View Full Version : Eon (Trailer) Entry: Wade White

10 October 2006, 09:07 PM
Wade White is entered in the "Eon Challenge" update: View Challenge Page (

Latest Update: Finished Trailer: One ending is another beginning ... (

10 October 2006, 12:50 AM
Well, I just finished the novel yesterday and quite enjoyed it. I've never tried something like this before -- the challenge, I mean, not reading :) -- but I'm determined to at least finish and submit something. I'm planning on doing a 2D limited animation style trailer using primarily Mirage.

I haven't done up the rough storyboard yet, but I have been roughing out the beats for a screenplay as I would write it for this novel. In my thinking, the difference between a teaser and a trailer is that while a teaser is simply aimed at grabbing the viewer's attention and piquing curiosity, a trailer should actually tell a little story, like a min-version of the movie but without giving everything away (because what would be the point of that, right?).

Thus to tell a mini version, I figure I need to have at least a rough idea of the full version as I would write it. What would I leave out (from the story as told in the novel)? What would I include? What one main thread would connect the whole thing together? What characters would appear and which ones wouldn't? Which events need to happen on screen, and which would be peripheral to the story in movie version? Because I can only include in the trailer what I would include in the movie, which obviously, given the size of the book, isn't going to be everything.

Maybe this seems like overthinking it (since we're not actually making THE trailer for a movie based on the novel), but it's the approach that makes the most sense for me individually. I tend to think long on the front end, then dive in and do it once I have a solid plan in place.

Although it's not strictly speaking part of the requirements, I may post the story beats here once they're finished. I've already outlined the novel (took about four pages of paper on both sides). By kind of mapping out the whole novel in front of me like that, it makes it much easier to decide what needs to stay and what can go.

At this point, I know the main thrust of the story as I would tell it would focus on Patricia (perhaps obviously) and her desire to keep/change the future. Following the Syd Field method of screenplay writing, the first plot point near the end of Act 1 would be her discovery of the impending war, the midpoint would be the nuclear holocaust, and the second plot point near the end of Act 2 would probably be the revelation of the Jart threat (not entirely sure on that one yet, although that is more or less where it comes in the novel). Of course, in a trailer that will likely all get jumbled around a bit.

Anyway, like I said, I've never tried anything like this before, so what do I know? :-)

Should be fun though.

Oh, and I did put together a rough music track this evening using ACID. I'm presuming composing with loop tracks is okay? I guess perhaps I should check the FAQ on that score (no pun intended).

Best of luck to everyone!

10 October 2006, 03:20 AM (

Just a quick sketch done in Photoshop tonight. Thought I might as well start tossing the images in my head down on paper while they're fresh.

10 October 2006, 02:23 PM
mmmh! nice sketch!!!:thumbsup:

10 October 2006, 11:40 PM
Thanks, Oz.

10 October 2006, 11:52 PM
So, I finished the rough beats for my trailer. After putting together a beat sheet for the movie as I would write it, I used that to in turn develop my outline. I've already done up a preliminary sound track, so I timed it to the music and used that to more or less determine how many "beats" I have to work with. I'll post the timing with the storyboards (which I'll start hopefully tonight).

My idea is to more or less focus on Patricia throughout the trailer and use her story to hint at the wider story of the stone. So I pick out quotes either from her or in relation to her and sprinkled those throughout. I'm contemplating intermixing some written text in the first four or five beats to explain the Stone more explicitly. It starts out slow and dreamy, then the tempo picks up at beat six and builds until just before the end. I may also switch 13 and 14 (I originally had them reversed to what they are now).

[numbers following are page numbers]


1. Image: shuttle approaching the Stone
Patricia: "I'll be gone for a couple of months, maybe longer." (15)
2. Image: Patricia seeing the second chamber for the first time
Hoffman: "You're uncertain about Patricia." (124)
3. Image: Patricia standing inside the library
Lanier: "She's young." (124)
4. Image: Patricia watching the sixth chamber machinery
Olmy: "She has the Mystery." (426)
5. Image: Patricia disembarking from shuttle (27)
Pilot: "Promise us, someday you'll tell us what the hell happened up here?"
Patricia: "Why do you think they'll tell me?"
Pilot: "Don't you know? You're here to save them."
6. Image: date of 2110 inside the cover of the library book
Patricia: "The Stone is from our future." (54)
Lanier: "From a future." (54 - actually from Patricia on page 100)
7. Image: missiles launching / nuclear blast (?)
Patricia: "There's going to be a catastrophe in less than a month." (100)
Lanier: "Yes."
8. Image: soldiers assembling
Patricia: "What are they doing about it?" (108)
Lanier: "All that they can."
9. Patricia: "You want me to stay here while all the people I love die in a war I
already know about?" (109)
10. Image: the tuberider zips along the plasma tube
Olmy: "She believes she can open a gate to an alternate universe." (401)
11. Image: Patricia with Olmy
Carrolson: "She's missing." (246)
12. Image: Lanier and Hoffman
Lanier: "I'm not going to just give up on her." (247)
13. Patricia opening her gate (467-471; or alternatively 446 ff.)
14. Mirsky in the library with fists raised
Mirsky: "Where are you?" (369)
15. EON logo
16. Text: Coming soon to theatres everywhere.
17. Credits

Does anyone know if the credits for the trailer itself (i.e. mentioning voice-over people, etc) counts in the 90 sec. time limit? Another question for the FAQ I guess.

10 October 2006, 08:53 AM
mmmh...the time limit is a problem for me too.....90 sec. are not enought for my first trailer version.
Anyway...very interesting trailer...i mean...very focused on the book.A trailer that use the book text to explain a lot...i like it...Tell me,did you plan to use real actors for your scenes?

10 October 2006, 12:00 PM
Heh. Well, if by "real actors" you mean actual actors (i.e. trained actors), then no. I don't have those sorts of contacts unfortunately (actually, I'm wrong; as I sat here typing that, I just realized I know at least two people who have studied acting, so I'll put a hold on that thought while I make a few calls :) ).

But in any case I do intend to use distinct voices for each of the characters that has any dialogue in the trailer. I may do one of the voices myself, if push comes to shove. My wife could do Patricia or Carrolson. I have a few other friends who would be willing to pitch in. And my brother-in-law lived in Ukraine for several years and can pull off a convincing Russian accent for Mirsky. My biggest problem is setup. I don't really have a proper audio setup for recording (well, I have a five dollar microphone hooked up to my system, but that's hardly a "setup").

So audio right now is probably my biggest hurdle.

10 October 2006, 06:27 PM (

This is actually my second set of rough storyboards. I did up the first set based on the beats I wrote out and posted. Then as I was doing up the boards I realized I needed a better introduction. So I did that up and stuck in on front, but then realized I had to way too much material. So with some cropping and rearranging I came up with the following.

There are still a few places where I know I'll make some changes in the edited version. But it's good enough for rough, and a fair reflection of how I envisioned the trailer overall.

10 October 2006, 06:31 PM (

As is apparent from a comparison between the beats and the actual boards, I put in some text to better introduce the story and contextualize Patricia. She's still very much the focus, of course. But I think this sets it up better and makes things less ambiguous overall (which my original beats were slightly, I think).

10 October 2006, 06:33 PM (

More storyboard goodness!

10 October 2006, 06:37 PM (

This is getting to the end of the first third of the trailer. Up to this point the pace is fairly slow. The music is kind of low and dreamy. But it picks up slightly around the 30 second mark, and then another 16 seconds later really changes tempo.

This is also getting to the place in terms of the boards where my new intro finishes up and the original beats come back into play more, although I did a little editing on those as well in terms of both content and order, just to make the "story" flow better.

10 October 2006, 06:42 PM (

I had this little conversation with the pilot in the original beats. I think it provides a nice segue between the slower intro and the rest of the trailer that attempts to hint at Patricia's center role in all this. I changed the wording from the book just a bit, one to make it easier to say, and two to pique viewer interset (i.e. having the pilot say "save them" is easier than "save their collective hides," but if I put in "save the world" it gives away too much (in terms of the movie at that point) because most people don't realize the world is in any immediate danger -- well, other than the kiind it's always in).

Anyway, I did flesh it out a bit better with a few more boards, but I'm pretty sure this sequence is a keeper.

10 October 2006, 06:44 PM (

The end of the seque, and the change in tempo big time with Panel 17 into the second half of the trailer. Things really start moving along here. In fact, it may be that there's too much crammed in there (in terms of dialogue anyway). I'll have to wait until I do the scratch track to see if it will all fit in nicely. I can always crop here and there a little if need be.

10 October 2006, 06:48 PM (

I'm not as happy with the first two boards here (I don't mean drawing-wise, although I admit my boards take very seriously the designation "rough").

What I mean to say is, I'm not as happy with the sequence. When I did some rearranging of panels, I need a couply to drop in here for pacing, and these were the two left over, but I'm not quite satisfied. So in a salute to laziness, I stuck them in for now, rather than draw up yet more boards. But I suspect they will change in the edited version.

10 October 2006, 06:50 PM (

Here, on the other hand, I can well imagine another board or two squeezing in someplace. I envision a fairly fast pace at this point, and I want to convey that visually. The two panels with soldiers running by help in that regard (I think), but there could maybe be one or two more.

10 October 2006, 06:53 PM (

Panel 26 here was one of the first pictures that popped into my head as a possible scene for the trailer when I was reading through the book. And it has remained more or less untouched or unaltered from that point until I did the boards. My sketch here doesn't do it justice, but it does convey the idea. I just hope I can pull it off the way I want to in the final version.

I like the panel of Mirsky and Vielgorsky too. Not sure why. Just do.

10 October 2006, 06:54 PM (

From this point on things are fairly locked in. I like the end sequence, and this came to me quite early on as well.

10 October 2006, 06:57 PM (

And that, as they say, is that. Again, I like the scene of Mirsky here. The tempo hits its hard point with that panel, then shuts right down to just a bass for the last two.

The final two panels zing by really fast, which I'm not happy about, but I didn't want to give up any more space than that.

10 October 2006, 06:55 PM
your plan sounds great. it looks like a real epic!

10 October 2006, 08:11 PM
looks like you've already put a lot of tought in this one, not bad at all. Maybe you're telling just a tad too much about the story in the end tough, but this is only my humble opinion.



10 October 2006, 09:04 PM
mitchelhunt - Thanks. I think the story (i.e. the novel itself) has that epic feel to it. Although, oddly enough, the music I'm going with is less of the orchestral kind which I associate with that sort of movie and more of a modern, upbeat, rock, etc, type of thing. Ah well :)

foane - Good point. I've gone back and forth on how much to reveal, and I expect I'm not done yet wrestling with it. I decided against actually showing whether or not a war takes place because I believe that's the turning point in the story, i.e. up to that point Patricia's job is to see if there's any way they can stop the war from happening. After the war takes place, her goal changes to finding an Earth where it simply doesn't happen. So I didn't show that because I figured it was too key to the plot and I dislike trailers that give it all away.

On the other hand, my reasons behind including the reference to the Stone being from the future and a possible war taking place were because those are all things that--in both the novel and the story as I would tell it in movie form--get revealed in what more or less constitutes the first act (certinly for a movie, and in the first 100 or so pages for the book, which is only the first fifth; plus it's in the bulrb on the back cover :D ). So anyway, that was the reasoning behind my choices, but I'll definitely continue to think about it when I move on to the next step, the edited storyboards.

Thanks for the critique!

10 October 2006, 05:32 PM (

Just a little pre-vis on Axis City for one of my shots. I was having trouble with the perspective, so moved over to 3D for some assistance.

A comparison with the storyboard panel for this shot shows considerable change in design. The spoked wheeled concept was simply what formed in my head when I read the book. When I went back to reread the actual descriptions, though, I realized I was quite a bit off. Not that one has to be a slave to the novel, of course, but I kind of like the redesign and so will likely stick with it.

Done in LightWave 3D[8].

10 October 2006, 05:38 PM (

Another shot of the city, this time more from the angle as I picture the scene in my head. I've realized in the process of doing this little 3D mock-up that my idea for the shot isn't going to work quite the way I wanted to. I wanted to have the V/STOL came flying in towards the city riding the singularity, but the dimensions of the city make it impossible to get the city in 3/4 view and still have the camera on the ship. If I go right to the ship, all I get is pretty much a head on view of the city, and the "propellers" at the back is about all you can see. I would have to break perspective in order to pull it off the way I want to, which is fine except I'm not entirely sure how to do that.

10 October 2006, 02:33 PM (

I tried various logos with star fields and whatnot, then decided to try the simple and (hopefully) elegant route. This (or some variation thereof) comes in as the second last panel in my storyboards.

I may try to animate the line shooting across from left to right and circling the "O" as it goes, but I only have two seconds allocated for it in the trailer and I'm not sure that's enough time to have that sort of thing read correctly. But I'll give it a try at some point and see. I may also go with a different font, though this one was my favourite so far.

Done in Photoshop 7.0. For the line glow I followed a tutorial by Ryan Wieber for making lightsabers glow which can be found at:

10 October 2006, 04:37 PM
like your storyline! I am waiting for the deatiled concepts and storyboard!
keep on!


10 October 2006, 05:04 PM
mark - thanks! I'm doodling around with some character design stuff, and I've started working on the edited storyboards. I put together an animatic based on the rough storyboards and quickly discovered that my timing is off on the front half. I may post it anyway once I figure out how. I'm hoping to post the edited boards by the end of the month, but we'll see as I also have an article to write for November. :)

10 October 2006, 05:25 AM
Trailer vs. Teaser, good point! Considering the size of the book. I guess to make a trailer we'll need a few jump cuts like your shuttle to library cut. I also am considering some live video of real people. Great! You've got a course already!

10 October 2006, 01:18 PM
userBrian - Glad it was helpful. That's just my take on it, of course, and I'm sure the lines blur between the two to some extent. But I personally always considered a teaser just something to wet the appetite with no real laying out of what the story involves (like the initial teaser for The Da Vinci Code or T2 and maybe even Clerks 2, although that one's pushing it for me). Having said that, on another level categories probably don't mean a whole lot since whenever someone draws a line in the sand, someone else will inevitably cross it. And most "teasers" I see nowadays look more and more like what I described as a trailer anyway, so what do I know? :)

Yeah, there'll be a number of jump cuts, especially throughout the second half. The first half is mostly slow fade in an out between text an shots of the shuttle, but then it takes off. I actually sat dwon and "studied" a number of trailers and realized I could probably have twice as many shots in the second half and still be fine, and also that the text could probably flash by a little quicker. It means a lot more drawing (since every frame is yet another background to do), so I'm wary of the time frame, but in terms of pacing and how trailers seem to be put together these days I think a person can get away with a lot more speed and more shots than I initially had thought.

10 October 2006, 12:57 AM (

I sketched out some concepts for the second chamber library for one of my shots. Not sure I'm entirely happy with the result, though. I think it needs a more futuristic take.

10 October 2006, 01:48 PM
OK...i surprised me!:eek:
the storyboard is very clear...and the scene cuts are cool and tell the story as it is! the eon logo is one of the simpler and cool that i have seen all around. I seem to be about to do a very very nice job...or maybe..G R E A T !
I will be back for sure to see more stuff...and...did you plan to post an animatic?

10 October 2006, 04:35 PM
Thanks for the encouragement, Oz! I only hope I can pull it all together (in the time provided) the way it looks in my head. I mean, I know I'll have something to submit, but getting all the animation done will be a real test. I wasn't joking when in my first post I said I'd never attempted anything like this before. I have no formal background or training (or work experience even other than my own playing around with software) in any of this stuff, so I'm definitely working on a huge learning curve here, but still enjoying every minute of it.

I've done up an animatic with music and the rough storyboards, but I've been trying to post the requirements for the challenge more or less in order (since they follow a logical progression). So I'm doing up the edited boards now (I'm aiming to post those next week), then I'll post the scratch track as an animatic to those boards and the music and SFX stuff will follow after. I imagine once I get the edited boards done the next couple of steps will come in fairly short order.

10 October 2006, 04:45 PM
I agree timing is a problem especially if you want to fit as much in as you do. Myself I am planning more of a teaser trailer.

Personally I am finding I very interesting and useful seeing what you’ve chosen to include and what not to.

The audio will be a big challenge I think!!! :)

Best of luck

10 October 2006, 07:49 PM
fendell - thanks! I spent a lot of time (and still am) thinking about what to include and what threads of the story to show in the trailer. For example, I left out any references to relationships in general (although in a movie version I would use the Patricia/Paul relationship as a central motivating factor for her actions), and I don't have any mention of the Jarts (although I'm still at this point considering popping in a quick shot or two of them; unfortunately they take a back seat for most of the novel, so I'm not entirely sure how one would go about bringing them into the mix of a movie without chewing up a lot of time for the rest of the story), or even of the various chambers and the singularity, etc, which are all big parts of the story. My decision was to pick out one central aspect--even if it didn't cover everything from what might go into a movie--and go mainly with that. I think (hopes) it results in a clearer statement being made.

As for the timing, I'm satisfied now with my second rough test animatic here at home that it will all fit in well enough and that there's even enough room for some more shots in the second half. A quick study of just about any recent action or scifi trailer shows that many shots and sequences roll by often in a matter of fractions of a second (depending on the intended pacing, of course). I'll hopefully be able to post the edited animatics by the end of next week and then people can give their input on how well it works.

The audio will indeed be a challenge, but for my part mostly just in tems of simply getting it recorded. :) I'm going to record a scratch track next week on what little equipment I have here at home (and it isn't much, let me tell you), but hope to maybe rent a decent mike or something for the final.

General Midi
10 October 2006, 05:13 PM
fendell - thanks! I spent a lot of time (and still am) thinking about what to include and what threads of the story to show in the trailer. For example, I left out any references to relationships in general (although in a movie version I would use the Patricia/Paul relationship as a central motivating factor for her actions), and I don't have any mention of the Jarts (although I'm still at this point considering popping in a quick shot or two of them; unfortunately they take a back seat for most of the novel, so I'm not entirely sure how one would go about bringing them into the mix of a movie without chewing up a lot of time for the rest of the story), or even of the various chambers and the singularity, etc, which are all big parts of the story. My decision was to pick out one central aspect--even if it didn't cover everything from what might go into a movie--and go mainly with that. I think (hopes) it results in a clearer statement being made.

As for the timing, I'm satisfied now with my second rough test animatic here at home that it will all fit in well enough and that there's even enough room for some more shots in the second half. A quick study of just about any recent action or scifi trailer shows that many shots and sequences roll by often in a matter of fractions of a second (depending on the intended pacing, of course). I'll hopefully be able to post the edited animatics by the end of next week and then people can give their input on how well it works.

The audio will indeed be a challenge, but for my part mostly just in tems of simply getting it recorded. :) I'm going to record a scratch track next week on what little equipment I have here at home (and it isn't much, let me tell you), but hope to maybe rent a decent mike or something for the final.

You could also post "help wanted" in audio & music forums, where you'll find 16 billion music/audio guys hoping to get into a cool project.

Good luck! :thumbsup:

10 October 2006, 07:16 PM
Yeah, I thought about that possibility as well. :) I'm going to give it a try solo for now just because I really want the experience of doing it that way (it was one of the drawing cards for me to enter the challenge), but if I haven't found a decent audio solution by the middle of next month I may indeed have to look for help. But I can at least put together the scratch track for now.

10 October 2006, 03:28 PM (

PANEL 1: Okay, so back to the beginning again, eh? On this first panel I kept the black screen but cut the time down to just one second. Hopefully that's enough, and it'll have to do anyway since I realized very quickly in putting this together that time is of the essence in this little endeavour (90 seconds goes by very quickly). In fact, timing was the element that received the biggest overhaul in the first thirty seconds of the trailer. In the rough boards I had the lines of text held for four seconds each and the visuals for only two. Here I've reversed that and monkeyed around a bit with some of the panels and worked it out to three for the text and four for the visuals basically across the board. After studying a number of recent trailers I determined that text can be read faster than I had previously thought and that a more balanced rhythm between the visuals and the text would make things flow a lot smoother (the rough animatic was too jumpy).

PANEL 2: Same as previous. I've liked this opening text ever since I first wrote it down, and we all know what they say about when it ain't broke ...

PANEL 3: I decided to bump the shot of the shuttle together with the Earth up to the first visual here. My reasoning was twofold. One, I think it establishes better the whole setting for the movie (and by extension, of course, the trailer). It's something familiar for the viewer to hang their hat on: a space shuttle, not unlike what exists currently, passing by in high orbit over the Earth. The second reason I'll cover in my discussion of Panel 5 which follows.

10 October 2006, 03:30 PM (

PANEL 4: Same as previous.

PANEL 5: More or less the same, but I think it works better now in conjunction with the shot of the shuttle over the Earth in Panel 3. The reason being, with the Earth now firmly established as sitting "below" the shuttle, it is more readily apparent that the shadow that begins to loom over the shuttle cannot be that of the planet itself (that may have been obvious before, but I think it makes it concrete now with this order and also provides for better overall continuity between panels 3, 5, 7, and 10 as a sort of zoom in closer and closer to the shuttle).

PANEL 6/7: I changed the wording for this one (the previous "No one knew how or why" sounded just plain clunky to me). I'm still not entirely satisfied with what's here, although it is getting closer. The overall rhythm of the opening third of the trailer feels right to me, and so I know *something* needs to go here with more or less this flavour to it (i.e. some comment about the Stone itself). I'm just not one hundred percent convinced this text is quite it--yet. But it's definitely much closer.

10 October 2006, 03:31 PM (

PANEL 7: See discussion of Panel 6.

PANEL 8: Almost the same, except I dropped the Earth (which is now established in Panel 3) out of the picture. This concentrates the viewer's focus squarely on the shuttle and the Stone. And again, I think the overall sequence works better since it creates a sort of jump pan and zoom in towards the shuttle now throughout the opening four visual panels (3, 5, 7, and 10).

PANEL 9: I changed the wording here a bit (from "And one woman was chosen") making it simpler though the sentiment remains pretty much the same. The text here begins the link between the overall setting already established (21st Century, Earth's orbit, "the Stone", etc) and narrows the focus to Patricia, who is the protagonist and whose individual story will provide the main thrust of the remaining portion of the trailer. Other options might have been to make the impending war the main focus, or the chambers of the Stone, etc. I don't think there's necessarily a right or wrong choice in that regard, but whatever one's choice I figure it should act as the guide for everything else. I went with Patricia's story first, and then touch on the other stuff as it relates to her.

10 October 2006, 03:33 PM (

PANEL 10: Basically same as before, although I'm thinking now that for the sake of continuity in the "zoom" I may need to change the angle of the shot. At the very least, perhaps have it straight on to the window. I'm not sure how I can creep up from behind (which is how the zoom was progressing in the previous three shots) and still get a shot of Patricia's face with her facing forward.

PANEL 11: I like the text here much better than the previous "To discover the truth." That maybe had a certain ring to it, but I find this much more powerful. "Truth" is such an ambiguous concept, but a secret that needs unlocking is much more gripping and visual image since it implies a more concrete action (to me anyway). And it's true enough to the story since that's more or less what Patricia is brought on board to do, namely, solve the puzzle of the Stone. I also bumped the dialogue from the subsequent panel to here as part of my redistribution of the timing. Plus I thought it was cool to have the dialogue come in on a predominantly black screen first (and one must never underestimate the "Cool" factor).

PANEL 12: Since I cut one of the two images here, I wasn't entirely sure what to show. The dialogue has them docking, but I haven't actually established that there's a dock yet. So I either need a shot of the dock from far enough back to give the lay of the land, or a really close in shot of them coming to a stop and hope the viewer connects the docking bay with the Stone. After a coin toss, I decided to go with the ship coming to a full stop. But I reserve the right to go for best two out of three. Also, I reversed the shot and threw the Earth back in for good measure thus re-orienting the viewer as to overall setting and location and hopefully making it clear that the shuttle has just entered the Stone. I hope the reversal works in terms of the jump zooms, but it's possible it may need another quick shot in there to make that transition a bit smoother.

10 October 2006, 03:35 PM (

PANEL 13: These next four panels follow the same sequence as before, but I've changed the shots. In the book this dialogue exchange comes while he's escorting her to the lock access corridor, but I decided to have him still seated and Patricia in the background for a couple of reasons. One, I find this shot a lot more dynamic in terms of composition. Two, it establishes visually that she's talking to the pilot (and not just the flight attendant or some anonymous person, though that's not a knock against flight attendants Ö or anonymous people), something which wasn't necessarily obvious in the rough boards. I'm not sure it's all that important who she's talking to, but I rather like the idea of making it clear who this guy is because again it maintains a certain continuity from the previous shots (i.e. we've just seen this guy flying the shuttle, and now we see him). Also, it's entirely possible people wouldn't have known she was still on the shuttle at this point, but showing the pilot still in his seat makes that more readily apparent.

PANEL 14: Now that the previous panel has established the scene and character placement, I throw to focus to Patricia by bringing the camera closer to her.

PANEL 15: Same for the pilot. I move the camera in for a close-up. I've also framed them on opposites sides (i.e. Patricia on the left, the pilot on the right) to make the conversation read correctly on screen.

10 October 2006, 03:37 PM (

PANEL 16: Here I bring the camera even closer focusing on the eyes to emphasize her reaction to what the pilot has just said. I changed the wording from the book at this point just slightly. For one, I don't think a script can be slave to a book anyway, simply because they're two different mediums with two different sets of demands (although, having said that, I dislike scripts that mess around with story and dialogue for the sole purpose of making it "different"). But the book has, "Don't you know? You're here to save their collective hides?" which felt a little too wordy on the one hand for spoken dialogue, and isn't nearly as ominous sounding as I wanted it to be for the purposes of the trailer. This is perhaps the one place where I'll fully acknowledge I changed something solely for the purposes of the trailer, because in a script I'm not entirely sure I would have done so. But I wanted some verbal reinforcement--picking up on the text about her being able to unlock the secrets of the Stone--that Patricia is the key to this whole thing.

PANEL 17: The same as with the rough version, this is the point at which the tempo really picks up and changes direction.

PANEL 18: I added a shot here of Lanier and Patricia looking at the book. It puts faces to the dialogue and I was beginning to get concerned that there were too many "floating" lines in the trailer (i.e. lines of dialogue spoken over other images). I also reversed the side of the screen that Patricia is on from the sequence of her and the pilot. I can't entirely explain why, but somehow it felt like it balanced things out (as opposed to always having her on the left).

10 October 2006, 03:40 PM (

PANEL 19: A shot of the title page of the book with the date prominently displayed, and perhaps even a slight zoom in on the printed date. I toyed with the idea of removing this sequence of visuals in the library entirely, being unsure as to whether or not it would read correctly (i.e. the idea of the date of the book conveying all the correct information in the time allotted in the trailer). The irony of having the one sequence in the trailer that didn't look at all futuristic running against the one bit of dialogue that mentions the future was not lost on me, and so I considered simply going with shots of the chambers and cities and anything that simply looked futuristic. But after giving it some thought I'm satisfied that the dialogue reinforces the pictures well enough, and with the added shot of Lanier and Patricia I'm hoping it works better.

In terms of the overall flow of the trailer, I chose this bit of dialogue because it gives the viewer a taste of what Patricia is going to be dealing with without spilling the whole plot. Mention of the future comes very early in the story and so I don't feel it's giving away too much by mentioning that aspect in the trailer. It also ties in with the direction already established of concentrating on Patricia. Although the quote here in the book is really Lanier showing her this, in terms of the flow of the trailer it could be taken as her being the one to discover it (and thus is in keeping with the idea of her unlocking the secrets of the Stone). So on one level it perhaps slightly distorts what actually happens, but I don't feel it misrepresents the main thrust of the actual story (because it actually is something she discovers, she's just not the first one is all). I'm conscious of using the various parts of the movie to one end in the trailer without misrepresenting the story itself. This same sort of thing happens in a few more sequences later on as well.

PANEL 20: Same as the rough boards. Although the board doesn't really convey it, I picture a fairly dynamic angle here that shows both the flaw and the "ceiling" overhead, hopefully with some indication that the city is literally wrapped around the inside of this chamber. Possibly a pan upwards to reveal that.

PANEL 21: Instead of having two static landscape type shots, I replaced the sixth chamber shot that was originally here and in its place put in two shots of Patricia at the flaw, one wider shot to establish the setting and then a close-up showing her face barely perceptible and all distorted in reflection. These shots come right after Lanier's line about the Stone being from *a* future. I think the distortion in Patricia's reflection in some ways stands as a visual metaphor for possible distorted or alternate time-lines (see, now I'm getting all literary-like). In any case, it shows a little bit more action than simply another still of scenery.

10 October 2006, 03:42 PM (

PANEL 22: See discussion for Panel 21.

PANEL 23: Identical to the rough boards. I liked this shot from the moment I first conceived of it. The two heavy lifters in the mid and background will already be under way when it flashes on screen, and then the lifter on the extreme left in the foreground comes blasting into the frame at a blur just as the music steps up another notch (the music does this every eight seconds through the second half until just about the end). In terms of the dialogue, it builds on the previous comments by revealing that they possibly have access to information about the future.

PANEL 24: I nearly cut these next two shots, and they may in fact have to go in the final edit. But I think they add to the underlying tone of catastrophe and possible war. And they're only on screen for fractions of a second really (the timing I'm posting for these and a number of others are estimates, since I haven't timed out all of the minutiae yet). The dialogue here, chosen from a different scene in the book, again builds on what came previous and further defines just what kind of catastrophe we're talking about, namely, war.

EDIT -- I just realized I uploaded this one under the Scratch Voice Track milestone by mistake. I'll be submitting the voice track soon enough anyway, but just to keep it legal could one of the admins switch this to Edited Storyboards if possible? Thanks.

10 October 2006, 03:44 PM (

PANEL 25: Previously I had simply conceived of a line of soldiers running past, but I like the idea of creating some depth with soldiers in the fore, middle, and background, although in some ways that feels like a bit of a repeat of the heavy lifters just two shots back. Again, this one flashes on screen for only fractions of a second. It may be that I'm trying to squeeze too much in here. If that proves to be the case, I may drop on of these shots of the soldiers, or alternatively re-bump the next sequence back further in the trailer (for details of that see the discussion in Panel 26).

PANEL 26: In the rough boards, I had a shot of Mirsky holding his gun on Vielgorsky and it came later in the line-up than this. I decided to bump it up for now, but due to the overall timing and everything I'm trying to cram in it may not stay here. Anyway, I broke down that one static shot into four more dynamic shots. The first one here shows Vielgorsky on the train, and the three figures approach in the extreme foreground (Mirsky flanked by two soldiers).

PANEL 27: A shot of just the rifle muzzles coming into view. This will flash by pretty quick.

10 October 2006, 03:46 PM (

PANEL 28: Close-up here on Vielgorsky to catch his reaction to the rifles being pointed at him with a turn of the head (either that or he's a two-headed hydra). I think it makes for a much more personal and exciting portrayal of this moment. It also gave me a neat way to shove a few more visuals into the trailer. At this point things are really moving along, and I donít think up-beat music works with static shots. In my thinking, the two (i.e. music and visuals) should complement one another.

PANEL 29: And a medium shot of Mirsky revealing his identity to finish off the sequence. The dialogue here is Patricia's question to Lanier outside the library about what's being done to prevent a war. Now the visuals here don't line up with that dialogue in terms of the actual story, but these are nevertheless shots of someone obviously taking care of business and in fact going to extreme measures to get the job done. I think that visually expresses the message in Lanier's words, "All that they can." Granted, their efforts in the novel are somewhat more diplomatic than this. But again, my own feeling is that as long as the visual aspect complements the dialogue, and as long as it doesn't distort the overall story (and by that I mean somehow misrepresent what the movie is more or less about), than I'm not bothered too much by the fact that I've extracted dialogue from one scene and meshed it together with the visual elements of another.

PANEL 30: Same as the rough boards. It's one of the longest held frames just to get all the dialogue in. I considered popping in another visual or even just a different angle about halfway through, but for now I'm going to leave it as is. To some extent this reiterates the war theme yet again, but it takes it further in that now we see Patricia is becoming more active in doing something about it. In some ways in the previous snippets she was more or less passive, but now she's taking an active role and seems primed to do more than just stand around. Hopefully that makes for a more compelling movie (and trailer).

10 October 2006, 03:48 PM (

PANEL 31: This is where the shot of Mirsky kidnapping Vielgorsky used to be. Instead, I'm inserting a couple of frames of the subway and Patricia on the platform. There's no dialogue (although the dialogue from the previous shot is long and may leak over into it a bit), but the impression created (I hope) is that she's not in fact just going to wait around, but she's actually going to do something about it (because even though she can't stop the war, she doesn't give up hope of finding an alternative to getting back home and thus it remains true to the sentiment of the story, I think). Again, it portrays her as an active character, someone worth watching who makes her own decisions and is capable of taking matters into her own hands.

PANEL 32: Continued from previous. Narrows the focus to Patricia's look of determination. The actual shot would come from either her attempt to get to the library when the invasion begins, or from her initial introduction to the subway.

PANEL 33: I think I mentioned this before, but this was pretty much the first image that came into my head as a shot that would definitely be included in the trailer, no questions asked. I'm still not sure I'm going to be able to get the angle I want on it, so I'll probably have to play around a bit more and see what works best. But this conveys the overall feeling of what I'm going for. The dialogue here reveals something of what she intends to attempt. This possible gives away a little too much. It's the one piece of text that I've had any concern about in editing the boards. The concept of alternate universes comes early when they discuss the origins of the Stone, but Patricia's idea about opening her own gate is considerably later. I'm leaving it in for now because I think it has the flow for the trailer, but I'll definitely be coming back to it again before the final edit.

10 October 2006, 03:50 PM (

PANEL 34: I decided to insert a shot of the Frant here to emphasize visually the idea of an alternate universe as spoken in the dialogue (from the previous shot), though I think I need to come up with something more visually interesting.

PANEL 35: Same as rough storyboards. I like the idea of this shot, but I haven't decided on the angle yet. It's fairly low key in terms of action, so a dynamic angle might be nice. I'm hoping that the dialogue and visual combine to portray the idea that Patricia is seeking help in her search.

PANEL 36: Same as rough boards, except that I clipped one second off as it was running a bit on the long side. This is another shot where I decided to make sure I had the visual actually match with the dialogue that's spoken. I chose this particular bit of dialogue because I think it follows up well on the previous bits about an alternate universe and finding home. Where those suggest she's headed off to find a solution to her problems, this indicates that perhaps she encounter some trouble and not all is yet well. Just to keep the tension up there.

10 October 2006, 03:52 PM (

PANEL 37: From here on out (actually, from a couple of panels back to be quite accurate) I haven't changed anything really. This one is another shot that came to me fairly early on when I was brainstorming ideas for the trailer. It takes off from what Lanier has just hinted at, i.e. that Patricia might still be in some sort of trouble, and shows her in a situation that looks pretty crazy.

PANEL 38: Narrows the focus directly on Patricia and really magnifies the difficulty she's having. This is just about at the end, and I want the circumstances to look pretty dire.

PANEL 39: Good old Mirsky. I really like this way of ending it. His dialogue here, while having nothing to do with Patricia in terms of the actual novel, really helps seal the deal. And I'm satisfied that it remains faithful to the overall storyline in tone because they do in fact go looking for Patricia after she disappears. Coming at this point in the trailer, with the build up to her running off on her own and having some apparent difficulties, I think it does a nice job of pulling everything together and suggesting that there's some real struggle going on in this story, that emotions are running high and that the tension is thick. Not a bad note to end a trailer on, I think.

10 October 2006, 03:54 PM (

PANEL 40: The logo I came up with. I've been thinking of different ways to animate it, should I ever get that far in the process. Figured I might as well stick it in here now, though, and get some mileage out of it.

PANEL 41: And, of course, no trailer would be complete without the tantalizing suggestion that this action packed flick is nearly in theatres.

10 October 2006, 04:05 PM
Whew, well that was a job and a half getting all those uploaded. :)

I wish Iíd had a little more time to work on the edited boards (and make them prettier) but I set myself the deadline of finishing them by the end of this month, and that would be today. I could probably spend the whole challenge just trying to make the boards look better, but I really do want to get to at least some of the animation part, so I'm sticking to my deadlines.

I'm happier with some panels then others, naturally. Mirsky looks a little bit like a screaming school girl in that third to last panel. :shrug: On the other hand, though, I redid Panels 13-16 just this morning and they came out much better than I'd originally done. But there's definitely a heavy cubism influence going on in many of the other panels. Oh well.

Anyway, on to the scratch track and animatic!

10 October 2006, 05:32 PM
Jeez mate I thought I was mad. 41 panels is insane! Even in 2D thats a hell of a lot of work. I don't know how I managed to miss your thread, must have been on the first page when I'm usually in bed. (which should be now it's 4:28 am here). Do you plan on editiong some of the panels out or are you going to go for the big finish? Well good luck with it.

10 October 2006, 06:07 PM
Tenacious -- well, insanity should never be entirely ruled out. :D

My plan is to finish as much as I can. Since they're accepting storyboard animatics, I'll simply start plugging in finished stuff as I get it done and submit it for the final in whatever state it's in. I threw it all together in a rough animatic this morning, and I can already see that one or two panels may have to go in certain places just to make it work. We'll see.

But yeah, it's going to be a ton of work. All part of the fun, right?

11 November 2006, 11:10 AM
ooh ooh can we see the animatic? :bounce:

11 November 2006, 03:02 PM
Yeah, let us see the animatic :applause:

11 November 2006, 04:11 PM (

Software: Photoshop

When I first read the book, I had the sense of this real epic sort of film, with full orchestra and huge, scenic shots. I could very much see it alongside flicks such as 2001. Having acknowledged that first impression, however, it will become obvious that I went in a slightly different direction, at least in terms of the music. I just came up with something that I really liked for the score, and so I'm taking the "no guts, no glory" route and going with my instinct.

So here then is the rough cut. I'm sticking it still under the edited storyboards milestone since I haven't done the scratch track or the SFX quite yet. I can see already that a few adjustments will have to be made in terms of time and perhaps a few shots cut or otherwise rearranged. But it's still a good idea of my overall vision.

I used the Board-O-Matic plugin in Mirage to actually draw the storyboards. And I actually put the animatic together using Windows Movie Maker (real high tech, eh?). I'm waiting to get my hands on Adobe Premiere. Music was done in ACID.

Play Video >> (

EDIT -- hmmm. I see that the playback seems kind of choppy. I have the demo version of Adobe Preimiere. Anyone have suggestions for better settings and compression for smooth playback?

11 November 2006, 06:58 PM
Not bad at all, considering this early stadium. Maybe the music mood should become darker to the end? Just a thought....

11 November 2006, 07:44 PM
impressive planing work! wow. cant wait to see ya realizing this all :) keep on rockig! best of luck!

11 November 2006, 04:58 AM
Galaktor - Yeah, I agree that moody, darker music would probably give it that more epic feel. There's still time to tweak things a bit, so I'll keep it in mind.

TheFirstAngel - Thanks! It's definitely going to be a challenge. November's going to be a slower month in terms of production for me, but it'll be all out once December hits until the end.

11 November 2006, 09:10 PM (

Software: Photoshop

So here's my scratch voice track. The audio is definitely uneven at this point, and several pieces of dialogue are difficult to hear. But it's better than it was (believe it or not), and I was even able to eliminate *some* of the background noise/static from the original recordings. For the final recordings I plan on using better equipment and a much quieter room (and different voices for each separate part).

I also think I've mostly solved my compression issues. A day with Adobe Premiere and a few tutorials helped a lot. Also in Tomasz Jedruszek's trailer thread his description of how he put together his animatic (e.g. uncompressed, anticipated size, etc) gave me some ideas to try (thanks Tomasz!). His thread/comments can be found here (

Software used: Mirage for the storyboards, Windows Sound Recorder for the voice overs (better software is on order), Adobe Premiere for the animatic.

The image file posted here (done in Phtotshop) is just a little concept art I worked on this afternoon of the shuttle approach from the first part of the trailer. The concept is based somewhat (mostly general shape) from some photos of an experimental craft the USA is apparently considering for their next generation shuttles.

Once I get some sound effects going, I'll post the music and SFX milestone (hopefully with some actual animation with it for at least one or two scenes).

Play Video >> (

11 November 2006, 09:20 PM
that's coming along nicely. It's too early to tell but you look fairly organized. My only crit might be to end the trailer on a more climactic note... Something to attract the viewer to want to go see the movie. A money shot.


11 November 2006, 04:24 AM
igortshirts - Heh. Screaming isn't climactic enough? :D Well, you're the second person to bring up the ending now, so I guess maybe I'll have to take another run at it. I've got Adobe Audition on order, so I'll be able to do some more with the music (and the audio in general, I hope) in a couple of weeks and so I'll see about reworking those final few shots as well. Until then, I'm going to start working on some backgrounds and rough animation for shots I know are definitely staying in.

Thanks for the feedback!

11 November 2006, 05:23 AM
Whoops. Bad upload.

11 November 2006, 05:28 AM (

Test run of the logo animation (sq07 sc01 of the trailer). The logo itself was made in Photoshop, then imported into Mirage for the animation and volumetrics effect.

Play Video >> (

11 November 2006, 07:01 PM
really great job,
my compliments

11 November 2006, 12:25 AM
puuuuf! u have a very clear and good plan about all this is sweet...i like your good luck:thumbsup: :thumbsup:

11 November 2006, 12:39 PM
VERY well done! "WHERE ARE YOUUUU" OH BOY! yes this trailer touched me! cool! keep it up! KEEP IT UP!

11 November 2006, 01:06 PM
MediaCyborg - Thanks!

rattlesnake - Glad you like it. I've tried to lay out a clear map for it. Now here's to hoping I can pull it off :scream:

OZ - Heh. I like that part too. I did it down in my office at night. I was afraid I was going to wake the kids up :)

11 November 2006, 03:29 AM
Looks interesting, nice work in getting music as well as male and female voices this early. Looking forward to seeing your updates.:thumbsup:

11 November 2006, 01:06 AM
userBrian - thanks! I've got some better recording software (and equipment) on the way, so hopefully by month's end I'll have the real voice over stuff done (I'd better; that only leaves a month and a half). I'm hoping to finish the initial music and SFX milestone before then (just waiting for Audition *twiddling fingers*).

The next week and a half is going to be pretty slow as I'll be away for five days over next weekend, but I hope to post a couple more pics before leaving. I've completed all the text scenes now from the opening third of the trailer, and once I get the animation done for the visual shots I'll post that entire sequence.

11 November 2006, 01:32 AM
Nice work on the previz, and the animated logo/title is good but could do with slowing down imo. As a first concept it's fine though :) and more than I've done yet :D I'll be watching this one I think.

11 November 2006, 07:42 AM
great work on the logo. as simple as it may apear it catches just the essence of the stone, the round o, the tubelight... great work, works well :thumbsup:

bout the voiceover, nice start, looks like you got tons of work ahead too, you put really many scenes in it. i like the intro witht the docking maneuver and the introduction of particia a lot. the middle part is more calm to raise again towards the end, that is cool so far, but take care you dont loose too much pace there.

great progess mate, keep up the great work. looking forward to your next update :) keep on rockin'!

11 November 2006, 09:47 AM
HE HE he he. Hope not..i mean,about the kids! nice story. impatient to see more.the animatic works pretty well and the movie is clear but filled with question that can capture the spectator attention.
well done...again!!

11 November 2006, 01:56 PM
DMarkwick - Thanks! The logo has to fit inside a two second scene, so that's probably why it seems so fast. I'm *hoping* (fingers crossed here) it will "feel" right when played against the background of the music, pacing, etc.

TheFirstAngel - Thanks! You're right, there are a lot of scenes (41 scenes spread over 7 sequences). I've finished 7 scenes so far, so I'm down to 34 (of course, those were all the text scenes and the logo :scream: ). But I'm going to give finishing all of it my best shot.

OZ - Thanks as always! Hopefully Audition will arive soon and I can post my music/SFX animatic next week sometime (with whatever shots I've inserted from the next stage). But unfortunately I'll probably be off the boards for the next five days while I'm away.

As a general update, I was hoping to post a little more this week, but finishing my paper took up all my time. I present on Monday, so once I get back home next week I'll be back in the game big time from then until the end. Thanks for all the great feedback! I see some great stuff being posted in the other threads. See you on the other side :)

11 November 2006, 12:27 AM (

Okay, so not so much an an image that I think will make it into the final version (unless maybe it's the secret unknown eighth chamber filled with giant mushrooms; I'm sure Bear had this in mind while he was writing). It could fit into the spot where I have them talking about alternate universes I suppose.

Consider this more a software test. I just picked up a copy of Painter IX.5 at the end of last week and I did this up this afternoon. I plan to use Painter for doing the backgrounds in the trailer. I find it a very intuitive program to use. And I actually did start off here with the idea of doing the shot of the heavy lifters launching, but I somehow ended up with this instead.

Anyway, just my way of saying I'm finally back from my time away, and I'm ready to jump back in with both feet. My package with the Adobe production suite also arrived, so I'll have to switch back and forth between doing backgrounds and getting the SFX into the soundtrack. 48 days left. Should be fun.

11 November 2006, 02:17 AM
Giant Mushrooms- Ha! Thanks for your comment in my thread about scale. Yes I'm working on scale now. The funny thing is that when I added the vstol I scaled the trees way down but I forgot to scale down the three mushrooms. The mushrooms are the three gray things between the trees, slightly to the right. SO....the mushrooms were HUGE! I mean gigantic! I thought it was pretty cool and actually got a story idea for them, but I deleted them here because I wanted to work on the scale more! Ha ha! I thought i'd put these skyscraper sized mushrooms somewhere because they were so cool, but that's just a side-story possibility! Amazing.

11 November 2006, 10:31 AM
So you are back!!! Im happy to see you again new post! I like the mood of your image! Can't wait to see the final entry!:applause:

11 November 2006, 01:06 PM
making it into the trailer or not, the last image is beautiful... I also like your idea and your work so far... keep it up..:thumbsup:

11 November 2006, 04:56 AM
userBrian - Mushrooms must be the secret codeword of the trailer challenge :)

OZ - Yep, I'm back and ready to go! Glad you liked the pic. I think Painter is going to work out quite nicely for what I have planned.

icedeyes - Thanks!

12 December 2006, 03:39 PM
I admit to be very interested to see a complete scene from your trailer.When did you think some will be ready?

12 December 2006, 05:49 PM
OZ - Yeah, I'm a little slow, eh? Now that all this new software has arrived, I've been working like mad to come to grips with it. I think my brother might come onboard and do a little modelling for me. So hopefully in the next day or so I'll have something to post. Thanks for the continued interest.

12 December 2006, 12:50 AM (

A quick concept piece as a lighting test in the shot where the heavy lifters launch. The plan is to have the one in the background begin launching, then have one shoot up in the extreme foreground covering roughly the right quarter to third of the screen. Not sure if back lit is the way to go though.

12 December 2006, 04:50 AM (

Well, here it is all put together. The audio is all over the place, although I did manage to clean up the compression issues. And I've been slow getting backgrounds done. Big hurdles to get over there. 41 days left. The animatic does include some of the shots and colored storyboards I've already swapped into the main file.

The cover image here is some early concept art of the corridor I never posted, but since I didn't have new images I figured I may as well stick it up here. It doesn't actually feature in the animatic though.

Software: Mirage, Adobe Premiere, Photoshop, Painter

Play Video >> (

12 December 2006, 06:00 AM
It's coming along nicely. I know the sand is falling thru the hourglass- But I was wondering, do you plan to do any character animation ? Otherwise some zooms or pans or depth scrolling would be possible, asside from your nice 2d paintings.

12 December 2006, 02:33 PM
userBrian - Yes, my plan is to have some actual animation, though as you said, the sand is falling ... The storyboards call for a few pans and zooms.

The 2D paintings I have in the animatic now are all basically just my colored storyboards. It may that some of them will have to stand in the final simply due to time constraints.

I'm working now on the shot of the subway zipping into the station (sq04 sc02) and plan to have Patricia's hair blowing around in the shot following (sq04 sc03). I actually managed to animate the first shot with the train (a very simple model done in LightWave; actually maybe I'll post the model later today, although it's really pretty basic) and get it on to a separate layer in Mirage, so now I just have to paint in the foreground and background plates (hopefully tonight). It took a long time to get the animation done and layered (several hours); I've never composited something like that before. I'm pretty much learning a lot of this stuff as I go, and I suspect there are far quicker ways to do it than the methods I've been using. At least, I hope there are. :scream:

12 December 2006, 12:34 AM
I hope you don't discard the mushroom shot. It's strong compositionaly and the scale works well too. Just switch out the shrooms for some structures and you'll have a strong scene.

Maybe working in your final aspect ratio for your concepts would speed up the dialing in of compositions too. Just a thought. Later!

12 December 2006, 04:22 AM
igorstshirts - Glad you liked the mushroom shot. :) For my current stuff I'm definitely sticking with the final aspect ratio. All my animation with the subway is being done in 640x480 (which I'll letterbox to a 16:9 aspect ratio). As you point out, this means less time painting since there's less canvas to cover.

12 December 2006, 04:47 AM (

Okay, this is probably the simplest model for a subway ever, but I hope it'll do the job. Pretty much all that is visible is a long string of subway cars coming toward the camera at about the angle of the top right image. And it'll be blurred, with the focus being in the foreground where Patricia will be standing on a platform. And I'll composite in some lighting and shadow effects via Painter and Mirage. So as utilitarian as it looks, I think it'll work.

12 December 2006, 07:50 AM
yeah that should work. i added film grain for my gingerbread men (in my gallery) to make up for the pretty much untextured walls, table and cookie sheet.

12 December 2006, 07:34 PM (

Software: Lightwave 3D,Painter

Just a short 2 second clip here. This is the subway shot I've been working on for the past couple of nights. One thing I learned yet again while doing it is that everything takes longer than I think it will (a lesson I've actually learned many times over in all kinds of circumstances in life, but for some reason it still never ceases to surprise me).

This is sort of halfway between the colored storyboard milestone and the final animation, though it may have to stand as is (after color-timing) in the final unless I get everything else done and have time to come back and polish it.

I did the train model in LightWave. It's very basic, but as you can see the angle doesn't demand too much. I had planned a more dynamic shot, but my 3D animation skills (what few I had) are very rusty and I more or less had to go with this basic straight-on shot and move on. I need to do some shading on the train before it comes out of the tunnel and then again when it hits the shadowed area near the bottom, but I haven't quite figured out how I'm going to do that yet, so I'm moving on to the next shot for the time being.

Everything else was done in Painter IX.5. The foreground (which includes the platform, railing, and the top green triangle patch of the mouth of the tunnel covering the train as it comes out) and background are on separate layers, as is the character (she's a stand-in for now; I hope to come back and improve her as well before the end).

There has to be a faster way to bring the model render into Mirage. I used the alpha channel to isloate the individual shots of the model (using Photoshop, actually), but I couldn't figure out how to have the software do it automatically so I ended up compositing every frame (60 altogether) manually. It was a pain, and I'm sure there's got to be like a 10 second way to do it, but I'll be snookered if I know what it is.

Play Video >> (

12 December 2006, 07:38 PM
mitchelhunt - That's a good trick. I have the train on a separate layer in Mirage, so I can probably put some sort of effect like that over it. Thanks! btw, I like the cookie sheet :)

12 December 2006, 02:44 AM
By way of introduction, my brother (forum name = foreshadowed) has officially joined the challenge and is in the process of modelling the shuttle for the first few shots of the trailer. We're trying it celshaded for the finished look so it'll fit in with the 2D backgrounds I'm working on. He'll probably post some WIP stuff in the not too distant future.

12 December 2006, 12:14 AM (

Another bit of concept art I never posted, mostly because it's quite rough. But the model for the shuttle is nearing completion, so I figured I may as well post the concept it's being based on (which is reasonably similar to some of the other images of it I've already posted). But take my word for it, the actual model looks way cooler. :) Coming soon!

12 December 2006, 03:04 PM (

Model of the shuttle for the opening sequence. Done in LightWave. Celshaded. Will probably receive the official NASA black & white paint job for the actual shots.

12 December 2006, 09:26 PM
Great model! Looks like a cool idea to cell shade it so you keep the style feel with your hand painted work. Or are you maybe going to mix realistic 3d with it? I'm wondering about that for mine.

12 December 2006, 09:47 PM
Nice design fifty3dragons, you could push the detail of the ink on the your ship.


ThE ShiFT-team

12 December 2006, 02:14 PM
userBrian - Thanks! Yeah, I'm trying to stick with pretty much a 2D look. We're trying cel-shading for now, just to see how well it works. It would be a bit of a time saver if I can get it to integrate with the rest of it.

ThE-ShiFT - Glad you like it! When I handed the concept art over to Phil, I actually suggested he keep detail to a minimum since my original thought was to paint over still shots of the shuttle from the various angles I needed. In fact, my first idea was simply to draw the shuttle by hand in the first place. But then I thought doing some modelling and trying to composite it into a 2D background would be interesting since it's something I've never done before, and Phil had the time to work on the model. Plus I figured a model would help maintain consistency between shots. But your right, we may need to punch up the detail. I might try it via some texturing (something else I've not done a lot of) though still keeping the cel-shaded look.

12 December 2006, 02:26 PM
To me those windows look more like highlight reflections from a yellow sun maybe. A bit too minimalist. I think you might outline the windows. I don't think cell shading needs only outline lines. Oh-looking again I see you are working towards that. I think they will look great once you finish. It is a good concept and model. I guess it takes time to develop that style- you are definitely headed there!

12 December 2006, 02:49 PM (

Software: Lightwave 3D,Painter

So here's a little 4 second test run for the compositing of the shuttle model over a moving background. It demonstrates a number of things, I think:

1) the model defintely needs more texturing/detail, as suggested, in order to integrate it better into the overall picture (also the lighting isn't done right here).

2) I think the motion is too fast. I'll have to drop it down and have a much slower fly by. The trick is having the Earth in this shot and then not appear in the next, so I have to make sure I choose the right angle here. I guess I was trying to get it out of the way too quickly.

The shuttle shot is just a single still, of course, held for the duration of the shot.

The background was done in Painter (at twice the size, i.e. 1280x960). I looked at several reference shots for Earth, and actually followed one in particular for the coloring. I laid down the paint and then smudged/blurred it around until I got something I liked.

The actual compositing and render was done in Mirage.

Oh yeah, the cover image is just the shuttle again with its NASA paint job. Still no texturing yet, though.

I probably won't post too many more of these short video shots since I'm ever aware of the limited file space and don't want to come up short for the final entry.

Play Video >> (

12 December 2006, 02:59 PM
To me those windows look more like highlight reflections from a yellow sun maybe. A bit too minimalist. I think you might outline the windows. I don't think cell shading needs only outline lines. Oh-looking again I see you are working towards that. I think they will look great once you finish. It is a good concept and model. I guess it takes time to develop that style- you are definitely headed there!

Yeah, it's a work-in-progress. On the modelling side of things it's more or less finished, but either via texturing or paint-over we're going to need to do a bit more with it, as my latest video test shows. I like your suggestion of outlining the windows. I'll definitely give that a try.

Thanks for sticking with us!

12 December 2006, 12:39 AM
I probably won't post too many more of these short video shots since I'm ever aware of the limited file space and don't want to come up short for the final entry.

Oh? I wasn't aware of a definite limit size, I just remember "use common sense".
What is the limit size?

12 December 2006, 01:18 AM
Well, I suppose I could be wrong, but I was sure I'd read somewhere that the video file space for the challenge is 50MB just like a regular CG Portfolio. It might have been in the FAQ? I could be wrong, but I'm thinking it wouldn't hurt to double check that just to make sure.


Edit: Okay, so I just re-checked the FAQ, and in response to a question by Oweron regarding video file limit, Mibus (on page 9 of the FAQ) stated "There's no specific hard-set limit, so just be reasonable." So you're right userBrian, no limit.

See, I should just stop talking. :)

I think I got the 50MB figure from reading the CG Uploader help page which is linked from the instructions page. I guess I assumed it meant this was the limit for the challenge as well. Sorry for the confusion.

12 December 2006, 08:19 AM
hey 53! Just want to drop that I like your previous shuttle color scheme. Gives it more volume. Your new NASA style looks bit flat to me, imho. Anyway you choose, keep progressing :thumbsup: I want to see this finished.

12 December 2006, 02:03 PM
Oweron - thanks for the input, and the word of encouragement. It'll get finished, one way or the other. Lots of drawing/painting left, though. And I'm headed to the audio store this weekend to see about renting some equipment and redoing the voice over stuff.

12 December 2006, 04:26 PM
NOTHING to crits....:thumbsup: splendid design,cool modeling and a very nice toon fx!
good job! Really like this!

12 December 2006, 04:27 PM
NOTHING to crits...:thumbsup: splendid design,cool modeling and a very nice toon fx!
good job! Really like this!

12 December 2006, 02:54 AM
Hey-Waiting for your next post! Hope you are having fun!

12 December 2006, 01:23 PM
OZ - thanks for the encouraging words! Sorry I've taken so long to respond. Christmas time has been keeping me busy. :)

userBrian - Yeah, I slowed down here didn't I? I'll probably post some stuff later today, and then hopefully get more done this week. Christmas slowed me down more than I had anticipated. And no audio fix just yet. But I'm still on track to finish the challenge!

12 December 2006, 02:29 PM (

Software: Lightwave 3D

This is the final Logo image for the second to last shot. Phil took my intial concept and modelled this verison in Lightwave (the original was just 2D with a simple wipe played in reverse). This has a much better flare and all around smoother animation. Oh yeah, he also came up with the idea of having the letters start out black and then fade to white as the line hits and finishes its run across the screen.

Play Video >> (

12 December 2006, 02:34 PM (

Wow. 20 days left. Looks like we're coming into the home stretch now.

This image isn't finished yet. Just at the color stage without any real texturing. Needs higher value contrast, I think. But I thought I'd post something to show I'm still in this and still plugging away. Christmas is a hard time to work/post. Too much fun with the kids!

Anyway, back to work this week. More to come!

12 December 2006, 12:19 AM
Liking the logo, I think it needs slowing down though. I understand that it's just a trest at this stage, so maybe you already got some different timing sorted :)

I also like the train drawing, I wish I could draw 'cos I think al ot of my own is going to end up being storyboard placeholders :D but in any case I like the "camera" angle you chose for it. Should allow for some nice interesting external views out the windows.

12 December 2006, 12:57 AM
DMarkwick - thanks for the comments! The logo is pretty fast, I agree; unfortunately its timing is dictated by its place in the overall timing of the trailer (and to some degree the soundtrack specifically) and so at this late stage in the going it's unlikely to change. It's got 2 seconds/60 frames; no more, no less :)

Glad you like the train. I meant to mention that I used some reference for it, though I did draw it freehand. It's not quite the original shot/angle I had in mind, but I also like this angle. And have no fear, I as well anticipate at this point that I'm going to have my share of "placeholder" storyboards in the final submission. But that's peerfectly acceptable according to the guidelines, and finishing with something is the end goal (or it's always been my main one from the start anyway :) ).

12 December 2006, 01:13 AM
DMarkwick - thanks for the comments! The logo is pretty fast, I agree; unfortunately its timing is dictated by its place in the overall timing of the trailer (and to some degree the soundtrack specifically) and so at this late stage in the going it's unlikely to change. It's got 2 seconds/60 frames; no more, no less :)

Ah, OK then I guess it will make much more sense timing-wise when viewed in context :) I should really stop making out-of-context comments until they're in a more final form (i.e. in some sort of edited sequence). But good job on it, it's very clear and consise and not too busy for a short slot.

12 December 2006, 01:32 AM
Nah, don't worry about it. :) As I said I agree with your assessment of the timing in and of itself. It is fast (and in that regard a shame we don't get to see more or Phil's work). The problem arose in that I did the music first when I entered the challenge, i.e. even before doing the storyboards (which is probably a backwards way to approach it), and so I ended up trying to fit the images into the music rather than the other way round. At least I learn something new at every step. :scream:

12 December 2006, 02:42 AM
Nah, don't worry about it. :) As I said I agree with your assessment of the timing in and of itself. It is fast (and in that regard a shame we don't get to see more or Phil's work). The problem arose in that I did the music first when I entered the challenge, i.e. even before doing the storyboards (which is probably a backwards way to approach it), and so I ended up trying to fit the images into the music rather than the other way round. At least I learn something new at every step. :scream:

Actually I think you did it the right way around, I always find that a good piece of music first is the best way to time your projects, I always say that music is easily 50% of a good outcome. It's a pity we/I cannot use existing music as I'm no musician. I'm relying on a third party to create the music based on pre-viz, not the way I'd prefer but there you go.

So if you've already got the soundtrack then you're already more than halfway IMO, I'll be interested to see more especially when the soundtrack is added.

12 December 2006, 03:01 AM
Heh, if you check back to page six of the thread you can catch the current animatic with the full soundtrack and (rough) voice over. :) It'll show how the (old) logo fits in too.

01 January 2007, 10:17 PM
***** deleted (uploader issues apparently) *****

01 January 2007, 10:21 PM (

Software: Lightwave 3D

So, it's really coming down to the wire now, eh? Well, here's a little test render of the shuttle from the opening sequence (done by Phil). He put a nice texture on the ship, although it doesn't really show up in this shot because the camera is too far out. It'll show up better in one of the close-ups he's working on.

I'm working on the audio this weekend. I picked up a nice little microphone over the holidays and the results are much better. I've got half of the voiceover stuff re-reocrded, and should have the rest done by tomorrow (waiting for one person to show up).

Colored storyboards are also on the way. Maybe by tomorrow night?

Play Video >> (

01 January 2007, 10:42 PM
I think that shadow from asteroid has a very straight border.

01 January 2007, 11:26 PM
On our budget we were lucky to afford the square asteroid...

Actually the final render should use a slightly more irregular shadow edge, along with higher contrast on the lighting and a touch of camera momement to give the starfield some life (the scene feels a bit dead with the stars fixed in place).

01 January 2007, 06:15 AM
Wow am I happy to see you didn't quit! The new shuttle looks great, so I can continue to give crits! Exellent! Cool you got a new mike! Ive dusted off my Warlock guitar and been writing a song about Patricia's Tears. That's the title. Sounds heavy, huh? Well, this IS cg TALK and I sure can walk the talk! I had to sell my Warwick Bass, soooo I dunno...I counted in that groul! Which makes me wonder- didn't Leigh play the Bass? How come we haven't heard that? Huh?

So... I'm rigging up my new Vox effects amp and my mixer and I'm gonna rock this rock inside out! So if you team guys know a rock star this is your last chance for a fine romance! Make my day! Hmmm''I may buy a Bass guitar JUST for you guys! Cuz I know you dig it!"

I did a tube run animation, extended my way out there in Vue, but I'll save my post of it to my final to save the cgtalk server! Hey- guys- how big is your final looking? How many megs do you estimate? Lets give cgtalk a warning! Of course we could ramp it down, but are we looking at 10 megs? Or what?

Nuff said

01 January 2007, 08:21 AM
On our budget we were lucky to afford the square asteroid...And automatic coverable top?

Actually the final render should use a slightly more irregular shadow edge, along with higher contrast on the lighting and a touch of camera momement to give the starfield some life (the scene feels a bit dead with the stars fixed in place).
Yeah, you can give a little bit of rotation to the starfield.
Is it for image #3 on you storyBoard?
May be simpler to render 1 image of shuttle with transparent background. And render 1 image of starfield. Then in AfterFX add a fire from the shuttle engine, add a little bit of waggle to the shuttle, little bit of rotation to the starfield, and create moving shadow (black layer+mask). So you can easily change transparency and feather of border of the shadow.

01 January 2007, 05:16 PM
userBrian - Yep, we're definitely still here!! :) I meant to be posting more, but the holidays really made for much slower work on the project than I had anticipated. But we're still hard at it, and on target to finish all milestones by the deadline (though we'll be working and tweaking right up until the last minute, no doubt).

The mic I bought is a Samson C01U (it's a USB mic, so all I have to do is plug it into the computer and go to work). It was very resonably priced, but the difference in sound quality is quite remarkable. And of course using Audition over against the Windows sound recorder also makes a difference :scream:

I lookforward to hearing your guitar stuff.

ittrium - Thanks! Those are some great suggestions. I'm going to note that down for future use. As for incorporating it now, unfortunately I'm not sure how much time we'll have. As Phil mentioned to me yesterday we could tweak every shot endlessly, but in keeping our eye on the end goal we may have to leave it as is. But I definitely appreciate you outlining that approach for jazzing it up. I'll post Phil's (what-is-for-now-the) final version of that shot this afternoon.

01 January 2007, 05:21 PM (

Another shot from the opening sequence (by Phil). This is the closeup shot on the shuttle window. I still need to composite in Patricia looking out (at the asteroid). This shows off the texturing on the shuttle much better.

01 January 2007, 05:31 PM (

Software: Lightwave 3D

Here's the for now (unless we somehow end up with some extra time on our hands at the end) final shot for sq01 sc05. Phil darkened the shadow a bit and put in a camera move to make the shot a little more dynamic.

Play Video >> (

01 January 2007, 12:14 AM (

Software: Lightwave 3D,Painter

This is the first shot of the shuttle in the opening sequence. Phil thinks the camera angle or something seems a bit strange now that it's actually moving, so if there's time we may revisit this one and try something a little different. But for now it's the final version.

Play Video >> (

01 January 2007, 12:26 AM (

Software: Lightwave 3D,Photoshop

We took a couple of runs at this one in terms of camera angle, speed, etc. The asteroid is actually from an early concept piece of mine, slightly blown up here in size. There's perhaps a little disparity between the cleanness of the shuttle and the painted asteroid background, but hopefully it works fine for the purposes of a colored storyboard/animatic. Phil put it all together in Lightwave.

Play Video >> (


Edit: Pesky DivX logo. I didn't notice that until I posted. I've taken care of it now though (took it to a rough part of town and dropped it off; I'm pretty sure we'll never see it again).

01 January 2007, 11:29 AM
I think that in your "sq01 sc03" planet is very dark, and it's seems like asteroid. There must be a wide difference in a color. And may be planet must be closer to the center of the screen?

01 January 2007, 09:10 PM
This one looks very interesting. I can't wait to see the final.

01 January 2007, 01:35 PM
ittrium - thanks for the feedback!

blueglitchman - thanks!

01 January 2007, 01:34 AM (

Software: Lightwave 3D

The shuttle docking in the asteriod. Last shot of the opening shuttle sequence. (/Phil)

Play Video >> (

01 January 2007, 05:02 AM
Great docking= you can unlock your seat belts now! Keep those shots comming- the end is near! Nothing like your brother to lend a hand! I'm one of the very last one artist entries. And I just finally did some 2d stuff as you get into this cool 3d stuff. I've bought my popcorn for your trailer!

01 January 2007, 04:23 PM
HEY! you have done a brilliant work here! your shuttle model works so good in animation!!! i love the docks scene! bravÚ!:applause:

01 January 2007, 06:22 PM
userBrian - Thanks! The 3D stuff is all Phil. And the extra two weeks we have now means we can probably beef up a couple more scenes beyond what I had hoped.

OZ - Always great to hear from you! Thanks for the encouragement!

01 January 2007, 06:38 PM
Nice! Are you going to do a lot of different angles on this shot? I am wondering because it seems so short.

01 January 2007, 06:43 PM
blueglitchman - Yeah, the docking shot is actually the final of five four-second shots of the shuttle. They're interspersed evenly between the opening text. So the camera begins high and behind the shuttle, and sort of jumps (between cuts) closer and closer until we get to this reverse shot of the shuttle coming into the asteroid to dock. We're pretty much sticking to the storyboards since we're more or less happy with the way it's all set up (plus no time to change things now even if we weren't :) ).

01 January 2007, 02:59 AM (

Software: Lightwave 3D

The new and improved final version of the first shot of the shuttle. With the time extension for the challenge, Phil decided to take another run at this one. Now he's moving on to the heavy lifters.

Play Video >> (

01 January 2007, 04:52 AM (

This is a rough visualization for the heavy lifter scene. It's fairly faithful to the original boards, although Phil noted that in the book the launch is actually an ocean launch at night and so he made that adjustment.

This shows just the basic untextured model right now. Phil's working on floating launch platforms for the final shot.

All done in Lightwave 3D [8].

01 January 2007, 08:53 PM
Wow, the image looks wonderful!! Waiting to see the final with all the textures.

01 January 2007, 11:15 PM
aahhh... that sounds cool. i love the toon aproach you guys are taking with this project.

01 January 2007, 01:50 PM
gain,good animations.I like the "timing" you give to the looks of the right size.
The launch scene looks cool too.

01 January 2007, 02:49 PM
spire - Thanks!

blueglitchman - Thanks a lot! It's turning out to have a little more 3D than I'd anticipated, but we're trying to stay faithful to the overall 2D look.

OZ - Thanks! We're definitely getting out mileage out of that shuttle model (and the 2D painting of Earth behind it).

Phil's got the ocean launch platforms built. We're going to try the shot with some DOF and camera shake as the rocket in the extreme foreground shoots past. Stuff we've never tried before, so it will definitely be a learning experience. :)

01 January 2007, 03:15 PM
But what about some storm waves on the ocean?

01 January 2007, 08:09 PM
Keep things flowing, fifty!
Wanna see more moving stuff :) - Docking scene looks nice in variation, kinda reminds me of the "Space Odyssey - 2001" - I like the feel of it.
BTW: Are you gonna input some cartoony style movement for the characters?
Guess I'll see it soon anyway, tho.

01 January 2007, 10:24 PM
ittrium - Storm waves would definitely be more dramatic, but I think that's one we'll have to save for next time. I'm pretty sure we're stretching the outer limits of our knowledge already (in fact--at least in my case anyway--I've definitely stepped well beyond those former limits, which I think is probably the best thing about the challenge). But I appreciate the feedback! :)

Cofiction - We're moving, we're moving!!! :scream: Phil's done a couple renders of the heavy lifter scene. He's got two of three rockets blasting off, and the third one will be added this weekend. I've been working on some 2D character animation myself, and boy is it ever slow going. It's definitely no secret that some of the final images for our entry will be colored storyboards only, even with the generous time extension they added. I'm totally blown away by the other entries and the great stuff that's being produced in such a short amoutn of time. If nothing else, I've learned just how long learning and actually doing a lot this stuff really takes. But we're plugging steadily away. I'll try to get some images/animations posted this weekend, even if it's only WIP on some of the shots. Thanks for the encouragement!!!

01 January 2007, 03:42 AM (

Software: Lightwave 3D

This is nearer to the finished shot for the heavy lifters. Phil's tweaking it a bit and will render the final version over the weekend.

Play Video >> (

01 January 2007, 05:40 AM
Nice takeoff- Cool animated plume. We're having fun here! Will be interesting to see the final animation/storyboard 2d and 3d combo. Mine will have some combo have another rocket taking off to the left, a double launch. Nice. Gives it that urgent feeling.

01 January 2007, 06:43 AM
The flames are looking good, but I think something that would improve the cinematography would be to shake the camera a bit when the rocket nearest the camera starts to appear. It gives the scene a nice, realistic feeling. Like in the game Gears of War, if you start to run really fast, the camera starts to shake and it makes it feel like you're actually there.

01 January 2007, 01:50 PM
userBrian - thanks! Yeah, we've got quite a mish-mash of stuff in there. Because of that it won't be as consistent visually as many of the other entries, but since my primary goal for the challenge was simply finishing I'll be happy to save acheiving that level of work for another project/challenge. :)

mitchelhunt - heh, glad to hear you say that because that's actually one of the "tweaks" Phil's working on to finish up the shot this weekend. :D He's going to try to do it directly in Lightwave first, but if that doesn't work then we'll simply render out the frames slightly larger than they need to be and use Mirage or After Effects to simulate shake by moving the picture plane around a bit (I wonder if either program has a plugin for doing that sort of thing? I'll have to check). We're also going to try some DOF stuff between the foreground and background as the foremost ship comes into view. Thanks for the feedback!

01 January 2007, 12:09 AM (

Software: Painter

Near final version of the first subway shot with Vielgrosky (they're more slightly animated storyboards rather than full animation). Somehow I managed to make it a two second clip instead of the one second the breakdown calls for. I also noticed there needs to be some shadows, etc, underneath Vielgorsky on the seat and probably on the wall behind him too. It's not quite what I had hoped the shot would be, but it's serviceable. A few tweaks and then on to the next shot. Since I have to make a few adjustments anyway, I may also strobe the lights more and try to fit in two or even three passes within the one second timeframe.

Play Video >> (

01 January 2007, 04:59 PM
Hi fifty3dragons! Good work on the take off scene! Just a couple of suggestions to add something: try and add a little camera shake as the last rocket passes near the viewer and put it a little out of focus, and maybe slow down the particles just a little bit.
Also, on the last update, try and contrast a bit the image, and overlay a round B/W gradient to get the corners darker, you will like it! Yes the shadows will contribute a lot, and maybe adding a little zoom-in as the sequence advances will leave it less static.
Keep up! Great job! :thumbsup:

01 January 2007, 05:25 PM
ThE-ShiFT - Hey, thanks for the feedback! That gradient suggestion is a great idea. I'll definitely have time to put something like that in as I finish up the shot. Phil did up the final version for the liftoff yesterday. He added some camera shake, blurring, addtional textures on the foreground rocket, etc. I told him it's now officially the best shot in the whole trailer! Having him come on board has definitely raised the quality well beyond what I could have acheived on my own. :)

01 January 2007, 06:17 AM (

Software: Painter

A close to final shot for the last visual before the logo rolls. I had to make it much simpler than originally planned, as is going to be the case with most of the stuff from here on out I suspect. But I did learn a number of things about matching animation to audio since this was my first scene which actually includes dialogue (although I left it out of the clip for now; it'll be in the animatic). I also utilized layers much better in this shot than I had in some earlier ones, so apparently I can be taught!

Done primarily in Mirage with some swapping into Painter IX.5 to switch canvas sizes and get the gradient working properly.

Play Video >> (

01 January 2007, 02:36 PM (

Software: Lightwave 3D

So I dove back into Lightwave myself for this shot. Although it's not on the storyboards, it is a shot I conceived of when I started work on the trailer. I liked the idea of putting the cross scouts somewhere in there. I didn't put the shot in originally because I thought it would be too difficult to pull off. But after working on the trailer for the past couple of months, I've become much more comfortable and decided to take a stab at it. Turned out to be fairly straightforward.

It's by no means a polished shot, but I'm happy enough with it as a visualization and it'll certainly work, I think, as part of an animated storyboard. It also eliminates the need to do two other shots (because it's a four second shot instead of just two seconds) and therefore cut down on the number of shots left to finish, which is a good thing.

Although I didn't look at reference while I was actually animating the shot, it's inspired by a shot in the old Ultima Online 2 trailer from several years back (anyone familiar with the trailer knows which shot I mean).

We're almost done with the colored storyboards. We might even be able to post the full animatic by tomorrow night. Not too many nights left anyway, so I guess we don't have a choice.

Play Video >> (

01 January 2007, 04:51 AM (

Just a quick update. This is (most of) the model Phil's been working on for the VSTOL. He's got some propellers on it, just not in this shot.

01 January 2007, 05:04 AM (

Software: DFX+, Lightwave 3D[8.5], Painter IX.5, Photoshop CS2

So here'a a WIP of the VSTOL approaching Axis City along the flaw. This was a collaborative shot. I built the model for Axis City (it was one of my earlier concept pieces) and did the matte painting with it. I passed that off to Phil who built the VSTOL model and the flaw in Lightwave and composited everything together.

We're working on the shot now. Phil's changed the color of the VSTOL to a deep red, and speeded up both the plane and the camera by at least twice as much for a quicker paced shot.

It underwent a double compression here, which is why the video quality is so poor at this point. But the final shot will look much better!

Play Video >> (

01 January 2007, 07:55 PM (

Phil put together this breakdown of one of our earlier shots, the heavy lifters taking off from ocean platforms.

01 January 2007, 10:24 PM
Hi Fifty3Dragons! An thank you so much for giving your precious feedback on our trailer! Great to see your progressions here, expecially seeng you're using passes, wich are the key to great improvements. We see you're going to add camera shake as the heavylifter passes nearby the camera and that' a great idea. Try also adding a little out-of-focus effect on that element, maybe animating it to drive the attention on the russian flag (just try, maybe would not work). The VSTOL sequence is really promising. Keep it up mate!

01 January 2007, 12:32 AM
ThE-ShiFT: Thanks for your feedback too! This has certainly been a learning experience, a lot of work, and dare I say, even fun at times.

I actually tried an out-of-focus effect on the foreground launcher last week after I finished the scene. I wasn't happy with the results I was able to achieve so I took it back out again. Unfortunayely I won't have another shot to fix it before the due date... which is too bad, because it's a great idea.

This is the first project where I've seriously attempted to use multiple passes on shots so, if for no other reason, this project has been great for learning. It also the first time Wade and I have collaborated like this and we've been working out the kinks since we're separated geographically by quite a distance. Just figuring out how to share the resource files back and forth efficiently has taken a while.

I've been lurking around the other threads and I am extremely impressed by the quality of work put forth here.

01 January 2007, 03:40 AM
ThE-ShiFT - I'll echo Phil's thanks. We appreciate very much your words of encouragement and especially the feedback from a professional team such as yourselves on how to improve our shots. This project has definitely been a tremendous learning experience for us, and watching how other teams (such as ThE-ShiFT!!!) work has taught us a great deal.

01 January 2007, 04:01 AM
OK so you like crits- Well, hope you don't take it wrong but there's no air at the singularity and the tuberider moves by accessing the directional pull of the singularity, which I take to be a modified black hole. Which would give great speed to reaching other universes. So the vstol's props would be folded. I'm just lucky I can't find my twirling propeller ducks. See why I don't crit too much? Big party pooper. But with artistic license and all, the shot looks cool. So there!Congrats on the work!

01 January 2007, 04:29 AM (

Software: Lightwave 3D

Phil put this shot together today. It's the zoom in on the book which follows closely on the heels of the other two library shots. Still a few compression issues. Hopefully all will be resolved soon. :shrug:

This is probably it for our coloured storyboard milestone posts. The final audio pass will be done in the next day or so, then colour-timing when we'll post the full version at that point, then the final product.

Play Video >> (

01 January 2007, 05:10 AM
userBrian - heh, we knew it was only a matter of time before someone pointed that out. Phil and I had that very conversation while he was working on the shot and sent me an early render. He had tried without the props, but felt it just didn't work visually that way. It seemed too dead/static. So in the end he did take the "artistic license" route and made the shot he felt looked the best, which included propellers. And I think it's the right choice, even though it does stretch "reality" a bit ("reality" in terms of the book, that is). But thanks for keeping us on our toes!

Ducks and giant mushroms--these are the things I shall remember from the Eon Trailer challenge! :scream:

01 January 2007, 04:54 PM
Good work, guys!

Well put together breakdown of the heavylifter shot - quick to learn... always a huge plus! :thumbsup:

I like quite alot of the Vstol -scene even with the props on - as you said - it's artistic.

But if you'd allowe me to throw in an idea out of the box, just for future reference:
The idea of the propeller-type engine works fine even in the terms of realism, when you add a little twist of plasma flow through the engine. Make the engine itself open up into a propeller from both sides of the holding arm useing the outer shell as a revolver around its axle. Just extending out the engine shell + the plasma particles might work - you never know untill you sketch it out - just a crazy idea I had looking at the model, feel free to dismiss this. :D

01 January 2007, 09:03 PM
oooo ooooo some updates. Is the book sitting on marble? If it is, the texture looks like it needs to be a bit more sharp and the shader shouldn't have as much specularity.

01 January 2007, 12:17 AM
Cofiction - Thanks for the encouragement! That's an interesting proposal regarding the engine. As you said, good for future reference. It's too bad we couldn't have posted some of this stuff a bit earlier in the going to take better advantage of people's suggestions, but I certainly appreciate the feedback. We plan to continue on after the challenge is over with some personal projects (and maybe using some of the models we built), so your suggestions will be quite helpful for that.

blueglitchman - Thanks for the feedback! If time allows, we'll take another look at the settings for that shot in the color-timing stage (which will basically be tomorrow :) ).

01 January 2007, 01:29 AM
Haha.... no problem. Good luck in the final hours.

01 January 2007, 05:40 AM (

Software: ACID XPress 5.0, Adobe Audition 2.0, Adobe Premiere Pro 2.0, Digital Fusion (DFX+), Lightwave 3D[8], Mirage 1.5A, Painter IX.5, Photoshop CS2

Well, we're very near done. The audio needs some work tomorrow, and there are a ton of things I'd like to change and will hopefully find the time to make at least a few adjustments, but the deadline looms large and I promised myself I would submit a final entry for this challenge, so it's time to move forward.

Play Video >> (


Edit: I should note that the three other people mentioned in the credits are the other voice actors (friends and family). Phil and I did all of the actual work on the trailer itself.

01 January 2007, 05:43 AM
Thought I'd offer a short personal review of our team and the project as it now stands:

We entered this challenge with no formal background in either fine arts in general or animation in particular. Phil and I both, however, share a life long interest in animation, and have over the past number of years done a fair amount of reading and some playing around with certain software. But we've been looking for a project to finally get us doing it instead of just reading about it, and the EON trailer challenge seemed like just the thing (although I should say our working together on the trailer evolved a little more organically and haphazardly than that, but in hindsight it has proven to be the catalyst for a collaborative effort we'd been talking about for some time now).

Our goals have been fairly basic and straightforward: 1) finish the challenge, no matter what (and we're nearly there! :D ); 2) learn at least one new thing with every shot, even if it was only something like figuring out one more feature in a given program or how to draw a character in a new pose; 3) begin to develop a working pipeline for future projects; and 4) assess our current skill level in various aspects of animation and decide what needs the most improvement (and then go work on it).

Close secondary goals were things like making the trailer as cohesive as possible, tell a story, make the audio audible, stuff like that. Still very basic, but again we're very new to pretty much all aspects of this.

Programs we had zero experience with before entering the challenge:
Painter IX.5
Adobe Premiere Pro 2.0
Digital Fusion (DFX+)

Programs we had very basic/introductory experience with:
Mirage 1.5
Photoshop CS2
Adobe Audition 2.0

Programs we had some experience with:
Lightwave 3D[8]

I'd personally never composited anything before this project, certainly never 2D and 3D together, and I believe Phil mentioned in an earlier post that this was the first time he'd really done much of anything with multiple-pass renders and the like. Neither of us has any real experience animating human characters (not that there's much of that in the trailer really, but even the very little we managed to put in was quite a test for us).

When I originally entered the challenge on my own, I was expecting to end up with mostly coloured storyboards. Once Phil came on board, though, the possibilities increased. Although there are still quite a number of static images in our semi-final version, I'm pleased that both the number of animated shots and their quality are well beyond what I had hoped to achieve starting out. And while there are a few shots which I think are quite frankly downright terrible (essentially a number of my coloured storyboards; the Olmy shot tops the list *argh* :banghead: ), I think we agree that overall we're quite satisfied with what we've been able to achieve as first-timers.

Also originally I had intended to do everything 2D, but when Phil joined that opened up some 3D possibilities since that's the area he's done the most with and me not so much. Certainly our top two or three best shots are either solely 3D or a composite of 2D and 3D elements, so making that change certainly raised the quality in that regard as well.

Overall this challenge has been good hands-on exposure to the various aspects of creating an animation from scratch, and I think we have a much more realistic view of what it takes to put something like this together and what skills we need to work on the most. In my case, that would most definitely include drawing and basic anatomy on the 2D side, although I can see improvement even over the course of the challenge.

So we're almost there. We have a little time left to make some improvements (the list is long, oh so long ...), and certainly invite feedback at this point to help us isolate those areas which need the most work. There's only so much time left, so we'll address what we can and simply learn for the future from the rest. Our thanks to everyone who's given us input so far. It's greatly appreciated and we have learned a lot from you. We're extremely impressed by the quality and professional of the other entries, and it's been a learning experience just being here with you all.

Now off to bed for me. Tomorrow I shall have no rest!

[this is just my take on things, of course; Phil may want to add in his own two cents worth as well :) ]

01 January 2007, 07:16 AM
Do you make all music in Audition? I like it.
On some shots you have no fire from shuttle's engines.
You have no fuel? :)

01 January 2007, 03:03 PM
ittrium - The music was actually done mainly in ACID XPress 5.0 (that's the free download). When I first entered the competition I didn't have any software for doing music whatsoever. I had used the 30-day trial for Adobe Audition a year or two ago, so I couldn't reinstall it on my system. And I was limited in the free version of ACID to eight or ten tracks or something like that, but I was happy with the results considering the limitations. Oddly enough once I did get Audition (which I used for all the voice over recording and to do the sound editing), I couldn't duplicate the soundtrack using the same loops (I couldn't get the timing to match up, something I think ACID did automatically). Obviously I still have a lot to learn, but at least I got a soundtrack out of it! :scream:

As for the shuttle engines, we ran over budget on the first shot and had to coast the rest of the way in. :D

Seriously though, I guess in our thinking the first shot was breaking orbit so the engines woud be at full burn, but from there on out we figured they wouldn't actually be using the rockets much. So it was actually done that way on purpose. Whether or not it reads well in terms of continuity from one shot to the next is open for question, I guess.

Thanks for the feedback!

01 January 2007, 09:19 PM (

So here's the final audio edit. It's not too different really from what played during the previous animatic (i.e. the color-timed storyboards). I've kind of been playing with the audio all along, so it's been constantly improved throughout the course of the project.

I did add in a little more Foley stuff today and tweaked the levels in a few places to try and get everyone's dialogue heard. Not sure I was 100% successful in all cases. I have a newfound respect for everyone who works in the recording industry. But I only have tonight and tomorrow night basically to make a few more improvements to the overall trailer, and then I have to submit the final. Wednesday's pretty much out for getting any work done, and anyway I don't want to take it right down to the wire and risk missing the deadline.

Play Video >> (

01 January 2007, 02:06 AM
Nice---who's playing the guitar?

01 January 2007, 07:00 PM (

Software: ACID XPress 5.0, Adobe Audition 2.0, Adobe Premiere Pro 2.0, Digital Fusion (DFX+), Lightwave 3D[8.5], Mirage 1.5A, Painter IX.5, Photoshop CS2

So here it is, our final entry! Our sincere thanks to everyone who gave us feedback and encouragement throughout the course of the challenge. Our finished trailer is much stronger for having had your input. And best of luck to everyone else as they complete and upload their entries over the next day. It's been a lot of fun and a tremendous learning experience!!!

Play Video >> (


[Edit: Along with the software we used, I would be remiss not to also mention Ryan Church's Gnomon Workshop DVD "Hi-Tech Architecture." I picked it up early in the challenge along with my copy of Painter and I found it absolutely fantastic. I'm sure watching Church on that training DVD several times over advanced my abilities well beyond what I would have achieved simply on my own (not that I'm anywhere near his ability, mind you). There are only a couple of landscape shots in our trailer, of course, but I'm positive they are the better for having made that investment.

Now if I could just figure out a way to get my hands on their whole Analog set ...]

01 January 2007, 07:15 PM
userBrian - Not sure who's playing guitar there. You'd have to ask the guys over at Sony who make the loops for ACID XPress. Glad you like it though. :)

[note: I actually do play some guitar, but I had enough things to learn about audio this time around without trying to record my own soundtrack :scream: ]

01 January 2007, 08:59 PM
Congratulations- I think the integration of 2d and 3d worked out fine, especially with the fun lip sync. The cell shading fit in great. Now to work on your own project, that will be interesting.

01 January 2007, 09:43 PM
Congratulations fifty3dragons! It's really an amazing job your team has done! The first part is somewhat reminding to 2001. Maybe the B/W ship, maybe the slow paced sequences, but it's lovely. It's also fantastic to see how much you've taken the chance to learn by joining the challenge. Also, as UserBrian has pointed out, the 2D/3D blending has worked great.
So, good luck for the challenge and for all your things!

01 January 2007, 11:08 PM
It's really a good story here. I was surprised to see it catchs me. You did Wonderful job, Wade!

You are the only guy here asking so many questions and who want to learn so much. This is the right thing to do, the right way! I wish you good luck(I believe in it!)!

01 January 2007, 12:43 AM
userBrian - Thanks! And thanks for all your support and encouragement, right to the end here. It just wouldn't have been the same without the ducks and the giant mushrooms. And yes, I think the projects we have ahead of us will prove very interesting.

ThE-ShiFT - Thanks very much for the kind words! I've appreciated both your interest and your valuable suggestions. And I've personally learned a great deal just from watching your own entry for the challenge come to life. It's a fantastic piece of work, and I've found it very inspiring to to watch you put together such a fine trailer. Perhaps we'll cross paths again in a future challenge. :thumbsup:

shearerludmil - Hey, thanks a lot! I'm glad you enjoyed our entry. I learned a tremendous amount both in putting it together and also from watching everyone else work on theirs. And yes, as you say, I asked many quesitons (if it's true I asked the most, it's probably only because everyone else already knows what they're doing :scream: ).

02 February 2007, 08:38 AM
Good job! Congratulations! I really like it!
Music and voices are cool!

02 February 2007, 09:40 AM
I really like your concept - it's probably one of the best in this challenge. It's great that you pulled this off knowing you don't have the time to complete it the way you would really want to instead of minimizing the project to an "accomplishable" size. Your chances are still very good since the trailer challenge does not specifically require hollywood-like effects, but rather a good concept - at least, that's how I understood it.

Good luck! :thumbsup:

02 February 2007, 12:36 PM
Nice work man, I wish you good luck.


02 February 2007, 01:33 PM
ittrium - thanks a lot!

Galaktor - wow, thanks for the words of encouragement! I'm glad you enjoyed our concept. The one thing I did bring into this challenge was a bit of a background in writing, so we at least had that working in our favour I hope. :) And yeah, I was pretty committed from the beginning to keep the length, even if it meant a lot of storyboards. We definitely learned just how much work it takes to pull off even that, let alone to get a fully animated trailer out the door in just four months of night and weekends (I'm still blown away by all the entries that were able to achieve such complete results in the same amount of time; there's such high quality in this contest, it's great).

spire - thanks!

02 February 2007, 01:42 PM
Yeah you right, very much work for all of us.But in my opinion, it worth it! We all learned lots of things from each others.
See ya!

02 February 2007, 01:50 PM
Yeah you right, very much work for all of us.But in my opinion, it worth it! We all learned lots of things from each others.

Well worth it. Definitely. I learned a ton of stuff from everyone here, both in their comments in our thread as well as the work they posted for their own entries. That's definitely the real pay off for doing something like this, the new skills and experience you walk away with after it's finished.

02 February 2007, 04:06 PM common to love ultrarealistikmegatecnique common to consider that trailer as to be very "hollywood" like....and than...i "impact" to your work....that is away from the common visions i have in mind...and i feel myself happy....happy because you show how to tell a story....and how to do it well. great work...i really love very touching...i feel it inside a sin that i did not write in english enough to tell how i like your trailer.

One of my top 5 here.

02 February 2007, 04:44 PM
You write just fine, OZ. We got the message, loud and clear. :)

We did very much want to tell a good story, and I said as much in my very first post. I'm pleased to see that came through.

Many thanks for your very kind words and for all your wonderful encouragement throughout the challenge. Your work has been an inspriation, and your and other's continued feedback has helped us keep plugging away these past four months.

CGTalk Moderation
02 February 2007, 04:44 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.