I’m working on a pretty fun shot. A robot suit kneels down and opens up its cockpit, a pilot climbs inside, the cockpit closes again, and the pilot begins controlling the suit. It’s a combination of a lot of different elements; a robot I made years ago, and rigged and animated recently by Nathan Vegdahl, a cockpit designed and modeled by Paul Spooner, an acting performance from Josh Truax, which was filmed by Barry Gregg, and a bunch of crazy compositing work. …These are the types of shots that remind me why I love CG.
There are some cool tasks just about to be wrapped up- I’m really interested to see what this next week holds!
We’re on the cusp of rendering a couple shots, which I think will be a big milestone for the ending scene; the first render of Subject C and Arizona. Once we’ve done that, the ball is crazy rolling!
The shoot last Monday, as previously noted, went swimmingly! Everyone on set was incredible, and I can’t wait to start putting all the footage together, first thing tomorrow.
Jen Forbes logged all the footage on Friday, Phil’s capturing it, Nathan McCoy is labeling all the audio clips, and I’m going to be syncing/editing it all over this next week- excellent!
Nate Taylor’s finalizing the Subject C model- adding some giant claw hand things and veins and things. It’s pretty grotesque.
Peter Kovacs is still working on a replica of the lot; I’m CRAZY excited to see how it’s turning out.
Paul Spooner just made a totally incredible leather chair for the cockpit. A DIGITAL leather chair. I wish I could sit in it.
Nathan Vegdahl’s animating more crazy ending shots for the crazy ending battle. It’s crazy. I’m just blown away every time I see it. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: this ending is going to be so much more insanely awesome than I ever thought.
I’m about 10 minutes away from heading out for my annual bout as a camp counselor- I’ll be gone all this week, but progress shall continue!
We had a showing yesterday of the film as it currently stands, and it was great (Also? Nathan McCoy brought us all coffee from Starbucks. What a guy? What a guy!). I’ve never felt so good about the distribution possibilities for this film- even with all the missing pieces it’s starting to look like a whole movie. I think it also helped that we had some new eyes watching it. It’s hard to get as excited watching it when we’ve all seen the movie a dozen times already, and someone seeing it with fresh eyes reminds us all why we’re making the film.
My wart just exploded.
So yes! I’ll talk to all of you again in a week! It should be glorious.
This is a short period of Dolldrums- working on tons of mini objectives which, while easier to complete (though, in typical fashion, almost always more complex than anticipated!), make it difficult to amass any kind of momentum- not to mention that I’m going to have to step out for a week because I get to be a counselor at a local camp (an awesome thing to do, but not the ideal timing for it)…
That said, Vegdahl’s still animating, Kovacs is still creating a 3d replica of the lot (I have NO idea how- he’s still explaining the techy bits to me. All I know is it’s awesome), and I’m still compositing! So just gotta keep trekken’!
Holy cow, it’s gonna be nice to have a movie that doesn’t end anti-climatically. If anything, I think the ending is going to be disproportionately good compared to the rest of the film- I don’t think this is bad!
These things happen in waves; as we go through each sequence, it takes time to get all the pieces and files and models and everything from everyone all put together. Slowly an equilibrium is reached, where the assembly line’s really working, and stuff really starts getting churned out. It’s usually at this point things get kicked into an even higher gear from the sheer awesomeitude of seeing everything come together so quick- this is a great place to be, and we’re not there quite yet.
So just what are some of these pieces that are slowly coming together?
Peter Kovacs is creating a 3d replica of the lot, based on a bunch of reference pictures and footage we shot- this is awesome, as before I was just assuming we’d have to play it by ear on a shot-by-shot basis, using various background stills (and limiting our POV options to my height or lower).
Nathan is going through and animating a ton of crazy awesome shots of Arizona and Subject C- getting them ready for the day when we can finalize the texture and start rendering these puppies!
I’m working on compositing various greenscreen shots we did for the ending, and making the crazy robot control arms Nebraska uses when he controls the big robot exosuit- sitting in a cockpit being worked on by Paul Spooner.
Plans are also underway to shoot a few more additional elements somewhere in the near future, so we’re tracking down old costume pieces, and random props. It’s gonna be a blast.
This week [last week] was fairly uneventful- I’ve been working on storyboarding the ending battle, and I’ve basically wrapped that up. Nathan Vegdahl and I did a lot of jumping around the backyard with sticks going, “RA! I’m Subject C! Stab stab stab!”, choreographing the ending battle and trying to think of crazy ideas.
Storyboards are an awesome (decent) means of communicating ideas visually, so the first couple pages I drew were really detailed, to show every bit of action, and were taking me far too long to draw. Eventually we realized that, since Nathan was going to be animating all those bits (or at least coming up with the rough blocking), they didn’t need to be as detailed- since Nathan helped me choreograph it all in the first place.
Subject C is nearing completion! We have a method enacted that allows multiple people to work on him individually, and we can put him all together whenever we want- meaning more progress is indeed being made! Nate Taylor’s working on finishing up the sculpting work on his exoskeleton, and Nathan’s just about done with rigging.
We’re going to be doing a reshoot of some of the ending bits, and Phil and I are heading out in a couple minutes on a prop run at the Boeing Surplus Store, to see what mysteries it may hold. Wish us luck!
And now- back to work!
Finished a shot of the Goose landing in the lobby today; a cool shot, and cooler because of the sheer number of folks involved with it. Dolf modeled, textured, and rigged the Goose, Paul made the lobby, Kovacs animated the Goose landing, Vegdahl rigged the small replica of Jerry in the cockpit, and helped me set up a “fly papers” simulation.
Looking at the final shot, it’s a rad culmination of all those efforts.
Michael Gallon did some of the best rotoscoping I’ve seen for this film thus far, and sent it in a couple days ago. It’s a shot of Jerry climbing into the Goose, looking back, and we needed to isolate Jerry in the shot so that the CG ship could replace the real-life helicopter tail. It’s a pretty seamless blend from one to the other- and one of the funnest types of shots to do.
Nathan Vegdahl has started animating like a banshee, a crazy-epic shot from the ending battle, and I’m working on storyboarding out the entirety of the same.
Phil Rogan is in the middle of an incredibly speedy rotoscoping job, rotoscoping some dudes heads for literally the better part of an entire scene- and he’s doing it in just a matter of days? Awesome.
So yes. Pretty rad stuff all around. Rah rah rah!
Another good week!
I finished up most of the big lobby escape scene, which was the last big effects sequence that had to be done, excluding the big finale. The only remaining shot is one of the Goose coming in for a landing- fins extended, skidding around- which Peter Kovacs just finished animating excellently. I just need to render it out! It’s the perfect cornerstone for a pretty rad sequence.
Nathan Vegdahl is getting his animating legs back, and just wrapped up his first animation for the intro sequence, and has made most of the rig for Subject C. The shot looks incredible- easily one of the best animated shots in the film (and blows anything I’ve done out of the water).
Paul Spooner is still working on the mechanical eye- I think he’ll be completed soon! It’s ridiculously complex, and will look awesome in close-ups.
Nathan Taylor’s off at an animation competition this week- with any luck we’ll be allowed to see the result.
That’s all for this week! Peace!
And so concludes the first week of work sitting next to Nathan Vegdahl! He’s spending a few months working with us after leaving his last job working in video games- I’m more than a little pumped. We keep up each other’s motivation.
Tracy sent in some new slides for the expository “crazy history” scene- looking good!
A lot of work is being done on Subject C, from a bunch of fronts: Nathan Taylor’s working on sculpting out the rest of Subject C- adding doodads and such (I’d be more specific, but it’s a kinda a secret?). The file’s 90mb and growing. Paul Spooner is working on a giant eye for Subject C- it’s one of the most insane complex eyes I’ve seen. And Nathan Vegdahl is working on setting up a big rig for the guy.
I’ve been going nuts compositing shots for the big escape scene- lots of robots and explosions. Excellent. As I sit here, a shot of the front lot (modeled by Paul) is rendering, with the Goose skimming past explosions and dodging tankbots; the kinda shot that reminds me why I love doing this CG stuff.
Until next week- Peace!
SUCH a rewarding week. There are 5 animations that Nate Taylor did months ago for the big “Breakin’-'Em-Out’ta-Pris’n” sequence, that have just been sitting around gathering dust waiting for their day to be rendered- that day is now! Huzzah!
Paul Spooner got me the fantastically detailed front lot scene, and I’ve been going render-crazy completing shots of the Tankbots firing, rolling around, and the Boulderwake smashing into the lot. It’s been really fulfilling putting together all these pieces that I didn’t even do! It is synergy!
The best thing about having all these little animated robot bits is that they’re re-usable- totally modular. Taylor sent me one animation of the Red Exosuit just marching- I can use that anywhere. I’m heading out to the store, so I’m rendering a shot of it patrolling the front lot just cause I can (and have nothing else ready for render). I figure it could be used as an establishing shot- basically for free!
Nathan Vegdahl will be working on the film full time come Monday- I’m ridiculously excited about that. We’re going to be working on the big ending finale… finally. I’m pumped to see how this will affect our overall progress.