The second from last frontier

So filming the space scenes was pretty fun. It went ahead with no errors and seemed to work well.

Set up in my garage/shed I made sure the room was light tight and set up a pane of glass suspended over a black sheet. My camera (Canon 600D) was suspended over the glass facing down.

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Then using a collection of ingredients such as hydrogen peroxide, condensed milk, food colourings and compressed air, I started to blob bits around the glass. Using the Hydrogen Peroxide I managed to slowly move the milk and colourings around the surface.

The stars are created by rubbing a paper towel over the glass and showering it in particles.

The light is a small desk lamp set along the glass to capture the ‘starlight’.

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Everything was fed directly into a monitor so I could see what was going on better.

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The end result has come out really well. I really like some of the results and feel it should work great with the final animation.

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Some of the more odd / better music videos I’ve happened across. A lot of these were released within the last 3 years and are a fairly good indication of videos within metal (and industrial and Primus…).

Mastodon – This video sparked a lot of talk because it uses imagery not usually associated with rock and metal, namely twerking.

Devil Wears Prada – Nice use of puppets, also a bit different.

Every time i die – just a big dumb video of a band having fun. kinda cool. not very original.

Behemoth – Lots of dark imagery. More conceptual than full on performance.

Rivers of Nihil – Tech Death metal, a bit of a change from the usual performance video. Although it does still sit in the ‘standard band in wasteland/decrepit house/warehouse’ arena.

Animation this time. Looks like lots of After Effects.

Very typical performance + epic narrative going on here

Slayer – going for a very filmic narrative here. plus the usual performance stuff.

Not a known band at all, but I thought the data mashing was kind of cool.

Marilyn Manson’s comeback. slightly odd, almost pop video, with no musicians really, only writhing women and CG. and Manson.

Sikth – Mikee (the singer) did this video. seems mainly to be after effects, but it’s good to see something a little different.

Clutch – using humour and narrative (as the song does).

Apparently quite a respected video. a lot of the animation is pretty good and obviously a lot of work has gone into it.

Primus. just….

Parkway Drive – Actually a very typical video.

Pantera – (1994) considered a bit of a classic performance video. Almost used as a jumping off point for the Martyrdom video.

Slipknot – another classic performance video that sparked millions of ‘play in a house being ripped apart by fans’ style videos.

Really dark and violent imagery suits Dillinger’s style here.

Skinny Puppy – a seminal industrial band. I only like this album though. And this video, although old, is a great example of giving the audience something they didn’t realise they wanted. Goths breakdancing.

 

Nostromo

I feel like I’m making a little headway with the animation now. I’ve been building some environments in Photoshop from the scores of photos I took at the Science museum. I’ve also managed to come up with a stronger animation than the previous attempts by using Daz 3D and making it look cel shaded. Much neater and more professional looking. to incorporate a similar feel into the backgrounds I also made them feel a little more drawn.

I’ve been mucking about with an After Effects plug-in called Newton. I wanted to have some hanging swinging cables a little similar to the chain room in Alien.

I had a lot of issues attempting to do this with any natural feel before I started using Newton, essentially a very powerful physics engine that works out the relationships between items on the screen. After a bit of experimenting and tutorial watching, I feel like the cables added to the overall movement of the scene. I’ll definitely be using them some more within the animation.

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Newton

Renderererer

A couple of tests using different forms of shaders – the one on the left is using Visual Styles shaders which make everything look a little more cartoony. The right one is a ‘lower quality’ render from the main 3Delight render engine in Daz 3D.

I actually still prefer the first version I’ve come up with as it has a raw and cel shaded look to it.

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Another approach

After much deliberation I’ve decided to change my approach slightly to how the main character in this animation is rendered. Initially I was using Daz 3D as a starting point for the look of the character and then taking the skin tones, sizing and initial shots into Painter. In Painter I was individually painting each frame so that the character looks like he was moving. The main issues I have with this are that I wasn’t happy with the look meshing well with the backgrounds and the amount of time it takes to actually do a small amount of animation. Even with my fastest frame painting at 5 minutes it was taking waaay too long.

Hence a change of tack. I have been experimenting with animating within Daz 3D itself, but making the character look more cartoony in look. What I’ve ended up with is something that looks kind of like rotoscoping without it actually being so – elements of Scanner Darkly there. These initial tests are looking pretty interesting, but I know that I want to experiment slightly more with the textures of the character (I really need to come up with a name for him…).

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A Scanner Darkly

Interestingly, this actually brings it back closer to my original idea to the look of the characters from Renaissance and the Fear of the Dark/ Charles Burns films.

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