Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Quickie Update...

Just to update on what I'm up to....

I have a new clothing pack that has been certified - should be in the Reallusion store in a couple of weeks - the Bikini Babes Collection.

I also have a new Freebie available over at Cool Clones - a Zippered top and Jeans. It uses the free Casual clonecloth base. If you like, please help yourself. A login may be required to access the Download section. :)

Movie-wise? Hoping to flesh out my Resident Evil inspired short this week and get into production when I get back from my short trip. I've finally caught up on VOs for people - yay! This probably means that I'll see if there are any more roles available but I'm not going to take on too much because I really want to finish a film of my own soon. It's been way too long. :)

Other things not to forget...

If you've got iClone and have ever used or been helped by the iClone Wiki, please consider participating in the Wacky Wiki Commercial contest. There are great prizes to be had and if you take first place, you'll also get some great exposure to the TMU community. Deadline is September 10, 2010.

The Second Annual Ollies at TMU has come around again! Please nominate your favorite films, actors/actresses, modders etc for any films uploaded to TMUnderground between July 22, 2009 and July 21, 2010. Please see the link for more details on how to nominate and the categories available. There is also a 'For Your Consideration' thread in which directors have listed their works so that you can browse through to jog your memory or just enjoy. Deadline for nominations is August 21, 2010 at midnight GMT.

The third annual MachinExpo 2010 is accepting submissions now! Put forth your best work, no matter what the platform, length, or genre. The Expo aims to share and showcase bold, creative and innovative works which represent the best that machinima has to offer. Please follow the link for submission details. Deadline is August 31, 2010 at midnight GMT.

Alrighty, that's it from me!
'Til next time! :)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Well, I've put out something...

But it's not a movie. With a little bit more free time and a little encouragement from iClone seamstress extraordinaire, Alley, I decided to go for my CCD certification and made a small clothing pack for the ladies - the Chocolate Martini Collection. I won't lie - it was a PROCESS, but it was still loads of fun and now I find myself really enthused to make more.

I just got word that my pack has indeed been certified so expect to see it in the Reallusion Content store in about 3-4 weeks.

'Til next time!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

It Figures...

Long story short - I'm not going to get my entry finished in time for Reallusion's Sci-Fi Movie Competition. I'm so bummed. Beyond bummed. But man, did I try! Of all the competitions, this was the one I was most looking forward to - anyone who knows me knows sci-fi is my thing! :) But as others can relate, RL tends to rear it's ugly (yet necessary) head at every inopportune moment to thwart my efforts to get something completed. Grrr! *I shake my fists at thee!*

So here's how the last few months have gone. Attempted to get an entry in for the 'Pinhead: Get A Job' competition. Failed to get an entry in for the 'Pinhead: Get A Job' competition. RL got in the way as the deadline loomed closer and closer. Phooey. They had a great turnout though - that was some pretty good competition. Maybe next time?

Anyhoo, knowing I'd still have the course to deal with, I waffled on whether I should still try for the Sci-Fi comp. With some encouragement (thank you, Darth and Jorge) I decided to just go for it. So, I'd get an idea, scour the net, build, hack, tweak, buy and assemble my props and sets - only to find that a) my idea wouldn't get finished to my satisfaction in the time I had left b) something won't animate/texture as I'd like and trying to fix it would take way more time and effort than it's worth or c) the plot wasn't good enough to win (IMHO). And let's face it - if I'm spending every sparse, spare moment I've got on a film, I want it to be good. Not just OK or 'meh' - good! I want to be excited to watch my own film. If I'm bored with it already and I'm still creating the darned thing, how can I expect others to enjoy it (let alone hold it's own against other talented animators)?

So what movies may never see the light of day? Well, first there was the "Iron Man" tribute. Clone boning and retexturing the sucker (while trying to maintain animation ability over all those tiny flaps and stuff - oy!) took forever. It looked awesome... until you tried to make it move. :( Then you've got gaps at every joint and limbs at skewed angles - it was a mess.

Ok, so very limited mobility with the Iron Man suit so it's either clever camera angles, lots of tweaking and script changes or come up with a new plot. New plot - "Iron Man/Terminator" showdown. Less Iron Man suit, more Tony Stark, throw in a T-800. Fast forward. Tried to replicate Tony's home foyer overlooking the sea with curved glass windows that I could shoot out as the T-800 comes looking for him OR his work room down below - found another gray hair. A good modeller I am not - that stuff takes time, skill and a helluva lot of patience! 1 out of 3?

I think my plots (and hence my sets) were a little too complex for my own good so I thought let's simplify it down. Enter idea #3 - just the T-800, arriving in his little glowy ball of electricity and robbing some ignorant soul of his clothes with typical Arnie tact (thank you, Killian). Weeks of building, hating the builds, caving and buying decent looking props, re-assembling, pathing up the wahzoo... and STILL nowhere near done. But besides that though, the plot wasn't engaging me. As a movie tribute, it was fine but as a piece that could stand on it's own, it just felt 'meh' to me. So, too much invested not to finish... someday, but for a competition, it needed to have a little something extra.

So now I've hit mid-June. I've got just over 2 weeks left. Situation looks grim. Updated the ol' widget with links to some of my freebies and there I find my "Vertebrate Evil: Excretion" outfit from last year's comp. An idea starts to formulate. What if I tried to do the movie that I couldn't last year 'cause the project kept crashing? I've got more RAM now - hopefully the ol' computer can handle it. Load it up, cross my fingers and hip hip hooray, it opens! But 2 weeks??? :( All I've got is a sparse, extremely high poly set (before I knew any better) and a now defunct plot. It's not great, but hey - it's a lot more engaging than the previous ones. A few all-nighters, copious amounts of coffee (because apparently I'm now immune - nooooo!) and some sugar in whatever form I can obtain it and I might JUST squeeze it in.

But then I had to think - voiceovers? ambient noise? soundtrack? post? 2 WEEKS?? So nix the VOs altogether or do it all myself... again... (last resort I swear - not fair to drag others into this insanity). And then I've learned a thing or two from Stuckon3d's classes that I didn't know back then so they HAD to be modified otherwise I'd hang my head in shame. And of course, others *hack* *cough* Animatechnica *wheeze* Allpoint *sputter* are bringing their 'A' game and raising the bar so you know what that means. So, rendered several shots, started to edit, not feeling it - something's missing. Tweak, revamp and yes, finally - the excitement is BACK! *insert maniacal laugh*

That was yesterday.

Today, RL had other plans for me. A good chunk of the time I had left has gone bye-bye. Rightly so - you've gotta have priorities in life, but man!?! :( I won't do a rush job. I hate, hate, hate half-assing things and ruining a perfectly good idea.

So here's where things stand. This iteration of my film won't be completed by the deadline. But, it also won't be abandoned. I'm gonna finish this badboy - take my time and do it right. I'm excited about this one and that's what's key for me. It can stand on it's own and it'll be a challenge to create but I'll learn a lot in the meantime. And without the deadline, I'll stress myself out a little less and maybe drink less coffee... hmph... nah! :)

Ok, that's what I'm doing for me. Now what am I doing for other people? Rage's voiceovers for 'MEG' are getting wrapped up this weekend - finally! After months, I'm finally seeing the end of this darned laryngitis and I couldn't be happier. Animatechnica's VOs for 'The Nobbit' (this film is going to be so wrong, lol) are going to get wrapped next week. I know there's a couple more VOs in queue so I'll be getting those done as soon as possible. Also, hopefully (fingers crossed) I'll have some work to do in RL with my volunteer work so really looking forward to that.

Alrighty, think that's the last few months of my insanity in a nutshell. If you've stuck it out this long, you're awesome... or just as crazy as me! :D

'Til next time!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Not Too Long Now...

It's been a long, long time since I've made a film for fun. I'm way overdue - I've got the itch! :) My latest course is about to wrap up in a few days and then I have a 20 day stretch before the next one. That's 20 glorious days to make a film. Not a lot of time at all, but hey, I'll take what I can get! So now the question remains - what to make it about? Hmmm...

Well, I'm going back to where it all began! Yep, I'm going to do another Pinhead entry! The latest Pinhead Project - "Pinhead: Get A Job" launched back in February. The deadline is April 30th which works out perfectly with my tight schedule. Now whether or not I can pull together something decent in that short of a time remains to be seen, but I'm sure as heck gonna try! So if anyone else feels the itch and wants to scratch, head on over and check out the site for more details. There's also some very cool prizes available donated by Reallusion, Smartsound, Pinnacle and Prodad - now that's motivation!

So what else is going on? The voiceacting front is still going well. Rage has done a wonderful job with his 'Grayskull' series and his latest installments of the sequel, "Rise of Hordak". The performances by the voiceactors are awesome and the storyline engaging. Go grab a bowl of something tasty and settle down to watch!

I've also recently finished my lines for Killian's and James Eastman's "Conquest: Blackstar Rising" (ok, it was yesterday - yes I was one of those holding up production, lol!). This is going to be an awesome movie with a kick-ass cast - can't wait for it to be completed! If you've seen any of Killian's past Odyssey movies, you know you're in for a treat. Definitely keep your eyes peeled for this one!

And now for a bit of drool... Have you seen 3DXchange 4 yet??? I can not wait to get my hands on that jewel of a program! With the range of models and characters that we can now import and modify and create and export - the possibilities are truly endless! And that's exciting because now, I can expand the realm of what I thought was possible to achieve in my films and actually strive for bigger, better and bolder! This is a dream tool! And I thought I was chained to my computer desk before - ha! :P

'Til next time!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Little Tweak Here...

And a little tweak there. And boy have I been doing a lot of that! :) With the school year back in full swing and now the next course I'm taking, free time is scandalously short. :( It doesn't mean production has stopped for me - it just means it's switched gears and slowed to a crawl. But I'm still having fun, nonetheless.

The voiceacting front has picked up a bit for me which is awesome. A few weeks ago, Raven2angel's "Echoes" was released with mostly positive feedback on many aspects - set design, atmosphere, facial animation, and the VO work. I was really glad to have been a part of that production because the tone was something a bit different from what I had attempted before and I found it a bit of a challenge. But it seems to have all worked out well so big kudos to Raven for her vision and attention to detail. It really made the script come to life. And also kudos to my co-actor, ESROTU (Mike) - he had a wonderful voice for the role so I hope he continues to do more voiceacting.

I'm also really pleased to have a role in Rage's upcoming "MEG" production. I've almost finished the script and it's been really engaging. Half the stuff he's planned, I don't know how he's going to pull it off, but I know that he will somehow and it will be a sight to see! :) Also keep an eye out for his soon to be released "Grayskull Ch. 2 - Rise of Hordak" - it's going to be good, folks! Other VO roles include WX_IVAN's "Sting of the Scorpion" and act3scene24's "Untitled", so I'm gonna be quite busy!

So yeah, I'm squeezing in the VO stuff because it's doable right now. Now as for my own films? Again, haven't abandoned but it's just taking a long time. I have started up production again on "Well Done" and here's where that tweaking comes in. When I wrote the script a while ago, it was before iClone 4 came out. In my films, I like to challenge myself to attempt things that aren't necessarily so easily done. Now that being said, what I had set out to attempt in the script before might have been challenging in iC3... not so much in iC4 anymore. iC4 has a lot of introduced features that really makes it possible to easily achieve what I had planned and even more. So with that, I was at an impasse. I need and want to respect the fact that I already have the VO work complete and I still fully enjoy the story. Now my challenge is to find a way to take what I already have and somehow take it even further. I've been introducing a few new scenes that complement the original script without having to rewrite any of the dialogue. I think these new scenes will give it the 'freshness' I was hoping to achieve initially.

I also hope to continue the set building for "Hide And Seek" - this is where my training with stuckon3d's awesome tutorials are really going to be of use. I'm going to try to implement all that I've learned so far into this project so it should be interesting... once I get the time. :)

And finally, I decided to abandon my website. Before I became aware of this animated stuff, I got my feet wet with fanvids for my favorite tv shows. That's where I practiced my video editing, the art of storytelling, study of camera work etc. Anyhoo, the site where my videos were hosted over 3 years had some server problem and they lost all of my files. Not just mine, but a bunch of others' as well. They said they were trying to restore some of the files but asked if we could notify them personally if we were affected and they'd try their best to help. I didn't make a fuss. I didn't get mad. I just did as they asked, left a post, and waited patiently. One week, goes past. No reply. So I left another polite request to find out what was happening. Two weeks - no reply. (Yet I saw other posts were being addressed - by people who made a stink about things.) Three weeks - no reply. After TWO months - still no reply! FILEDEN - do not walk - run away from this company!! I mean, really! Does someone have to cuss you out before they're important enough to deal with? Am I still bitter? Maybe. But a simple acknowledgment that either A) they're working on the problem or B) they're sorry but they can't them back - would have sufficed and I would have been fine. It's basic customer service. AND after 3 years, you'd hope that meant something. There was no cause for my posts to be ignored. Anyhoo, I digress! :)

So yeah, about the same time I was having this issue, I got my mitts on WidgetCast and the lightbulb went off in my head. I still had the low-res versions of my videos on my computer - at least it was something. So I said to myself, "Self, why not just put them all in a widget and stick it on my blog instead?" And so the tweaking began! I uploaded those files to a NEW host, poured over tutorials to figure out what I was doing with WidgetCast and I'm happy now to have all my past works as well as current projects all organized in one tiny widget for display. After all the work that went into managing the site, I find this just awesome. So the widget is complete and you can find it on the right. Feel free to take a look through if you've got some time to kill. Keep in mind - the quality of the works will vary. Even then, the goal of my projects was to focus on or learn something new - sometimes it worked out well; other times, not so much. But that's where I came from and I wouldn't be where I am today if I didn't start out with that back then. Hopefully I'll continue to get a bit better with each new project, one tweak at a time. :)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Back At It...

Finally! Finally I have a bit of time so that I can get the creative juices flowing once more and get a film or two done. Well, at least started. :)

So what's on the agenda? Well, first off the bat, I've got a few voiceovers I've promised some people so that's getting taken care of immediately. They're interesting roles so it should be a lot of fun. The plan is to get those done by tomorrow. I'm all prepared for a long night. Sipping the coffee as we speak. :D

After that, I want to start working on two projects that are burning a hole in my brain - "Well Done" and "Hide And Seek". Both shorties, but both with some aspect of filmmaking that I really want to practice. "Well Done" I've mentioned before but "Hide and Seek" actually was an idea I've had from before my first released film. It was one that I had previously dismissed as not going to be made but it's been calling to me recently. Yelling actually. And when the muse speaks...

I've also had the pleasure of attending several of Stuckon3d's classes, a worthy investment for those looking to get more out of iClone - highly recommended. I've learned so much and that knowledge has only served to fuel my ambitions to do better and more challenging things. Part of the delay with "Well Done" is because I'm waiting for the Lighting class which is coming in early January. Lighting is so key to that project that I want to get a better handle on it because I'm not satisfied with it as it is. It's lacking something. Can't quite put my finger on it but I feel it. I'm sure that after a class with someone who really knows how to light a scene, I'll be in a better position to achieve what I want.

So, yeah. That's my little update in a nutshell. I doubt I'll be posting again before the weekend so I'll just take this opportunity to wish everyone a Happy Holiday - Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Hope everyone stays safe while enjoying the company of family and friends. And a special shout-out to all the friends I've made this year in the Machinima community - you've provided entertainment, support and inspiration which is greatly appreciated. I am very grateful to have found and be a part of this community. All the best! :)