Tuesday, June 30, 2009

History Reimagined...

I just made the most amazing find I could have made for my next film! I still can't believe it! I came up with the general gist months ago but was struggling to find a place to ground it. Would it be more realistic or more fantastical (aka scifi)? I decided on the weekend to go with the more realistic grounding but the actual location was still not nailed down yet.

So doot-de-do, I'm scouring the web yet again researching locations, cultures and histories when I came upon a find that took my breath away - based on a real life historical myth! It is almost EXACTLY (and I am by no means exaggerating) the setting and situation present in my outline. Every time I read more, I'm like "Omigosh, I have that! I have that too! And that!" It is beyond perfect - it's uncanny. Every thing I have devised to date - all my location sketches, plot twists and story arcs - all can fit perfectly in this framework.

I am seriously still in shock and so estatically happy!

So what does this mean? Ultimately, now I have a bit more direction when devising the history and dialogue mentioned in this film. I can now focus on guided research in this area so I don't sound like an idiot who doesn't know what she's talking about. Yay, I don't have to make crap up!! On the down side, some of my purchased models are now moot so I may not be able to use them as I intentioned. Oh well, c'est la vie!

I'm doing my happy dance - woohoo! :)

EDIT: The more I read on, the more freaked out I'm getting about the correlations. Seriously.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Ambition Aside...

I have come to one conclusion - 3ds Max is NOT my friend. I extended the olive branch of peace, it quoted me Braveheart - "Are you ready for a war?"

Rigging/skinning is an absolute nightmare - it's no wonder why few people do it. Now I could tough it out if it were a model or two, but I'm looking to bring in 7 or more - and THEN animate the suckers on top of that! One of my models is a centipede - you know how many bones is in one of those?! No amount of coffee could save me from that insanity.

So it dawned on me that basically I've been trying to reinvent the wheel - a lose-lose situation. I have perfectly fine rigged and textured Poser models that I've been trying to re-rig for Max all so I could import it into iClone. Plus, I lose the advantage of the preset poses and gain the headache of re-boning/skinning/ini creating/and animating from scratch.

There is but one solution. I've got to learn Poser. It's a concession but hell, it's one I can live with. Yes, the technical achievement of using Max would have been great, but I'm thinking at too great of a cost. The trick for me now is trying to find a way to integrate Poser with iClone as seamlessly as possible - as if I had the model in iClone to begin with. I'm thinking that's gonna take some clever greenscreening, masking and footage layering but it just might work.

The upside is that I can include all the non-bipedal models I was hoping to use - even the complex ones, without fear of crashing iClone with the crazy polycount. I'm sure as I get more into the process I'll find something that won't work as well as I envision, but that's another problem for another day.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Charting New Territory...

Well I've been busy, but damn if I have anything to show for it! :( RL started to calm down for me this past weekend after a job interview (haven't heard back yet *cross fingers*) but it's gonna kick back up next Thursday when I start yet another AQ course (why do I torture myself). I thought I'd take advantage of this 'downtime' to make a teeny tiny advance in my next project but of course, there are challenges at every turn. Gotta love it.

So the bare gist of my story is formulated - got my general plot and main characters identified (with names). I've been thinking about VAs I may like for some parts but I've got tons to do before then so I can present them with a dignified script.

Which brings me to Challenge #1 - writing the darned thing! Man, it's hard! I'm pulling out all my 'Writer's Digest' books and stuff - my desk is piled high. Yeah, tried to get into writing fanfiction way back when. School got in the way so I never had time to devote to it. The creative outlet may have changed but the storytelling drive remains the same! I'm also trying to use Celtx to do this right. Gotta learn all the proper jargon and format and stuff - Killian - save me! :) But anyhoo, got my character profiles with pics started which I think will be really helpful for the voice actors so they can really know their character. I plan to just distribute my Celtx file to the VAs so they can have everything they need.

Character-wise, I've got the faces of three of my male characters done - nothing special but at least it's one less thing to worry about. I haven't even thought of the outfits - no, I'm lying. I've thought about it but I'm just too intimidated to start working on it, lol. Clothing is a challenge for me - Challenge #2. I've recently picked up the G3 Male Clone Cloth - has some issues with the cloth 'tearing' sometimes but I can work around that. This is the first time I have the whole set so I'm thinking of a varied wardrobe depending on the scene/circumstance. I'm really glad they got that wrinkle map addition to the cloth - I think it'll help the realism look a lot. I know I want an expedition-ish theme but I want to be careful because of Gabe's awesome release "The Expedition". Plot-wise there aren't really any similarities but I still want to be as unique as possible. So yes, I will be attempting my own wardrobe. If I fail miserably, I'll probably go grovelling to the lovely and talented Alley to possibly help me out. :)

Now my biggest bone of contention - Challenge #3 - my props! This is really driving me up the wall because it's integral to the plot and I can't get it working yet. I'm wading out into new territory - ambitious? maybe. likely to fail? probably. am I doing it anyway? yup!

I REALLY want some non-bipedal characters in this project. Not just static props or live props. Rigged characters that I can manipulate as I see fit. I've been researching how to do this for weeks. I've been looking into using Poser models, running them through Daz (of which I know very little) and bringing it into Max which I know less than nothing about. Therein lies the problem. Rigging? Skinning? Whoosh - over my head! But I've been trying to learn anyway, watching my hair turn grey one by one. I've reached the point where I have successfully gotten a rigged poser model into Max but now I have to replace the dummy helper bones with max bones and the bones aren't attaching where they should and I don't know how to link the model to the new rig and I have no clue how to attach the saved envelope to the new bones. Grrrr!! If anyone knows what the heck I'm talking about, please throw a sista a life preserver and save me. You'd have my everlasting gratitude... and my first born if that's what it takes! Nah, sorry - you can't have him/her but everlasting gratitude is still a good deal! :D

So yeah, that's where I'm at. I'm hoping to nail down a rough 1st draft of the script in the next 2-3 weeks. I'm also going to work on my lines for one of Killian's upcoming Odyssey episodes - if you haven't seen - go watch!

Till the next time - toodles! :)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Adventures in 3D Blocks...

Well, it's been a busy couple of weeks for me in the real world but the end is near! Finally I can catch up and give some feedback on some of the awesome releases at TMU. It's been too long!

There was a new challenge sprung by the Wolf and Dulci Hour - the Building Blocks "Make-a-Castle" Challenge. Great radio show, by the way - get to chill with fellow iCloners and learn some stuff about iClone. Highlight of an otherwise dreary Monday night. :)

Well the timeframe was tight for me - two weeks. And of course I had a major presentation to prepare for at the same time. But in any case, I came up with something and sent it in. It was great to try to build something with the 3D blocks - props that I'd overlooked because I couldn't really see how to use them. Now I find that I'd be looking at things and wondering "How can I break you up into nice little 3D blocks and recreate you?" :)

It's the texturing that got me though - frustrating as hell sometimes. I think I just need some more practice and to look into really understanding how the UV map works. Different blocks would texture differently depending on how I arranged them, or grouped them or resized them - oy! Then there's the whole planar, box, cylindrical bit! I guessimated my way through it but I still have more learning to do on the subject.

But all in all - great learning experience to open my eyes to the possibilities, especially as I look towards working on my next film. There's a lot of stuff that would require extensive set design but now instead of scouring the web for already made props, maybe I can look about building my own!

Here's some pics of Castle d'afterThought. :)