View Full Version : FXWars! "Dracula's Castle"!: Jonas Ussing, EXTERIOR

10 October 2005, 02:22 PM
Jonas Ussing has entered the Dracula's Castle FXwar!

10 October 2005, 11:09 PM
:thumbsup: best of luck!

10 October 2005, 02:09 PM
this is gonna be really cool! (i know it cuz i've seen your reel ;) ) good luck :)

10 October 2005, 10:29 PM
Thank you for the early compliments and enthusiasm!

I'm off to a slow start, I hope I'll be able to finish! The competition is looking awfully good.

I've made a mockup of boxes and cylinders (which I'm not gonna show you, because it's too ugly), and a camera sweep around it.

Now I've created a castle tile set, and have begun instancing the pieces to create the shape of the castle, along with some temp cylinders, representing towers.

I also made a succesful test with normal maps to create the rough stone feel, without spending polys.

Enough talk, here's a WIP pic. :)

I'll be back Saturday with more.

- Jonas

10 October 2005, 04:56 PM
I hope youll be able to finish this project in time, its always great to see your work! Good luck

10 October 2005, 05:51 PM
Thank you very much, droidoz! :)

Here's the latest wireframe...

- Jonas

10 October 2005, 06:48 PM
...Looks like Lego.... :-/

10 October 2005, 11:50 PM
Here's an animatic.

500 kb quicktime (

(and no, I haven't begun modelling the towers yet) ;)

The real shot will be longer in both ends, but since I haven't modelled anything of particular detail there yet, I have omitted those parts from the shot. :)

- Jonas

10 October 2005, 02:07 AM
I love the camera move, very dramatic. :thumbsup:

10 October 2005, 06:50 AM

Love the tower and camera move!

The tilt and pan feels great, and the castle itself has enough mass and weight to feel real.

Keep it up!


10 October 2005, 06:03 PM
Latest pic... some more geometry.

I really need to model those towers finished tonight, so I can start rendering.

But that means I also need to finish the materials, and I plan to do some hairy normal mapping, to save polys on those walls.... eek, the stress!

- Jonas

10 October 2005, 12:08 AM
...a normal map test of rock walls.

Top pic: the full shaders
Below: only normal map and spec

- Jonas

10 October 2005, 12:09 AM
I really need to model those towers finished tonight, so I can start rendering.And no, I won't be finishing the towers tonight, dagnammit! But at least the normal maps are working. :) (never tried that before)

- Jonas

10 October 2005, 07:26 AM
Neat the castle...


10 October 2005, 07:53 PM
Some tower modelling...

- Jonas

10 October 2005, 01:17 PM
Thanks Cris! :)

Here's an update with textures.

I'm still modelling and texturing, and yes, I'm insanely behind schedule! :)

Textures still look very tiled, but I plan to fix that with an overlay texture.

- Jonas

10 October 2005, 09:05 AM
I'm in rendering hell right now.

Ambient, moonlight, sky reflection, torch flames, torch light pass, etc, are getting their numbers crunched this very moment.

Composite is tonight, plus I also have to paint a background matte with mountains, clouds, and a moon... :) Plenty of time! (not)

- Jonas

10 October 2005, 09:57 AM
Plenty of time! (not)

- Jonas

LOL, do I know the feeling ;)


10 October 2005, 12:32 PM
As for the challenge guidelines and rules, my primary angle is this, as described by Roberto:

Exterior Shot (Imagine a dark and stormy night as the camera comes up from the cliff walls up to the castle tower )

As for compositing, my focus will be combining all the CG plates, as well as integrating the scene with a matte painting background of clouds, moon and mountains.

Environment effects will be mist (regular Z-buffer thing) and torches around the castle. I was planning for a lot of snow on the castle, emitting snow particles in the wind, but alas, time has caught up with me on that issue.

I will update again tonight, as I near the end. Bless Roberto for extending the deadline to "until nowhere on the planet is the 31st of October". :)

- Jonas

11 November 2005, 05:17 AM
Done! Thanks to everyone for support. :)

Click here to download movie, 7.8 MB Quicktime (

- Jonas

google monkey
11 November 2005, 10:38 AM
love the look of the final sequence :)

11 November 2005, 08:01 AM
POST YOUR ENTRY! FXWARS !Dracula's Castle Challenge:8 ( -R

11 November 2005, 08:23 AM
I'm not hosting a picure (and don't have FTP access right now), so I've provided a link for a CGTalk image attachment, I hope that's OK?

- Jonas

EDIT: yup, that seemed to work. :)

11 November 2005, 11:20 PM
I voted for yours in every category. Yours may not have been the most real looking but it kept my interest more then any other, the music really got me into it, and it worked. Downloading was quick, easy, and possible. This may not be directly part of the contest but I tend to think in terms of what clients need. I would much rather have someone who can make something pretty and deliver it on time then someone that can make something photorealistic and have troubles being able to use the final product on time.
Good work, keep it up.


11 November 2005, 11:37 PM
The other entries have me very impressed, so I bow to your compliments!

- jonas

11 November 2005, 11:55 PM
Jonas tell us a bit more about your entry...


11 November 2005, 08:49 AM
OK, here's a little "making of". :)

- Castle modelling

First step was to create a mockup of boxes and cylinders, and make a camera move around that. The music was selected very early in the process, and I knew I wanted to make the gimmick with the torches.

Then, inspired by creating game levels, I created a tileset of walls, corners, tops, windows, etc., and started fleshing out the model.

Since there wouldn't be a total shot of the castle, the design focused on how the structure would be revealed during the camera sweep, rather than the larger design of the whole building.

The tower base was of course a cylinder, and the details were made by modelling only a 32th, and instancing that "around the clock" 31 times.

All too soon before deadline I used the top tile and some simple extruding and instances to create the bridge in about 5 minutes.

11 November 2005, 08:50 AM
- Textures

Having created the tileset, I started working on the materials. I found a proper rock picture, and made it tileable, using the clone brush in Photoshop.

Then I mapped that onto a 100*100 segment plane in Max, which I modelled to look like the rocks, using displacement maps and a noise modifyer.

Then, using a simple 1*1 segment plane with a projection modifier, I created a normal map for the rock wall.

Having a color map and a normal map, I now had a perfect rock material. :) I also used a level'ed version of the color map as specular.

I repeated this for several different rock patterns, to create a little variation in the structure.

The maps for the windows were hand painted, with bump maps.

11 November 2005, 08:51 AM
- Flames

The fire was created using the classic "fake"... A cylinder with a falloff map in the opacity slot (to make the sides "fade out", and a white-yellow-orange gradient as a color map, 100% selfillumination, and the top vertices (with a soft selection) modified by a noise controller, moving upwards.

This is very similar to the physical fake torches you can get, where a piece of cloth is blown by a fan, and lit by a lamp.

11 November 2005, 08:52 AM
- Environment

The mountains visible in the horizon is a photo I took in Egypt during sunrise at the top of Mount Moses.

I would like to have had a lot of trees on the cliffs, and clouds in the sky, but time caught up with me, and I dissed the trees, and replaced the clouds with a star-scattered night sky.

11 November 2005, 08:53 AM
- Compositing

I rendered out the following passes, and comped them in After Effects: The renders was created using Max's default scanline renderer, with simple image motion blur.

Ambient (skylight - without bump/normal maps)
Fake ambient (omnis - with bump/normal maps)
This pass was multiplied with the ambient pass to add bump detail.
Moonlight (with area shadows, because I like the soft edges)
Moon specular
Window matte
(to control the reflection and specular bloom specifically in the glass)
Sky reflection (all rock material had a sligh reflection of a gradient, to simulate reflection of the sky)
Depth pass
Flames (with the castle as a matte object)
I wanted the flames as a seperate pass, so I could control glow.
Flame lights
(omnis placed at the center of the torches, illuminating the otherwise black castle structure)
Sky: Star background
Sky: gradient (to simulate the look of a real sky)
Sky: moon glow (a huge, soft, round blob on a plane, to use as in-camera moon glow)
Sky: The moon (just a flat picture)

That's about it. :)

- Jonas

11 November 2005, 07:01 PM
Hey all, check the last 5 posts on this page and the previous page ( for some "making of" pictures. :)

- Jonas

11 November 2005, 07:46 PM
Again, I really enjoy watching you're work, everything is so well thought out, just great! When I see you're workflow I realize there is much for me to learn :)

11 November 2005, 01:46 PM
You're too kind, Droidoz! :)

- Jonas

11 November 2005, 07:08 PM
OK folks, I feel this clip isn't entirely polished (abandoned, not finished, like Trey and that Lucas guy said), and I want to finish it for my reel, and make it entirely kick arse. ;)

So, what do YOU think the clip needs to be perfect?

- Jonas

CGTalk Moderation
11 November 2005, 07:08 PM
This thread has been automatically closed as it remained inactive for 12 months. If you wish to continue the discussion, please create a new thread in the appropriate forum.