View Full Version : Devils, Angels & Dating - CG Short

04 April 2009, 06:43 PM

Main Website (
Teaser Trailer Video (
WIP Animatic Video (

What is this all about?
We're making a CG Short Film for the love of it as a hobby on the side of my day job. But itís much more fun and creative if I can find some talented collaborators. So Iím posting this to see if there are any talented souls out there looking to get involved. Ideally Iím looking for people with some experience already, perhaps looking to diversify their skill set and portfolio. Or simply to act as a showcase for talents they know they have but have yet to have the opportunity to do working in a professional environment. You can see how the project is shaping up at (, but Iím hoping that we can use this forum to help spread the word and show off the highlights as we go along. The target audience is the web surfer, it will look striking enough on almost every frame for most people to want to click on an image of it, while intriguing enough in its subject matter to keep people watching. Obviously it will be fired off to the festival circuit and Iíll knock on any other doors that are relevant (TV, Cinema, DVD, etc...) but the internet is our only guaranteed venue.
Who am I?
My name is Michael Cawood ( Iíve been an Animated Filmmaker since 1994, having worked on Animated Films, VFX Films, Commercials, Games and made numerous personal short films in my student days. You can check out my LinkedIn ( profile and my Filmography ( to get a flavour of my work. My last student film, Panda Pander picked up a few million viewings on one of the video portals. But having started as a 2D Animator, Iíve yet to make my own CG short film, and my film making skills have moved on a lot since then. I love making these things and Iíve done more than my fair share in the past but for the last nine years Iíve been focused on making other peopleís projects. I enjoy the process in any capacity who ever itís for, but I felt it was time to get back to making something for myself. Iíve never stopped writing stories or creating characters over that time but this project is compact enough to actually get made. I have most of the skills necessary myself to make this thing so I have no fear that it can be done. Iím only lacking the modelling and texturing skills to make a character models to my standards, so thatís the only minimum requirement of this endeavour. However we've already picked up a team of contributers (
What do you get out of it?
Not paid: Donít be fooled. There is almost no market for making money out of this. Itís too easy to watch a CG Short on a video portal for free, so why should anyone pay for it? So Iím not offering money. I could tell you that Iíll divvy up any proceeds should that happen (and I would), but you really shouldnít be doing this for the cash. Personally Iím quite sure Iíll spend more on this than Iíll ever get back.

Credit: I have no particular need to sit back and say I did all of this, so Iím very happy to share the credit, where credit is due. Iíll deploy a similar system to the BBC, anyone that contributes over 10% in any given specialist area will be credited, most likely in order of contribution. Iíll also try to maintain a list of contributors on my website ( during production, once they start having something to show.
Portfolio Material: This isnít a secret project, as it unfolds you are welcome to use whatever you are contributing in your own portfolio to sell yourself to employers, as long as you are specific about what youíve done. Iím relying on this to ensure a high quality of product.

Reference: Iím more than happy to write worthy contributors a good reference. For professionals, Iíd heartily recommend adding this project to your LinkedIn profile (only once you actually start working on it) where I can recommend you and employers can verify the legitimacy of it. You can also seek recommendations from other people youíve worked with on this project.

Promotion: Iíll happily cross link with strong contributors if they have websites they want people to see. Several contributers have already started to see the increase in traffic on their portflio websites... be wwarned that you have to be contributing to get the linkage though.

Contacts: Anything you do like this is a good way to make contacts in the business. You never know who youíll be working with in the future. See some of the talent pool we've already gathered in our members section (

How much of a commitment?
Since Iím assuming people are doing this for their own portfolio, I would expect that most people will want to do a small number of contained parts of the project. If youíre an animator, it might be a few handpicked shots. If youíre a modeller it might be just a character. If youíre a concept artist it may be a handful of sketches. You get the idea. If there is someone out there willing to make the same broad level of commitment as I am, Iíd welcome a partner but Iím not foolish enough to expect it. My only request is that whatever you want to get out of this, you at least make a commitment to yourself to complete it and to the best of your abilities, although no-one is going to come and burn down your house if life gets in the way and itís not possible, just try to let me know and pass on what you have if itís reasonable for someone else to finish it for you (although bear in mind most people would rather work on something they can clearly identify as their work).

Whatís the film about?
Mr. Cupid, Master Devil and a rather attractive young judge, jury and executioner in the form of Miss Death gather in the ĎAfter Lifeí War Room to attend to their daily routine of manipulating our lives down on Earth with modern techniques that would put our iPod generation to shame. Each of them reluctantly compelled to play out their role in the game of life in order to maintain the balance. There's an unspoken attraction in the room as their true personalities are revealed to each other. Then someone gets a bright idea and re-purposes their high tech tools in a way that turns the tide of war and flips everything on its head.

At the moment Iím not posting the full script/treatment to avoid direct copy cats, but that may change. Iíll reveal it to people that get in touch with me when itís suitable. Itís still open to change at this time but it has settled into a decent story already, and it just needs a few talented eyeballs on it to really make it shine. But the goal is to keep it short and manageable.

What do you need to do?
I want to make one thing clear. My standards are quite high, and although I hate to exclude anyone, Iíd rather work with people that can prove in some way that they are up to the job so that we donít end up wasting each otherís time. So get in touch either on this forum, through my websiteís contact page and send me a link to your work (no attachments please, unless theyíre only a few KB) or ideally in the public recruitment section ( of the development forum. Make sure youíve thought through what talents you want to offer and prove to me youíre capable (either visually or through a good explanation).

What does the project need?

Concept Artists (Colour Scripts)
3D Animators (Maya 2009, Reel must display a high skill level)
Layout Artists (Maya 2009, Industry experience required)
Animation Supervisor (Maya, Industry experience required)

We already have a large number of animators lining up to get on board, but we'll advertise that position when we're ready for that, we need concept artists, tech heads and modlellers the most right now. Iíll post other specialist skills as and when itís most appropriate, but as you can see at some stage in the project you can expect most animated film making skills to be of use. If you are interested and just want to discuss it please get in touch. If you have any quick questions of interest to everyone please use this forum thread.

Thanks for reading... you'll probably want a rest now!

04 April 2009, 11:39 AM
Wow, very cool I really hope you pull this off well you look like you have a decent base rolling already!! GL with you project it look promising.


04 April 2009, 11:06 PM
It's a great project to be a part of, I hope this gets more attention we could use all the help we can get. Mike is a great guy and is open to just about any suggestions to improve the short. The team we already have contributing as well is extremely talented. If anyone is interested, I would highly recommend they stop by and get more info.

04 April 2009, 10:54 PM
Here's a video introduction for all the newbies out there that want to know more.
It's also available in larger HD here:

05 May 2009, 12:08 AM
Some images from the assets we're currently producing. If there are any talented concept artists out there we can still use your help... although it will be more like Illustration if you wait much longer! :) At this point we're facing a number of models that need texture artists to really finish them off, so if you fancy that task drop by the site and check us out at

05 May 2009, 10:27 PM
Here's the set and a few characters ( in a fly around video... most of these assets are actually a lot further along.

05 May 2009, 03:08 AM
We're posting new artwork and videos all the time but I thought I'd better provide a link to the latest animatic (

06 June 2009, 05:19 PM
i'm project leader for , aganistanother (
as a short animation movie it's a very nice concept , and nice idea , i like this team projects like these, if you don't mind , could you send me your MSN IM , i have some questions , i'll pm , but waiting a reply.

what can i say , good luck , god speed ,
maybe we'll see you as siggraph 2010 , hope my team will finish by then

06 June 2009, 02:06 PM
Our project has taken an interesting turn, in that we're making a Musical now. We've teamed up with Singer Song Writer: Larissa Ness ( to help us write it and produce the music.

Here's a few images from the forum. We're currently looking for:

Storyboard Artists
Layout Artists
Texture Artists
Character Riggers
Technical Directors

06 June 2009, 10:56 PM
Here's a peak at the latest storyboard (*d1KYiDQnyGFPNPH7YmspbDDC1Z/Storyboard.jpg).

We're currently looking for a few different skill sets including:
Storyboard Artists - (to do a more polished second pass)
Texture Artists for Characters
Character Riggers - to use Setup Machine and Face Machine on our lead characters, plus custom rigging for special case stuff on the characters.

06 June 2009, 08:40 PM
Hi everyone. I just thought I'd post these images of our Devil character, he's basically ready as a model and waiting for textures and some spot effects for his fantasy flame tail and hair. If there are any talented Maya Texture artists out there and/or a someone looking to do some creative character effects work we'd love to hear from you over at our development site: (

We maintain a full list of positions and tasks along with our current progress on our Jobs tab (

07 July 2009, 05:28 AM
Here's an idea of what the textures on the Devil character could look like.

07 July 2009, 05:41 PM
We've continued to gather speed, and we're up to 66 members on our own little social network discussing and developing the film. Two of our riggers recently got jobs though and will be a bit too busy to do our character rigs. If there are any experienced riggers out there that would like to take on Devil or Death or help with other rigging challenges please check out our website and see what we're up to. We'd love to hear from you.

07 July 2009, 02:30 PM
I've posted a new animatic ( with lots of new work in Zone B and C. I'm including previs with the storyboards to help outline the cameras.

We have lots of progress being made for our Devil character (, with the fire tail starting to look good thanks to Charles.

Our environmental effects ( are looking great thanks to Iskander.

Andy's work on the Holographic Sphere is looking really cool too.

07 July 2009, 04:48 PM
The character rigging has started. But we have three characters so we could still do with some more experience Character Riggers if anyone is interested. We also need a little character modeling work done, although we're 90% there.

08 August 2009, 09:12 PM
I just uploaded Episode 1 of our Podcast 'Animation in Progress'. You can subscribe in iTunes ( or with any other RSS feed reader ( at:

08 August 2009, 06:47 AM
Hi Michael

This is Rahul here,I am working and learning in cg animation industry from last 6 years.i would like to be a part of you short film.I do modeling,texturing,lighting,rendering and compositing,3d tracking.Please visit my site for my complete portfolio


08 August 2009, 07:23 PM
We have lots of cool new work being done on the project all the time. Here's a couple of cool videos:

The chair rigging:

The Hologram Sphere:

The rigging for the Cloud tail for Cupid:


We're looking for some strong talented artists. Mostly Texture artists and Character Riggers.

08 August 2009, 02:47 PM
We have a Facebook Fan page now. If you become a fan you'll get regular updates in your home page feed, or you can just use it to follow our progress.

There's also a new version of the animatic with lots of new storyboard panels:

09 September 2009, 04:45 PM
I just did this cloud flyby render... what do you think?

We're looking for riggers and texture artists for two of our characters if anyone is interested in getting involved. (

09 September 2009, 03:26 PM
Keith Lango is now a Supporter of our film production. He'll be donating training videos to our strongest contributors as we go along. Check this out for details:

09 September 2009, 03:30 PM
I posted a new animatic the other day with new versions of shots near the beginning containing previs. It also has a sample of a Song in the middle.

09 September 2009, 09:15 PM
looking very cool so far ......please keep going want to see that finished soooonnn :wip: :wip:

09 September 2009, 05:54 PM

We're looking for collaborators in sound. This is a Musical but we're also looking to lay down some sound effects to go with our visual effects heavy shots. We've put a shared folder pipeline together and we can take on several sound effect engineers, each one working on specific areas of the time-line. So please get in touch and checkout our website if you know anyone that would be interested. We're also setting up a MySpace page here:

09 September 2009, 05:22 PM
An image of our set... it's still in development but looking pretty good so far.

09 September 2009, 12:06 AM
Episode 2 of the Animation in Progress Podcast ( is now available. In this episode I talk to Larissa Ness and Kyle Robertson about creating the music and songs for the film. I also talk about the online community and the challenges of a volunteer team spread out over the internet.

09 September 2009, 04:07 AM
Nice Pod-cast.

I feel the same about what you say about people taking your ideas.
Only because my ideas are crap and I probably stole them from somewhere else :p

Good luck with it all.

10 October 2009, 10:25 PM

Some more random images form our talented team of artists:

Here's a cool concept painting from Seth based on one of my sketches:

Please feel free to leave me some feedback on the animatic:

10 October 2009, 10:12 PM
We had a great recording session with the music team yesterday and have put together this sample of the Musical ( we're working on.

10 October 2009, 01:30 AM
I just posted up Episode 3 of 'Animation in Progress' the 'Devils Angels & Dating' Podcast.

In this Episode I talk to team member, Andy Stopford, about his work on the film. I also go over the best practices for collaborating on the website and give a status update on the film's progress.

Please let me know what your thoughts are, give me your feedback and don't forget to leave a review in iTunes to show your support. In the next Podcast we'll probably be reading out letters from you guys, and I'll have another interview.

I'd like to thank Larissa for the Music and Emily for the introduction. Enjoy the Podcast.

You can subscribe with iTunes, RSS or your favourite feed reader.

Devils Angels & Dating (

10 October 2009, 05:34 PM
Lots going on in our forum as usual... it's strange I can't post all image links in here though... so I seem to be limited to random images links that do work. And here's one that should work:

11 November 2009, 03:33 PM
Episode 4 is online now. In this Podcast I talk to, team member, Iskander Mellakh and then go over a quick Filmography of my work before a status update of our short animated film ĎDevils Angels and Datingí.

Blog Entry (

Direct ( (

11 November 2009, 06:47 PM
Didn't have time to listen to it all but did some.
Among other things I admire your's no small thing to do extras like that.

11 November 2009, 08:16 PM
Thanks Softdistortion, it is tricky finding time to put aside for these podcasts but it's a chance to reflect on our progress and swap stories with the team while putting a human face on things. So it's worth it.

11 November 2009, 09:26 PM
We've got some song, music and sound effects samples in our time-line now but we're looking for someone to take point as the lead in all things sound to lay the foundation for the score and and songs while keeping an eye on sound effects and possibly the mix.
Latest animatic with sound (

11 November 2009, 02:55 PM
I just posted up Episode 5 of 'Animation in Progress' the 'Devils Angels & Dating' Podcast ( .

In this Podcast I talk to two Full Sail University graduates who have both joined the team. First up will be Modeler, Chris Culverwell then I talk to Bobby West whoís been doing some Lighting. Thatís followed by a status update of the film along with some new story elements.

Please let me know what your thoughts are, give me your feedback and don't forget to leave a review in iTunes to show your support.

I'd like to thank Larissa for the Music and Emily for the introduction. Enjoy the Podcast.

You can subscribe with iTunes, RSS or your favourite feed reader.

11 November 2009, 10:11 PM
This new animatic has lots of updates. Please feel free to leave some feedback. I'm keen to hear your thoughts.

Animatic 34 (

We also have two new videos explaining our needs for audio/sfx/music/songs (

11 November 2009, 03:49 PM
Episode 6 of the 'Animation in Progress' Podcast is out, and in this episode I talk to Director, Lucas Martell about making animated short films and his labor of love Pigeon Impossible.

Podcast (

12 December 2009, 08:25 PM
Well, we've done very well in 2009. We took the project online, started our project development website and began attracting a lot of talent. We're over 140 members at the time of writing. The website has gone through a lot of refinements, as has the film itself, as we've progressed with the creation of the assets. In fact we're now starting out with some animation tests, as our a few of our rigs are production ready and just going through higher level feature additions (like dynamic hair).

It's just not possible to get a full overview of the project from a few links so please check us out at (

In the mean time here's a few early animated videos to check out:

We will be looking for top tier animation talent to help us out and anyone interested should sign up now ready for the bulk of production to start in order to get ahead of the queue. Note that you will need to come prepared with a photo of yourself, some links to your reel/resume/website and something to say about yourself (go to the "Register your interest" thread in "Recruitment").

12 December 2009, 05:11 PM
We've had an exciting year with most of the asset creation out of the way we're currently in the early stages of animation, debugging rigs and looking for any other issues that we might trip us up going forward. I'm currently planning to roll out Animation on a larger scale early in 2010, so that we can have our 30 second teaser trailer ready in the first few months. I'm going to start working on a poster which should also be a good test case to get a 'close to final' look for our characters.

While Devil and Death are having some more advanced functionality added to their rigs, Cupid is nearing an animation ready state. Devil and Death are already being animated in their first shots with only a few challenges, that our team members have gallantly concurred.

We've had some support from Keith Lango, and Digicel's Flipbook which has been a nice touch. We have over 240 videos and 540 images to look through, with over 140 members on the website. All very exciting but I just want to say a huge thank you to our regulars who have made the project what it is today. Have a wonderful holiday period.

In the mean time here's a few recent highlights:
Render tests: (
Holograms and Peeps: (
Animation in progress: (
Colour Script in progress: (
Animatic: (

Don't forget you can follow our progress on Facebook:
And you can subscribe to most of our videos on YouTube as well:

Merry Christmas!

01 January 2010, 08:44 PM
Check this out... characters rigged, props made, we're on target and looking good.

01 January 2010, 11:00 PM

We are starting to animate, so we're looking for accomplished animators to join the team. This would suite experienced animators looking to diversify their reel.

Animation Introduction:


To get started go here:

01 January 2010, 05:15 PM
Just a quick reminder that you can follow our progress as part of your daily Facebook feed if you become a fan here:
That way you get to see all the new developments as we go along.

01 January 2010, 08:00 PM
Here's our plan for the teaser trailer. Thanks to Stoyan for the Music.

01 January 2010, 08:47 PM
Here's a set of Dailies for the 31st January 2010

02 February 2010, 11:39 AM
This version of the animatic has new animation, credits with titles attached, a new version of the song, colour scripts, more storyboards and previs, and a few tweaks to the edit.

02 February 2010, 07:39 PM
An exciting new version of the Teaser trailer with lots of examples of work in progress animation.

02 February 2010, 03:24 AM

We have lots going on at the main website (over 420 videos!) at but I thought I'd point out a few interesting links.

A page of videos on our use of Digicel's Flipbook:

Our Fund Raising page:

I'm posting highlights of the project on Twitter:

We have an Animator's Handbook filled with introduction videos to our rigs and tools:

Our updated Teaser Trailer:

Our latest Animatic:

02 February 2010, 04:50 PM
Well what a month! We've been building up steam with the animation and I've been busy setting up shots for lots of new animators. We're actually at 25 active animators assigned to shots right now, but I've been trying to grow the team slowly in order to avoid over extending myself and neglecting anyone that's actually working on a task.

It's really exciting to see the project progressing so well, thanks for the support everyone!

03 March 2010, 06:46 PM
Nice work Mike!
You've built quite a sizable team and project.

PS:check your PMs when you get a sec.

03 March 2010, 07:17 PM
This is a video critique Dailies review for shot 120.

03 March 2010, 05:15 PM
Our latest animatic:
It's exciting to see so many shots going into animation, the challenge now is to push all those shots to the highest level we can reach.

03 March 2010, 04:36 PM
We added the first pass of the voices to the animatic:

03 March 2010, 03:23 PM
In Episode 7 of the Podcast I talk to our voice performer, Justin Barrett, about bringing life to Devil and Cupid

04 April 2010, 02:53 PM
Our latest animatic features some changes to the edit to tighten it up and some more voice work and animation.

04 April 2010, 03:54 PM
Directors Roundtable Discussion with Jess Herman and Bobb Strongman

Episode 8 of the Podcast is available. In this episode I talk to two other Directors, Jess Herman and Bobb Strongman, working on the collaborative CG Short Films 'Hick' and 'The Gondoliers Dog'. Both using the Ning platform to manage their projects. You can play the Podcast or subscribe with iTunes, RSS or your favourite feed reader. This is part 1 of a two part round-table discussion.

I'd like to thank Larissa Ness for the Music. Please let me know what your thoughts are and give me your feedback and don't forget to leave a review in iTunes to show your support. Enjoy the Podcast.

04 April 2010, 09:46 PM
I've just posted Episode 9 and Part 2 of the roundtable discussion. Enjoy!

04 April 2010, 10:25 PM
Just a quick update. We're in pretty good shape for animation with over 20% in the can.

We're on the lookout for strong animators to join the team. Check out the Animator's Handbook for a guide to what you need, and come prepared with some idea of what types of shots you'd like.

Shane Davis has recently started as a Production Coordinator. He'll be helping me to sort through the progress of all the tasks and keeping everything moving forward.

If you're interested in doing any shader or rigging work please get in touch as we've got a couple of assets to finish off and any help would be greatly appreciated. We have some colour script images done, as you can see by the edit, but if anyone else would like to lend a hand and do some I'd really love to get some more done to flesh out the timeline.

I'd just like to say the team is doing amazing things and it's incredible to see it coming together like this. I think we're well on track for completing the teaser trailer animation in the next few months and the rest of the film by early 2011, if not sooner.

04 April 2010, 05:34 PM
Our latest Animatic:

04 April 2010, 01:41 PM
This is the films 50th Animatic update... wow that's a lot of updates! Aside from the usual animation updates it also includes some changes to the edit and some extra scenes to improve the story. It's always regrettable when you have to make big changes whilst in animation production but it happens all the time and it's better to address story issues as soon as solutions arise.

We're now 23% through the animation process!

You can follow our progress on Facebook and Twitter:

We're raising funds for the film here:

04 April 2010, 10:38 PM
These are video critiques.

You can see more of these critiques and other Flipbook work here:

04 April 2010, 10:38 PM
Podcast Episode 10 is out... the usual links or you can go here:
or here:

Soft Distortion and I talk about collaborative film-making over the internet, and I take the opportunity to give a status update on Devils Angels and Dating.

05 May 2010, 09:36 PM
Dan Lauer made the team a GUI for picking the character controls.

05 May 2010, 07:41 PM
Our latest animatic with lots of new animation. We're now 25% through the animation phase and eager to hear from other talented animators.

05 May 2010, 08:25 PM
We've all been busy animating... with about 29% of the film through animation now. Here's our latest edit updates for the teaser trailer and a clean version of the full film.

We're on the approach to rendering the teaser trailer so we're looking to get some of the effects worked out. If anyone would be interested in helping with a robust and repeatable beam effect check this out:

We recently completed our application for a grant... fingers crossed!

06 June 2010, 03:43 PM
We've been doing incredibly well for an online team with no budget. I can't stress how impressive it is, and I'm in a huge debt to such an amazing community of artists persisting to perfect their craft.

We're now 30% through the animation process, which only started animating back in January this year. You'd expect the first few months to have teething troubles while we worked out the kinks in the pipeline and the rigs, but we've moved into a decent routine pretty quickly and the process is very stable now. I've talked to a lot of other short film directors and they've all stressed how hard it was to get animators, so what we've achieved here is very unique.

We're on the approach to getting the teaser trailer done. Most of the animation is done with just a few shots still in progress. I'll be spending the next month picking up the scraps and helping with the lighting and rendering setup. Then we can expect a large chunk of rendering and compositing time. If we have any team members with strong Maya Mental Ray experience we'd love to hear from you to assist. Hopefully we'll have it all done in time for Siggraph in LA, which I'll also be attending. Here's the latest Teaser Trailer edit:

If you know any Austin, Texas based generalists with strong Maya skills please send them our way as we can certainly use the extra on-site help over the next couple of months to get the teaser trailer done, while we're juggling the rest of the production.

The latest full film animatic is here:

Thanks to everyone that's made the project what it is today!

06 June 2010, 03:47 PM
New music, animation, and lots more... our latest animatic updates:
Teaser Trailer:
Full Film:

06 June 2010, 05:18 PM*1ToUyzZ1ojJITbG8KUGK8vfaqMaJsZy7nSJWB9HT9HvkGeT-r-rxwC0jZSNt2/Death_Test_Render.jpegRendering is about to start!

06 June 2010, 05:27 PM
Looking good.

07 July 2010, 05:36 PM

Continuing to develop the rendering pipeline, this is a work in progress. I was hoping to have included the better lit scythe and motion blur but had some obstacles so this is what I have so far. She doesn't have Ambient Occlusion here but we're considering using that. I need to learn more about how to set it up. The God rays seem rather lifeless and I'm wondering if simply animating a rotation down the length of the beam could be enough to give it some life. The particles are only in the background here as I've not setup a mask to allow them to appear in the foreground yet. I've still not solved the reason for the clouds not rendering in batch rendering mode, but after recreating the entire cloud scene from scratch... I realized I could just import the reference to solve that problem temporarily.

The HD video can be viewed here:

07 July 2010, 12:41 PM
Hi Michael.
Nice update!

Curious, what kind of render times are you guys seeing per frame. What res you rendering?

...animating the rays would add a lot imo. Light motion all round would probably add to the life as well...some spill off the rays dancing on the main character/chair?

Either way, you guys doing some amazing collab work all round. :applause:

07 July 2010, 03:31 PM
Thanks SD

We're still going through the growing pains of working out the rendering pipeline but we've got some good people working on things. We're still interested in hearing from anyone else that wants to get involved though.

We're aiming for 1280 x 720 at 24fps, and so far those frames were taking about 4 minutes each once you add up all the layers. We'll be optimizing things as we go along though and trying to speed up the comp stage too per shot.

I'll try animating the rays and working on the overall grade before this shot is done.

Thanks again for the support SD.

07 July 2010, 09:49 PM
Time for an update. We've been starting to render shots, working out the render pipeline with the goal of rendering as much of the teaser trailer shots as possible over the next few weeks. The first shot we chose was a nice close-up of Death to keep things simple and you can check that out here: (

While that's going through some final stages of refinement and grading we're turning our attention to a Devil shot that's a bit wider. With the help of the team we should have most shot types planned out and ready to setup for lighting and rendering in the next week or two at which point we can probably take on a few talented lighters to help us out. (

Stoyan has been working away on the score and gave us a full first pass of the score for the entire timeline, so we're no longer using any temp tracks. You can hear it in the latest animatic that went up today: (

Danielle and Alex have both been busy painting to help us define the colour script for the film. We also compiled a single image with a large number of those paintings so that we could refine the overall vision. (

Iskander and I tidied up the last few niggling issues with our rigs recently including fixes for Cupid's eyelids and his holster chest strap, as well as making the neck control more accessible on all the characters. Dan made us a GUI picker for each character a while ago too which many animators prefer to use. (

There's been a lot of behind the scenes asset shader updating which we should start to see in the renders over the coming weeks. We can thank Kurt for his help in that area... it's not glamorous work but somebody has to do it and deserves a great deal of praise for his help in a lot of the rendering pipeline plan.

07 July 2010, 02:50 PM
At this point it's pretty clear we won't have a fully animated and fully rendered teaser trailer before Siggraph as we'd hoped. It's not the end of the world but it is a sign that, as I've pointed out before, you just can't really set a deadline for a team of volunteer collaborators spread over the internet. Better to let people work at their own pace and manage the work across the project as things lose pace in certain areas. You can see where the state of the teaser trailer is in this snapshot of the tracker.

We were lucky that we had so many shots in progress as it meant that as the shot's I'd planned to put in the teaser slowed down or stopped it was possible for me to choose different shots to replace them, which reduced our Animation dependencies down to only a few animators. But even those animators got side-tracked and we don't have 100% of the animation done. But we did rather well regardless, and as the pace picks up again after Siggraph we should have enough animation for the teaser soon.

I underestimated how many people we'd lose as we moved into the northern hemisphere's summer and on the approach to probably animation's biggest calendar event of the year, Siggraph. It's understandable that (I'm guessing) there are a lot of team members preparing portfolios. I'm just hoping we get most of that talent back again in August. But I'll redouble my efforts to find new talent anyway just in case we don't.

Rendering has been our biggest issue though. In order to really crack the surface we needed the assets, textures, shaders and light rig done months ago. I pushed for it but it turned into a bottleneck. Even now we don't have every last issue ironed out, so even if we wanted to render everything it wouldn't be final. So that's an area I'll have to keep pushing.

Beyond prep for rendering, the actual render setups have been making progress. Or at least the ideas behind the plan. I've been learning a lot, perhaps more than I'd planned! But it's all worthwhile and the more I know the better the plan we have in place and the faster we resolve issues.

Rendering became the highest priority on the approach to the show so I threw myself in. Essentially the deadline forced us (as a team) to redirect our efforts and there's been a lot of progress made even if we didn't meet our end goals. But the downside is that since I've taken my eye off other areas things have slowed down in departments that were working. I stopped animating, many other animators starting getting less in depth feedback from me, etc... and animation suffered. We also received a full musical score that I've been unable to spend any time providing feedback for... and that's criminal considering how important the score is! So I'll be changing gear, letting rendering go back into the hands of the experts to some degree and refocusing on animation.

Here's a peek at a couple of the work in progress renders that should help kick start the rendering side of the pipeline.

I'd like to thank those team members that have put in the hours or simply been here to support the rest of us. It really makes a difference and I know who the super heroes are. It won't be forgotten!

As a little perk we're hoping to have some of what we have screened at the Austin Siggraph Chapter event before the main Siggraph show in support of a Texas Animation Festival planned for later in the year.

07 July 2010, 10:12 AM
Are you looking for any lighting artists? It seems like you are pretty far along but I figured I'd ask.

07 July 2010, 12:37 PM
Absolutely yes. We're just experimenting at the moment and establishing workflow, and master file templates. But we can use all the help we can get and we should be in position soon to hand out shots to lighters with some guidelines and the chance to do lighting, compositing, effects and rendering.

We maintain a list of tasks and available positions on our Jobs page:

07 July 2010, 01:20 PM
We now have three shots in a work in progress rendered state and it's looking good.

Here's the latest teaser trailer including those shots.

08 August 2010, 09:58 PM
We're looking for texture and shader artists. If you're at all interested come and see what we're up to here:

08 August 2010, 04:50 PM
There's been some really cool animation going on and I just wanted to take a moment to highlight some of the best examples here. They're still work in progress but even at this stage you can see how promising they are.

And here's one mostly rendered:

We're going to be ramping up ready for more new animators soon so now's a great time to sign up and register your interest if you want a new shot for your reel.

08 August 2010, 05:27 PM
Hi Mike and team-
Super progress you guys are making.
Love the animations so far.

Small comment on this one>
The initial bounce back and forth looks a bit jello to me, compared to the snappier motion he does when he recoils back into the chair. The recoil feel more satisfying the jello bounce feels a bit odd and draws attention to itself.

Maybe you guys are already tweaking stuff like that...or it's just me over analyzing. :)
For what it's worth...I know how hard it is to do this type of collab project via the web, so whatever you guys do is fantastic imo! :buttrock:

08 August 2010, 03:16 PM
This version of the animatic features new animation, color script panels, live action video reference footage, new shots and changed shot lengths.

08 August 2010, 03:22 PM
Thanks for the notes SD. I'll take them into consideration when I get a chance to get back to animation. I'm mostly just feeding the crew right now. I've just done a load of reference footage and I have loads of layout files to do, then I'll be trying to pick up speed on the animation and take on some new team members. Then I have to make some sort of guide for the lighters to get that going.... then I can go back to animating something myself! It's a long journey and all in service to the team. It's a hungry hungry beast! :hmm:

08 August 2010, 03:50 PM
You're welcome Mike.

PS: did you ever get any contact with the Animation Maui guys after Siggraph...tried messaging, but nothing back yet...seems thing are moving over there.

08 August 2010, 04:46 PM
I did manage to touch base with David via email before and after the event. No luck at the event though we were just all too busy to cross paths. We plan to talk some more at some point, perhaps a Podcast or something. I'm just a bit busy for the next month as I really want to make sure we're ready to take on more animators and lighters.

08 August 2010, 08:42 PM
Thanks, will try them again!
All the best on the new additions...your doing an impressive amount of work.

08 August 2010, 10:13 PM
We're in our last 33 hours of fund raising over at IndieGoGo where you can pre-order your DVD of the film, get your name in the credits... and the film itself. You can name characters in the film and the best one of all is the limited edition opportunity to name a couple in love, perhaps as a romantic gesture for your loved one. Check it out here:

08 August 2010, 01:21 PM
this is omar mansour am a 3d artist
am really interested in taking a part in this project
heres my work on
and its on cgtalk portfolio as well
all the best

08 August 2010, 03:43 PM
Here's a few recent cool highlights from the film's work in progress.

An effect for a dress transforming by Jon Ambrose

The bubble effects by Iskander Mellakh

Animation by Michael Cawood

Some blocking for a cool scene by Dorian Soto

08 August 2010, 03:15 PM
As always, nice progress guys! :buttrock:

08 August 2010, 07:17 PM
Episodes 11 and 12 of the Podcast are available - Animating and Modelling with Ryan Hagen

Episode 11 - Michael talks to Ryan Hagen about his long time involvement with the film including modeling the Devil character and how he got involved in the first place. This is the first part of a two part discussion. This episode also includes a project update.

Episode 12 - Michael talks to Ryan Hagen about animating the Devil. They go into detail into the thought processes behind the performances and the challenges of working on the film. This is part two of this discussion.

You can play the Podcast or subscribe with iTunes, RSS or your favourite feed reader. I'd like to thank Larissa Ness and Andrea Perry for the Music. Enjoy the Podcast. Please leave a comment with your feedback and don't forget to leave a review in iTunes to show your support.

08 August 2010, 01:02 PM

This update has seen some things trimmed out of the edit. Some sections were dropping the pace a little so I cut a few shots. The biggest cut was the entire section after Cupid's defeat through to the fade to black. It was a nice piece of business and has in earlier edits it's been an important addition to the film but as the pace picked up in earlier sections I watched it and felt it killed the pace without providing enough important information that wasn't more effectively conveyed in the final ending after the fade to black. So essentially I settled for the quick kiss on the cheek later on in order to show that the relationship had progressed. This was about 20 seconds of the edit that was cut, and included no animation since I'd been thinking for some time the ending was a little inefficient.

I could be too close to the film now but my next concern is that the ending is too clichť and obvious. Maybe bringing Cupid back and having the characters swap wands is nice twist, maybe it's obvious. Not sure. But either way the final kiss is really obvious... maybe it's what it needs but if anyone has any interesting suggestions I'm still open to developing the ending as long as we're not adding significant screen time.

Another addition to this version of the edit is a sight crude tint and colorization to the central window to provide a hint at the color pallet. This is based on the new color script paintings at the bottom middle of the screen. I'll see if people like this new trick, if not I may drop it in the next version.

09 September 2010, 02:33 AM
It's back to business as usual this last month which was been a breath of fresh air for me. I've actually been animating alongside my day to day project management juggling. We have managed to knock out a few things to keep the animation crew moving along though including:

A Podcast chat with Ryan Hagen about the Modelling and Animation of the Devil:

A new animatic, with a shorter ending and a few shots removed to tighten the pace:

New reference footage that fleshes out the second half of the film:

We've had some cool tech going on:

Color script images for most of the film:

We're now 39% through the animation for the film. If anyone is looking to get more involved please get in touch as we do have plenty more animation to do, there's still a lot of great challenging shots.

I'll get back to my shot now... it's so nice to be settling down to such a rich selection of shots.

09 September 2010, 02:37 PM
This is a tutorial to show a new feature on the face rig that allows you to move the mouth around on the face. It's been applied to all three characters and should give a lot more flexibility in the expressions.

09 September 2010, 07:43 PM
Looks perfect to make some very intricate details easy to animate.

*Curious, is it fast to transfer between characters? ...I assume you need to have identical blendshapes?

09 September 2010, 03:01 AM
Hey SD, the face poses are 99% compatible across characters and have been carefully made to match each other. So that when an animator learns to animate one character they will already know 90% of the functionality of the other two characters.

I thought I'd try something new. So I've recorded 16 video briefings to help out a broad spread of shots, from new shots to tasks in progress and in need of a few visual explanations. It's an experiment in communication, so I'm not guaranteeing I'll do them for every shot. Making videos takes far more time than writing directly into the shot thread, but a big factor of an online collaboration, like this, is to find ways to span the communication gap left out from the lack of body language and the tone of voice. So I'm hoping that these videos will make some of the first round of questions we normally get redundant, and help trigger the enthusiasm of each animator earlier on in the process.

If it doesn't help I'll review what kind of shots did seem to benefit and scale the idea back to that.

It's already become clear that many of the video critiques I've done before can be very helpful to some, but next to useless for others. This is because I was aiming them at the shots that most needed the help, and yet perhaps in some cases that was because the animator wasn't quite up to the task regardless of the support level I provided anyway. So I have to be very choosy about who I make the effort for. Some animators do fine with written feedback and it's faster for everyone concerned. Some animators will struggle regardless of the level of help I offer. The ones in between that are the ones most worthy of the extra effort.

09 September 2010, 10:33 AM
Most have been a ton of work... sure seems to be paying off in the animations coming out lately.

Checked the vids, and can only be amazed at the amount of effort you are putting into this part of the project.

Appreciate detailing your thought process and the reality of offsite/web work environment...we're all dealing with the similar challenges and it's interesting to see how project leaders are tweaking the tools available differently to our own needs/use.

09 September 2010, 05:54 PM

I wrote a Lighting and Rendering Handbook to guide newbies through the process.

09 September 2010, 08:07 PM
That last Youtube clip looks AWESOME! :applause:

09 September 2010, 08:40 PM
Thanks.... that was an easy shot... pull out any further and the complexity rating goes up exponentially! Hense the choice of shot... of course at this close we also had to ponder how many of the nasties we should fix you can only see this close. time to choose our battles!

09 September 2010, 01:54 AM
New animation, previs, and rendered shots.

I've included a label to the left side of each shot to credit the animator responsible. In many cases more than one animator worked on the shot but I've credited the animator that "brought the magic" to the shot, which is often the animator that saw the shot through to completion. Some shots remain unlabeled for now as the animator last working on it doesn't seem likely to be completing it and I'd prefer to leave it available for the next animator to make their mark and take ownership. I've also trimmed the final credits to include only the primary contributors, who have taken on tasks and made significant progress. The "About" section on the website still includes the full extended list as even the tiniest contribution at the right moment is valued.

As we seem to be on a regular cycle of updating the animatic every two to three weeks. I've included a count down timer on the front page next to this video to let the team know when to submit their work in order to get it included in the next update.

09 September 2010, 03:31 AM
One of the real shames about this forum is that it doesn't display images with a * in their path, and unfortunately that seems to happen a lot in the social netowrk we use to develop the film so it's not often I can make things visual here. There 11 Second Club seems to be fine with them though. Very odd.

10 October 2010, 02:09 PM
We have some incredible tech being done by Iskander Mellakh and I just wanted to highlight some of the great work he's doing.

I maintain a YouTube Playlist of all out tech related videos:

10 October 2010, 01:22 PM
This animatic update largely just features new animation. We seem to be averaging about 3 to 4 percent progress per update which is generally every 2 to 3 weeks. You could extrapolate that out to a completion date on animation of about August next year, but things vary too much across the schedule to really know for sure. Animation has been steady lately but we've had faster periods and slower ones too. I've been predicting a completion date around mid next year for a while now anyway.

As usual you can view the Quicktime version of this video here:

10 October 2010, 08:03 PM
Really cool characters, i like expresions. I think illumination can improve a little bit.

Congratulations, whrw i can to see more?

10 October 2010, 08:44 PM
Thanks. You can see everything at

10 October 2010, 10:18 PM
Here's a few shot highlights form some of our animators:

10 October 2010, 06:58 PM
The film is moving along nicely as usual. I posted an updated animatic last night with all the latest shots bringing us to 46% through the animation process.

Interestingly we've been maintaining a steady pace on the animation that I explained alongside the last animatic update, but I've noticed that now we have more animation done we obviously have more incomplete shots that have to be started from scratch as well. This can artificially bloat the percentages and they can even go backwards as new people take over old shots and start from scratch. So this number always has to be taken with a pinch of salt and I may need to consider running a number that reflects only the shot's I am confident will not need to go back to the beginning. It's normal for a production like this and it will mean that the rise in the percentage will inevitably appear to slow down despite just as much animation activity. All we can hope is that we get better at completing shots while avoiding assigning tasks that are too much for some team members.

I had a chance to talk about the production with the ReAnimator's on their Podcast. You can listen to it here:

With so much animation work going on it's been hard to put time aside to get the lighting and rendering going. But I finally put together a guide and reached out to our community to kick start the process. We took on seven new lighting artists who are all in the early stages of working out how we do things on the film and starting to help us solve our remaining shader issues. There will be a hump initially as we work out the kinks but then it should be possible to take on more challenging shots and ideally finish off the teaser trailer.

11 November 2010, 05:24 PM
Here's a couple of Progression Reels I put together to showcase the process from storyboard through to rendering.

11 November 2010, 05:29 PM

This is a work in progress of the teaser trailer our team is working on. Most of the animation is done and the remaining work is largely down to lighting, rendering, effects and compositing. We also need another sound effects pass.

We'll be screening the trailer in it's latest form at Autodesk's 3December event in Austin Texas at the Alamo Theater, along with a presentation on the making of the film.

Autodesk's 3December

Alamo Drafthouse

Tasks still to do:

11 November 2010, 05:23 PM
WANTED - Maya 2011 Lighters, Render experts and After Effects Compositors.

We're looking for some more lighting talent on the team. We've got some solid people already but I don't want to stretch our current talent too thin and there's a lot of shots to do. So if you're looking to get some new material in your reel and you're a strong lighter and compositor please sign up on the website at: (

11 November 2010, 02:31 PM
Reaally nice shading and light style you have on those stills.

11 November 2010, 03:56 PM
Thanks SD.

The effects are being introduced to shots more often now... looking good, but we need more Effects talent so check out our site if you're interested.

11 November 2010, 03:58 PM
By the way, those two lighting renders were created by Eduardo Roa and Edith Bouton

11 November 2010, 11:42 PM
Our latest animatic... more animation, layouts, etc... one shot cut and some adjustments here and there.
We're about to hit 50% on the animation tracker... a big milestone! But we all know the last 10% is the hardest.

11 November 2010, 04:00 PM
Yes we're looking for lighters... still lots to do. Sign up on the website if you want to get involved.

It's hard to nail down all the highlights there's been so much going on so I'll do my best. Firstly I made some big cuts and changed the ending of the story.
Some new renders:
Lighting by Andy and Kurt, animation by Raf Sousa.
Lighting by Edith and Kurt, animation by Amanda.
Lighting by Eduardo and Kurt*3XfDbA5X7LeCQI5Q8pHFRD1YCf4NRNkHoW/TestFrame69_03.jpg*uRZGkjzokxFD1ageVtMNjN1XH2xmWOsxvBRV6uxlvig/sh0470_frame71_V10.jpg

12 December 2010, 02:18 PM
We just flew past the 50% animation mark! Well done everyone.

I'll post up the video of the presentation I did for Autodesk's 3December this week when I get hold of the footage.

12 December 2010, 03:23 PM
You guys should make it in time for Siggraph 2011 Vancouver.
Might be there myself this year. :buttrock:

12 December 2010, 02:51 AM
This is a presentation I recently put on for Autodesk's annual 3December event:

Here's a scene I'm currently rendering, this is a work in progress version and you're very welcome to offer any feedback you may have:

Despite the enormous amount of progress we've made, don't assume there isn't room for more talent. We are always looking for talented artists to join the team as there's so much to be done. In particualr there's plenty of room for the following kinds of skill sets:

Animators (Maya)
Effects artists
Compositors (After Effects)
Sound Effects engineers/artists

12 December 2010, 03:26 PM
It's great to start seeing more and more shots being rendered and added to the animatic. Of course there's some new animation too. In fact the big news for the project right now must be that... I've switched to working on it full time. I have been part time for years but now I've taken the plunge and having loads of fun working on it all day. December is a busy month anyway and the simple act of being independent means there's some paperwork stuff to do so I'm pretty busy with that stuff... but amongst it all I'm getting a lot done on the film.

A WIP render for Cupid:

And a test render for Devil:

12 December 2010, 06:29 PM
Seasons greetings! It's been an exciting year for us, as we've transitioned into full animation and started putting a lot more colour into the film. I anticipate us completing the animation within the next six months and putting out a polished looking trailer. did a feature on the film here:

We put out a new animatic a few days ago and it's exciting to see we're starting to get more and more renders into the timeline. If you haven't seen the film for a while you'll notice a lot of changes to the edit, shortening the overall screen length and a new ending.

I've also taken the plunge to work on the film full time. You can read more about it here:

Rendered shots:

We're on the look out for a talented Lighting TD to help us get the teaser trailer rendered. We can also do with a 2D After Effects artist to help us with the special effects.

Have a great holiday period, take it easy, and have enjoy the New Year!

12 December 2010, 02:54 PM
Not much to say except the usual...Nice! :)

12 December 2010, 07:35 PM
Here's some samples of our effects work. Some are close to final others are works in progress.

We're on the look out for another effects artist to join the team. Preferably with either After Effects CS5 experience or a strong knowledge of Maya 2009/2011 effects.

We can also do with Lighting TDs to help us with the shots we're putting together for the teaser trailer.

Work in progress - in need of more fire effects.

01 January 2011, 09:07 PM
Here's a shot I just pushed through lighting, rendering and effects.

I've been doing a lot of lighting, rendering, effects and compositing lately. I'm still on the look out for good lighters, effects artists and compositors to join the team.

01 January 2011, 01:12 PM
I just posted new versions of both our teaser trailer and our animatic:

01 January 2011, 06:50 AM
I've been a bit distracted with moving, but the team has been moving forward and we're still going strong.

Antonio Milo has done some cool work on the flames when Devil is at his worst (animated by Ryan Hagen):

I slapped together a quick lightning effect for the intro that needs a bit more work... and the characters need adding.

Iskander Mellakh is impressing everyone as usual with his technical effects work in progress:

We're over 60% animated now, and transitioning into some serious rendering; currently at a tentative 16% complete.

We're always looking for talent though so if you're interested in any of the following positions please sign up on the site and introduce yourself. Just be aware that our standards are very high and we can't place everyone. But we'll do our best to find a fit for anyone that can showcase themselves well.

∑ 3D Animators (Maya 2009)
∑ Lighting TDs (Maya 2011)
∑ Effects Artists
∑ Compositors (After Effects CS5)

I'm over the moon that I've been hearing a lot from other prospective animated short film makers. It's great to swap notes, and I'm keeping my eye on the progress of lots of other shorts. Nice work guys and gals, and please feel free to sign up on our site to offer comments and feedback. The rest of the team would love to hear from you.

02 February 2011, 06:43 AM
Our latest animatic... lots of incremental updates in this version.

Here's a chart of our progress in various departments since we started animating:

... and here's our Podcast subscription page as I recently posted up a new Episode.

02 February 2011, 06:51 PM
A couple of our shots were featured in the Progression Reel blog:

02 February 2011, 11:26 PM
Great thread Mike, It is really good that you are keeping everyone up to date :) The team is doing a great job :) !!

02 February 2011, 07:28 AM
Here's our latest story reel with new WIP shots and rendered scenes.

Here's a closer look at a recent rendered shot. It's a work in progress.

02 February 2011, 03:24 PM
Iskander Mellakh has been doing some great tech for us.

Bubble tests

Dust and particles

02 February 2011, 04:05 AM
The first rough pass at narrating the film was so well received that I spent the weekend building on it. The latest story reel features a third pass of a new voice over narration. I've refined the script again based on this video with a few subtle changes. We'll make an effort to record a professional version of the voice with Justin when he's available.

I've reformatted the credits. We have so many people in the credits that it was time to switch to a horizontal format. No names or categories have changed other than a couple of new animators added. It has meant that the credits are nearly a minute shorter though.

Another rendered shot... it's a work in progress. Lighting by Eduardo.

03 March 2011, 03:38 PM
Iskander continues to do us proud with his work on our effects. IN this case he's working on the bubbles that merge around our Peep characters.

03 March 2011, 09:16 PM
This is kind of an embarrassing admission, but I thought I'd let you know anyways...

Somehow I missed reading you were adding real voices to your chracters....the whole time I've been watching your vid updates I never realized you were doing speaking parts. :blush:

Silly me thought the non speaking vocal recordings you were always previewing on the past clips was the style you were doing for the whole film! So was always thinking...this needs to be editied way snappier or it's gonna be slowwww :banghead:

...was a suprise to hear the first voice tracks...sounds's gonna be super when you get this done. :bowdown:

03 March 2011, 09:46 PM
What you see (hear) is what you get. There's still no speaking parts really. The characters do largely only make emotional noises. I added a narration recently to help the story out. Barring any other major moments of inspiration that's how we plan to proceed.

Adding dialogue for the sake of it is a great way to bring the quality of the film way down. I've tried writing dialogue and even had another writer have a go at it recently, but it always sounds forced and fails to add anything to the film. But it does drag down the film to it's weakest link, the dialogue and the performance.

It's been a constant learning experience for me though just how much the audience won't understand. I've always been of the understanding that you should respect your audience, don't dumb it down, and give them credit for being smart enough to understand what you're giving them. Admittedly most people aren't as used to looking at storyboard, previs, layouts, blocking, unrendered and uncoloured animatics as I am. Now I worry that some of the efforts I've made to dumb it down and spell things out for the audience will be a step too far by the time it's all completed in full color, effects and sound. Thus is the challenge of making a short in the public eye for so long!

03 March 2011, 02:27 AM
The narration added to the visuals imo....anyways, it's just one casual viewer opinion so take it with a grain of salt. :)

03 March 2011, 01:08 PM
Our latest storyreel animatic:

...with this new and complex WIP rendered shot.

03 March 2011, 04:06 PM
64% Complete!

It's been a while since the last update. I've been busy on some paid work, but now that's done I'm back home and working full time on Devils again. I expect I'll be pretty focused on the film for at least the next couple of months, if not beyond that.

I've been working on lighting a complex scene but we've also had lighting, rendering and effects done by numerous other team mates, check it out:

In fact rendering has been the fastest moving area of development recently as you can see by our progress chart:

With me back in the saddle full time I should be able to pick up the slack in a few areas and pick up the pace of production across the board. I have to say a huge thank you to the team members that stuck with us through the last couple of months while things have gotten a bit quieter than usual. It's a sign of the dedication on show here that we're still going strong. But a project like this lives on the support of it's members and supporters so take a moment to 'Like' our Facebook page:
... and then invite your friends.


03 March 2011, 05:09 PM
A teaser trailer update:

03 March 2011, 07:12 PM
It's really coming together...exciting to see your last the rack focus :) ...The renders look fantastic!

Added a 'Like' for your Facebook page...would be great if you could promote the collab forums and drive some traffic and commenting over here.

04 April 2011, 10:49 PM
A few recent WIP highlights:

We're doing great with our current team, but we're still able to take on another lighter to help things along.

04 April 2011, 02:09 PM
We're doing great with our current team, but we're still able to take on another lighter to help things along.

Hey I'd like to get my hands on some of this if you are using Maya.

04 April 2011, 02:51 PM
Great. We are Maya based. If you'd like to check out our site and sign up we can discuss how you'd like to get involved.

04 April 2011, 04:34 PM
Our latest story reel with an all new narration track from Justin Barrett.

04 April 2011, 01:22 PM
Here's a bunch of rendered stills from various shots

04 April 2011, 03:49 PM
In this storyreel update we've added new work in progress renders, more polished animation, reworked cameras and new credits. This last few weeks has seen a lot of polish brought to existing shots in order to raise the level of the work we've done, rather than watering things down too much and starting more new tasks. We'll keep at that for a little while longer then switch to working on new tasks again, at which point it's easier to integrate new talent as they know what standard we're aiming for.

04 April 2011, 03:01 PM
We are at 70% total progress!

Layout has seen the biggest jump in progress lately, followed closely by some very cool lighting, rendering and effects work. Let's let the teaser trailer do the hard work though and show it off.

For those that have been wondering what the blobby things in the sphere with stuff popping out of it will look like... this shot has been a close collaboration between Antonio, Iskander and myself.

Animation has been taking a back seat for a while. It's still going on at a steady pace, but I've been focusing on polishing existing shots ready for lighting, and refining the camera work. Essentially raising the bar across the film on all the incomplete work so that we set the right expectations going forward. Most of this was evident in the last storyreel update, but it's an ongoing task.

Wesley Howe has been working on a lighting setup script for us, that automates a great deal of the layer setup and lighting linking, and anything else we can think of that's common across most shots. The idea being to speed up the pipeline, making less repetitive work for the lighters and allowing them to focus on shot specific custom lighting. It's a work in progress but it's already showing great promise and it may be possible to start testing it soon.

I've been working on other background tasks like grant applications and sponsorship proposals to support the production. Not the most interesting stuff, but hopefully something will come of it.

Here's our progress chart.

05 May 2011, 09:29 PM
This update features quite a few shots with new animation polish and some work in progress for the ending. The next update will be on the 23rd and it will be shown to the grant committee.

05 May 2011, 10:20 PM
We're looking for a composer to score our film. If anyone knows a talented composer with some strong experience looking to get into animation and short films please point them in our direction.

05 May 2011, 02:43 AM
Our new lighting script is ready to use. We're 24% through the lighting and rendering for the film, but this script is going to make the remaining 76% much easier!

Here's a video tutorial showing it in use:

05 May 2011, 06:29 PM
I put together a video tutorial/guide to help new lighters understand our pipeline:

Here's some more stills form the film:

05 May 2011, 01:36 PM
Latest HD Full Screen Storyreel

Latest Teaser Trailer

This is an image of our grant application paperwork for 2011

05 May 2011, 05:01 PM
Here's a few new shots to make it through the rendering and effects pipeline:

Thanks to Eric, Eduardo and Bobby for their help on these.

06 June 2011, 06:11 PM
We passed 73% complete. We're still in the thick of animation with more and more shots being completed... which leaves us with less and less entry level shots. This can be a challenge as we are still taking on new team members and usually we prefer to give out simpler shots to first timers, so in some ways the risk level goes up. But in other ways it's easier... we've refined our pipeline and tools and there's enough of the film already animated that new animators know what sort of performances we're looking for.

The next big push is lighting and rendering. We can always use some lighting talent, although we're already quite well teamed up. Our lighting scripts will do a lot of the mundane work for us in a flash and we're making connections with rendering farm services that want to offer time on their systems for free... this on top of our existing personal mini render (4 computers plus team member contributions).

06 June 2011, 04:18 PM
Woohoo... another Storyreel. This update features new scenes, updated animation, more renders... the usual! We're at 73% overall progress now, and going strong. Lighting and rendering has become a bigger part of our pipeline as it chaces animation into completion. We're about to do a major re-work of the score so look out for that in the next version.

And here's a render that didn't quite make it into the edit in time:

For anyone in the Austin area you might be interested to learn about our local 3D Users meetups. I'll be there along with several of our team members.

06 June 2011, 11:15 PM
Some more rendered shots:

Lighting and first pass comp by Greg Ruane, Effects and final comp by Michael Cawood

Lighting by Andy Stopford, compositing first pass by Michael Cawood

06 June 2011, 02:19 AM
We upgraded our home page to make it more interactive. It's very much like Facebook now including:

Comment and ďLikeĒ images, videos or blogs while on the home page.
Larger image thumbnails.
Play videos directly on the home page.

07 July 2011, 04:03 PM

There is now a new full screen loading page for ( . Give it a go, try scaling the browser window to see what it does. It definitely prefers a big monitor (and a fast internet connection) as it's aimed at high end users, but it should cope fairly well with smaller monitors. It's better in a 16:9 aspect ratio but will adjust for vertical layouts, it just won't look as good. Let me know if you come across any serious issues and give details about what browser you're using and what computer platform.

Eventually we'll need a mobile version of the page which should be fairly easy, but the trick is how to detect it's being loaded on a smaller device and make the switch.

My next most immediate task is to make the next, and hopefully last version of the teaser trailer. All the shots in it are in a good state. If not completely finished they at least look strong enough to use in a trailer.

07 July 2011, 01:18 PM
Here's our latest Storyreel. We're at 78% now, and going strong!

This version of the animatic features an almost complete first pass at the score by Philippe Rey. We've added lots of new shots and layouts, plus the usual animation and rendering updates. There's quite a few shots with temporary or incomplete effects at the moment as we're on the look out for talented effects artists to join the team. Preferably with After Effects CS5 and/or Maya effects experience.

07 July 2011, 04:57 PM
So here we are at 78% complete... it's amazing to see how far we've come, and with no major obstacles in the way I think we're on track to complete the film around the end of the year or very early 2012. That will put us in good shape to hit Siggraph for their application date. We'll start making a list of other festivals and their entry dates. If you have any favorites you'd really like to see us aim for please list them here:

Here's the latest Storyreel featuring a fantastic new WIP Score from Philippe Rey:

I'd like to say a big thank you to Greg, Eric and Justin who have been doing great things with our lighting and rendering... I almost ran out of work to feed them! Although we're still very keen to hear from other lighters, 3D and 2D effects Artists. So if you know someone that might be interested please send them our way.

The production team, Shane and I, are joined by Leina Cochrane who's busying herself in the background helping us research and chase up on all kinds of opportunities. We've been in talks with companies that want to partner with us on cloud rendering and a stereoscopic conversion for 3D cinema and displays. All these things are cool and fun but we're trying not to get distracted from the core process of getting the film done. We currently don't need either but they are nice bonuses if they can help us complete faster or reach a wider audience.

Before that though we're looking into funding options, festivals and at some point we'll start reaching out to the press. We have a new front end splash page and a fully rendered teaser trailer. If you feel like helping us out, please feel free to share this link with your Facebook and Twitter friends.

I'll just leave you with a peak at our progress over the last few years.


07 July 2011, 12:39 AM
The final Teaser Trailer

08 August 2011, 02:57 AM
We reached 80% complete recently. That's a figure for the entire visual side of the production.

Animation stands at 78% and although we still have a couple of animators waiting for the opportunity to start a shot it's becoming increasingly difficult to find a good match between shot availability and the animators available as the shots run out. We've got a few shots in progress that I'm chasing up on, but it can take time to hear back from people sometimes. So I'm predicting that the pace of animation could slow down for the next month. From September I'll be back on animation as well and hopefully that will help things.

Lighting and rendering is getting a boost at the moment (41%) as I'm doing a contract job for a bit, and it's the best way to keep my computers busy and productive while I'm out. The weekends should see a few scenes getting composited together. But we still have a good number of shots completed and ready to start lighting if there are any other lighters that would like to join the current team. Greg is doing great things with the lighting. While Eric and Antonio have tackled the more challenging effects based shots.

The teaser trailer was completed recently of course, so please take a moment to share that with your friends:

We put out an updated story reel a while ago too:

After making the front splash page for our site...
... I hit a bit of brick wall in trying to make the mobile version of the site, and if any web developers out there want to lend a hand please take a look at this thread:

I was interviewed for the Alt Animation podcast which hasn't actually been released yet, but we caught it on video and you get the first chance to see it:

08 August 2011, 03:11 AM
Nice progress as always Mike. :buttrock: :buttrock: :buttrock: :buttrock: :buttrock:

08 August 2011, 06:39 PM
Thanks SoftDistortion, supportive as ever! :applause:

Here's a few scenes that are all in various states of lighting, rendering and effects.

Feel free to sign up if you're interested in joining the lighting and effects team.

08 August 2011, 10:43 PM
Here's our latest storyreel, at 82% complete.

08 August 2011, 04:56 PM

Despite my working on some freelance stuff this month we're still going strong. We passed 83% complete and even more exciting is that we are approaching 50% rendered! Now this number is a little vague, as what I'm including lighting, compositing and effects in this "rendered" category. I could make individual channels for those but they're all so tightly woven into each other that we may as well leave it as it is. The point is that once we hit 100% "rendered" it will all look pretty and finished.

Obviously a big reason for the jump in rendering lately has been that I've been doing my best to feed my three computer render farm at home while I'm out at work. It's mostly meant taking easy shots that aren't too complex and putting them through lighting in the few hours I've had free after work. In slightly under a month I've rendered 10% of the film, which is an interesting statistic in it self. I believe it can go faster, as I recognize more and more opportunities to turn off the 3D motion blur. But equally I've been sending a few things back to rendering to fix low quality issues or improve the lighting. So it's a give and take.

It's actually quite a lot of fun, and slightly addictive, keeping the render farm busy. It's a bit like a game of strategy, prioritizing shots and layers, pre-comping things to check they're working, choosing what to rush vs what to spend more time on... all the while making sure the farm keeps busy while I'm out.

In under a week I should be finishing my freelance gig and I'll be back on the film. I'd like to add effects to all these shots I've rendered, but I'm quite happy to pass that job along to any budding After Effects team members if they want to let me know. Beyond that I'll be getting back to animation for hopefully the last push in that department. We've only got a few shots left to go and once they're done we'll be a lot closer to 'picture lock' which will allow Phil to complete the score and Jay to work more thoroughly on teh sound effects.

It's all coming together! I'm very proud of everyone. Nice work, keep it up.

09 September 2011, 07:30 PM
This is a behind the scenes look at the rendering farm computers I'm using to render our short film. I take a look at Render Pal, equipment contributions from Lucas Martell (of Pigeon Impossible ), and David Clements. Thanks to Jeff Lew for the idea ( ).

09 September 2011, 10:14 PM
Very impressed by your project and how you have kept all the forum members up to date in regards to progress and information. Seems like you really doing a great job of keeping the team together and the project on task. Fantastic job!

09 September 2011, 12:37 PM
Always amazing to see how far along you are Mike. Inspirational organization and leadership. :buttrock: Having been through it myself (albiet on shorter clips with slower computers on the render farm) I know it's a hereculean task you are make it all look too easy. :D

I'm know people watching will appreciate the vid also...been noticing a few making an effort to comment and say they're getting something out of the extras- discussion, vids, etc.

Thx for taking time to do a vid like this. Would be cool to also know abit about render details- res, time per frame, number of frames to do etc.

NOTE TO LURKERS- say thx and you'll probably see more projects making an effort to give you info on the behind the scenes stuff. :deal:
k thx

09 September 2011, 01:22 PM
Thanks Melissa and Softdistortion... supportive as ever.

Getting to the question about rendering. We're rendering to 1280 x 720, as it's HD without breaking the bank too much... and I've worked in a few very highly regarded studios that render to that and up-res to 1080 for delivery to the client so it can't be too bad (not that I approve).

Typically there's about 10 layers that need to be rendered out of a scene, sometimes more sometimes less. We have a script that spits out a list we can then feed into the render farm. This is an example for the scene I've just done.


We also render the Pixie Dust with Hardware rendering, so that comes out too fast to bother with the render farm.

Render times are highly variable. I kind of wish I'd kept some sort of log, as I know it's something people like to ask. I've had a few things take up to a day to render a frame but usually because it was a close up of a character with motion blur on the slowest computer on the farm. But I'm getting much pickier about which layer use 3D motion blur. I feel 2D motion blur doesn't cut it for some complex movements so i like to use 3D motion blur on the characters. But If I know I'm going to blur something out of focus or it's a soft element I won't bother with motion blur in the render.

Tanks for the questions... if anyone has anything they want to ask I'm always happy to help.

09 September 2011, 01:40 AM
Here's a new version of the edit, with quite a few new lit and rendered scenes. Many of them haven't had all their effects applied though yet. Overall we're at 85% complete, but crucially we swept past the half way mark in rendering over the last month which was an important metric to measure how much longer the film would take to render. I'll be switching my focus back to animation soon, although already I've spotted a few easy fixes that should make things clearer. But you can keep tweaking shots for ever, so it was time to upload the edit in it's current form. This is a clean version of the film, without any extra panels (reference footage, colour script, storyboard and previs), so that I can get feedback from people with fresh eyes and it doesn't distract them. If you'd like to see the version with the extra panels go here:

09 September 2011, 03:18 AM
Just finished!...huge respect for you all...incredible work Mike and team. :buttrock:

09 September 2011, 12:01 AM
This version of the edit features some new lines of narration with a temporary voice, and some new musical themes, plus the usual progress of shots.

Feel free to leave any thoughts you have on the narration.

09 September 2011, 09:44 AM

A lot of things have come together over the past week in order to screen the film to an audience of 3D Animation Artists in Austin Texas. The goal was to get feedback from a large group, and while we wait for the results to be compiled, feel free to check out the latest version of the film.

The animators have really been pulling their weight lately as a lot of shots have been upgraded and we're making steady but solid progress almost entirely across the board.

I switched the animatic to full HD and 24fps (it was 23.975 drop frame before), while adding new voice over work from Justin Barrett and lots of new animated material. Aside from a very brief beam shot, there's now no more storyboard panels left that haven't been replaced by at least blocked in animation. But most of it is animated in some form.


At 76% complete, we're actually tracking the whole film's progress now including the sound departments and the effects (we were only tracking visuals before).


The main area we're looking for talent now is in After Effects artists. Ideally people that can light, render and add a few custom 3D Maya effects as well, so that they can take ownership of an entire shot. But mostly we need 2D effects work and compositing experience to speed things up and spread the workload.


There's a new calendar section so that you can see some of our key goals, events, festivals, and anything else that has a date attached to it.

09 September 2011, 09:58 PM
Some more images from the film

09 September 2011, 09:59 PM

10 October 2011, 10:35 AM
Always a pleasure to see the visual quality you guys are hitting.

10 October 2011, 10:48 PM
This is our normal bi-weekly storyreel update with all the latest shot updates. No major changes this time just incremental improvements. One key thing to note is that all the remaining shots are in progress with animators.

10 October 2011, 03:47 AM
With animation hitting 90% complete we're well on our way to completing the film in the next few months. In fact the first festival submission deadline looms upon us. "South by South West" is one of the biggest festivals in the world for film and music, and we'll be submitting the film for their November the 1st deadline. The festival itself will be in March next year which is perfect, as we should be complete well before that. They accept early cuts of films for the submission deadline, and we just have to do everything we can to make the film as complete, and watchable (to non-animators), as possible for the submission deadline.

The biggest challenge will be making sure that the animated effects (beams, bubbles, Peeps and Hearts) are as close to complete as possible in the next couple of weeks so that the logic of the film is in place. Another area that's important is the Earth shots as they bring a lot to the understanding of the film.

I'm currently pushing as hard as I can to complete the animated shots I'm assigned to. The main one left is the closing scenes with Death and Devil, and we're also going to need a strong version of the baby shot with all the correct elements in place.

Beyond that we just have to get as close as we can to complete animation from the entire team. Once all of the above elements have been addressed to a strong level I'll be looking at taking over any faltering shot assignments to ensure that the film completes in a timely manor around the end of the year (or early January).

With the timeline virtually locked now, I'm hoping to see more progress from the sound team and there shouldn't be anything to stop them from completing that very soon. Then it will be all about lighting, rendering, 2D effects and compositing.

Here's the latest storyreel:

We were recently featured on AniBoom's channel and picked up a few thousand views in a few days (4300 and still going up), which was encouraging. We also got a lot of comments which was quite interesting to read.

Great work everyone!

10 October 2011, 12:44 PM
Amazing progress as always!

Not sure if you have local comp artists...but, if you need a large space for file sharing with remote work, we' be happy provide it to support your project.

10 October 2011, 01:59 PM
Thanks for the offer but we're well covered for space. Man power is the bottle neck. But nothing too much to worry about.

10 October 2011, 02:59 PM
The offer stays open if things change for you guys down the road. ;)

10 October 2011, 02:46 PM
This was an interesting update. I set the goal of making a version that's as complete as possible with all the missing 3D effects required to make it make sense and we came pretty close. The reason for this was to get it into a festival on deadline, but I'm going to go for an extended deadline now to give us time to polish a few things. What you see here isn't actually the latest version of every shot as I had to hold back or revert to older versions due to some misunderstandings, rendering issues, visual style clashes, delays, etc... In two weeks we can get a lot done so we'll aim for the "Last minute deadline" instead. By that point we'll be submitting to more than one festival so there's no escaping that deadline.

10 October 2011, 09:01 PM
Well done Michael.
This has come a long way. Its so good to see it almost finished. Congratulations for the all the hard work you've done so far. And to all the people that worked on this project.

Very impressive.

10 October 2011, 02:02 AM
Thanks Mark, we're proud of it. We should be in a good position to finish it around the end of the year.

11 November 2011, 12:02 AM
This is a rough video introduction to how we're using Render Pal and Dropbox to render our short film across the internet with a team of volunteers.

11 November 2011, 01:05 PM
Ingenious use of available off shelf items- also a nice bump up in your production value for this clip!

We linked some nerwcomers and seasoned people with project collab interests to your project and also this latest vid.

small sug-
For people just starting, a link to more detail on what is required to do the IP locking would probably be of interest after they digest the main info.

You just keep getting better and better Mike. :buttrock:

11 November 2011, 01:46 PM
Actually I'm not actively looking for newbies. We're too close to completion now, and we're far more productive focusing on existing team members. Anything else we don't have people for I'm getting done faster by myself. Taking on new people has an inherent risk factor and a certain investment of my time. The ratio is way off now, and I'm better off focusing on finishing the film with the people we have.

That's not to say someone couldn't bring some value to the project but it's better they bring that to my attention if that's the same. People can still sign up, but it's unlikely I'll be handing out many more production tasks to them. At this point we just appreciate the support and feedback.

11 November 2011, 01:49 PM
I shot that last one on an SLR. I'd have done the same with the previous one but it was on charge at the time! :P

11 November 2011, 06:51 PM
Totally understand your position, wisest use of time for your deadlines!

*The newbies we linked was in response to them asking about "how to start and run a project"...mainly pointed them in your direction so they could examine your project's sterling example.... Heck, you're still blowing me away with every update. :)

11 November 2011, 03:30 AM
89% Complete

I took the opportunity to publish an update to the edit today, a week ahead of schedule, to help some of the team members, and clarify a few points.

I've been busy feeding the render farm with new lit scenes, so you'll notice that most of the time-line is now in colour, if not yet the final effects and grading. I put up a video about our Render Farm and how we're using computers around the world.

We actually had an opportunity to put on a presentation at Austin's Comic-Con, Wizard World. But it looks like we'll have to pass on it as they won't have any video equipment. But far more importantly, we just don't have the time (it can take a day just to prepare). The 'Last Minute Deadline' for our first festival submission is coming up at the same time and we're doing everything we can to make the work in progress edit as strong as possible. There are many more festival deadlines immediately after that as well.

A key progress area is obviously animation. We're now at 95% which is an enormous accomplishment. I don't think there's ever been a zero budget, publicly animated collaboration like it. Mass Animation obviously stands as a comparison, but that had a budget over a million and a major established studio attached. We've done something people will be talking about and emulating for sometime.

We have a handful of wide angle, multi-character shots that are still in progress, but I'm confident each is in good hands and they'll be done soon. Gabriel and I have the end scenes and we're making strong progress. once I'm done with mine I'll help out with what ever is left.

Keep it up, we're nearly there!

11 November 2011, 03:39 PM
This is the first version of the film that we're sending out to festivals. SXSW takes an early cut so they'll be the first to see this with the potential for a Festival Premiere with them if it's accepted. They take the final version of the film later on.

This version of the story reel includes the usual new animation, renders and effects but also a new sound effects track that's almost entirely replaced. I had to add in a few spot affects from the old sfx track that haven't been added yet, but otherwise it's all new.

11 November 2011, 02:17 PM
Thanks... here's an updated Storyreel.

We've also started a Campaign to help us fund the back end of the project including the festival run. If you're interested in seeing behind the scenes videos, getting signed artwork or your name in the credits check this out.

Keep an eye out for the opportunity to pre-order our 'Art and Making of' eBook soon.

11 November 2011, 03:48 PM
Here's a snapshot of 195 images from the film. I'm going to use it to refine the colour progression through the film.

11 November 2011, 07:58 PM
mikecawood wrote:
We've done something people will be talking about and emulating for sometime.

Congratulations! You led the entire project with great professionalism. I've been following your project (when I can) ... It's fantastic to see everything getting ready! The animation quality is excellent. Professional. Nice work!

I have a project and I will follow more or less the lines drawn by you on your animation project.

In the case of collaborative work, I realized that the best is already coming up with a full animatic (although very raw)! And from there, show it to interested parties and distribute tasks accordingly (riggind, lighintg, modeling, etc.).

So I am taking the trouble to write the whole story and script, make a story board very quickly and a crude animatic just to show the basis of history and how its progress. It is hard work, but I think it is easier to find people interested.

Once again, congratulations to all involved. :beer:

12 December 2011, 11:41 AM
Sorry. Double post. It's my first post here and it took two days to appear.

Please admin, delete this post.

12 December 2011, 03:01 PM
Thanks. It's much more than just faith in the story though. The team has to have faith in you as their team leader so you'll need to show them what you've done before and what your experience is. Copying my formula would be a mistake. Learn from it, but realize that even i wouldn't do it exactly the same now. Things evolve in teh industry and there's always a better way to do it. Better to learn from this and other projects, then break the rules you've learned and do it even better. Evolve.

12 December 2011, 06:00 PM

We launched our campaign to raise money for the film and the eBook the other day. You can now pre-order "The Art and Making of Devils, Angels & Dating" and you'll be supporting the team and helping us get the film out to festivals.

You can also add it to your Amazon Wish List for Christmas!

12 December 2011, 11:58 PM
With only 5% of the work still to go it's finally time to start looking at a release date. I've penciled in the 4th of January 2012. At the current rate we should be able to be mostly done before the holiday season, but naturally there's likely to be some slow down. Besides that, there's not much point in competing with Christmas for people's attention, so I'll aim for the New Year when everyone should be fresh and forward thinking. It'll also give me time to catch any issues should they arise.

The last shot is currently being animated, so we'll be at 100% Animation complete within the week, and lighting and rendering won't be far behind.

There are three major festival deadlines before Christmas so the main push is still to make every shot as clear as possible, leaving most of the final polish for last. The main areas of work still to be done are in visual effects and sound effects.

We've made a short list of 20 strong Festivals we'd like to hit at a minimum. They will be the hardest to get into but if we manage to get into even a few it'll be a really big deal for the project and will really improve our exposure. For example, many of them are Festivals that you have to screen at in order to be eligible for the Oscars. There are hundreds more that we could go to but the budget and time is the problem. It'll cost around $1500 just to get into these. It takes a great deal of work and money to enter a film into that many festivals. I'm willing to do the work, but money is a concern at some point, since I've been largely full time on the film for the last year and money is already tight. But you can help me out with that by spreading the word about the two crowd-funding efforts we've setup.

The first to finish may be of interest to you. It's an opportunity to pre-order the eBook about the making of the film. You can even put it on your Christmas wishlist if you like.
eBook Pre-order (

Crowd Funding
The second one is an opportunity for Producer level credit, and exclusive behind the scenes videos.
Crowd Funding (

Both have videos explaining them, so please take a moment to check them out and consider sharing them with your friends on Facebook and Twitter. It would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

12 December 2011, 01:52 PM
Here's a selection of shots shown in various stages of progress:

12 December 2011, 02:28 AM
99% Complete. Releasing the final film online on the 4th of January 2012. $900 Raised so far for the Festival run. Nearly there!

Count Down Clock (

12 December 2011, 03:22 PM
$300,000, 5 Years and only 1 Week to go

12 December 2011, 02:24 PM
Just four days to go until the release of the film online. Which also means that there's only four days to go to claim a Producer Credit on the film by helping us fund our festival run. Please take a moment to check out the perks available.

01 January 2012, 04:44 AM

While I wait for some effects to render I thought I'd share with you a progression reel of the various stages the teaser trailer went through. From thumbnails, to storyboards, previs, layout, blocking, animation, lighting rendering, effects and compositing. It shows, on a mini scale, the stages an animated film goes through. In this case the trailer was always part of the plan and shots in the film were prioritized based on whether they were in the trailer. It gave us a smaller, more achievable, goal to aim for through out production, and it pushed all the departments to solve problems ahead of when the same techniques would be put to wider use on rest of the film. Ultimately the trailer took almost as long as the film as it pioneered all the tools and techniques that we ultimately refined for the film. We could have continued to update the trailer indefinitely along with the film, but ultimately we called it done so that the main film could take complete focus and the trailer now sits as an interesting example of how those shots looked before the final versions were completed.

Score Composed by Stoyan Ganev

01 January 2012, 09:35 PM
Here's the final film... - Main Website - 'The Art & Making of Devils Angels & Dating' - eBook - Exclusive Behind the Scenes Videos

Devil wants Cupid's job, but a battle for Death's affections has cosmic ramifications below the Heavens.

Directed by Michael Cawood, this computer animated short film is the work of a worldwide team of Artists and Animators. Entirely developed in the public eye online, it has also become a fantastic resource for Animation students and professionals alike.

More information and expanded credits on the Director's website:

01 January 2012, 10:46 PM
Big congrats for getting this done Michael. It looks amazing.
I Wish you all the best on the screening run. And look forward to whats next.

01 January 2012, 01:26 PM
Just watched it on a 50" and it looks great!
Nice work all of you! :buttrock:

01 January 2012, 05:45 AM
Thanks guys. You just beat me... I only saw it on 47 inches. But I did get to hear it in 5.1 with a new Subwoofer!

Here's a Storyboard to screen progression reel:

01 January 2012, 08:00 PM
Our composer, Philippe Rey, talks about working on the film in this video:

01 January 2012, 03:28 PM

Only a few days left to pre-order 'The Art and Making of Devils Angels & Dating'. This eBook will only get published if we meet our target. Our goal is to write about the real, gritty and honest side of making an animated short film and it's going to have plenty of crossover with working in a real production environment. Unlike most of the DVD extras you'll see this will tell you how it is, rather than glamorizing it. So if you're interested in reading about the following topics please help us reach our goal.

The 5 types of Animators
Building an Animation pipeline
Layout - The sandwich of the production
Married to the film - The Wife's perspective
Casting the Animators
Guiding vs micromanaging
The failures that make a film
Recruiting Volunteers - Which departments are worth making the effort?
Top 5 tools worth developing
How to motivate your team
How to make a website that saves you time
What I wish I'd done better
How to solve Team conflicts
Having a Team - How much can they bring to the table?
Making Short Films - Is it worth it?
Getting story feedback - Choosing the right time
Fighting Phantoms - Overcoming unexplained technical problems
Team / Creator - How much of the film will you have to make?

01 January 2012, 06:17 PM
Art and Making of - eBook
Only a couple of days left to pre-order. This eBook will only get published if we meet our target. Our goal is to write about the real, gritty and honest side of making an animated short film and it's going to have plenty of crossover with working in a real production environment. Unlike most of the DVD extras you'll see this will tell you how it is, rather than glamorizing it. So if you're interested in reading about the following topics please help us reach our goal.

The 5 types of Animators
Building an Animation pipeline
Layout - The sandwich of the production
Married to the film - The Wife's perspective
Casting the Animators
Guiding vs micromanaging
The failures that make a film
Recruiting Volunteers - Which departments are worth making the effort?
Top 5 tools worth developing
How to motivate your team
How to make a website that saves you time
What I wish I'd done better
How to solve Team conflicts
Having a Team - How much can they bring to the table?
Making Short Films - Is it worth it?
Getting story feedback - Choosing the right time
Fighting Phantoms - Overcoming unexplained technical problems
Team / Creator - How much of the film will you have to make?

Kickstarter eBook Pre-Order

Behind the Scenes Videos (
The second of a series of 'Behind the Scenes' videos will be available before the end of the month exclusively to our backers that chose that perk. This one is a special Directors Commentary, with the added twist of the film playing back in slow-motion to allow more time to talk about it (short films don't provide much time for a commentary otherwise).
When the new section of the site goes live it should be at the following link:
But it will only be accessible to credited team members and users with a special log-in.
Please continue to spread the word about our IndieGoGo campaign to raise funds for the festival run and keeping this site online and running for at least a few years to come.
IndieGoGo Campaign

The film has currently had over 16,000 views but please continue to share the video where ever you think it's appropriate. We should be starting to hear back from some of the earlier festivals soon, to find out if it will be getting a screening. It's been submitted to a good number of festivals already, with packages flying around the world at this very moment. It's also landing in the in-boxes of industry movers and shakers all over the world, but we need your help to spread it. This is how we get the talents of our team noticed.

I see that a few team members have already made 'Devils' shot reels and published them and that's fantastic! I'm all for that, and perhaps we'll start a thread featuring the reels of of our team mates.

Tell your story
I'm inviting credited team members to tell their story behind the film either in blog form or as a video. Either way I'll help, support and promote anyone that offers some value to our audience of fans.

Thank you for your support,

Michael Cawood

01 January 2012, 02:45 AM
iPhone Animated Filmmaking - Top 10 Apps.
This video shows how an iPhone was used to help make an Animated Film

01 January 2012, 04:44 PM
Awesome stuff Mike! Cant wait to hear your presentation at the next Autodesk meeting. Congrats on releasing the film and big props to all of you amazing artists who worked on it too.

01 January 2012, 05:31 PM
New video added to the 'Behind the Scenes' exclusive access section.

* Deleted Scenes & why they were cut (18 Mins)
* Director's Commentary (21 Mins)
* Devils Diary - Waiting for a render

More content coming soon including....
* Animation with the Director
* Story discussion with the Director, plus a look at deleted story sequences

Other perks are available to backers on our funding campaign which ends in a few days.

02 February 2012, 03:15 PM
Curious Factoids:

Viewers = 85% Male vs 15% Female
Biggest age group = 35-44

02 February 2012, 02:56 AM
What skills are worth recruiting for? Read about it here:

03 March 2012, 02:27 AM
I just want to say a quick thank you to our CG Society supporters for their help over the years. The film is doing the rounds on the festival circuit and picked up it's first award a few weeks ago.

03 March 2012, 02:35 AM
This is a look at most of the layers of effects compositing that goes into a shot with the Devils fire and wand.

03 March 2012, 02:58 PM
Released from the vault. Here's a look at the reasons behind some of the shots being dropped over the course of the film.

Find more Behind the Scenes videos here:

03 March 2012, 02:04 AM
Devils is in an article about crowd funding for animated shorts in issue 155 of 3D World.

04 April 2012, 03:07 AM

Here's a Director's Commentary. I recorded this at reduced speed playback so that there was more time to talk. Enjoy!

04 April 2012, 02:35 PM

Shortly after the release of the film I thought it was worth trying to use a pay-wall to raise a little extra funds for the festival circuit costs. A few people did chip-in but not nearly enough to make it worth holding back the content for too long. The feature also has a monthly cost, and without enough contributors it wasn't even covering itself. So turning off the paywall actually saves money. I held off for as long as I felt it was worthwhile, but it was time to stop paying for a feature that was costing more than it was making. The website itself is still costing money to keep it going but not as much. That will stay up, as promised, for some time to come.

On a related note, I've accepted a full time job again. With an income again the costs and donations related to the running of this site and the festival run are put into perspective and it's not worth putting in the time to chance them much. This goes back to one of my earliest tips related to making a short film... a day job is a far more efficient source of funding than any grants, donations or Kickstarter campaigns.

Thank you to all those that have donated. But now it's time for me to earn back all those spent savings.

04 April 2012, 01:17 PM
Congarats on the new job and all the sucess you've made happen on Devils.

05 May 2012, 03:12 AM
Devils got a 2 page spread in 3D World Magazine

05 May 2012, 08:33 PM
Fantastic article! thx for adding the PDF. :thumbsup:

05 May 2012, 12:53 PM
Devils will be screening at the California International Animation Festival

06 June 2012, 01:01 PM
A little update:

07 July 2012, 02:52 PM
Devils has been accepted into five festivals so far, with several more recently writing to me to ask for the film to be entered. As a real treat it'll be at the HollyShorts Festival in Grauman's Chinese Theatre on the Walk of Fame on the 16th of August. I'll be there, and I'll be at the Awards ceremony. If there are any film makers in the area that want to hook up let me know.

08 August 2012, 03:56 PM
Wow, there's not a lot of threads in this section anymore. I'm not sure if the rules have changed or if there's just less people posting here about collaborations. But I wanted to just post a little update. Devils has passed half a million views on YouTube. It's screening at quite a few festivals, it's nominated for Best in Festival at one, won an Award for Animation at another and there's more to come... I'm sure! For everyone else doing a collaborative project... keep up the hard work and have faith.

09 September 2012, 01:11 PM
Devils just won an Award for "Animated Short Film" at the Burbank Film Festival

09 September 2012, 07:25 PM
Congrats on your (and everyone involved) hard work man

10 October 2012, 03:07 PM
Thanks, and to take it to the next step I've just published a Director's Cut on Vimeo

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10 October 2012, 03:07 PM
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