View Full Version : FXWARS! "Close Encounters": Team 'Stitch', Hybrid

12 December 2005, 10:34 PM

As the deadline is extremely extended, and we have Christmas vacation right now, we're going to try to finish a nice 'Close Encounter'-movie!

The 'team Stitch' exists out of... 2 persons at this time; Jochem Harmsen and Gijs Leijdekkers (hmm... thats me! ;) ).

Last friday we had an inspiration-explosion and we have a really cool idea in mind. Our entry will be a 60-seconds commercial, that has a CGI-creature in it and a very nice climax in the 'mini-story'.

The only clue I'll give for now is 'Lilo & Stitch ('.

As the script has allready been written, we'll be shooting really soon! :) Updates soon!

-Gijs (& Jochem!)

12 December 2005, 08:32 AM
hey guys, great to see some dutch precense in this comp with apparently some great ideas!

Good luck and have fun! (Dont forget to watch out with fireworks on new years eve as you'll probably need all your fingers to finish here ;) )

12 December 2005, 09:33 PM
@ Droidoz: Thanks for your kind reply, Matthijs! Good to see that you thrust in this project! ;) And... yeah, I'll be watching out with the fireworks... I'm not a great enthousiast of fireworks ('I prefer digital fireworks' :scream: ), so nothing can really go wrong! :)

I've been developping the 'Stitch-character' a bit, and the sketch under here is what I came to. (
(Click on it for a bigger version)

I first did a sketch with fineliners (I found out that they work soooo great to get a more 'sketchy feel' of the image!) then I scanned it, and did some coloring in Photoshop.

His 'brain' will only be laying under a very thin skin (whoo: I feel some SSS on the way!), and probably his belly will be quite hairy (to have a good reason to go playing with some hair-sims ;) ).

The current story/script (I have allready typed out 4 pages of script, as I found out that working without any guideline is really bad and stupid, especially when being on set!) contains 11 shots with this CGI-character (comped into a background with actor) in it, so if I keep all those shots in, I'll need a hell good optimalisation of this project! Thats an interesting sub-challenge, isn't it?! :scream:

Updates soon! As time is getting short, I'm planning to model and (partly) rig this character tomorrow. If everything goes right I can then do some animation-tests on sunday, and then we'll be shooting monday. Then just hope there rests enough time for all!

Thanks for watching, and please leave a comment! Have a nice day, and have fun on newyears-eve (and be carefull with drank, drugs and fireworks ;) )!

[If anybody has some webspace available for the final (for when its finished. the final will probably be around 20 megs) please PM me or mail me or leave a reply, so that I won't have to look for good webspace just before the deadline! :) ]

12 December 2005, 08:43 PM
Hey Gijs,

You really have a nice idea of dealing this project.
I wish you good luck and support during this process....
I'm sure it will be a great success, because the idea is really cool!

Keep on checking your fabulous fan-site :cool:


01 January 2006, 05:38 PM
Good luck tomorrow with shooting :thumbsup:



01 January 2006, 11:27 PM
MrsKickass: Kim, thanks for the nice replies! :scream: It feels so good to have a very fanclub, even with at least 2 members! Yeah!

Today we did 'the big shoot'! In total we have shot 4 houres very intensive (especially changing the camera setups and so). It was a really exiting and all went quite good, as we had prepared everything very well (script of 5 pages, lots of notes, all situations and setups well thought). Though it was quite tiring (I'm really... vry tired now, and I can imagine that Peter Jackson lost some pounds of being director ;) ), I think the result will be rewarding.

Also -very important!- we finally have 'casted' the actrice: Nomie. Romy (her sister) is the 'Stitch-double', if you may call it so. :) They both really did a very great job today!

Some pictures!
The final discussion on the little points of the script. Also the '2 actrices' having a break before the 'real work'!
The setup of one of the shoots. The bluescreen will be replaced with a mattepaining of a big grass plain, and a farmhouse in the background.
And another setup with the bluescreen agin serving for the 'grassplain mattepainting replacement'.
Always cool, but especially usefull, some spherical lighting reference (with me holding the... reflecting teapot :D )

That was it for now... I really need a good rest now, and then... I need to continue the VFX shots! (modeling the creature, texturing, animating, lighting, rendering, composting... winning ;) )

I hope to get some replies soon!

Have a nice day!

01 January 2006, 03:51 AM
Hey! Looks very promising, cant wait to see what you come up with.
Love the HDRI teapot. :D

01 January 2006, 04:58 AM
Hey u guys r going gr8 with this..waiting forward to it....
and yeah cool HDRI teapot!! :D

01 January 2006, 09:09 AM
Gijs, This is really awesome! I'm absolutely stunned about how professional you (guys) are filming!
Really, I do have deeply respect for you, and I'm sure there is no other way then this AND you, to become very successful!
When you have finished I would like to interview you for the fanclub:bounce: !!!
I wish I could be your manager... Don't underestimate my project! Thanks to my WONDERFUL campagne, we already have 6 members!!!:bowdown: ;)

Good luck with being creative when finishing this project!

I love you guys....!!

btw; I do have that much space on my site, but the uploading is not so quick...


01 January 2006, 02:21 PM
@ DivideByZero: Thanks for the positive feedback! I can't wait to see what the final is gonna be, either, as time is getting short, and the work to be done is still... Huge! :scream: Hopefully we'll get all finished by the deadline! And that teapot: yeah, its just the right shape, isn't it? I'd call it 'being creative with your environmental objects'! ;)

@ The_Jigu: Thanks for that nice reply to! I feel very honored to get a reply of you, after checking your War-thread! You really got some very impressive stuff! :) I think you choose the time for the more spectacular stuff, while we did choose the more cute and surreal ideas. Lets hope your and our entries will be finished nicely! :)

@ MrsKickass: Whooo Kim, 6 members of our fanclub allready! That sounds great! When will the first sign and meet-and-great sessions be? :twisted: Thanks for all your enthousiasm about our project(s) and the time you put in the fanclub! :) Lets hope the fact we have a fanclub will motivate us even more to finish everything in time! (We? :scream: ) love you tooo! :love::)

About the progress: after the shoot I've not had very much progress. Unless I've found some nice inspiration ( for the character on ZBrushCentral ( I don't believe to have so much time to get the character look like that, but at least it motivates me to see what 'could be posible'! :)

When there are updates, they'll be posted soon!

01 January 2006, 04:27 AM
POST YOUR ENTRY! FXWARS! Close Encounters Challenge:9 (

The actual Voting thread will go up the 23


01 January 2006, 01:29 PM
We're still on the run! :cool:

To prove I'm really still buzy, and that we have completed some shots yet, I show you this before-and-after still:

Click! (

This time I don't take the time to explain everthing about it. In every case the background is a mattepainting of several photos we took. If you might have any questions; just ask! :drool:

Prepare for a cool 1-minute-movie! :cool:

01 January 2006, 03:57 AM
Looking forward to it.


01 January 2006, 01:57 PM
Roberto: good to see another one looking forward for our entry! :scream:

Again, there are updates, as I have been working on the project veeery hard the last 3 days! :twisted: Still there has to be done quite allot, but I thinks all wents really good! :)

Images of the updates:

The 'Stitch-creature': modeled with 3ds Max (5) and ZBrush. The basics of the rig are done with Character Studio.

CLICK! ( (its too big to show right here)

Two testrenders of the 'Stitch-character'. They don't have a pair of eyes yet, as it was just a testrender. The image at the bottom is a skin-shader test (fake SSS) on the well-known Max-teapot! The lighting on all these shots was done with the E-Light Maxscript and one directional light (with shadowmap).

One of the mattepaintings that we use in the shortfilm.

For the people who wanna see some more production-photos: Click here! ( Our very nice (girl)friend Mrs Kickass hosted a fansite (!) about us over there! :scream: (I must warn you that its Dutch!)

I'm going on with the stuff! Hopefully I get you guys'ngalls a bit warm for our movie! :scream:

01 January 2006, 06:42 PM
Looks great guys! :thumbsup:

You are cutting it awful close to the deadline :eek: :D

01 January 2006, 05:42 AM
I liked the feel of matt painting ......looks like i m in a paradise!!:D

01 January 2006, 11:13 AM

wass going guys?

did u finish the final short?

01 January 2006, 12:28 PM
@ Max_Power: Thanks for your encourangement, and yeah... we did all things quite close to the deadline... Just hope that we'll count in as 'a normal entry'... :surprised :bowdown:

@ the_jigu: Thanks for the nice replies and the interest in our project! :) I see it as one big compliment that you 'feel like in paradise' when looking that mattepainting! About our movie: the last 22 houres I've been working non-stop on it ('goodbye sleep' ;) ), as all things took some more time then expected... I hope to put the final online within 2 houres! :) Expect... big things! ;)

Updates veeeeery soon! & Thanks for your interest!

01 January 2006, 02:55 PM
The last two days i've been checking this thread everytime I had a chance:D Its great to hear you are almost done, I just cant wait to see the results :scream: You can do it guys!

01 January 2006, 04:56 PM
Come on Gijs!
You can do it!
Finish it! It will be perfect, I know, because you've put so much effort and interest in it. I can barely wait to see the final result. As I promissed Jochem, and now you, I will wait with checking it. Thanks for you link btw!

De laatste loodjes wegen het zwaarst!

The GGJF supports you!


01 January 2006, 09:53 PM
@ droidoz: Really very cool to hear that you're looking forward (so much!) to our final film! :) I can surprise you: it won't take more than an hour anymore! The only little thing that lasts is encoding the final, to be able to upload it... Really soon you're gonna see this thread popup with a movie in it! ;)

@ Mrskickass: Thanks for the encouragement, my lady! :love:;) Its not that the last stuff is 'really tough', but more that it's not motivating anymore... At least I get motivated by the idea of a crowd of fans! ;) I hope you'll enjoy the final movie when we watch it together! :)

I'm uploading the stuff right now... Really soon you'll be able to download the final here. :)

A little WIP-image for now: I've been compositing allot the last days in After Effects. HERE ( I show you the layers for one of the shots, and a 'Node View' to give you an idea of the complicated stuff. :)

I found out that working with adjustment layers and putting a lightingrender on it as an alfa, works really cool! You can have very nice control over the lighting properties in that way! :)

I hope you can't wait! ;)

01 January 2006, 10:45 PM
For a little sneek peak... or for people who don't have enough speed for downloading the full movie: my voluntary clip (the best looking 3 shots of my movie - in my eyes).

My voluntary clip (without sound: it was meant to not have it, is it?):

QUICKTIME: 640x480 [1,6 MB] (
AVI: 640x480 [1,7 MB] (

And the mirrors of them both:

QUICKTIME: 640x480 [1,6 MB] (
AVI: 640x480 [1,7 MB] (

Have fun with that untill I post the ral final. ;)

01 January 2006, 11:03 PM
Ok, time for the final! :arteest:

Tuesdaymorning I made myself a promise: I'm not going to sleep before our FXWars-entry is finished and uploaded. And it seems I kept myself to it! Last night was historical: the first time of my life that I completely didn't sleep (And I might not have been the last time... ;) ), but just worked 100% on this project. While the one PC was rendering the last passes, I was working on the other to composit it all together...

So you can understand how glad I am that after 36 houres of almost constantly working on this movie, I can finally post the final movie! :wavey:


Jochem Harmsen
Gijs Leijdekkers (me)

Nomie Boden
Romy Boden

We are glad to present you our final FXWars entry!

After the fun of making 'Cold Case' (for the 'Big Freeze' FXWar) we decided on the december 20th to make an entry for this 'Close Encounters' challenge. The first ideas were almost horror, till Jochem came up with the idea to do something with a cute alien. After an inspiring evening of brainstorming we got the idea of the current storyline. Also we dicided to make it about 1 minute long, so that it could be used as a commercial (just for the idea ;) ). Our idea was that it could be a 'Even Apeldoorn Bellen' commercial (a Dutch insurance compagny), but as we make this movie for this international community we dicided to pretent if it was an 'Allstate' commercial.

'Cold Case' starred our mate Joost Ossenblok, and we have tried to bring him again into this project, but this time we really needed a cute, young girl. We were glad to have Nomie willing to play in our movie. Her younger sister Romy is playing the 'practical Stitch double' (she was on the set to do some actions that the digital stitch would do later).

As I forgot to put that in the end-credits: the song in the movie it 'All Shook Up' from the brilliant movie 'Big Fish'. :)

After all this seems to be the biggest project for us yet! It contains far more effectshots then the Cold Case, and we tried to reach a next level of quality.

We hope you like our movie as much as we did making it! :)
-Jochem & Gijs


A ' FXWars' entry by:

Jochem Harmsen
Gijs Leijdekkers


Nomie Boden (as girl)
Romy Boden (as practical Stitch-double)

Used music:

'City of Angels: The Unfeeling Kiss' (Gabriel Yared)
'King Kong' (James Newton Howard)
'All Shook Up' (from 'Big Fish')


Used software:

Discreet: 3dsmax 5
Pixelogic: zBrush2
Adobe: Photoshop 7
Adobe: After Effects 5
Canopus: Procoder
Canopus: Edius

Special thanks to:

Hans Lips
Niels de Vries
Roberto Ortiz
Family Boden
Butcher 'Slagerij van der Wegen'
Kim Heijnen
The members of the fanclub
All CGTalk members who encouraged us

This movie was shot on the 3th of Januar in Nispen (Holland)

This movie is in no way connected to 'Allstate Insurance'

No alien creatures were harmed on the production of this movie

24 januari 2006
(c) Team Stitch [Jochem Harmsen & Gijs Leijdekkers]


The final movie

Sadly I couldn't yet properly encode the final movie into Quicktime format, so for now I only have it available online as an AVI file with an XviD-codec. Also my original resolution PAL (720x576) is downsized to 640x480 now.

Another 'sad thing' is that 'TheFileHut' doesn't support files larger then 2 MB. That means I don't have a mirror yet... Just lets hope the FileLodge will keep it working (or if you have some place on your server and be willing to put a mirror of my stuff there: it would be appriciated!)

DUTCHMAN 640x480 [13,8 MB] (

I hope you understand the 'message' of the entry, and that you like the look of it!

I'm going to get back the houres of sleept that this challenge took from me! ;) I think I'm gonna dream about a thread full of feedback! *hint ;) *


01 January 2006, 01:29 AM
Great work guys! :cool:

It really turned out great. I love the ending :)

01 January 2006, 03:26 PM
Great job, I hope you'll enjoy a good night's sleep. You deserve it!

01 January 2006, 03:48 PM
@ Max_Power: Good to hear you like it! :) Especially that 'you like the end', as that means you 'understand the storyline', isn't it? If that is, is our goal reached! (to tell a 'funny' story within 1 minte ;) ). Good luck to you on the voting! :scream:

@ droidoz: Cool to hear you like it, Matthijs! :scream: And: yeah, last night was really 'relaxt'! ;) Nice to hear that I deserved it! ;)


As a last 'present' for everyone who likes to see it, I created a short VFX-before&after compilation.

BEFORE&AFTER (13,2 MB) [640x480 AVI XviD] (

It might be insightfull to see how many FX shots there are, and that the location exists only on mattepaintings!

Have fun watching it; tell me if you had! :bounce:
-Jochem & Gijs

01 January 2006, 03:09 AM
VOTE! : FXWARS Close Encounters (

01 January 2006, 02:42 PM
Hey gijs,

I like it what u guys did...i really enjoyed ur "after before" breakdown.
U guys did nice job on rotoscoping,mattpainting ,compositing etc..
although Lighting/shading on the alien/creature can be improved...

very well executed final shot..:thumbsup:
All the best...


01 January 2006, 01:13 PM
Jignesh, thanks for the nice reply! :) I'm happy to hear that you like our entry! :drool: The only thing that I'd like to hear more about, is about your comment about the shading/lighting, as I myself felt that tht was one of the better points of the clip... In fact I putted quite much time in the compositing process, and to give it good lighting. Does it look too fake to you, or too 'newby'? If you could motivate what is bad at the lighting, I'd be very happy! ;)

More people who want to say something about the final result? :)

01 January 2006, 01:36 PM
As for lighting,

when that alien/creature turns ,there is no shadow on ground/dirts...whereas there is strong shadow on its body.when alien firsttime appears .there r some leaves fly in air and suddenly get disappeared....
as for shading/material u guys could use some bump mapping( using mix maps) and can show more organic material....

but i know u guys did this in very tight deadline....and i believe u guys didn't have much time...
this is just my point of view...don't take it as personally...


01 January 2006, 07:50 AM
Yes Gijs,

I want to say something about the final movie. It's 'kort maar krachtig' (means short but powerful). I like the creature, the beautiful sky, the birds and the whole story. The end is surprising, originally and funny. Also I very much like to see the before and after. The music is good with the story and Nomie is a perfect actress :thumbsup:
Like I said it is totally diffrent from the last project, but it's not better or worse. I like them both very much. I'm looking forward to your next project!


01 January 2006, 01:21 PM
Onone hand, nice and funny, but has some clear issues.

Mostly the compositing work needs a lot of help... blacklevels aren't even nearly matched.

Also (although minor and understandable) she doesn't actually look at the Stich... eyeline....

But hey, at THAT SPEED? Very cool job, guys!


01 January 2006, 03:48 PM
Thanks for the new reactions!

@ Jigu: About the shadow: yes indeed, there's no shadow on the ground... In fact we didn't render a shadow pass for the objects next to 'stitch' (bad me), so all shadow you see on the walls and so, are just masks with a high feather! :twisted:
The fact that those 'leaves' (in fact those are meant as feathers; from the same elements shoot as the feathers on the roaster - first shot) disappear: you're absolutely right at that point! I should have put more time in that, but there wasn't... Not many viewers over here did notice that, so it does show of that you watched the movie very carefully (and ofcource with a more CG-eye than most 'normal people').
About the bumpmapping: yep, I agree that I should had put more time in that, but it all was a bit rushed... In fact there is some bump, especially on the face and the belly, but I should have bumped a bit more...
I won't take it personally :beer: , I'm more happy to see that you gave very nice and good critique to our movie! Thanks for the time you took to do that, Jigu!

@ Mrskickass: I'm really happy to hear (again! :) ) that you like the final result! I agree you woulnd't better compare it to the ColdCase, but see it as a independent project! :) I'm really happy that we could have the 'big premiere' with you, and that you was so happy about it! It was a really cool and cosy evening, asside from the Mac-wink! :argh:
I hope that our next movie will be at least as impressive and that you'll always be a fan of us! I'm you fan (too), 'my lady'! :p

@ Master Zap : First of all I feel very honored to get a reply from 'the big famous Zap with the cool and insightfull website'! You really got a really cool website! About your comments:
Cool to read that you 'like it at one hand'! :) I can agree about the compositing, unless I've put quite much time in that part of the project. It might be that it was a bit late when compositing the shots, and that I couldn't look objective on it anymore (as I knew every frame of it ;) ). You comment about the blacklevels is a good one; on my next compositing job I'll take more care about that! About that she doesn't really look at Stitch is a good one. After finishing the renders, I sometimes saw that I should had placed Stitch somewhere else. Also I had no experience with character intergration before, so if I had more experience, I had prepared it better on set.
Well... The whole process was quite 'speedy' indeed, so I'm glad that you like it unless the (really nice & good!) comments!
Edit for Zap: I just (re-) discovered that you're a shader writer at Mental Images! The best reason that my shading is 'bad' will be that your (fast-SSS) shader was not yet implantated into Max5. ;) Congratulations about your job! Its cool to have a chat with somebody who did such remarkably big things to the industry!

More people who'd like to say something about it?

01 January 2006, 06:07 PM
I am having problems with ALL your files...
Could you repost them.



01 January 2006, 08:41 PM seems to be having problems today.

01 January 2006, 09:05 PM
Roberto and Joseph; it seems that it was indeed a problem with FileLodge, but it also seems that it's allright again... At least: I've just downloaded them all again, and work fine! :) Let me know if there are still troubles (and that could be, as it's just sick that the FileLodge gives you 200 MB of streaming video if you want, for free! :twisted: That's really cool! :) )

Let me know if any file is down, then I can fix it! &

01 January 2006, 10:58 PM

The plug will go up in about an hour and you guys will get hit...hard.


02 February 2006, 03:57 PM
....en TOCH was jij VERUIT, maar dan ook echt VERUIT de beste! En dat zeg ik niet alleen omdat ik je zo geweldig vind, maar omdat jij gewoonweg het beste was!...GRMBL...

W8 maar af...volgende keer...


Gijs was the best. Without a doubt. We :love: Gijs!

GGJF Rulez!

02 February 2006, 10:57 AM
You really did deserve a spot in the top 3... Not that the others didnt, they were great too, but still... Now lets look at it from the bright side, youve got enough reason to be proud anyway, you've made a really cool video! :scream: Now go on an be happy, also to the fanclub, theres no reason to be sad, your heros did a very good job, go have a party! :D

02 February 2006, 01:04 PM
I was a little ill last week, so I didn't find any time to reply earlier...! Lets to it now! :cool:

@ MrsKickass: Nice of you to tell 'you think our entry was the best'! ;) If you say it... it's the truth... ;) The next time we wll win, if it stars you! :drool: Kisses! :wavey:

@ droidoz: Matthijs, that's a really nice reply that enlights the pain ;) Its really encouraging to hear that you like it to be 'a cool video'. And of course: with a 15-heads-counting fanclub I think I can't be sad! ;) :beer: I'm glad you convinced me to 'not be sad', and I wish you all the best on the film-academy! Your goood! :cool:

The fact that we didn't end in the 'best 3' is not very encouraging... Well: it's a little painfull to see that a 1 or 2 shot movie is less rewarded than a 11 fx-shot movie with a story. Its really not that I'm angry or so at Jigu or the other entrants, but more the fact that I don't understand what the voters look for?

For us it's just more rewarding to make a full 'professional feeling movie', with an atmosphere, a story, music, sound-fx, and all that stuff.

But well... as long as we feel to have had a nice time making it, and to have people who like our movie, who would care to be not listed in the top-3. Let me just be the happy VFX-filmmaker, and everybody is happy! :beer:


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