View Full Version : FXWARS! Tesla - mightcouldb1 - FREEFORM

03 March 2009, 06:30 AM
Hey guys,
This is my first contest entry on cgtalk.
I'm a student at Gnomon School of VFX in my 3rd term.
I've been using Maya for about 9 months now, so I'm hoping to showcase what I've picked up and hopefully learn a few new things along the way. I've made a storyboard which is fairly crappy, but I understand it... and a basic animatic with camera move.
My goal is for a somewhat photo-real over-dramatic interpretation of Tesla's Wardenclyffe Tower. Crits and comments much appreciated!

Pre-vis: (


03 March 2009, 03:46 AM
Hi everyone!
Still no comments... I guess that I will have to post better stuff than my crappy previs and storyboards! :D

Lately I have been experimenting with fluids to create a overcast cloud vortex to place atop my Wardenclyffe Tower.

Here is a example of some early tests that I am creating!

The fluid itself is a simple perlin noise texture that is being mapped into the opacity of a solid block of fluid. I then made the fluid dynamic and simulated it with various fields. As I get closer to the end of the shot where the fluid will be, I will actually paint out an opacity map in photoshop and then import it as my opacity. That way, the fluid will maintain its shape a little bit better when I simulate it.

Tomorrow I start lightning. Then after that It's on to modeling. I am doing a very work intensive project with a ton of modeling and lighting, and even some rigging and animation if I get time. I always load up more work than I can handle, and this time is no exception! But I am super excited to make some cool stuff!!! Stay tuned for updates.

03 March 2009, 04:15 AM
Well so far so good.

Keep us posted.


03 March 2009, 05:20 AM
The clouds are looking cool, looking forward to what they will look like with lightning.

Keep it up, looks like you have quite a bit to go.

03 March 2009, 01:06 PM
Oh awesome! You are at least going somewhere! I haven't had too much time for this challenge so far :( Keep up the good work man!

03 March 2009, 02:57 PM
Looks good so far, how long do you plan on the animation being?

Good luck!

03 March 2009, 08:00 PM
Looking good

03 March 2009, 11:53 AM
Thanks for the comments! The animation is going to be about 14 seconds. I've done a ton of modeling over the last few days and should have the entire office scene modeled by tomorrow. I don't have anything UV'd except for a book model that my friend Josh layed out for me (thanks Josh!!!). I expect to have the entire interior part of the scene modeled textured and lit by early next week. (No one thinks it's going to happen, but I think it will.)

I'm still working on a solution for my lightning strikes. The lightning will be bolt lightning and not the flowy Tesla coil lightning that you see in most of the other entries. I know that the point of this Tesla challenge is to make awesome lightning, but I can't resist throwing in a lot of other cool stuff! I hope this doest effect my entry. :argh:

Progress tomorrow!!!


03 March 2009, 06:11 PM
Those clouds look great. Can't wait to see what you do with them.

03 March 2009, 07:10 AM
Here is some modeling progress... I am fairly satisfied with the furniture density in the room because there will be a dim lightning setup. I rendered this while eating... where at some point a foot race challenge for shotgun in my car catapulted into something destructive! But Josh is OK! Anyway... Critiques and comments much appreciated!

...oh. I know my table is floating! It has been inflicted with curse of floating tables... But that has been fixed now. :)

03 March 2009, 11:53 AM
I love it. Looks so detailed and beautiful. I have absolutely no crits for this model. Everything seems to be in place perfectly. Maybe add a chair? Because the table looks like someone is using it intensely.

Good job :thumbsup:

03 March 2009, 07:32 AM
hi there Jason ........ very good WIP
really impressive idea for the challenge, it should be explosive when its done:D l am very much looking forward to see it completed

im just having a doubt here ...... about the lighting in this scene how did u do it???
is it Amb Occ using Mental Ray???


03 March 2009, 05:12 AM
Yes! It's and ambient occlusion render in mental ray! Thanks for the comment! The final lighting will be very low lighting with the lamp on the desk being the main source for illumination.

03 March 2009, 12:32 AM
I've recently completed some lighting tests and am done with this part of the scenes UV's.

This part of the scene is a little less than half of the work in my shot. It's time for textures, then fx and keyframing. Hopefully I can have this done by Tuesday! Wish me luck.

03 March 2009, 05:41 AM
Hey man looking great. Really like your environment so far, solid modelling and lighting. Good luck with texturing and the rest of the challenge!

03 March 2009, 07:16 PM
the lighting looks really good j-dawg, but know what it needs? some kind of "gobo" to break up the falloff of the desk lamp! ;-)

keep at it man!

03 March 2009, 11:13 AM
thanks for the tip Devon! I will be adding a gobo to the spot on the desk once my light setup is more final. This is just a block in of the lighting for now. I am progressing slowly with the textures and hope to have a final version of this scene by Tuesday. I will be adding some rain drops to the window and illumination to the room by lighting outside. More updates soon!

Here is my texture progress for now!

03 March 2009, 03:21 PM
here is some more WIP. I am going to be moving on to the next part of my scene, and will come back and clean up my textures if I have time... but for now this should do! I did a little post on this one. I am going to try and get a sequence rendered out tonight.

03 March 2009, 10:05 AM
Looks great. I really like the lighting.

03 March 2009, 11:16 PM
Yes nice atmosphere! more update?^^

03 March 2009, 03:18 PM
Here is some recent work in progress. I am sad to say that I won't be doing my original camera move through the wall and to the outside to reveal the tower. Due to time constraints I had to cut this a bit short so that I could finish in time. Anyway, the new shot involves the camera moving through the room and up to the window to reveal the tower in the distance in the middle of a storm. These images are the finals for this part of the shot, they are color corrected but are lacking depth of field and heavier post work. I have rendered out an alpha for my glass window because it is somewhat nonexistent at the moment. I will be comping the glass window on top later once I have the exterior, which will also be rendered separately and composited using the window alpha. At the moment I am waiting for renders and working on an expression for water drops randomly falling along the surface of my window.

03 March 2009, 07:50 PM
It's looking very nice, sad to hear your not going with the original camera move, but the new shot sounds just as good. Can't wait to see the final!

03 March 2009, 02:25 AM
Dude, this looks awesome! Great scene, awesome lighting! Any work to show on the exterior yet?

03 March 2009, 09:11 AM
sadly not a lot of work on the exterior. I have the beginning of the wardenclyffe tower and some particle systems... but I will show those + explain them once they are done :)

03 March 2009, 04:32 AM
Here is an update of my scene.
I feel like I've spent wayyyy too much time on the modeling/texturing/lighting and not nearly enough on the FX.

Anyway, I'm off to San Francisco for GDC until friday, so hopefully I get everything done by the 31st! (

03 March 2009, 05:03 AM
Here is an update of my scene.
I feel like I've spent wayyyy too much time on the modeling/texturing/lighting and not nearly enough on the FX.

Anyway, I'm off to San Francisco for GDC until friday, so hopefully I get everything done by the 31st! (


03 March 2009, 07:08 AM
Here is an update of my scene.
I feel like I've spent wayyyy too much time on the modeling/texturing/lighting and not nearly enough on the FX.

I have the same problem. I only now start to explore ways to make FX. Wasted too much time on modeling and animation.

Your work looks great. Keep it up.

03 March 2009, 08:11 AM
Heh, tell me about it. I've spent 90% of my time so far modeling/render tuning and waiting on renders because only one machine in the house can handle my scenes (the others can help on stuff like RGB & occlusion passes though).

Keep it up man, this looks great.


03 March 2009, 08:16 PM
So... I was thinking of dropping out of the contest because of all the time crunch, but...... not using a computer for 3 days while at GDC gave me withdrawals! Time to get back to work and finish this up before Tuesday night!!! Wish me luck!

03 March 2009, 03:26 AM
Haha, glad to hear you didn't give up! Good luck with meeting the deadline!

04 April 2009, 10:16 PM
It's as finished as its ever going to be!

Jason Burton (

A reveal of Tesla's Wardenclyffe Tower that was never completed. Who knows how this creation would have changed the world if it were brought to life.

High Res (35 MB): fixing again...


04 April 2009, 10:21 PM
thats my boy! turned out great man. beautiful renders. the music really suits it

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