View Full Version : Short Film: "Wait, Mister!"

04 April 2006, 08:15 PM
Let's add another student project to the list shall we?
I've embarked on the pre-production phase of my masters project at Bournemouth University. As part of the process, I've decided to create an online production log ( (as if I don't have enough on my plate right?) to keep track of my progress. And I'm also starting a thread here to basically get more critiques on my work. You can never get enough feedback.

The story is about a snobbish gentleman who encounters a little homeless kid while waiting at the bus stop. It is admittedly a simple story, and the focus of it, aside from the minor life lesson, is in the interaction between the 2 characters.

Here are some samples from the thumbnails cum storyboards:

I've completed the first version of my storyboards and am presently working on the character designs:

I'll probably continue working on the characters and set designs. Also with the storyboards that I have right now, I'll attempt to piece together a very basic animatic to hopefully get a sense of timing and duration of the film. More ramblings over on my site if you're interested.

Again, feedback is greatly appreaciated!

05 May 2006, 05:15 AM
sounds cool, i like the full body side on design of the man best the one with the big nose. and the kid looks really cute. as and when you get to the animatic stage i'll check it out again.

keep it up man.:thumbsup:

05 May 2006, 01:49 PM
Hey thanx for the encouragement dan!
I'll try to post an update later today or tomorrow.

05 May 2006, 07:56 PM
Week 02:
- Came up with 1st draft of animatic (after some feedback I'm going to be shuffling some shots, changing some camera angles and adjust pacing).

- I've more or less settled on the design of the 2 characters - Mr. Knox and Kid. Time to decide on the colours :

- Started brushing up my organic 3d modelling skills (i's been ages since I've done some decent modelling) by working on Mr. Kno'x head:

05 May 2006, 03:06 AM
Week 04:
- Adjusted the original animatic and after approval completed the 3d block test.

- Finished modelling Mr. Knox for this week. He's not properly textured yet though:

I'll start work on the kid next. I'm planning to get the textures done only after rigging and developing some animation tests for my characters.

05 May 2006, 10:56 PM
Here's my progress with Kid so far:

Not too happy with the hair to be honest. And is the model a bit 'average' looking? If anyone has a better way of getting a simple but convincing head of hair please point me in the right direction. I'm trying to aim for simple and kinda stylized but Kid keeps veering into normalcy. Help anyone?

05 May 2006, 06:04 AM
ok I have a few questions for you:

first is it a boy or a girl (kinda matters kinda doesn't) honestly it really doesn't matter but if it were a boy maybe something to signify that he plays around, gets into trouble and stuff like that maybe a tear in his pants, or maybe a scrape on his elbow or a scar on his face, (small and insignificant).

Or you could give him/her something on his/her shirt, like a logo, (not too complex) or something to steer the character away from a normalcy.

Ok for the hair: in your first post on your production log, you say that the kid is supposed to be homeless correct?

Well the hair seems a little too neat and organized for a kid who is sleeping out on the street.

A way you could approach this is from two different angles one you could approach this from an angle that the hair is all one object, or two you could approach this by taking alot of elongated nurbs spheres and use that for hair(just a possibility)

Honestly the approach you are using is working rather well but the hair seems too neat and tidy, not like a homeless person at all. One word kind of describe a homeless persons hair, or what I view homeless persons hair, CHAOS. It may help that for a reference you should (depending on how long your hair is) maybe take a picture of your hair in the morning, or if you have a friend who has medium length hair, ask them if you could mess it up and take a picture. look up some references and maybe you would figure out an idea of how it is going to be.

I hope this helps (sorry for making it so long) :p

05 May 2006, 05:51 PM
To answer your questions morphius_ms:
- Kid is a boy. He doesn't have a name in the short and is just referred to as 'Kid'. I prefer the anonymity of it.
- I do plan on putting some scratches, stains and maybe light bruises on him as textures. As for tears maybe I'll do it using alpha maps. I'm also considering mapping some sewn patches on the clothes. That's all in the texturing stage most likely as I'm trying to keep the meshes as simple as I can afford to.
- I'll have a think about the logo/picture on his shirt. Never considered it before.
- I know what you mean about the hair. I have 2 little boys of my own so I know how messy it can look. I'm trying to keep it stylized (read simple) so I don't want to put in too much detail nor do I want to just balance a hemisphere on his head. I also want it to be somewhat consistent with the style I have of Mr. Knox. It's tricky. I came up with another version that's a decidedly simpler mesh using the same method - I'll post a picture soon.

Thanks for the feedback! Much appreciated!

05 May 2006, 06:49 AM
I did some reworking on Kid's model. Tell me if it's a better result!

05 May 2006, 08:27 PM
yes I like that model alot better, the hair (even though it is more stylized) fits the character much better. I think it looks alot better (comparing the two) because in the old one all the detail was in the front and in the back it looked like it was a blob. In this new one it looks as though the detail is even throughout.

Though the eyes look the same (except for the specular), I think they look good ( I noticed them more now than in the last one (not sure why, again probably the specular). I really like them, good job.

Keep up the good work.

06 June 2006, 12:56 AM
Hello again! It's been a long while since my last update - mostly because I've been busy with presentations and other assignments - but I'm finally back on track now and completely focused on finishing this project.

Over the past few weeks I've created basic rigs for both Mr. Knox and Kid and did some basic poses just to check for any major problems. So far I haven't noticed anything that would require an overhaul. I'll be tweaking for specific shots if need be. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to get decent walk cycles and character tests done. Here's what I did:

Mr.Knox and Kid Pose Test (

I also played around with Final Gathering to get an idea of how the characters might look in their environment:

And I managed to create Mr. Knox's basic face shapes. Here's a sample set of expressions:

I'm working on Kid's face shapes now and over the next couple of weeks I'm hoping to finish all environment models and textures so I can finally start animating shots. More hectic days ahead!

Comments welcome as usual! :)

06 June 2006, 03:30 PM
I love the gentleman! His upturned nose enhances how snobbish he really is supposed to look like. I really like the character designs and look foward to seeing this animated.

I like the reworked little boy model alot better two. the first one needed some work on the nose and the eyes were a bit scary.

Great job keep it up!

06 June 2006, 04:40 AM
Glad you like what you see so far Chiko.
I'll put up a set of face expressions for Kid next. Maybe over the weekend.

06 June 2006, 12:47 AM
That's strange! I put up Kid's facial expressions yesterday and the entire post has disappeared! Anyway, here's a re-post:

What do you think of the brown eyes + red shirt now vs. green eyes + orange shirt before?

07 July 2006, 01:45 AM
I'm back with another set of renders! This time they're focused on the environment that's almost complete. I don't think I'll be doing any more textures for the buildings - I kinda like intentionally giving them that sparse look especially as they go off into the distance. Do you think the basic, clean and very simple style of the enviroment fit around the characters? Of course there's still a few more objects and textures that needs doing (one of the most obvious ones is the set of road markings) but hopefully they won't take up the whole of next week to finish. Then at last I can start focusing on animating!

Of course any comments/suggestions you want to offer will be much appreciated :)

07 July 2006, 05:35 PM
This week's update:
I've added the road markings and sat Mr. Knox on the bench in the establishing shot. I've also modeled a magazine for him to read. I'll probably tweak the sky texture a bit more if I have time since it's not looking perfect at the moment. Anyway, here's what the opening shot looks like now.

Even though there're still some final models and texture tasks (nothing too major) that need to get done, I've decided to set them aside and spent most of this week animating one of the shots for a change.

Download Shot05 playblast (485kb Quicktime Sorensen 3) (

What do you think of it?

This is what the shot might end up looking like. Do I need to tweak the lighting on the Kid and Mr. Knox?

I'll be starting on another shot next week and re-visit this shot when I get round to doing another pass. I'm hoping to do 1 or 2 simple shots alongside a more difficult shot every week. You can fuss over a shot too long and lose sight of your progress or worse overlook other things that probably needs just as much attention, if you don't time-manage well. That's how I feel anyways. Comments?

07 July 2006, 06:56 PM
I really like the style and look you've got going here, and I think the miamalism in the background is working just fine. Keep up the good work. I cant wait o see the final piece! I know its just a first pass animation wise, but the part where the kid runs up at the very beginning seems like it needs lot of attention. Him climbing up on the bench is looking really good and is so cute. Good luck.

07 July 2006, 01:46 AM
Thanx for the feedback Aaron. Much appreciated.
I worked on 2 more shots this week. And I couldn't resist tweaking Shot05 just a little bit.

Shot05 v2 Playblast (304kB Quicktime Sorensen 3) (

Shot06 v1 Playblast (490kB Quicktime Sorensen 3) (

Shot07 v1 Playblast (241kB Quicktime Sorenses 3) (

Critique away fellas!

Pretty please?

07 July 2006, 11:12 PM
On shot 5 the walk up to the bench, the kid should lift his/her legs up more per step. Little kids are not as good at walking so they tend to step higher. I agree with airdogg that the hop onto the bench looks really good.

Then on shots 6 and 7 he needs to lead more with his head when moving and turning around

Good stuff though, can't wait for more!

07 July 2006, 12:35 AM
Zyrinx thanx for your input. I'll see what I can do about the foot-raising and I'm assuming you're referring to Mr. Knox when you talked about leading with his head in shots 06 and 07?
I've done a bit more work on those shots as well as a few new ones this week.
I'll try to upload them in the next couple of days.

07 July 2006, 07:19 AM
Hi Ahmid,

Ilike the gentelman too, looking forward to see animatons.:thumbsup:

07 July 2006, 01:39 AM
Time for an update. I've been working on a few more shots the past week and managed to compile a proper sequence up to about half-way along the story. I did take into account various feedback and made some minor adjustments to the previous shots too. Don't know if it's noticeable though. Some crits would be appreciated!

Shot01-10 v1 Playblast (2.48MB Quicktime Sorenson 3) (

Also did a few more test renders just to see how long an average frame might take on different computers:

07 July 2006, 06:44 PM
:D so funny and cute animations, i have one critique and is not so important, the gentle man way of looking to his mobile when the kid climbs is not too natural or stylished it looks fast and just like he was pushed from back or something.

08 August 2006, 12:08 AM
FlaminGlow thanx for the comment. Fyi Mr. Knox is actually holding a magazine (I'll probably put proper texture on it later). I will definitely make some refinements in that shot and adjusting his reaction is top of the list.

I've been animating some more shots over the past week. Unfortunately I won't be uploading the second half of my animation until it's finally complete. I don't want to reveal the entire story prematurely. I will still be making refinements and minor improvements to the shots I've already placed online (i.e. Shot01-10) when I do my second pass of the whole animation, as well as do more render tests to get the final look so I'll still be updating here and especially on my website.

One major change I did last week was to change the film's resolution from PAL 4:3 to 16:9. I felt that the way the cameras are placed and the style of the piece fit the wide letterbox format better. A few shots imho do look better in 4:3 due to the ease of directing the audience to the point of focus, but since the pros outweigh the cons I decided to stick with the 16:9 format. Here is a render and some comparisons:

I'm also expecting my sound designer to do some basic effects so maybe I'll put up a sample of that later.

08 August 2006, 11:49 AM
id go 16:9 for sure! imo
lots of good work youve done.
sound will really make this an award winner

08 August 2006, 12:30 PM
I also prefer 16:9, looking good and i would love to see it finished.:thumbsup:

08 August 2006, 07:49 PM
Sorry for not posting for awhile. I've been working with my sound and music guys to get another draft ready for the class crit session. The WIP I showed drew mixed reactions particularly when it came to the sound and music. There's still quite a lot to do anyways. Here's a picture my wife snapped during the recording session. That's me tickling my son :)

Also I've been doing some renders and simple compositing in Shake. I figure I'll render out all the shots, composite and add some minor DOF/blur effects then assemble all the parts to get the second draft of the entire film. I've been making minor tweaks before sending them to render and I'll be reviewing them as a whole again once all the assembling is done. That way I only need to tweak and render that particular layer in that shot without having to re-render the entire shot itself. Besides I figure I'll get a head start in rendering before the rest of my coursemates start fighting for machines to render their projects :)
Anyways here's a sample of my compositing nodes in Shake:

I'll post up some of my amateur attempts at compositing in my next posting. See you then!

08 August 2006, 11:42 AM
OK here are some samples of the final look. I've separated the elements in the shots into foreground and background layers and simply applied different levels of blur/defocus to the background layer. Do you think they're too blurry or not enough? Is the use of blur/defocus in every shot overkill and patronising?

08 August 2006, 12:20 PM
Hi Mahir, Shadows are light colored may be because you are using GI only (no lights added right?) i think it will look awsome with a sun light that drops shadows and darken the GI shadows.

08 August 2006, 11:34 PM
FlaminGlow I do have 3 lights in the shots so it might not be lack of light that's causing the flatness. Anyway I've added an ambient occlusion pass which helps quite a bit.

Just for the sake of it, Iíll go into a bit more detail about how I composite the various passes in Shake. A typical shot requires that I render out 1 pass of the sky, another pass with just the background elements and another with the foreground elements (Mr. Knox, Kid and the bench usually) then finally an ambient occlusion pass (sometimes I render the ambient occlusion pass separately for background and foreground). When the bus is in the shot it might require an additional pass specifically for the bus. I usually only utilise the Blur (or Defocus), ContrastLum and iMult nodes to end up with the final look. I only had to render out Depth passes for the first and last shots mainly because I had camera moves in them. I also had to tone down the ambient occlusion effect (20% mult) otherwise the darkened areas just make the shot look like itís indoors. I didnít eliminate it entirely because it does give the shot more depth even though itís very subtle. Hereís a sample breakdown for Shot06:

I also found a more appropriate font for the title and credits:

The project is almost completed and I'll be sure to update on what happens next. One thing I'm seriously considering is entering it into competition/festivals. That probably means I'll have to hold off uploading the final film on my website for awhile yet.

08 August 2006, 12:00 AM
the end is in sight isn't it? good idea looking for festivals to enter.
could you post what festivals you discover. that could be useful infomation to others :shrug:

good work.

08 August 2006, 07:14 AM
The latest issue of 3D World magazine has an article on submitting work for festivals and stuff that I found very useful. It even suggests a selection of major festivals to consider entering for the best exposure. If you can check it out that would definitely be a good place to start.

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