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View Full Version : New DragonWars scene is up!


bugzilla
02-20-2006, 06:51 AM
I went ahead and rendered the opening scene of my feature film. I hope you can look past the temporary soundtrack and I hope to enlist some professional voice actors in the final stage of production. The animation is rough, of course, but the look and feel of this movie is close to what the end product will be.

Click on the MEDIA link at:

http://www.digital-sorcery.com/feature.htm

Or, subscribe to the Podcast here:

http://www.digital-sorcery.com/web/XML/dwars_production.xml

I hope to hear from you. I know these are kinda large files, but I haven't been getting much feedback even though I have been busting my ass on this project. I'm blasting through this and I'm not stopping until I have a feature film (trying for a summer 2008 release).

Johnny9ball
02-20-2006, 09:04 AM
Quite a large project my hats off to you for tackling it.

bugzilla
02-21-2006, 04:02 PM
Anyone else care to comment? It would be good to have some more feedback on this to make sure I am going in the right direction with the animation, lighting, rendering.

Roger Eberhart
02-21-2006, 04:32 PM
I didn't watch the movies, but looking at the thumbnails was enough to convince me that your textures need some work. Especially obvious is the procedural texture on the dragons' wings.

PentamiterBeast
02-21-2006, 04:46 PM
OK, then, first off, take me as being overcritical if you will. I can be.

Right.

Animation;
Obviously you say that its just placeholder animation, so its hard to say where its going, but in its current state its not very good. There's a few penetrations, and the character movement is overall very slow and floaty and sloopy looking.

Lighting/rendering;
Apalling. Did you just turn up ambient intensity to 100% or something? Lighitng needs to create mood, define shape, work with the colour palette of the film as a whole, give a sense of drama, look contrasty, etc, etc. The lighting here is as flat as a pancake. (sorry)

Modelling/texturing;
Also pretty poor. The chatracters all look so very generic 3D, like poser stuff. The textures are all procedural, and other thatn giving the surfaces colour, give no visual interest whatsoever. The modelling is very smooth, and samey from one to the next. Not such a big issue, as good tecturing and lighitng can do a hell of a lot more for visual interest than modelling itself tends to in many cases.

Look/feel/camera work.
Well, a lot of the look has to come from the lighitng and texturing, and the animation, this is where a film develops its visual impact, but even id these are top notch, there's the issue of camera work. And Im afraid to say that the camera work here is pretty awful. Characters always framed dead centre, floaty cameras coming to abrupt stops, unnecessary pans and push ins, etc. You really need ot concentrate far more on the basics of composition, and how to plan a series of compositions so as to be able to cut from one shot to the next and have the cuts sit together well. Also your aerial camera work is very poor, but dont stress about that too much, good aerial camera owrk is one of the hardest things to do in the world of cinematography.

In pretty much all respects its a long way off from any kind of film quality, and as I've said all looks very "poser-mation" put together.

My best advice. Look through some of the dragonlance and AD&D art, it'll give you a good idea for what I mean about moody/dramatic lighting and composition, specific to the sort of style I think you appear to be looking for.

And try to instead of biting off far more than you can chew, try to put together a short interraction of just a couple of characters, with a couple of simple shots, that are textured and lit well.

Its far better to produce a little high quality work, than a lot of generic, poorly executed stuff.

Sorry if this sounds down at all (ok almost insulting), I'm just being honest and trying to point out how you can try to move forward and better your project.

Best of luck.

Johnny9ball
02-21-2006, 05:10 PM
I watched the movies. The thumbnails/movies look a little pre-vis but I am guessing they are actually pre-vis. One suggestion you should do. Do not put up low quality pre-vis thumbs of your movie. Wait till you have very high quality images from your finished scenes. Low quality pre-vis animations or stills will not generate buss or interest on a project. Now say you have some high quality beautiful renders/animations of final scenes you will grab more attention by leaving an impression on someone viewing the project. The thumbs/animations you have up on your site are low quality and forgettable the instant someone closes your web page.

Dragons are a tough subject to make a whole movie out of. Recent dragon movies like Reign of fire and Dragonheart used some very highly detailed CG dragons and you wont escape being compared to them, good or bad (at least the cg parts). A full cast of all dragons is narrow in scope when it comes to characters. Will there be other high fantasy creatures?

bugzilla
02-21-2006, 08:34 PM
Thanks to everyone who replied. I expected some tough love. I got brutal love, but rejection is part of making art. First, let me explain that the purpose of this project is that I am a filmmaker first and last. I am not looking to get a job at an animation company so I am concerned with storytelling first and animation next. That said, of course I want the animation to be the best possible.

I am not going to make a short film because it is easier. This was always meant to be feature length, and if the market for independent feature films is bad, the market for shorts is abysmal. It's feature length or bust! I haven't seen a single artist create a feature length CG animated narrative film before, so I welcome the challenge!

I learned alot from your comments, especially about the lighting and textures. Of course, these are all animatics of the film, so the lighting is not the final setup. What you are seeing is NOT the final product, but I hope you all can see where it is going. I hope to get some other artists to redo some of the textures later, as texturing is not my strength or interest. Also, I hope to find some good voice actors to redo my stand-in dialog (which I can easily re-lip synch with Mimic).

Until then, it's all up to me. This film is going forward and the only thing that can stop it is my untimely demise.

PentamiterBeast
02-21-2006, 10:26 PM
Yes I am brutal (appologies)

Well, there have indeed been full length features made by single people before, one I even saw done in LW, but of course, the film was so substandard, technically, artistically, etc, that any goodness that may have been found in the story was utterly unfindable.

Like a diamond in a manure heap.

I had assumed from your first posts that what you were showing was at least pretty close to how the final would look, of course my crits are aimed at the shots as they stand, so if there's improvement, then grand.

As for jobbing as an animator or not, please do take note of this. Story is bar and far the most important thing, you're right about that, but if not executed and carried well my its delivery medium, it wont get seen by the viewer. Take any great movie you care to think of, and imagine it made instead with poor camera work, and (most importantly) bad actors giving unbelieveable performances (schwarzenegger as Good Will Hunting perhaps).

It would suck, and the story would go down the toilet.

My point is, animation, lighting, whatever, yes there can be holes, but the film still need to at least carry its own in sense of look, style, etc, and there has to be visual interest, bags of it in fact to carry a whole feature.

I also say this, if texturing (or any other aspect) is not your interest, DAMN WELL MAKE IT YOUR INTEREST. If You're gonna go at anything half cocked, and not give it your all, please, do yourself a favour, and dont bother.

Im not necessariyl say you should do a short instead, but you need to start out with a shorter part, and get that down as a whole to final quality, it'll give you direction, something to showcase to help you get others you may need on board, and so on.

Finally I'll say this, there is certainly a better market for good shorts, than there is for bad features.

Ed Bittner
02-22-2006, 11:37 AM
Agree with everything PentamiterBeast wrote.
Quote from Roger Ebert: "Good movies are never long enough. Bad movies are never short enough".

E.

bugzilla
02-23-2006, 05:07 AM
I think I have been fair with accepting criticism so far. If you look at my responses to all my threads you will see this. I do think this thread has turned a bit nasty. The last couple comments have had a vitriolic tone that is neither useful or respectful.

As for this attempt to talk me out of making this project, forget it. Snarky comments will not dissuade me. These are ANIMATICS/first pass animation. Watch the extra features on Pixar or Shrek DVDs and see the all the mistakes they made at first. This attempt to talk me out of making a feature because my first test shots are bad won't work. I know I cannot match the quality of Pixar or Dreamworks (duh, the difference is only about $140 mil. plus about 500 more artists working on the project full-time), but I can put my own ideas on film and come up with something I can be proud of.

I'm watching the Olympic figure skating, and obviously some of the skaters have no chance at a medal, but some of their performances are good and unique nonetheless. This idea of, if you can't be asured of a gold, don't compete doesn't hold water for me.

Art is strange. You are doing something uniquely self centered, but you are simultaneously doing it for everyone else. I don't have fear that my art is bad. I have fear of not creating it. I really don't appreciate attempts to "scare" me into making a short with the old "You're not good enough" ploy.

ericsmith
02-23-2006, 07:23 AM
Now hold on a second. From what I've seen, people have actually been pretty kind to you. They've been honest, but nobody's gotten nasty or anything. They're just trying to help you see the big picture here.

Keep in mind, in your original post, you said "but the look and feel of this movie is close to what the end product will be." It's fair not to judge the voice recording, as you said you want to replace it. But now you're backpeddling and saying the movie is just an animatic, and nothing like what you expect the final to look like.

I admire your determination. But I'm afraid there's a bit of arrogance mixed in that could be catastrophic to your ultimate success.

It might be a good idea to go back and work on this project a bit more, and don't publicize it just yet. When you've taken a scene all the way through completion, and you really think it's at a point that you could call it done, then show it, and see what people think. I think that's what others are recommending as well, rather than to just give up, as you seem to perceive.

Eric

pooby
02-23-2006, 08:51 AM
A feature length film made by one person is just bound to be poorly-done (unless it has extremely clever economy of design)

If you count up man-hours and take that into consideration- the average animated feature film would take one artist about 500 years to make.
That is of course assuming that they possess every specialised skill that goes into making films and the ability to not die.

I would totally recommend making a good compact short than a weak lengthy stretched out and diluted 'epic'.

I have seen lots of reels where the artist is so obviously WAY out of their depth and is unaware of their own failure to achieve their vision..

Johnny9ball
02-23-2006, 09:31 AM
I hope to hear from you. I know these are kinda large files, but I haven't been getting much feedback even though I have been busting my ass on this project. I'm blasting through this and I'm not stopping until I have a feature film (trying for a summer 2008 release).

You also say you haven't been getting much feedback and people are just trying to say that your going to thin yourself out to much on this project to make anything that anyone is going to want to watch. Your biting off to much for one person to do and I think your blindly just rejecting everyone criticism's now.

If you think the people in here are tough than your in for rude awakening. The fact of the matter is the entertainment industry (Hollywood) and the viewing public is far far more tough than you will ever get in here. People here are giving you positive criticism with ideas on how to improve it. Out there outside in the viewing world people wont give you any positive feedback they will just tell you either suck or your good or they wont even give you the time of day.

If your so hellbent on makeing a feature length film (with a full cast of dragons) than you should also be realistic about goals. You make it sound like you want this movie marketed and you want a lot of people to love it.

Ed Bittner
02-23-2006, 12:02 PM
I understand completely about your wanting to complete this project. I really don't think anyone was being particularly nasty by intent. Brutally honest maybe, in their opinions, as is their right. As I've said in earlier posts, this is a HUGE undertaking, so please don't be discouraged if everyone doesn't share your vision.( I actually HATE showing w.i.p.s, cuz most people don't see what I see). The changes you've made since your first post have been all in the right direction. (It's called progress). Keep working, as I said before, the lighting @ about 5min. in is the best in the piece. I started in 2D art, so composition and lighting are kinda second nature to me now. In my opinion, every shot I consider for a final, has to best represent the drama of the piece. You want to manipulate the viewer toward the "payoff". Viewers attention can be focused on what you want in a number of ways. Shake 'em up. For instance, show your background dragons in flight at a distance, then WOOSH from overhead the main character enters the frame. When I'm setting up a shot I always try to consider how to achieve the maxinum impact from each and every element. (That is also why some of this stuff takes so long).

E.

PentamiterBeast
02-23-2006, 12:19 PM
Dude, you should hear some of the crits I've taken over the past years. From it I have learned (often the hard way) to have far more respect for those who give it to me straight, that those who say nice things cos they just dont have the sack to tell me I suck.

Do my crits wind you up? Do they annoy you? Good! Take that bitterness and emotion and pump it into your work.

digital verve
02-23-2006, 12:56 PM
Everyones advice has been kind with respect. Hard honesty I know, but well worth taking on board. In my younger days while doing animation at uni, I took on a project that was too long, had too many characters and setups. The tutors warned me that I was taking on too much and said 'Good quality less is better than bad quality more'. I didn't listen and the end result was dissapointing and unfinished because I spread myself so thin. Ambition is good, but at that time I wasn't realistic.

Imagine a 30 (or less) second sequence of Toy Story or Finding Nemo. If you could create a similar length scene with as good narrative and animation as that, people will want to hire you or at the very least a ticket to more opportunites.

What do you want to do? Be an animator? A story teller? A film maker? What is your goal?

You say you are a film maker first. Then if that is your true goal, then maybe concentrating on feature length script writing may be a better road to travel. How about making good quality live action shorts instead; learn the craft of camera and lighting; get them to festivals; raising your profile; opening up opportunities for that feature length film you want to do, if that's what you want to do.

Anyway, I wish you well on your venture and hope you find success.

bugzilla
02-23-2006, 02:38 PM
Sorry. I was up very late animating and reread the posts and thought they were saying something they weren't. The thing that got me was not the criticism, which is fair, it was the idea that I thought people were condemning my film before it was even finished. That's not the case. I was just tired and frustrated.

I see there are alot of problems with the film thus far, but I will go back and fix those after the first pass animation of the entire fiilm is done. This is like a painter doing a sketch then going back and adding the vibrant colors later. I can see where the project is going and I think it is going to be a good film in the end. I honestly like the design and concept. I've read alot of fantasy literature that deals with such concepts, but have never seen a film that contains them all, so that's a film I'd like to see.

Again, excuse me for the rant. Just got caught up in the moment. Keep the comments coming.

KillMe
02-24-2006, 04:22 AM
bad idea - half finshed scenes have a habit of remainign half finshed if you walk away from them - keep working on a scene till its done - maybe take a short break if you think you've lost your objectivity but dont do your scene - do all the otehrs the come back redo them all again - and then you'll find you wanna do them all again and again and again - break it down with storyboards then animate each scene to completetion or you will never have anything worth showing and will ahve wasted alot of time

duke
02-24-2006, 04:59 AM
bad idea - half finshed scenes have a habit of remainign half finshed if you walk away from them - keep working on a scene till its done - maybe take a short break if you think you've lost your objectivity but dont do your scene - do all the otehrs the come back redo them all again - and then you'll find you wanna do them all again and again and again - break it down with storyboards then animate each scene to completetion or you will never have anything worth showing and will ahve wasted alot of time

I should take that on board for the game mod I've been working on for ages (but tirelessly, I haven't dragged it out, just had the luxury of time). Although maybe a bit different - I finish something and am happy with it, but 6 months or 12 months down the track I find I've learnt so much since then I want to go back and re-do them (wether it be structures, environment textures/assets, player models, etc.) and apply what I've learnt.

duke
02-24-2006, 05:18 AM
To contribute something on topic- seeing as you've got deadlines, you should be organising and planning your time like never before! Give yourself milestones and deadlines. If you aim to get something done in 4 days time, you should know 2 days into it wether it's going to get done or not. While you're out getting your coffee, take a notebook and pen with you and write out what needs to get done. You cannot simply embark on a project like this that has deadlines with the "do what it takes" attitude, because quite simply, will power won't break a clock. Like someone already mentioned, I did something way bigger than I should have for the final year of High School. It turned out to be 20 minutes of shit, when I could have made 5 minutes of awesome. I've watched it once, kept the 5 tapes I made, but have not watched it since. It's creative basis has continued in out of work projects, but never again will I try to do something like that in an impossible time span.

In regards to your comments about feature length or nothing at all - that sounds strange to me. It may be totally different in the industry you're trying to get into, but for anything from games to vfx, you're not expected to rock up with an entire game or movie made - just display your talent in 10-20 second long golden nuggets :P

Zarathustra
02-24-2006, 11:54 AM
Anyone else care to comment? It would be good to have some more feedback
First out of politeness, people didn't respond. You've been posting a lot about this project so people are responding and what's your reaction? You don't like their responses.

but I can put my own ideas on film and come up with something I can be proud of... I don't have fear that my art is bad. I have fear of not creating it.
Then leave it at that. If THAT's your only goal then getting feedback, or rather the feedback you'd like to hear, shouldn't even be a concern. Do what you're doing because it has value and meaning for yourself. Period.

Stop posting here fishing for people to share your vision and appreciate your art unless you're really prepared for hearing from those who don't. If you actually do need people to like your work then remember, even if only 1% of the US population likes what you do, that's over 2 million people. Not bad.

If you want specific feedback on animation techniques, incorporating LW, or anything else that's more straightforward and less opinion based, then just post specific questions and you won't have to worry about "nasty" responses. That'll save you some grief.

bugzilla
02-24-2006, 02:51 PM
To contribute something on topic- seeing as you've got deadlines, you should be organising and planning your time like never before! Give yourself milestones and deadlines. If you aim to get something done in 4 days time, you should know 2 days into it wether it's going to get done or not. While you're out getting your coffee, take a notebook and pen with you and write out what needs to get done. You cannot simply embark on a project like this that has deadlines with the "do what it takes" attitude, because quite simply, will power won't break a clock. Like someone already mentioned, I did something way bigger than I should have for the final year of High School. It turned out to be 20 minutes of shit, when I could have made 5 minutes of awesome. I've watched it once, kept the 5 tapes I made, but have not watched it since. It's creative basis has continued in out of work projects, but never again will I try to do something like that in an impossible time span.

In regards to your comments about feature length or nothing at all - that sounds strange to me. It may be totally different in the industry you're trying to get into, but for anything from games to vfx, you're not expected to rock up with an entire game or movie made - just display your talent in 10-20 second long golden nuggets :P

I agree with you about the milestones and time management. I have a loose schedule for animation right now, but to be honest I have not been completely disciplined. I have jumped around with modeling and animating items that are way ahead of the schedule or randomly going back to redo old shots.

As for my comments about "feature length or nothing", that's because the screenplay I have written is feature length and there is no scene I can really cut. I want to keep it feature length because I do not want to dilute the storyline. I'm not looking for an animation job. I already work as a Multimedia Designer so I have a good, stable job. I'm doing this only to make a movie that I can be proud of and can be enjoyed by as large an audience as possible.

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