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jcgnba
07-21-2009, 05:50 PM
Juan Carlos Gonzalez-Najera is entered in the "Secret Agent" update: View Challenge Page (http://features.cgsociety.org/challenge/secret_agent/view_entries.php?challenger=18663)

Latest Update: Finished Video: The Trenton Strain - Final Submission with minor corrections after deadline extension
http://assets.cgsociety.org/challenge/entries/25/18663/18663_1252795335_medium.jpg (http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?p=6101722#post6101722)

jcgnba
07-22-2009, 01:59 AM
Hello all. Along with a group of very talented friends and colleagues, we have been preparing to enter the challenge. We will begin posting work very soon, and we want to introduce ourselves in the meantime.

Our team is:

Steve Mclean (team Director)
Alex Berek
Marcus Dreeke
Robin Griggs Wood
David Haiun
Dan Marriott
Robert Matichak
Roger Nobs
Michael Rottke
Yannick Meillier

and myself, Juan Carlos Gonzalez-Najera. I will let everyone introduce themselves. We are all thrilled to be here and we lok forward to being part of such a competitive, exciting event.


Juan Carlos

jcgnba
07-22-2009, 02:07 AM
Our story begins with our secret agent, Christina, on the rooftop of a building pacing with crossbow. She is listening to a recorded message of a man's voice, informing us that they have released a deadly toxin that is already inside the bloodstream of the population and that it will activate itself in 24 hours unless they receive $100 million in payment. If they do, they will offer an antidote.

Christina is setting her crossbow to launch a steel cable that she will use to glide across into a second building, into an office where she knows some of the antidote exists. She also knows that the antidote is rigged to a very powerful bomb that she must disable first.

What she doesn't know is that someone is looking at her through a sniper scope. She also doesn't know that if she survives the sniper, what is waiting for her inside the office is something much worse than an antidote and a bomb. Something that will change her life forever.


Juan Carlos

jcgnba
07-22-2009, 02:19 AM
http://assets.cgsociety.org/challenge/entries/25/18663/18663_1248229195_medium.jpg (http://assets.cgsociety.org/challenge/entries/25/18663/18663_1248229195_medium.jpg)

Robin Griggs Wood, out team's 2D artist, created two images as concept art. Of this one, she says:

"This is the first image that I was working on -- a dynamic pose, just as she swings and reaches over to the upcoming window ledge."

jcgnba
07-22-2009, 02:24 AM
http://assets.cgsociety.org/challenge/entries/25/18663/18663_1248229439_medium.jpg (http://assets.cgsociety.org/challenge/entries/25/18663/18663_1248229439_medium.jpg)

Robin explains: "A concept sketch of one scene, our lovely spy jumping from a rooftop gliding on a cable to another building. Just a plain side view".

The team agrees that there are many adjectives for this image, but plain is not one of them.

jcgnba
07-22-2009, 02:31 AM
http://assets.cgsociety.org/challenge/entries/25/18663/18663_1248229874_medium.jpg (http://assets.cgsociety.org/challenge/entries/25/18663/18663_1248229874_medium.jpg)

Secret Agent Christina uses an arrow to launch a cable from the building where she is to another building. The arrow is more than that though, as it converts into a grappling hook that drills into concrete.

Robert Matichak is currently modeling the arrow. "I started with a rough design to get over the ?paralysis of analysis?. It looking a little over the top to me, but that?s what is probably called for", Rob says.

jcgnba
07-22-2009, 02:34 AM
http://assets.cgsociety.org/challenge/entries/25/18663/18663_1248230061_medium.jpg (http://assets.cgsociety.org/challenge/entries/25/18663/18663_1248230061_medium.jpg)

Christina needs to deactivate a bomb. As all good spies, she has tricky gadgets that help her get the job done.

Juan Carlos Gonzalez-Najera has been working on a watch that transforms into something else entirely. "Designing a watch was straightforward, and designing a bomb deactivator was also not that difficult.

"The really tricky part was designing both so that one can turn into the other.

jcgnba
07-29-2009, 08:48 PM
http://assets.cgsociety.org/challenge/entries/25/18663/18663_1248900499_medium.jpg (http://assets.cgsociety.org/challenge/entries/25/18663/18663_1248900499_medium.jpg)

Alex Berek has been modeling the office building that our secret agent needs to enter. She will be coming in from an upper window, so there is no need to model a ground floor. Depending on the previz and shot blocking, more floors may be needed.

Alex is now busilyt texturing his model.

jcgnba
07-29-2009, 08:51 PM
http://assets.cgsociety.org/challenge/entries/25/18663/18663_1248900674_medium.jpg (http://assets.cgsociety.org/challenge/entries/25/18663/18663_1248900674_medium.jpg)

The story opens with Christina on a rooftop, being watched by an unknown man from another building.

Juan Carlos modeled the two exteriors in modo and did a test render to see how the textures will hold up.

The team's main 3D apps are modo, Cinema4D and XSI, and all final animation and rendering will be done in XSI. The next step for these rooftops is to move to XSI and finish texturing there.

mad-
07-29-2009, 09:04 PM
Nice looking concept.
Great work guys :)

jcgnba
07-31-2009, 01:50 AM
http://assets.cgsociety.org/challenge/entries/25/18663/18663_1249005041_medium.jpg (http://assets.cgsociety.org/challenge/entries/25/18663/18663_1249005041_medium.jpg)

Rob Matichak keeps refining the grappling hook that will attach a steel cable to the side of the window.

This version "has an expanded arrow head, a green pilot light and modified claws," Rob explains.

jcgnba
07-31-2009, 05:22 PM
Nice looking concept.
Great work guys :)

Thanks Marco. Still much to be done, bit it is nice to see that we ahd visitors.


Juan Carlos

rmatichak
08-01-2009, 04:40 AM
Nice looking concept.
Great work guys :)

Gratia, mille volte ..... (sorry if my Italian is wrong).

Thank you Marco. Have you entered the challenge as well?

jcgnba
08-01-2009, 02:45 PM
Gratia, mille volte ..... (sorry if my Italian is wrong).

Thank you Marco. Have you entered the challenge as well?

Rob,

I think that Marco's team entry is at http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?f=292&t=782040


Juan Carlos

jcgnba
08-06-2009, 07:32 PM
http://assets.cgsociety.org/challenge/entries/25/18663/18663_1249587171_medium.jpg (http://assets.cgsociety.org/challenge/entries/25/18663/18663_1249587171_medium.jpg)

David Haiun has almost completed modeling a bomb that is key to our plot.

He is about to move to texturing, which is always a challenge because David works with C4D but we need the model in XSI.

There is always an extra step necessary to make sure that the textures transfer across applications as correctly as possible, and there is always tweaking needed.

LosPescados
08-07-2009, 03:20 PM
subscribed - this is looking great!

jcgnba
08-07-2009, 04:19 PM
Thank you Tom. Nice of you to stop by and send us your thoughts.


Juan Carlos

jcgnba
08-07-2009, 04:26 PM
http://assets.cgsociety.org/challenge/entries/25/18663/18663_1249662408_medium.jpg (http://assets.cgsociety.org/challenge/entries/25/18663/18663_1249662408_medium.jpg)

Steve Mclean is very close to finishing the digital set for the office, where the last scene and movie climax will happen.

"I have a few bits I want to add, the backdrop is temporary and I need to adjust the lighting.

"I need to add the window frames as well once i get them from Alex [Berek]. I don't really want it to be much lighter that this even though it?s a little dark."

jcgnba
08-08-2009, 04:16 PM
http://assets.cgsociety.org/challenge/entries/25/18663/18663_1249748167_medium.jpg (http://assets.cgsociety.org/challenge/entries/25/18663/18663_1249748167_medium.jpg)

Key to the plot is a mechanical mosquito that Steve has been building.

"This test of the mosquito in it's environment and to scale. The digital hand will be a live actors hand", comments Steve.

Today we will be shooting the live plates.

LosPescados
08-08-2009, 05:56 PM
Some thoughts: maybe you should give the mosquito some small technical/mechanical device on his back ? Just to make it cool? (this might not be able because of the overall idea.)

jcgnba
08-10-2009, 06:47 PM
http://assets.cgsociety.org/challenge/entries/25/18663/18663_1249930062_medium.jpg (http://assets.cgsociety.org/challenge/entries/25/18663/18663_1249930062_medium.jpg)

Steve has completed the office and Alex modeled its surrounding building. This is a render of how the two elements integrate together.

Our agent will come into the office through the window. Alex has rigged it to make sure the animation works as we have planned it.

mad-
08-11-2009, 07:18 AM
great modeling and texturing.
For my security I have bought autan :)

RogerNobs
08-11-2009, 07:58 AM
This is beginning to look really exciting as a project. The quality of the modelling and concept work is exremely high. I know you guys have only revealed the tip of the iceberg and I think this is going to knock people's socks off.
One small criticism - the bump on the roof top scene seems a little strong and the scale of the textures too high. Of course this will depend a lot on how quickly the camera moves, but it's generally the small tonal clues that people pick up.

Good luck to all. I'll be watching.

rmatichak
08-11-2009, 01:04 PM
Some thoughts: maybe you should give the mosquito some small technical/mechanical device on his back ? Just to make it cool? (this might not be able because of the overall idea.)


Good idea. Maybe just a little flashing LED.
The problem we face (and I'm sure others as well) is that there's so much to be done. We really want to meet the deadline. So regarding the mosquito, we're leaving it as is for now and moving on. Perhaps we can re-visit it and other items later on, time permitting.
None the less, a good idea, thanks!

rmatichak
08-11-2009, 01:12 PM
This is beginning to look really exciting as a project. The quality of the modelling and concept work is exremely high. I know you guys have only revealed the tip of the iceberg and I think this is going to knock people's socks off.
One small criticism - the bump on the roof top scene seems a little strong and the scale of the textures too high. Of course this will depend a lot on how quickly the camera moves, but it's generally the small tonal clues that people pick up.

Good luck to all. I'll be watching.

Thanks for the kind words Roger. Once we get our live plates along with the camera, we'll be in a better position to fine tune everything along with the lighting.

jcgnba
08-14-2009, 02:40 PM
http://assets.cgsociety.org/challenge/entries/25/18663/18663_1250260837_medium.jpg (http://assets.cgsociety.org/challenge/entries/25/18663/18663_1250260837_medium.jpg)

We have started to receive live footage from our live action team directed by Marcus. Steve has been working on the first green-screen keys and comps.

"The scale of the girl is too big, it is more to test how well the keyed footage looks.

"As for lighting, there's a lot I need to do. The main light from the moon is an infinite light, it's pretty strong but doesn't hit the side of the buildings very well. I'll need to use enough Final Gather bounces to get the right amount of light spread through the scene", explains Steve.

All finals renders are done in mental ray through XSI.

jcgnba
08-14-2009, 02:44 PM
One small criticism - the bump on the roof top scene seems a little strong and the scale of the textures too high.

Roger,

You are absolutely right. When I made the original texture, I created it for the scene where the sniper is looking at the building from a distance. I made it high res hoping that it would hold up on close up, but it clearly didn't.

I have redone it and the final version has an entirely new texture for the scene.

Thanks for the feedback.


Juan Carlos

mad-
08-14-2009, 04:49 PM
I like it.

:)

pierzak
08-18-2009, 09:11 AM
I like your rope slide. I am also doing rope slide for my entry and I am having trouble with it. Do you mind if I do something similer to yours since we are not competitors (I am entering as Individual)?

jcgnba
08-18-2009, 05:32 PM
http://assets.cgsociety.org/challenge/entries/25/18663/18663_1250616747_medium.jpg (http://assets.cgsociety.org/challenge/entries/25/18663/18663_1250616747_medium.jpg)

We had the opportunity to shoot our live action scenes with a Red camera. We have finished almost all live action shots and keying has started.

After long discussion related to the huge file size of Red raw files and the slow transfer speeds, we finally settled on a workflow that works for all. Here, Rob Matichak shows a final key of one frame.

jcgnba
08-18-2009, 05:34 PM
I like your rope slide. I am also doing rope slide for my entry and I am having trouble with it. Do you mind if I do something similer to yours since we are not competitors (I am entering as Individual)?

Dariusz,

Flattery will get you everywhere. Please go ahead, we will be honored to be an inspiration.

Thank you for asking,


Juan Carlos

pierzak
08-18-2009, 06:28 PM
That looks like a good key, but like you said.. for the price of disk space and transfer speed.

jcgnba
08-18-2009, 06:58 PM
I haven't done any keying for this project so I can't speak to how hard the thing has been. I do know that working with Red frames is a major pain. The applications are still in beta, are buggy and sometimes they will not even install.

But I agree, the end result is looking really good.

rmatichak
08-19-2009, 03:10 AM
That looks like a good key, but like you said.. for the price of disk space and transfer speed.

Hey Pierzk, thanks for inquiring. Actually the file sizes have been reasonable. I must say off the top, I'm using a Mac along with Final Cut Studio.

I download the footage from our team server at 4K HD resolution.
I'm using "RedCine" software available at Red.com (free) to open up the footage. I then export to Apple Pro Rez HQ and resize to 1920x1080.
I then use Motion to key the clip and export as an PNG image sequence at 960x540.
I upload the keyed image seq to our team server.

Here are the numbers:

Red Footage (RD3) 392.4MB
Apple Pro Rez HQ 381.5MB
PNG SEQ (trimmed and resized) 74.3MB

So it's not that bad.

djoly
08-19-2009, 11:10 AM
Hi Juan Carlos and the rest of the team -

Just wanted to let you know I'm following along here and enjoying your work!

Good luck with your entry.

Dave

RogerNobs
08-19-2009, 03:34 PM
It will be exciting to see something moving soon. Keep it going, guys.

mikebot
08-19-2009, 04:22 PM
Nice - look forward to seeing it comped. Looks good but there's a bit of a black on her hands? Maybe it looks fine in footage though.

jcgnba
08-19-2009, 06:06 PM
Nice - look forward to seeing it comped. Looks good but there's a bit of a black on her hands? Maybe it looks fine in footage though.

Mike,

Good observation. We are going through the keying as fast as we can because there is still so much to do. There a re a few things that we will try to fix later on if we have time, like the back fringe you mentioned. However, we are concerned about time running out before we do final tweaks.


Juan Carlos

jcgnba
08-19-2009, 06:07 PM
Dave and Roger,

Thanks for the nice words. It's great to see familiar faces drop by here.

We do have some animation now, but it is still a little early to let it out in the open. Soon though.


Juan Carlos

rmatichak
08-20-2009, 03:25 AM
Hi Juan Carlos and the rest of the team -

Just wanted to let you know I'm following along here and enjoying your work!

Good luck with your entry.

Dave

Dave & Roger, thank you both for you support and encouragement. Feels like family!

jcgnba
08-24-2009, 07:42 PM
http://assets.cgsociety.org/challenge/entries/25/18663/18663_1251142959_medium.jpg (http://assets.cgsociety.org/challenge/entries/25/18663/18663_1251142959_medium.jpg)

Christina knows she needs to get past this bomb if she want to reach her final objective. Juan Carlos created the timer.

Originally we were going to composite this in post, but since there will be no camera movement it seemed easier to integrate the counter as a texture in XSI.

"The counter itself was rendered in After Effects, using an expression that converted frame numbers into decreasing digits", Juan Carlos explains.

jcgnba
08-27-2009, 03:36 PM
With most of the keying done, we have started compositing live action to our CG elements. We discovered a few technical issues with the keyed footage that we tracked down to management of straight vs. pre-multiplied alphas.

That issue solved, compositing is moving ahead at full speed. For this frame from a work-in-progress of an animated sequence, Steve tracked a camera pan into the CG office. Due to the way the live action was shot, Steve had to improvise an angle and object placement that was not in the previz.

Creativity is the name of the game these days, so that what we originally envisioned and the realities of producing can come together.

jcgnba
08-27-2009, 09:09 PM
http://assets.cgsociety.org/challenge/entries/25/18663/18663_1251407358_medium.jpg (http://assets.cgsociety.org/challenge/entries/25/18663/18663_1251407358_medium.jpg)

Dave modeled the crossbow that Christina needs to fire a grappling hook across buildings, in Cinema 4D. Texturing was finished in XSI to be integrated into the larger, outdoor scene tomorrow.

jcgnba
08-31-2009, 02:39 AM
http://assets.cgsociety.org/challenge/entries/25/18663/18663_1251686359_medium.jpg (http://assets.cgsociety.org/challenge/entries/25/18663/18663_1251686359_medium.jpg)

Although we only have two sets, we modeled them with as much detail as we could to be able to set up many different cameras and angles.

Here is a shot that Steve has been working on, based on our exterior set.

jcgnba
08-31-2009, 02:57 AM
http://assets.cgsociety.org/challenge/entries/25/18663/18663_1251687424_medium.jpg (http://assets.cgsociety.org/challenge/entries/25/18663/18663_1251687424_medium.jpg)

The terrorists have contaminated everyone. This is the most deadly virus ever engineered by man.

Little is known about it other than its name. A name that will become synonym with panic, misery and destruction, if anyone is left alive to remember it.

It is called The Trenton Strain.

jcgnba
09-06-2009, 03:24 AM
http://assets.cgsociety.org/challenge/entries/25/18663/18663_1252207451_medium.jpg (http://assets.cgsociety.org/challenge/entries/25/18663/18663_1252207451_medium.jpg)

Rather than model the damage made by the drill to the wall, Robin worked on a 2D hole in the concrete. Most of it is painted by hand, from references.

This is the final, composited version of the 3D drill, wall and shadows, along with the 2D wall damage.

RogerNobs
09-06-2009, 06:14 PM
Juan Carlos, the modeling on this is top notch from what I've seen.

I know you are all busy match moving and compositing the live action. I've seen some tests and people are going to be very surprised when they se the final short.

Good luck, guys.

jcgnba
09-06-2009, 07:33 PM
Thank you Roger. Things are really, really crazy right now (we are awake working on this close to 20 hrs per day, and someone is working on it 24 hrs per day).

We are aiming to be done a couple of days before the deadline, to be able to deal with any upload issues that might arise. And we have stuck very closely to our original screenplay without needing to cut things away due to lack of time, which is encouraging.

I appreciate your stopping by.


Juan Carlos

jcgnba
09-06-2009, 08:54 PM
http://assets.cgsociety.org/challenge/entries/25/18663/18663_1252270478_medium.jpg (http://assets.cgsociety.org/challenge/entries/25/18663/18663_1252270478_medium.jpg)

Our storyboard was created from a 3D animated pre-viz that Michael put together.

jcgnba
09-08-2009, 03:49 PM
This will likely be our last update before submission.

We are furiously finishing edits, sound and music and we are aiming to upload our final work tomorrow evening, one day ahead of deadline. That way we can deal with any technical upload issues that might arise.

This has been a fantastic experience and we are very happy that we will be submitting a piece that matches very closely to our original concept. Thanks to all who stopped by to wish us success.


Juan Carlos

destruct007
09-08-2009, 06:28 PM
does the final look like the pre-viz? Hah, pre-viz to final! Looking forward to seeing it in action!

destruct007
09-08-2009, 06:30 PM
Oh I see you have more stuff earlier on, but I was misslead by the posting of the storyboards again. Looks cool, can't wait to see how it all comes together.

jcgnba
09-08-2009, 07:28 PM
does the final look like the pre-viz? Hah, pre-viz to final! Looking forward to seeing it in action!

Dave,

Almost identical, except in the end we replaceds the bad guy with a Crash Test Dummy. More realistic like that we thought :)

Thanks for the words of encouragement.



Juan Carlos

revert
09-09-2009, 04:42 PM
Just wanted to say thanks to those who have posted to our thread, it's appreciated. Just doing the final edit now and will be submitting this evening.

jcgnba
09-09-2009, 04:50 PM
http://assets.cgsociety.org/challenge/entries/25/18663/18663_1252515040_medium.jpg (http://assets.cgsociety.org/challenge/entries/25/18663/18663_1252515040_medium.jpg)

While waiting for some files to upload, I have a couple of minutes for one more post.

Our short film is called The Trenton Strain. Here is a clip from the title sequence.


Juan Carlos

destruct007
09-09-2009, 04:50 PM
congrats! Look forward to it. Mine 'ill be up around that time too!

RogerNobs
09-09-2009, 05:12 PM
Good luck guys!!

Can't wait to see it.

jcgnba
09-09-2009, 10:26 PM
http://assets.cgsociety.org/challenge/entries/25/18663/18663_1252535193_medium.jpg (http://assets.cgsociety.org/challenge/entries/25/18663/18663_1252535193_medium.jpg)

Software: CINEMA 4D

After writting the story, the next step was putting together a pre-viz that for the most part guided our development efforts.

As the project progressed, we had to change certain elements both for the sake of storytelling and to accomodate limitations in technical aspects of the process.

However, the pre-viz was our blueprint until the end and we are happy that we stayed true to it all the way.

Play Video >> (http://features.cgsociety.org/challenge/secret_agent/player.php?entry_id=106885)

jcgnba
09-10-2009, 04:50 AM
http://assets.cgsociety.org/challenge/entries/25/18663/18663_1252558237_medium.jpg (http://assets.cgsociety.org/challenge/entries/25/18663/18663_1252558237_medium.jpg)

Software: Flash

This is the HUD design, used to convey information about the targeted location.

Play Video >> (http://features.cgsociety.org/challenge/secret_agent/player.php?entry_id=106889)

jcgnba
09-10-2009, 10:50 AM
http://assets.cgsociety.org/challenge/entries/25/18663/18663_1252579832_medium.jpg (http://assets.cgsociety.org/challenge/entries/25/18663/18663_1252579832_medium.jpg)

Software: 3ds max,CINEMA 4D,combustion,Modo,Shake,XSI

After three months of continuous, hard work, we have met our commitment to ourselves and finished a piece we are proud of.

The Trenton Strain is entirely CG with the exception of the live actors. As a result, we had to apply many different techniques that were new to us in many respects, and which required a degree of creativity and ingenuity. As a team and as individuals, we have learned a great deal not only about how to use software and hardware, but also how to work together as efficiently as possible.

Most of us that worked on The Trenton Strain have never met face to face. Our small team is spread mostly throughout the United States and Canada but also from Europe as well. Succesfully completing the project was a result of strong teamwork, a focused commitment and an ethic of respect with a shared goal, in addition to a wide range of skills.

To all who have been following our work, thank you and we hope you enjoy watching our movie as much as we enjoyed making it.

Play Video >> (http://features.cgsociety.org/challenge/secret_agent/player.php?entry_id=106893)

jcgnba
09-12-2009, 10:42 PM
http://assets.cgsociety.org/challenge/entries/25/18663/18663_1252795335_medium.jpg (http://assets.cgsociety.org/challenge/entries/25/18663/18663_1252795335_medium.jpg)

Software: After Effects,CINEMA 4D,combustion,mental ray,Modo,Photoshop,XSI

The Trenton Strain is entirely CG with the exception of the live actors. As a result, we had to apply many different techniques that were new to us in many respects, and which required a degree of creativity and ingenuity. As a team and as individuals, we have learned a great deal not only about how to use software and hardware, but also how to work together as efficiently as possible.

Most of us that worked on The Trenton Strain have never met face to face. Our small team is spread mostly throughout the United States and Canada but also from Europe as well. Succesfully completing the project was a result of strong teamwork, a focused commitment and an ethic of respect with a shared goal, in addition to a wide range of skills.

After three months of continuous, hard work, we have met our commitment to ourselves and finished a piece we are proud of.

To all who have been following our work, thank you and we hope you enjoy watching our movie as much as we enjoyed making it.

Special thanks to our families who supported us during this process.

NOTE: This version is our final posting, tweaked slightly taking advantage of the last-minute time extension given to all teams.

Play Video >> (http://features.cgsociety.org/challenge/secret_agent/player.php?entry_id=106929)

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