

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That walk looks pretty good Chris! You are well on your way. :)

 

There are some areas that could/should be tweaked (perhaps some minor relaxation in the hands) but I understand that is all yet to come in the final refinement. As far as bigger/broader areas, the main area that I might attack if it were my sequence to play with would be the movement in the hips. It seems to me that you could get just a hint of up/down movement in there to convey a sense of shifting weight. That up and down movement might also help you move away a little more from what I sense as a hunched posture in the character. That might also be due to the angle we are seeing the walk from in the rendering of the sequence.

 

There is an aspect of this walk that really is pulling me in and I think it is the look of determination with a sense of purpose as if he's got a known destination. When you get to the final refinement you may be able to exploit that even more through some subtle movement in his face.

 

As most of what I am thinking about outside of the hips seems to concern fine tuning I'd say that is a successful walk. :)

(The video isn't looping while viewing online so I really should download and play it back while looping to get a better sense of how the whole walk as a cycle is working. It appears to working well. )

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Thanks Rodney! I suppose you're right...I should really get on facial controls hehe :P I've noticed however, that there's a slight pop when the video loops, so one of the latter keyframes must be just a little off. For the hips, I presume they point slightly downward on the leg that is pointing forward? I'll say one thing I'm very pleased with, is how organic the mesh is, I don't think I've ever built a mesh that moves and contorts so smoothly :D

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Still some hours to go on the render, here's what is rendered so far and it's looking pretty slick I'd say! There's a slight jump halfway through as I'm rendering it in two halves simultaneously, so part one hasn't caught up to the beginning of part 2 yet ;) I must say though, volumetric lighting is pretty spiffy and worth the extended render time :D

test.mov

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I tried adding this to AM Films but it seems it was a no go or something, I dunno. Anyways, Teaser Trailer #1, here it is!!!!!

 

 

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Finally Rodney you get to see that corridor! Though it is still a WIP... :P

 

The cool thing about the corridor is that I only make like one chunk of it and then repeat it. Currently I have 2 types, one with a door and one without.

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Here, now time to show a bunch of things! The list of modeling assets is becoming significantly smaller and the voice actors have been sending in their files so things are coming along which means it'll be animation time within the next month I think! Both excited and nervous over that as I've never really animated anything before, so this should be interesting! I'm also quite sure I'll definitely be relying heavily on this community for guiding me along with the animation, I have a lot to learn!

 

But now, some pictures!

 

(Oh, I should say, I haven't properly lit any of the sets yet ;) )

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The shot involving the corridor specifically calls for some windows, so I modeled a new section that had windows! Also, seeing as you're all animation folk, I figured you might be interested in seeing each individual section. The cool thing being of course that one can arrange them in whatever fashion one sees fit!

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Nice hallway, Chris! There are still a couple of small gaps where light comes through that could use a little tweaking. Great job so far.

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Thanks! Yeah, I think I see them, in the walls right?

 

Also, the bridge has been making leaps and bounds in its progress. It's quite the set, they really went all out when they designed this bridge! I should note that lighting still isn't done. This set has quite the set-up for lights!

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Thanks! Yeah, I think I see them, in the walls right?

 

Yessir.

 

Nice bridge too!

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Been a little while since I updated anything here so here's a couple more pics! Still a few tweaks needed on these two characters plus I need to install my facial rig on them. Also, the bridge to the Enterprise is almost done! Also, there is something else that's being worked on for Red Squad and it's something that I'm personally gonna want some legitimate critiquing. I won't post it yet because I want all of the elements there so you all can have a good sense of what's going on, but it's a graphic design thing. But yeah, that'll get posted this week I imagine :)

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Ok guys time to put on your constructive criticism hats! This is obviously gonna be a little difficult (mainly on me ego :P ) but this is something that really needs to be picked apart. I know some of you here are graphic designers and most, if not all of everyone is a visual artist in some sense, so I'm gonna really rely on what you have to say next. So here it is, this is the first poster for Red Squad and the main reason I want it thoroughly critiqued, is because it's gonna get printed. The printed size is 23" x 35" so being that large any little mistakes one might miss on a 13" laptop monitor, is surely to be noticeable on a full sized printed poster. Obviously criticism can kind of go on infinitely and there'll be a point where I'm just gonna have to say enough is enough. But anyways, please pick this apart, everything from layout to rendering to colour balance, you name it! I'm supplying 5 designs to choose from but feel free to suggest alternatives that aren't there. The first thing I'm gonna note, is the overall levels need adjusting, it's too dark for print and that needs correction, but I'll do that on the final design. Also, if I seem to counter what you say, don't take it as argumentative, most times I'll just be explaining my reasoning, not stating that it's right or anything, otherwise I wouldn't be coming here for criticism!

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First glance, looking at Design 101:

 

• The stylized delta shape you are using in the poster draws the eye down to the lower right, where absolutely nothing is happening.

 

• There's no focal point, no large image for the eye to be drawn to. Given how striking the ships are, I would choose one and make it the focal point and arrange the other elements to support it.

 

• I would try to avoid the tangents of the shape intersecting the bald dude's face.

 

• Negative space is good, but it should be used to balance content. Design is about contrast and compliment.

 

• Not having a natural sense of design, try using the Rule of Thirds:

 

See the grid over the poster and look at this quick rip and relocate:

 

Screen_shot_2012_03_17_at_5.00.02_PM.png

 

Screen_shot_2012_03_17_at_5.07.33_PM.png

 

I'm not suggesting you do exactly this. Find your own way.

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Mmm, it has been a while since I took design and I only vaguely remember some of the rules of unity and stuff like that :P But you're definitely right about the focal point thing. My brother and I were talking some about the eye movement and that was one of the issues. I forgot to mention, the poster is roughly designed after these two posters

 

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Now following what you said and applying it to those two posters, there is a definite sense of direction and focal point but it's lacking in mine. I kind of like what you have suggested with the second poster there. I think I'm gonna go and re-arrange some things :)

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Okeydokeys, how's this one? Better, worse?

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Well that's good :) Now a question which I can't really seem to settle on. What about the eyes at the top? Are they appropriate/fit? One's kinda green and the other red due to the intersection of the delta shield. Course I could maybe play with putting a mask over the top of the delta shield making that section of it transparent. Any thoughts?

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Okeydokes, this is my first time ever doing this sort of thing so I find it kinda exciting! So first lip synch test WIP. I haven't done anything to the eyes, blinks or eyebrows yet. Obviously could do with some tweaks, but please, I'll take any advice on this as like I said, I've never done this bit before!

take2audio.mov

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comment about your poster

It's one thing to take someones concept and use it as a template

but I would strongly urge you to remove the eyes in the background and

come up with something on your own ( it's way to close to the original )

 

little by little you are crafting something that has your mark on it don't stop now

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Thanks for the input! I have like 6 variations on the eyes/Deitrix at the top, one of those areas I have been uncertain about from the get-go!

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the poster is cool but you have to remember that the image as a whole has to flow. not one piece can distract from another. also you dont want it to be to cluttered.

my teacher once told that you want your audience to look at your poster in a clockwise or counter clockwise rotation. both posters above demonstrate that beautifully. star trek one you look at captain kirk then spock then the girl (no clue who that is) then the ship blowing up the other ship then back to Kirk.

 

Iron man is the same direction.

Iron mans face then his glowie thing then the black guy ( i need to watch these movies) then the girl, the fight scene or the old man (that a good distraction the make you look at poster 2x) then Stark then iron man again.

 

its all about the flow.

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Been a while since any work was done for Red Squad, so I figured I'd get the bridge done some more. Now all that's left are a few lights and some computer console screen! Anyways, I did up a quick render, nothing really official, just cause ;) It's kinda dark and has no post work done to it, but it's cool to see a render nonetheless, help get enthusiasm back some :)

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A new wallpaper! Finally one showing off some of the ships!

 

 

On another note, gotta try and get back into getting a lot done. Definitely no way we're gonna hit that fall release date, I'm still building stuff and I was to start animation 2 months ago if I was on schedule. There's only a couple characters left to build, however, I need background characters and no one submitted any faces :( The big thing for me is that there's still 2 sets left to build. Fortunately they don't have to be full sets, just the sections the camera shoots

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Oh, forgot to post this as well. One of the early compositions Chris K is working on. This is a piece that actually occurs more in the latter quarter of the film. But yeah, it's pretty cool, inspired some by Dennis McCarthy's Star Trek Generations score ;)

 

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It is long overdue for an update here! So, where to start? I guess first I should extend thanks to Robert, Gerald and Michael who have graciously volunteered to be voices in Red Squad! With that we have our full cast! The voice recordings have been coming in and I've been piecing together a rough cut of the episode which so far is sounding really good! We have a talented bunch of voice actors and it is really awesome to start hearing it come together! I guess next I should mention that Red Squad has an official site/blog now. So here's an update of Red Squad links for those interested!

 

The Official Site/Blog

The Official Facebook Page

The Official Youtube Channel

 

There are still elements of the website that are a WIP but they're coming along. With that said, Robert, Gerald and Michael, if you so wish there is a bios section on the website and if you feel so inclined to send a pic and a short bio for us to put on the website, then just send it to stredsquad@gmail.com

If you want a little inspiration or want to see what others have done, you can check out the current (two) bios that are up on the site here and here.

 

On the modelling front, the interior of a small space station is coming along and I've begun modelling Robert's (Robcat) face! Still in the early stages so a little rough in some places and the splinage definitely isn't final yet.

 

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I'm gonna admit I'm not entirely happy with the look of the station interior and might rebuild it and cannibilize more pieces from the Enterprise and Pegasus set to make it look more Federationy. Right now it just looks too Earth Link Zero...

 

Now I'm trying to remember what else we've done since the last update! Ummm, oh, here's a shot that Chris K has ready which actually is from the episode itself.

 

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And here's a couple matte paintings my brother has down for some of the space backgrounds for this episode:

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And finally, one last render that Chris K just did up recently!

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In retrospect I think we kinda hoped we'd have more done by now, but I guess one just keeps chugging along and it'll be done when it's done!

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Niced looking work, Chris! Only comment is that the asteroids look a little plain. will you be adding some texture or material to them?

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... dont want to be picky here, but you got my name totally wrong on the blog-entry. ;)

It is not "Gerald Gum Zhar" (the fun thing: I actually like that better than my real name ;) ) but "Gerald Zum Gahr"...

 

See you

*Fuchur*

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My apologies! I've fixed it on the blog but I'm sure I've gotten it wrong elsewhere then...

 

And everyone can check out Gerald's bio here!

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Here's some more on robert's face. I've only just done the CFA so I haven't really commenced the tweaking/removing unnecessary splines phase much

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Thanks! We're hoping that sometime in the coming months we'll be able to put together more of an actual trailer especially considering that we have most of the voice overs in now!!

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I wonder if I have enough to scrounge together an update here...

As life gets busy (both Chris K and myself are in school now, so that's a time drain) production slows down a lot. But we pick away at what we can when we can! So here's some stuff!

 

A quick pan of the Enterprise bridge showing the WIP animated LCARS:

pan3.mov

 

A quick demo real of some weapons and shields effects done by Chris K:

 

Our spiffy new Facebook cover photo (with the legal thing on it because CBS legal is now taking an interest in keeping an eye on Trek fan productions and have laid out some pretty clear guidelines on how things are to be done):

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I've been working on re-rigging the characters so that their joints roll better. The shoulders have definitely turned out well here, but I could use a few pointers in the hip area.

 

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