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Stalled Trek: Amutt Time Remastered


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With the animation for Stalled Trek: The City on the Edge of Foreclosure finally completed (only took two and a half years!), I went back and made a new HD version of Amutt Time for the blu-ray!

Going back to a project that's almost a decade old was definitely a challenge!

For one thing, it was my first real attempt at doing a film. Although I would eventually develop some organization, the beginnings were a mess! I didn't have production notes, so I had to do a lot of digging to find things. In the first sequences, files were scattered around in different places and there was some of that "final_revised_2b_final_b" kind of naming going on. :-) 

I was assembling it in Premiere on top of the original video, so I at least had that to work as a blueprint.

Originally, I had experimented with re-rendering the frames in 1080, but it turned out that just wasn't going to work. At the time (more than two years ago), there were plugins that no longer worked on the Mac version, mainly the Darktree textures. Attempting to render them in the Windows version failed because for some reason, the decals would all have to be renamed and updated. This worked sometimes, but not always. I'd open a choreography and the decals would be checkerboarded across the models and it was just a mess.

Also, for the most part, there really wasn't any detail in the models. Most models just had colors assigned to them with maybe a noise pattern. This meant, after the added time of rendering a frame in 1080, the results didn't look noticeably different.

So, I went with upscaling the original frames and it worked surprisingly well. Thank goodness I hadn't thrown them away! It helped also that I could re-do the post-render Photoshop work in HD.

Although there wasn't a lot of detail, there were places where the added resolution was noticeable. Usually this was because what I'd done to the shots after the fact had given them a soft focus look.


It was very weird going back to this after so many years.

Especially after having just worked on a newer Stalled Trek.

The temptation to just re-do the whole movie was definitely strong. That old adage about creative projects never being finished, but abandoned is definitely true. But re-doing it wasn't what I wanted to do. 

 I also didn't want to "Special Edition" it up with new things. :-)

The biggest change is the color, which was greatly hindered by the original renders just being too blown out. Especially the reds. All that stuff about the gamma that I never understood did come back to bite me! I spent a lot of time trying to dial it down with limited success. 

I'm keeping both versions up on YouTube.



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Thanks, Michael!

Nothing so formal as that, but there is a work in progress thread here: Stalled Trek 2012

I went through it again and it's wild now to think about how quickly it went. I started it as my New Year's resolution at the beginning of January of 2012 and finished animating it in April and had DVDs shipped to me at the beginning of May.

It seemed like all the stars lined up to make that one go.

Unlike City on the Edge of Foreclosure, which seems to have every obstacle possible being thrown in its way! I ended up getting hired full time, had to switch from A:M to Blender (which meant learning new software and re-modeling just about everything), various life events and illnesses (two rides in ambulances!) and then the pandemic ...and last week, the winter storms and blackouts in Texas!

I'm starting to get paranoid about what might happen to me before I get this one shipped out! :-)


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Thanks for sharing the thread Mark I'll definitely be reading through that for inspiration.

That is impressive 4 months to create your animation, the usual story is "I thought it might take a
month or two but ended up taking years". :P

Sorry to hear about all the obstacles, it's so true what Michelangelo said: Genius is eternal patience.

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That's an impressive improvement from what I guess is something like a Photoshop "curves" adjustment?

Looking forward, for everyone doing mission-critical rendering, I'll note that rendering to OpenEXR will allow careful level adjustments in post, and rendering to OpenEXR with "buffers" will allow adjustments of individual light/shadow intensities and color and even surface qualities like specularity and reflection... all without re-rendering.

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