Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The ABYDOS Making Of Video is Here!

And, despite being on a blog based entirely around computer animation and special effects, the video doesn't have anything to do with either of them!

 So yeah, this mostly talks about story/concept/different things that happened during filming.  Anyway, a new semester has started and I'm really hoping my modern philosophy-ridden Art Theory class comes with brain bleach!  In the meantime, though, I hope you enjoy the Making Of! 

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Animation Test: Walking on Uneven Ground

    Ta-da!  I ripped some models from a game and made an animation with them to convince myself that ripping them was useful! (Also, I made my first video done completely in Blender since 2015!) 

    Again, neither Samus nor her gunship's models/rigging were made by me; both were ripped from the first Metroid Prime using the fantastic HECL.  For some reason I actually like the model from Metroid Prime 1 better than the one from Prime 2/3 (I think it may be the relatively minimalistic use of lights combined with less feminine-looking armor).  I was around halfway through this tribute to the underrated franchise when Prime 4/Samus Returns were announced, so I guess I'll call it a celebration of the franchise's return instead.  Also, for what it's worth, I'm calling it an "animation test" because there's not enough to the video to do the word "fanimation" justice ',:^|. 

    As the title implies, this is a jump for me because I animated the entire walk; since this was on uneven ground, I didn't use any walk cycling, leading to the lack of repetition making the walking a bit more lifelike.  I think the "weight"/leaning could use some improvements in order to fake gravity better in the future, but for a first try I consider it a success.  In addition to Samus' animation, I did the landscape and managed the shaders/materials for the transition to Cycles.  The total render took an estimated 5 hours, but the Cycles engine can definitely be worth long waits. 

    Additional credits: Samus' model and rigging + gunship model/rigging/floating animation by Retro Studios from Metroid Prime; the HD textures on both are from Ty Anderson. 

Saturday, April 15, 2017

More 3D Modeling!

    Continuing my splash work for TV-Nihon, I decided to do one in Blender instead of using Photoshop.
    I feel like this represents the start of a turn into more advanced 3D modeling for me.  I hadn't done much with Blender in quite a while--mostly animating the Walking Death in ABYDOS and making fan work with 3D models from games--but here, I feel like I stepped into a newer era of 3D modeling by constructing more complete background scenes with image textures and objects created from the ground up. 

    Made near the end of 2016, this still uses Blender's internal rendering engine, which is basically obsolete, so the picture's lighting isn't nearly photorealistic, but it does use image textures to a far greater degree than it'd been done in much of my earlier work, which helps add more realism and distract from other things like the number of commas I put into this sentence. 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Preliminary Script is Complete!

    Finally, my work on the first draft on the ABYDOS sequel is done!  The only problem is that it's over twice the length of the original's script, and I'm not hoping for a 40+ minute long movie, so there may be a bit of work yet to be done.  However, I'm hoping to involve input from the rest of the creative team--an advantage that, while I'd also used it for the first film, I hadn't been using to nearly the same degree.  That said, I've also done some more work with Blender, which I'd love to share soon! 

Ignore the Lights. 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

We're Scripting!

    I'm happy to announce that I'm currently scripting ABYDOS II!  I'm seeing several possibilities and am connecting several dots on how the movie will work.  So far, one struggle seems to be balancing a more massive story and scale while keeping it around the length of the original ABYDOS.  That said, so far the script's looking quite promising so far; I'm definitely looking forward to filming it!

    Ignore the Lights.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

We've Started Planning!

The entire ABYDOS crew (all four) have begun to collaborate and talk about work on ABYDOS II!  The project's planned to be a lot more collaborative than the first one, and it's also planned to not only explain the numerous questions in the original (some planned, some plotholes), but also to have a lot more in the way of character-driven moments and a stronger story itself.  As well, I've figured out several ways to up the ante on the effects, including a primitive alternative to motion tracking.  I'm definitely looking forward to making it, as well as getting some making-of videos up!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Presenting: More Splashes!

The college semester rages on, but I'm still not dead!  (Actually, it's not going all too badly.)  Anyway, I've been doing more PhotoShop work for TV-Nihon, the fansubbing group I mentioned earlier!

So a new Rider series is coming out, and even though I personally think the main character looks really considerably garish, I decided to see what I could do anyway!  

The first, pixelated one was based on the idea that (a) the series is partially based on video games (yes, I know) and (b) stylizing the image could distract the eye from the messiness of the suit in general.  Unfortunately, the reviewer noted, the pixelation made it look a bit less pleasant than it could otherwise be, so I updated it with a less pixelated version!  In case anyone's wondering how I pixelated the image, I just scaled the image to a really small size in PhotoShop, then scaled it back up with the upscale set to "Hard Edges."

The background itself is from a preset from After Effects (Animations > Backgrounds > Green Crystals) with the colors under "tritone" changed.  Also notably, I gave the Rider an elbow (the image cut it off, as you can see more clearly in the pixelated version) by making a mask around his arm that was shaped like an elbow (two layers, actually--one was feathered and went over the arm to make it look like it was supposed to be there, and another that wasn't feathered and therefore could provide an actual edge for the elbow).  Finally, I made the colors of the rider and logo less intense by putting a layer over it that made it look sepiatoned, then made the layer transparent, so the rider/logo were just a little bit sepiatoned.

Now to move on to a different splash page for Ghost (which has just wrapped up by this writing) in what may be my most beautiful splash yet:

By "beautiful" I don't necessarily mean "well done," but what I mean is that my previous splashes (even ones for lighter series) had used a lot of darker colors (in fact, they rarely had a background beyond black), so I decided to change that around with this picture.  I set up a transparent gradient in front of the background (the clouds + logo, which is the title screen for the show itself) for the effect, and I feel like a graphic design class helped with some of the other details (particularly the relationship between the color/placement of the text and the background gradient/other riders' colors).  In case you couldn't tell, the transparent object in the center is the main rider's final form, in the middle of a now-iconic flying kick.