Thursday, January 26, 2012

What They Say titles sequence

The opening titles for the short horror film, What They Say.

Just before these titles, the protagonist makes her way to a dreaded social gathering. The inspiration was to continue the narrative in graphical form, while representing her social anxiety, warped view of her peers and relatives, and general self-victimization.

Music used is Demon Seed (Track 10) from the NIN album, The Slip, released with a creative commons attribution non-commercial share alike license. Special thanks to Trent Raznor for letting us play with his music! Note: the film is currently in the midst of its festival run, and the music has been replaced by a great originally composed track. However, this was my original temp music, and it really grew on me... so here it is.

Friday, August 5, 2011

What They Say teaser

I created a teaser for the short film What They Say. Read about the film here. It's a creepy story about depression and what happens when we let our inner demons take control. I'm in charge of all post-production, including editing and VFX. Check out the teaser here:

Excited! Damn right, now hold onto that feeling and go here and donate:

All joking aside, we were fortunate enough to raise a good amount of money for production but now, in post-production, it is imperative that we raise more to pay for a quality sound mix, good visuals, etc. All of this takes time, and even a small payment will make it SO much easier to put in the dozens of hours to take the film above the competition.

Here's a little Behind-the-Scenes sample. It will give you a good idea of the amount of work that goes into even a short 30-second teaser.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Bearded Dragon model finished

... finally.

Been too busy working on What They Say. But now that we're in production, most of the work is being done on weekends, so I have a bit more time.

So here he is! The finished beardie.

The base texture painting was done in Mudbox, then the textures were tweaked in Photoshop. I used high-resolution images of my bearded dragon (what else?), shot with my Canon 60D camera.

I originally planned on setting up several diffuse lights to create a small "lighting stage" to shoot my dragon with as few shadows as possible (even, diffuse lighting is essential for proper textures) but on the day of, I stepped outside and realized we had a perfectly overcast day: the kind of day where the light seems to come from all directions and there is absolutely NO hard shadows. So when you see an opportunity like that, it's really best to go for it. I pulled a sheet of glass out of a picture frame, put my lizard on top (so as to get no shadows under the lizard at all), had my buddy hold it while I photographed the hell out of that sucker. The images were great, and everyone was happy... except for the dragon, which ended up getting a bit antsy because it was pretty cold outside that day. Sorry buddy! At least you've been immortalized in 3D.

I'm particularly proud that I could capture the "chubby" nature of his belly and legs. That's my Fish! (named for Wentworth Miller in Prison Break, long story)

And off he goes! To Turbosquid. You can check him out right here:

I'm happy to see some of my earlier uploads from last month have indeed been purchased, so I can see there's at least a bit of a market for high-quality stuff that I produce. As bearded dragons are fairly common lizard pets, I'm hoping he'll be pretty popular.

What's next? Well, I could create several color variations for him, as more colorful beardies are more valued. And of course I could rig him, which would increase his value greatly. I could also create a custom displacement map which would really help the scales pop; I would say this is the greatest visual deficiency right now. But for now, I will let him lie fallow. Maybe start on a sugar glider model :) So cute.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Bearded Dragon BABIES!!

Well, not quite yet. But while I was working on a 3D model of her boyfriend, my female decided it was time and dropped a clutch about two dozen strong. Mom's healthy though evidently uncomfortable, while the eggs have been transferred (from an egg-laying bin full of peat moss) into a ghetto incubator made up of a 75 watt lightbulb heating up a vermiculite-filled leftover Chinese food container. Hey, at least I stabilized the temperature at 83 degrees.Allow me to take this occasion to post some pictures of a dragon clutch from a few years ago. I think you'll agree that kittens and puppies have NOTHING on how cute hatchling bearded dragons are.

Okay with that out of the way, let's get to work, as this is a WIP blog after all. I did some UV mapping on my beardie model. For the uninitiated, UV mapping means taking the geometry and flattening it out in the most economical way on a two dimensional image. To make it easier, I removed certain parts from the whole (in UV space), such as the legs, head, jaw, etc. After some doing, here is what I came up with. If you have nothing better to do, try to figure out which parts correspond to what part of the lizard! :DDDD

The spikes are not UVed, as I plan to throw a procedural texture on them. Now, this *would* work, but we want to make better use of the space. After some playing around with placement, this is a much better arrangment:

And this what the dragon looks like with the good ol' checker pattern. Besides looking awesome, this lets us see where the texture would be stretched or warped (by way of stretched or warped squares). As you can see, this guy's looking pretty good.

Next stop, Mudbox for texturing and normal map painting. God I hope my tablet still works.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Beardie Update

Happy Day! More bearded dragon WIP shots. I was considering doing touch-ups in Mudbox but I think the model is pretty much there with just subdivision poly modelling in 3ds max.

I had a bit of a tough time with the spikes, as I didn't want to have to position them all by hand, and max doesn't have a "paint effects" tool like Maya. I ended up using the Hair and Fur system, then converted to geometry, which worked out pretty well.

Next up is UV mapping, and taking some hi-resolution shots of a very annoyed and confused lizard.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Bearded Dragon

There's a site called Turbosquid that's been around for a while. In fact, it has been around for so long that I remember high school friends coming over to my house and wondering "what the hell that weird icon on my desktop is."

(The icon, a shortcut to the Turbosquid desktop client application, featured a cartoon squid-- what else?--so without any other information, really- that's a pretty damn strange icon to have.)

The short story is, Turbosquid is a website that allows you to upload your 3D models and sell them to others who might need them, with Turbosquid taking a percentage off the top for themselves. So if you make a catfish, you can upload that catfish to Turbosquid, and anybody that needs a catfish model can download it. It's a great passive way to make additional income on project assets that would otherwise lie dormant on a hard drive somewhere, and it's a great place to find 3D models for current projects.

Well, as 3D graphics are becoming more and more popular, so is Turbosquid growing more and more robust each year. So I've decided to use one day per week to create assets or dust off models for this site. Last week I cleaned up some old models. This week I started a new one, and what's a better subject than something of which you have plenty of readily available reference materials? Enter my bearded dragons.

These are some isometric shots, edited with Photoshop, to aid in crating the basic shape in 3D.

And here's how he's coming along so far. YES, it is a boy. My second-generation dragin Fish is being immortalized in digital 3D.

And if you're curious, check out my current collection of Turbosquid merchandise here:

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Music Video

Finished Anthony Bryant's music video for his single, What About Life. It has a very catchy beat and was extremely fun to work on. Anthony is a great manager, and it's great to see him get super-excited about a new idea or a new visual treatment, but he also knows when to pull the artist back a bit. For some in-depth analysis of the early behind-the-scenes, check out my earlier post from late December.

Here is the final video:

And here is a comparison video of a very early cut, with no color grading, no additional city backgrounds, and some early edit changes, too.

Click the "YouTube" button on the bottom bar of the player to launch the video in the original YouTube page, or go full screen HD for the best sound and picture!

Music video performed by Anthony Bryant
Directed and Edited by Radek Michalik
Produced by Mark Nadolski