View Full Version : The Gift - VFX Challenge - Astrofish

01 January 2003, 04:08 PM

Here are the links to the final entry:
320x240 version (1MB) here (

640x480 version (2MB) here (

(end edit)

Well I don't know if I've got time to have a proper go at this one, but I'll see how far I get.

I know what film I'll be watching tonight, anyway...

Good luck everyone.

01 January 2003, 01:04 AM
I've spent a few hours fiddling around with materials to see what sort of damaged flesh look I can come up with.

Here's a render showing my best results so far, applied to a test model.

(I didn't make the model, it's a poser 3 model with a poser 3 skeleton inside. I don't know if I'm going to keep either of these for the final).

The flesh consists of two layers, both using identical 3D noise shaders to determine coverage, except that they have different clipping thresholds set so that the patches of upper layer (normal skin) coverage are always surrounded by a region of the lower layer (bruised skin).

(BTW, no storyboard yet, but I'm going to try to do a version of the first disintegration in the film, where the guy's body basically just liquifies and his skeleton collapses...)

01 January 2003, 05:33 PM
Gross! I love it.

I have a feeling that half of this competition will be judged on technical skill and the other half on the gruesome factor. You're off to a good start on both aspects.

01 January 2003, 07:04 AM
Looking icky...:twisted:

What software are you using?

I dont have poser, but man I'm tempted to find it for the skeleton... I dont think I will have time to model a complete skeleton... :hmm: thats where the design comes in, only model what you want to show... :hmm: then I can't change anything... :hmm: what to do, what to do... hehe

01 January 2003, 09:05 PM
Hi Arioch, glad you like it!
Cogliostros, I'm using Cinema4D, and the materials were built using SLA procedurals.
Cheers - Steve

01 January 2003, 12:50 AM
astrożfish there u go again!!

astro! astro! astro!

need 2 learn 3dsmax even faster...i would love 2 be in this challange...good luck 2 all:)

01 January 2003, 08:10 PM
Hey Astro!!! :) How r ya?

I hope you didnt fall asleep since your last post...unless you are very busy, get to work on the VFX challenge dude :D

01 January 2003, 12:06 PM
Yes, I know I'm way overdue for an update. I've been _very_ busy with various things recently so I've not had much time to spend on this, unfortunately.

I have done a bit more work on it, however, in an attempt to control where the flesh burns away, and to animate the disintegration spreading over the body.

I've written a simple plugin to assist with this, but I'm having some technical problems with its interaction with animation in C4D which means that if I render still frames it looks fine, but if I render an animation it doesn't work. Trying to fix this is taking longer than planned...

Oh yes, and I got cable internet access just in time for my ISP to have a major outage which meant that I had no net access from home all weekend (still not fixed either)...

Anyway, I've not forgotten about the challenge and I'll try to upload something as soon as I can.

Cheers - Steve

01 January 2003, 01:05 PM
I am always astonished by astro's work, i wonder how comes MAXON havent hired you as yet and you are making there software seem like its got more juice than maya. They really need to consider hiring you, i liked your last VFX challenge Entry, i hope you will finish this one aswell. I am liking that burnt skin effect that u have going. Nice work keep it up.

01 January 2003, 01:39 PM
Hi Illustrativ,
Wow. Thank you very much for your comments!

I haven't produced a lot with C4D yet, but that's certainly encouragement to keep going!

Anyway, I've finally fixed the problem I was having with the material animation plugin, so I should be able to provide an animated version soon (hopefully tonight, if I get time).
(The material burn is animated - not the model)

Once again, thanks for the support.

(BTW Maxon, if you do want to hire me on Illustrativ's recommendation - I'm listening. If not then I'll settle for a free copy of Bodypaint3D... :) )

Cheers - Steve

01 January 2003, 10:50 PM
[Edited to change link.]

Ok, an update at last!

I've managed to animate the spread of the disintegration over the skin surface.

Basically the way this works is that I use the 3D shaders that were used to determine transparency in the previous render, and I then use a custom plugin to offset the values from those shaders. The offset value is the distance from the surface of a hidden control object, which in turn is animated to expand over the course of the sequence...

A test animation is here (

A still from the animation is attached.

The big problem now is that there's obviously nothing between the skin and the skeleton...

I'm intending to try adding some inner layers using a similar approach to the skin, to try to build up a multi layer model. I don't know how practical this will be both in terms of modelling effort, and render time, but I'll give it a go.

Oh yes, I've not drawn a storyboard yet, but my basic idea was that the orb would fire a pulse of energy at the guy's chest, and the disintegration spreads out from there - as in this test animation.

01 January 2003, 10:52 PM
That is really sweet!!!:thumbsup:

well done.

01 January 2003, 11:02 PM
acid reflux again Astro? - man that looks painful... :D

01 January 2003, 02:57 AM
Lookin good Astro,
like you said, it definately needs something under the skin.
I don't know if you have seen "Mars Attacks" lately, but all they used was a skeleton and the skin. They then used some real cheesy flames that burned up the flesh. Already you are ahead of what they had.

Keep it up.

btw....glad to see a fellow C4D user in here.

02 February 2003, 01:04 AM
hey. that`s looking cool. but you will use a real actor for the effect, or are you planning, to do everything in 3d?

02 February 2003, 06:04 PM
Looking good astrofish.
I would love to see some guts fall of the ribcage :)

And then i think you should let the skin fade away quicker. As it is now, there are some spots of the skin, that fades away too slowly, especialy towards the end of the clip.

02 February 2003, 02:45 PM
I haven't seen Mars Attacks for a while. One thing that I do remember though, because it made me laugh, is that the victim's skeletons were always colour coded according to what colour ray gun had shot them...

I'm planning to use a real actor, and then either switch or blend to the CG model as required. I haven't had time to get my live action footage yet, though I think I've found the ideal location...

Don't know if I've got time to do innards spilling out, but it would be good if I did...
Yes, you're right about the skin fading out too slowly in places - I need to sharpen up the edge a bit.

I wish I could find more time to work on this...

02 February 2003, 02:35 PM
:beer: looks disgusting!!! it might just be a tad too shiny, bu all in all :buttrock:

02 February 2003, 03:53 AM
UPDATE! :applause:

02 February 2003, 01:32 AM
Yes, yes, I know...

I've really had very little time to spend on this, so I've not got much further unfortunately.

I've done some quick experiments for the look of the orb, and I've attached a still for what I've got so far. It could be a lot better, but I've got very little time to improve it. The volumetric light looks quite 'spiky', which I think looks quite good - makes it look more menacing.

Since I've got so little time left, I'm planning the following:

1. Add some _simple_ models to represent internal organs for the body.
These will be dissolved in the same way as the surface skin.

2. Apply photographic reference textures for the outer skin of the body to make it look more real.

3. Take still pictures for the background setting.

4. Film actor.

5. Use footage from 4 as reference to animate the CG model.

6. Superimpose the CG model over the
background still shots.

7. Add grain/camera shake, etc.

I've been thinking about applying CG characters over the top of live action, but I think that it would be very hard to get a good alignment between the two without needing expensive software and a lot of experimentation.
Because of this, I decided to just use the raw footage as reference for animating the CG model.

I'm going to try to get some of this done this weekend if I get a chance, but I really don't know if I'm going to have time to finish this one...

Cheers - Steve

02 February 2003, 01:36 AM
Oops, forgot to attach image.
FWIW, orb image attached to this post.

Cheers - Steve

02 February 2003, 02:01 AM
Ok, I'm out of time on this one - I've had to 'finish' it this evening...

Unfortunately this meant I have had to abandon most of the plan I mentioned in my previous post, and go for something simpler.

So, no internal organs, no animation of the victim moving, no background, etc...

What I have managed to do is camera map a photograph onto the face to get the skin to look more real, roughly match up the head geometry to match the photo, and to get some good lighting interaction between the orb and the victim.

Final Storyboard (in text form :) ):

Having already paralysed its victim with some unknown power :), the Orb slowly, almost casually, moves in for the kill...

It drifts over to the victim, frozen motionless in terror, and effortlessly burns through into his chest cavity...

Now hungry to feed, the Orb glows with fiery intensity as it burns away the victim's flesh from the inside...

After just a few seconds, all that remains is the skeleton, which splits the intense glow from the Orb into a series of beams, which dance around eerily....

Although it would have been much better with animation of the victim, I'm still pleased with what I've managed to do with this.

I might make some minor tweaks, but I can't do much otherwise I won't have time to render it all...

I've attached a still.

03 March 2003, 02:36 PM
Just finishing rendering at the moment...

Since the challenge server is down at the moment, and I'm not going to have net access for the next two weeks, I'm not going to be able to update my challenge entry properly on the system.

I'm going to have to upload my final animation over the top of the one that my entry currently points to, so at least the link will pick up my final entry, even if I can't update the associated still.

Final version will be updated in about an hour...

03 March 2003, 03:29 PM
Ok, here's my final submission for this challenge:

320x240 version (1MB) here (

640x480 version (2MB) here (

There are a few things that I'd like to improve, but I'm fairly happy with it - given the time that I've spent on it (which wasn't a lot really).

My biggest disappointments were that I didn't get a chance to do any animation of the person, and there's no live footage in there.

This might mean that this entry is not eligible under the rules, but I'll have to take my chances on that...

Good luck to everyone else, and I'll be keen to see how it all went when I'm back on the net in two weeks!

Cheers - Steve

03 March 2003, 09:30 PM
Looks really good, I especially like the volumetric lights through the ribs. It's a shame that you won't be able to take advantage of the time extension but what you've done is very cool. The only thing I'd change would be adding teeth to the skull since it can be seen through his open mouth.

It almost looks like something you would see in a sci-fi movie as a training video for space marines. "If you don't destroy a loc-nar before it get to within 2 meters it will automatically seek out your most vulnerable spot, penetrate the body, and induce massive cellular decay from within" ;)

03 March 2003, 12:42 AM
as a training video for space marines

Exactly! :thumbsup: Good Job.

03 March 2003, 11:35 PM
Are you sure you can't get the time to move it a bit. A little death animation would make it twice as good

03 March 2003, 08:08 PM
Hi Guys,
Thanks for your comments!

Arioch: Yes, you're right about the skull/teeth thing. I like your idea about it being like a space marine 'training video', I can just imagine it :)

Johs: I would really have liked to add some character animation, but I barely had time to 'finish' and upload the version without. (CA is also something that so far I've had virtually no experience with so it would probably have taken me a long time to do anyway).

The reason I couldn't do any more _at all_ on this was because I've been away on holiday for the past two weeks - as it was I was still rendering whilst my girlfriend was finishing off the packing!

I think I'll have a go at producing an improved version with animation anyway, just to see how it looks, but I'll have to fit it in with everything else...

Cheers - Steve

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