View Full Version : What Lies Beneath - VFX Challenge - SdFX

06 June 2003, 12:15 AM

Final Animation, 544x304 mov (

Final Animation, 544x304 divx 5.0.4 (

Wheehee!! Remember to crank up the sound :)

Sounds like great fun, count us in!

We're currently location scouting, and it should be a lot easier finding something below ground, than moutains and canyons (Outpost) here in Denmark.

We'll post storyboard and concept soon, hopefully!

Good luck to all!


06 June 2003, 12:47 AM
Hey SdFX!!!! Good luck to the both of you!!! :bounce:

06 June 2003, 10:01 PM
Hey SDfX Congrats for your Outposts it was excellent men!

I have a question regarding the smoke of your UFO do you make do you map images onto what i presume are Sprites for the smoke-dust effect???


I wish you the Best of luck for this entry ;)

06 June 2003, 10:34 PM
Tuqui-tuqui: Good luck to you too! :beer:

CobraX: The smoke is created with AfterBurn and a standard 3DS Max particle system, which gives it that fantastic volumenous feel (and year long rendering times). No sprites...:blush:

06 June 2003, 10:41 PM
hehehe...nahh too bad...i am using Maya..:'(

but thank you anyways SdFx :D

And good luck! Work Hard!

06 June 2003, 04:04 PM
We've shot the video and hope everything's ok. :bounce:

Now it needs to be cleaned up and edited. We based the shots on a super fast previz. We'll let you have a look at that and the actual footage, when we find the time to prepare it. Here's the synopsis so you have a little idea of what's going on:

A janitor has gone into the basement of a government building to find the source of a power outage, unaware that he has stumbled upon the source of an invasion.

This scene will occur in the movie after the settings and main characters have been described and is meant to establish the source of their upcoming distress. The main characters work in an office building and suddenly all the lights go out creating a panic. Someone calls the janitor (drinking beer and watching TV in the basement :-) and tells him to investigate.

SdFX out...

06 June 2003, 11:31 PM
Good Luck SdFX:thumbsup:

06 June 2003, 11:04 PM
Hey guys!

Here is a link to the very crude previz we used to coordinate the shoot: Download previz animation! ( :blush:

...and here is a cuople of grabs from the actual shoot:

We'll post bigger, better and moving images, when the video is edited! :arteest:

SdFX out!

06 June 2003, 01:18 AM
Hey there!

Neat technique on the pre-vis. Is that Guinness? :beer:

The shots from the actual footage don't appear to be in any particular order. I assume that's not a storyboard there, just some ideas of what was grabbed?

Might I ask what format you captured in? Mine was done in miniDV, which isn't the best format for shooting in high-contrast environments, but it's what I had.

Looking forward to it!

06 June 2003, 08:49 AM
sunlion: Thanks, man!

Bischofftep: Actually it's coffee served in a dirty plastic cop, the image is from our road trip to "Moen" on our outpost mission (
Video was shot on consumer jvc-GRL-157e miniDV. We also had problems with lighting and compression artifacts, but that's life I guess. Life would be easier with HD cams. :) ...and yeah, they're just some grabs - we felt the previz was adequate. BTW, looks like your own project is coming on nicely...Keep up the good work!

06 June 2003, 09:49 AM
yep, this sounds and looks kinda cool so far... the basement tunnel is great, it is just like tunnels in Half-Life... creepy it is!

show us some more! *waits*

06 June 2003, 11:41 AM
Pufferfish: Thanks, man. Yeah, it's very half-lif'ish...actually we had a hard time choosing the tunnel, because it's part of a giant basement complex with immense hallways, boilerrooms and so on. We actually discussed on location, that it really reminded us of half-life! :)

Oh, BTW - if you havn't already figured it out. the invasion mentioned in the synopsis is of an insectile nature. We're working on concepts for the bug now...we'll keep you posted! :twisted:

06 June 2003, 09:44 PM
Hi SdFX!
:beer: even if its coffee
Looking good, man!

Is that you four doing the vfx, on the image, or one of you? Its always nice to see the man behind!

... and keep up the great work! :)


06 June 2003, 12:29 AM
Hey Andi, plenty of coffee is the most important thing when "on location" and we were two when we did many do you think we are now? :wavey:

06 June 2003, 09:30 AM
Hi SdFX!

Honestly, you really got me. lol :applause:

I guess two, its hard to tell and I really don't know, because its well done. (You mentioned... count us in => more than one).

Well, how many are you now?


06 June 2003, 10:34 AM
Hey Andi, there are still only two of us - Benjamin (the actor) and Stefan (the one doing the Shaolin Soccer trick) :-) We work at the same place doing flash scripting, but find it mildly boring compared to doing VFX!
:wavey: Nice to meet you!

06 June 2003, 10:00 PM
Hey SdFX, nice to meet you too! :wavey:
... and thanks for advise.


07 July 2003, 09:25 AM
Hey all,

Wanted to show you progress on the bug. Here is his first rendition:

There's still some modelling, texturing and rigging to do, but hey, it's progress!


victor throe
07 July 2003, 11:11 AM

i wasnt expecting the bug to be that detailed based on how small they will be

very tastey

07 July 2003, 07:45 AM
Hi SdFX! :)

Looking good!
How many bugs do have, and how do you controll it? (Particle, or a sort of scripted KI, or crowd simulation)


07 July 2003, 08:25 AM

is it going to be like : lights on ----> loads of bugs swarming on the walls and floor?

this is interesting :)

good luck !

07 July 2003, 10:49 AM
Glad you all like it! :)

@victor: I'll probably have to turn down the detail level for the rendering, but thankfully it's easier than going the other way.

@Andi: There are gonna be as many as rendering time allows - hopefully a lot!

@Pufferfish: Yeah! :buttrock:

07 July 2003, 10:52 AM
Oh, the little buggers are being controlled as particles. I hope that we can cut it without too much scripting as were getting a little pressed for time.

OT: The actor-half of our little dynamic duo, Benjamin is getting married tomorrow. Congratulations and stay fresh, my friend! :applause:

07 July 2003, 01:48 AM
Here is a larger version of an updated bug. I've tried to integrate a giant specimen, so we have a backup plan in case we need it.

Unfortunately, we didn't have time to make an hdri-image, so I've duplicated the virtual set and set it to "invisible to camera", but "visible to reflections" and cameramapped the background onto it. That should yield some fairly beleivable reflections. The result was manipulated slightly i Pshop. Any comments or thoughts?

F*** it's late. :surprised

victor throe
07 July 2003, 09:00 AM
what kind of light is causing the white out on the walls

im just wondering if this would be a bit more apparent on the bug


Martin Andersen
07 July 2003, 10:04 PM
Hey nice job there... what is it done in, maya 3dsmax xsi or???

Ser godt ud :applause:

07 July 2003, 10:12 PM
@victor throe: You're absolutely right...the lights are white and very bright and would show up on the reflections. Will fix - thanks, man.

@Martin: It's Max...tak, og hvorfor er du ikke med denne gang?

I'm gonna make it move now...

Martin Andersen
07 July 2003, 11:07 PM
sdFX: I'm doing grafics for the se2k event... I hope you join in to, its a the huge CG Lan party in Herridslev, just beside Randers. ( 23, july.. lost of the best danes is comming there inclusive Suurland and co. btw. there is also a nice Barbecue party, for free :-)

Else I did have some good recordings for this FX challenge, sadly I didn't have the time for it... :hmm:

Where u from in dk, Århus here :buttrock:

Using 3dsmax to, by the way...

07 July 2003, 01:14 AM
Martin: We're from Copenhagen :buttrock: and Scene Event sounds like great fun, but we both have difficulties finding time for the challenges, so I'm afraid we won't make it. :hmm:

Could have been cool, though - maybe next year?

Martin Andersen
07 July 2003, 01:16 AM
I'll be there to :thumbsup:

07 July 2003, 03:03 PM
It's alive, I tell you - ALIVE!!!

Bug Movement Test ( ...500 Kb, DivX 5.0.5

Known bugs (pun indeed intended):
The lighting is a bit off, but it's a movement test, so... :-)
The bug slides a bit and is VERY goal orientated...ONWARDS!
It's way too light for its' size, but I think it's gonna work for lotsa small critters.

Any comments?

BTW: It's mentioned somewhere that the size of the final movies, should be 550x309...that size doesn't work with DivX because it has to be divisable by 16...I went for 544x304 instad. Maybe someone is spared a headache now...

victor throe
07 July 2003, 12:57 AM
gross man

that is really creepy

the shadow really jumps out as being 'off'....and the bug shader is a little flat

you should render it out again at the size its going to be

im sure it will look wicked once there are loads of them

07 July 2003, 10:28 AM
@victor throe: I reworked the lights and I'm gonna spend some time on the bug shader as well. Thanks for replying! ...the traffic on this forum is REALLY slow...only one reply?

Anyway. The particle movement in a crude form is finished. Had to do a lot of scripting to get the results we wanted, but hopefully it pays off. There's gonna be a preview here soon, hopefully. Other than that the turning on of the lights has been keyframed. It wasn't as hard as expected...but it took some time. hopefully we can soon post a preview of that as well.

victor throe
07 July 2003, 10:43 AM

just goes to show how many students make up the cgtalk community

end of term...end of replies

ive only had a few responses to mine too


keep up the work

cant wait to see it

what packages are you using

07 July 2003, 11:19 AM
@victor throe: Hmm, hadn't thought of the student issue. You're probably right. I still think it's weird, that this challenge isn't more popular. All the big fx-studios are looking for talent. Anyway - We're using Max & Brazil and have gained access via work to a Particle Flow's ok, but I'm a tad dissapointed in the visual tools. You can do almost anything with scripting, but I had hoped for a more flexible solution...

victor throe
07 July 2003, 11:33 AM
theres that new max even particle thing

havent tried it

but on the video it looked ideal for what you are doing

set up a bunch of targets

looked good

check it out

07 July 2003, 12:09 PM
Hehe, the new particle thing?...that's Particle Flow, that I commented on above! Here's a link to the crude behaviour we came up with:

Particle behaviour (

I'm still hoping I find the time to make the little buggers fly..thus the red arrows.

Martin Andersen
07 July 2003, 01:27 PM
sdfx, when there will be some time we could do some character studio crowd together, could be lots of fun :)

actually I've been involved in crowd stuff the last 2 months... still not any super crowd human, but a step on the way :-)

07 July 2003, 02:22 PM
Sdfx nice work with the particles.
how many particles are you using?

do you know i had the same idea to make this challenge like The Film "the Mummy", with the bugs, but i haven't got time this month,

I like the bug running on the room

good luck


victor throe
07 July 2003, 09:47 PM
looks nice

07 July 2003, 11:54 AM
@Martin: Thought about crowds, but too much too learn in too little time. :( If you have something cool to show, don't be ashamed!

@Nando3D: The particle count is really an issue. We're pretty nervous about rendering times...*tremble*

@victor throe: Thanks, man.

Martin Andersen
07 July 2003, 02:10 PM
sdfx: about particels, try render them in two passes.. with two particle system.

One particle close to camera and another particle system far from camera.

Then composite the front particle on top of the back particle. Just a thought.

Cheers :thumbsup:

07 July 2003, 02:23 PM
Thanks, Martin. I'm beginning to fear that we have to opt for a solution involving fewer but bigger bugs...why is there never enough time? ...good suggestion, though!

Martin Andersen
07 July 2003, 03:50 AM
uhmm.... try to model the environment and then make another mesh that looks like the environtment, but with smooth corners, (this is the mesh the bugs will follow, hidden mesh). So then the bugs will turn smooth around corners, edges etc. ;-)

victor throe
07 July 2003, 09:15 AM
how do you get particle to follow a surface?

Martin Andersen
07 July 2003, 09:21 AM
particle flow can (I think, but not shure...)

else for 3dsmax there is two options:

Glider plugin (think it is called)

- parray + gravity, and a object deflecter with the bounce set to 0

then when the bugs hits the objekt deflektor they just stand on the ground... then use the particle speed or a graity/wind to drive them forward...

many options...

victor throe
07 July 2003, 10:32 AM
parray plus a deflector

that sounds mighty ugly

what you want it to be able to define a couple of paths and have a ramdom weighting between the 2 for each particle

or more paths woud be good

Martin Andersen
07 July 2003, 10:34 AM
path folow contraint support multiple paths, just animate between... dammm Im almost sleeping, 12 hours unwrapping !!!

victor throe
07 July 2003, 10:53 AM
but wont that just bing the emittor position not the particles trhemselves

Martin Andersen
07 July 2003, 11:02 AM
I'm not shure what u mean. U can not controle the pivot point of instance part. geomtrt

but u can offset the poly's like i do in this sleepey video (techsmith codecs req.)

victor throe
07 July 2003, 11:13 AM

if i bind partivles to path space warp

how do i get it so that the instanced objects im emitting follow follow in the direction of the path

that has baffled me for years

Martin Andersen
07 July 2003, 11:15 AM
I don't know what u mean ?????

victor throe
07 July 2003, 11:32 AM
that movie made no sense what so ever

if you have an emittor

and you are emitting an arrow that points in the direction of z

the you bind you emittor to a follow path space warp

the particles with follow the path but continue to face in the direction of z

what i want to know is how to get these particles to follow the curve of the path/trajectory

im sure this must be a simple task but i have a mental block on it

Martin Andersen
07 July 2003, 11:39 AM
What I know u cannot do this (thats why I use crowd and delegates with morph...)

I don't know about pflow

07 July 2003, 02:39 PM
Pflow can do that..."rotation by speed", which is very cool... you can also set the particles to "speed by surface", to have them follow an object, but it's very hard to control. I had to script their speed to make them behave - and yet they still have a mind of their own. Paticles are fun, but they can make a grown man cry...believe me.


07 July 2003, 04:45 PM
Hey there!

Really looking forward to seeing what you came up with! The storyboard and concept are great. Hope you got the particle system control straightened out, this should be a good one!

Good luck!

07 July 2003, 05:24 PM
We hope we won't let you down...we're really sweating right now...rendering as hell

07 July 2003, 12:58 AM
Final Animation, 544x304 mov (

Wheehee!! Remember to crank up the sound :)

We're sorry that all the cool particle systems didn't make it...but alas, rendering times and memory consumption killed them. So this turned out to be just as much a 2D challenge, which we think is pretty cool. Anyway, check it out and tell us what you think!

SdFX out...

Final Animation, 544x304 divx 5.0.4 (

We're gonna post the original footage tomorrow...and maybe we'll update the whole thing's been a loooong, but fun day!


victor throe
07 July 2003, 08:07 AM
very tastey

nicely directed......

my only nitpik would be the animation on the bugs

you can get away with floating weightless creatures when they are tiny, but when you have a hoofing great beast like you have then you really need to have him lumbering down th corridor

on a personal note:

i would have made the beatles more reflective to really excentuate the lighting change.....they look too absorbant for the shiney shells of beatles

and finally....and this is really nitpicky

the final shot where the camera is at ground level

no matter how good your cg skills are...that shot was always going to give your effect away as being cg because they beatles appear on screen far too close to the camera....~(at one point a beetle passes through the lens and enters screen dead centre....causing one frame of pure tan)

if you were to creat this shot in the real world...the beatles would swarm in from around the sides avoiding the camera plus some...or perhaps they would fall down into shot having just climbed over the camera

i think this is what our brains expect and there for are dissapointed...brains dont like surprises

nice work though

cant wait to see how it was done

07 July 2003, 01:27 PM
Rendered a more detailed bug for the comp. on voidstudios:

@victor throe: Thank you for your kind words! for your crits, I couldn't agree more! We had severe rendering issues, which totally blew apart the schedule. Maybe we'll find the time to update the whole thing...let's see! :-)

victor throe
07 July 2003, 01:31 PM
thats one for the portfolio

07 July 2003, 11:38 AM
Thanks for the input, Victor...can it be true, there's only one comment on the final animation?!?

07 July 2003, 03:27 PM
Hi SdFX!

Congrats that you have done it in time, and its very cool! :applause:

Regrettably the particle system did not make it, and the bugs move the same way as they fall down. I think the cuts with ground camera is a way to make the straigth movement of the bugs not that noticeable. Farther I've to agree to victor throe.

However its well done! :)


07 July 2003, 10:35 AM
Thanks Andi! We hear's your project going?

07 July 2003, 10:34 PM
Hi SdFX!

My projects progress is behind.... I currently get no clear difference matte, but I need it to attach the cg-elements...its going slow...


08 August 2003, 11:25 AM
Heya guys been trying to contact for a week now, can you please send me your mailing address info so I can ship you your prize? Send it to


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