View Full Version : Secret Agent Entry: Giancarlo Ng

06 June 2009, 04:17 AM
Giancarlo Ng is entered in the "Secret Agent" update: View Challenge Page (

Latest Update: Final Image: The Climax! (

06 June 2009, 11:44 PM (

"Minerva, leader of V.E.N.U.S. (Villainous Evil Network for Utter Supremacy)
gloats with glee at the imminent launch of her Doomsday missile.
But what's this? Our hero seems to have a few more tricks up his sleeve but
can he save the free world in time?"

Well.. what can I say, my favorite scene in the 1960's James Bond films was always the part leading to the climax. The clock is ticking, the hero has some clever escape planned and saves the world at just the final moment.

Some other inspirations? I guess I can list them out as the following:

1) Cold War images/exagerrations (ie: Red Alert 2 and 3).
2) Militant Feminism of the 1960's, 70's (see: In Like Flint)

There are a few other sub-themes in there that will develop with time.... But for now that is my concept.

I might adjust Minerva's position so that the top left monitor can show the White House with a cross hair over it to drill home the "threat to Free World" theme. I also might go for a slightly wider shot so that we can see the rocket inside this V.E.N.U.S. Volcano Base.

06 June 2009, 12:13 AM (

This is a second concept for Minerva. This is an alternate with the black head cap allowing her ears to show instead of them being capped and there's an extra "Empress Plume" that extends out of the top.

I am thinking I will base the 3D model on actress Maggie Q who I imagine would make a good nefarious merciless mastermind.

06 June 2009, 12:25 AM
As for the spy.... he will be based off Ryan Reynolds:

So.. basically the concept is ..... a Doomsday Countdown Scenario, a clever laser-pen escape.... Male vs Female... East vs West...... Freedom vs Tyranny.....

If there is enough time I'd really love to do a wide shot.. and really let rip on filling the Volcano Base with content.. troops wearing a variant of Minerva's uniform... and lots of hover machines (My concept has a helicopter flying out of the Volcano opening).

06 June 2009, 11:38 PM (

There is a saying that after 2 days of euphoria over starting a project... Your sanity takes over and you begin looking over and tweaking things.

Some of the things you were excited about fall by the wayside as you start to rationalize the concept.

So it is with this project. After playing around with Plumes and things.... I have decided to stick to a "Fantasy Military-State Asian" flavor for this second concept adding military belts, that distinctive Red Army Hat that was so common in 007 movies and combining it with the Malificent Black Head dress I had in the original concept.

The result is a more hardline military look. I want a kind of Neo-Cold-War style with more Asian rather than pure Soviet influences.

Also the acronym V.E.N.U.S. has a new meaning: Vengeful Espionage Networks United for Supremacy. I imagine that the Asian, Para-Military, all-Female group depicted in this project is just one of many branches in V.E.N.U.S.

06 June 2009, 12:09 AM
I was also working on a blocking test but I'm producing 3,000 x 2,000 images on that and I didn't have time last night to think about how I was going to upload it... :P

I'll probably post it on the weekend.

06 June 2009, 12:15 AM
The idea sounds cool, and your concepts look good ... can't wait to see the progress!

06 June 2009, 12:48 AM
Thanks for the feedback!

It's coming together very fast now in my mind. I can SEE it! I just have to make it. I have interesting ideas too for the Monitors (their frame and casing will be Pagoda inspired), the Rocket, and i doodled these hover drone thingees with machine guns.... I will post these concepts in time when I have cleaner sketches.

The blocking test also is encouraging, though I have realized I need to deck the screens out horizontally rather than stack them as in the first concept. This too I will post around the weekend.

Oh how I wish the challenge was 9 months long so I can try animating it!

06 June 2009, 03:17 AM
good stuff,i like the casting already:D the composition sketch looks pretty nice too,like how the angle is captured,having the girl in a dominant position.keep it coming mate.

06 June 2009, 03:57 AM
Thanks for the Feedback. Will update this as it comes. :)

Glad the images are "projecting" correctly. I hope to keep that to the end. :)

06 June 2009, 04:47 AM
Hey Giancarlo,

Nice name by the way. I wish my parents would give me a name like that. Anyways, love the design and style. She looks so military looking good concept. Heres a suggestion have her run around in some type of vehicle might enhance her ability to kill.. take care for now.

06 June 2009, 04:54 AM
Ah.. yes.. One of the most flexible ways would have been a flying command pod.

Since Red Alert 2 and 3 are some of my influences I must say the thought of a Yuri Prime-style flying pod would appeal to this idea.

It might shrink her size though in frame.... and I must be fair... I saw another entry with the concept of a flying pod arch villain.

I might try it though if time permits and it helps the framing.
Thanks for the suggestion. :)

P.S.: Thanks for the comment on the name.. Our family is very unique. All of us siblings are Chinese but have Italian first names. :P

06 June 2009, 11:49 PM (

Okay... Here's the blocking test.
The final image will be 3,000 x 2,000.

Dark Red Figure = Minerva
Blue Figure = Spy
Violet Figures = Scientists
Flying things = Hover Guards

Now part of the illusion of this base is that it borrows the "slanted open roof" used in the S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Volcano Base of "You Only Live Twice".

I realized they used a slanted roof to play with perspectives and to allow the opening to feature in more shots. The arrangement of the V.E.N.U.S. letters is deliberate to minimize the distortion although the distortion is needed to show the opening of the volcano.

All the actor figures are the same size, the apparent size difference between the Scientists and the foreground actors is due to distance. The base is actually very large (Scale 30 in Blender).

I will be submitting concepts for the Scientists, and the monitors shortly.

06 June 2009, 12:05 AM (

Reflecting upon the blocking test, I think I can make the angle more dramatic by having the base built with layered 3-step floors so that the camera and the foreground characters can be lower in frame, and the angle made steeper.

I'll have more ideas for this journey into interior design as I leaf through the book "The Secret World of James Bond" tonight. :)

06 June 2009, 12:16 AM (

And here we have the early roughs for the Hover Guards, Scientists, and the Pagoda style Monitors I was talking about yesterday.

I am thinking though the Hover guards can be re-designed to resemble the titular items from the film "The Master of the Flying Guillotine" another outrageous Chinese cinematic classic.

The scientists won't be so refined and in fact they will have close to no articulation... With arms built purely from tracking solutions.

The monitors will require quite a bit of modelling but nothing too difficult.

Now I really need to work on the interiors.

06 June 2009, 03:41 AM
I like ur designs man, keep it coming:wip:

06 June 2009, 03:50 AM
Thanks. :)

I'm very excited about this.


Tonight will be mostly about the nitty gritty for the Volcano base, such as how the roof works (does it even retract?) or maybe leave it open.. Should the External Volcano Rock be visible? If it's retractable, what does this door look like? Does the base need more elements.

And definitely first and foremost is the test for the 3-step flooring. I see now all SPECTRE bases in old 60's Bond films do this to make the geometry more interesting.

Also listening non-stop to Red Alert music... gets you in the mood for this thing you know. :P

06 June 2009, 04:57 AM (

Well I wasn't planning on doing this new sketch... but if it comes to you... Put it on paper.

Hmmm... still thinking about whether it would be okay to use the "Venus" phonetic in Mandarin on the side of the Rocket. I've started imagining this as a kind of China-Produced 007 movie.

I haven't tested the floors in 3D... but the multiple floors already looks like it will be an enhancement.

Also thinking of going a bit Post-Modern in design by adding some steel and glass features around the top.

06 June 2009, 09:23 AM
With all the threads, it's easy to miss some. I love this concept, and It's great how excited you are about it. If you can keep that going, this piece will turn out to be magnificent.

White vs Black
Good vs Evil
Man vs Woman
Human vs Robot
Complete salvation vs Ultimate defeat.

These are all very powerful concepts and you'll end up with all of them in one single still image. Very impressive.


06 June 2009, 09:28 AM
Thanks. That was very encouaraging. :applause:

Good luck to you too. :)

06 June 2009, 11:46 PM
reminds me a bit of red alert for sure. Best of luck, i like the fact there is substance behind the image.

06 June 2009, 12:22 AM
Thanks everyone who has given feedback! :)

The largest theme (message) is definitely about contrasting fortunes... that "turn of a dime" moment... The Laser Pen, Missile-firing last cigar moment in a 007 movie.....The other sub-themes are swathes of Feminism, Quasi-Militarism, and the cultural choices are finally just to add a tinge of flavor to it.... bring it closer to Asia.... Although the Agent will be a blonde American to help add further contrast.

I don't have a visual update today, but we reviewed a lot of base layouts: The SPECTRE Fuji Base in "You Only Live Twice" (My first love!), SPECTRE Atlantis from "The Spy Who Loved Me", The Dam in "Goldeneye", Whyte's Oil Rig from "Diamonds Are Forever", Piz Gloria from "On Her Majesty's Secret Service", and my other favorite: Crab Key from "Dr. No".

I won't be copying these... but last night was more about doodling and Inductive thinking:

Why do they have this staircase? Why do they have these many floors? What kind of colors do they use? How do they mix Steel and Natural Geography? How do people work in this place?

Why do these places ignore Good Manufacturing Practices of Plant Safety??? ( :P )

The 3D "Stand In Mock-Up" as I call it actually has been updated with the level holding the main actors brought a half floor lower and there will be a set of half steps and a stair case in addition to extra "little bits".

This weekend will start modelling the base for real. One interesting part is we (My younger bro is helping as a kind of Writer/Consultant/Feedback Person) want a section of the base to have a wall of volcanic rock.


06 June 2009, 03:44 AM (

My mind won't leave me alone on this Challenge. :P

Anyways, here is a representation of the Interior Design Concept after last night's musings.

The chosen color scheme for the nefarious V.E.N.U.S. is Gold/Yellow + Violet-Red. The other neutral colors would Dull Metal, Chrome Steel, Black, Khaki (particularly uniforms).

The look I'm going for is a kind of minimalist Post-Modern, almost Richard Meier like quality.

A stair case with two half-steps will connect the top and lower floors and to improve safety we will have some railings-and-glass features along the edges of some places but not the stairs. I don't want people to feel too safe in here hehehe.

The arch-like supports will be chrome. All glass elements will be tinted yellow, certain highlights will be violet-red.

I wanted to project an evil base feel but still retain some "fun" elements as you might find in LEGO sets of this nature.

Also I wanted the place to look expensive and sophisticated.


06 June 2009, 03:58 AM
Your concept has more planning than the Normandy invasion. :P It will be great to see the next sketches. The best luck!

06 June 2009, 04:01 AM
Hahaha Thanks! :)

I've been working more recently on "Directorial" skills... So maybe that's why I am always thinking... thinking.. thinking.

This Challenge hit too close to my heart. You have no idea what a big 007 freak I am!
This is the set (playset?) I've been waiting to make all my life! :)

I can't wait for the weekend to start building it!

06 June 2009, 04:32 AM
This is a very good challenge, one of my favourite. This is my first Challenge.
But i can wait to see how your concepts jump from the sketches to the real thing.

06 June 2009, 01:29 PM (

Okay, this is the last Stand In.

Tonight I go to Sleep. Tomorrow it's time to build this thing.

It may be a bit hard for others to see what it's like because the whole thing is lit by a strong Hemi lamp and everything looks like it's cut out of Art Paper.

I added Stand-Ins for all the critical bits, foot lights on the bottom floor, the glass parts and the sliding door apparatus at the opening of the base.

Tomorrow we shall see if my vision can be formed.

P.S.: the New Orange Actor Stand-In's are for armed guards who will be using a derivative of Minerva's uniform but less ornate. I hope to model them first (My Rule is Farthest from Camera first then move forward) and then have Minerva inherit most of their meshes to save effort.

06 June 2009, 01:32 PM
nice concept looking foward to see how it is going to be like :thumbsup:

06 June 2009, 02:10 PM (

Ah, so it begins.

Like I said I am working "Farthest from Camera first, then coming forwards".

Therefore, my initial effort has been on the Steel Dome, wallings, and the very interesting Wall of Volcanic Rock.

The metal is all Texture Maps after I lost an hour trying to do Procedurals and just gave up. :P

The Volcanic Rock is made with Blender's Instantiated Object Paint functionality. First time to use it. :)
Volcanic Rock texture map is based on images of Volcanic Rocks from Iceland provided by the free photo site

I've gotten rid of the hemi lamp which is why everything is so dark, I will light things up in phases as I work my way towards the camera.

Up next: the Sliding Door, Light Fixtures, and a few tweaks to the Upper Floor.

06 June 2009, 11:32 PM (

Starting to add light fixtures to Top Floor.

Picture seems to be brighter when using different monitors... hmmmmm.

06 June 2009, 12:19 AM
Your concept has more planning than the Normandy invasion. :P It will be great to see the next sketches. The best luck!

I'm working with this guy on a film, You should see the concepts for that, instead of just a still :V He's very good at concepting and direction, always very clear and to the point.

06 June 2009, 12:22 AM
That's right! I was working on a movie with KintaroTheBrave before this Challenge was announced.

We'll be finishing that when I'm through with this Challenge. :)

Nice to see ya here, man. :)

06 June 2009, 01:33 PM (

Drat! I never have enough time weeknights to push this.

Added little bluish lights to the Top Floor Rim for a little effect that helps add more play to the rather dark area around the Rocket's lower half.

No lights yet though on the actual rocket.

Also added the Ground floor.
There are a lot of shadows crossing over the object on the Top Floor but I'll deal with that later.

Hope to finish the light fixtures on the top ring tomorrow.

06 June 2009, 12:04 AM
Just finished the Light Fixtures this morning, and they will replace the Light Fixture Stand-Ins tonight.

Later today I'll also start modelling the glass bits, and the metal arc.

But this weekend will be the big push where I should be able to finish everything else on the set.... then tweak lighting before devoting more time to working on the characters themselves.

Pulling out that NASA book to see about Launchpads and Rockets.


06 June 2009, 01:08 PM (

Added Final Lighting Fixtures to the Roof Ring.

Work will proceed to the Retractable Hatch, the Arcs, and the Glass with Metal Railings while I savor working on the Pagoda Monitors in the coming weekend.

Soon it will be time to work on the Actors....

06 June 2009, 01:20 PM
i like your concept! very james-bond-ish.

06 June 2009, 11:08 PM
Thanks. :)

More updates are on the way, actually I've started sketching out more detailed looks for the Scientists and the Guards but not yet able to scan them.


I'm quite happy someone agrees it looks like a set from a Bond film. At one time I was starting to worry I was incorporating too much "playset" feel into it.

06 June 2009, 12:22 AM
Nice set! Looks like James Bond from the 60' waiting for what come next.

06 June 2009, 05:09 AM
Thanks Luciano! :thumbsup:

I am thinking of adding some anachronism.... So while the set is definitely a homage to '60's Bond the villains won't be because they take up Modern looks, and the spy will be quite modern too.

It is really more about ideas... Rage had mentioned earlier some of the contrasting themes that are paired in "versus relationships" against each other in my concept.. Those are valid. :)

But the biggest themes have yet to come out. I am very excited to see them myself as I frequently work as if I am an audience member too. :)

06 June 2009, 02:26 PM (

Added the Staircase.

So sleepy.
Gotta rest...

06 June 2009, 02:44 PM (

Almost done with the whole set.

It's possible I'll be working on all the elements, including actors, starting this weekend. :)

I hope I can finish this.

Added an ornate emblem to the left and finished the Bronze Voronoi style arc and ornate Yellow Crystal fixtures around the dome roofing.


06 June 2009, 02:24 PM (

So here is the almost complete background set.

Actually started working on the actors over the weekend....

More updates soon.


06 June 2009, 11:13 PM (

Okay... After some 3 hours of on and off modelling Sunday up to Today, I have this head.

Now, I know there won't be enough time to get an actual likeness out there.

I'm picking my battles right now, choosing which amount of detail is best attained by AO-Baking, Displacement Mapping, Texture Maps, and Mesh Geometry.

I actually have the rest of her.. it's somewhere below her head so she's "almost done".

Gonna get some feedback from here.. and from other women, since girls seem to have a sixth sense, and are very particular about how people look in CG.

Once the head is done, it's just a matter of finishing the hat and assembling, posing her Resin Kit style and then doing the Textures and Disp Mapping.

And that's it... Super-Villainess! :P

Then it will be the Spy's turn.

07 July 2009, 11:46 PM (

This is the head. I think I'm okay with it already. She's a bit on the pretty-but-strong side, and Asian which befits my setting and story.

Almost all the other details will be done with Pre-Baked AO maps, Texture Maps, and Baked Displacement.

Modeling the hat right now and will show that in a bit, together with her entire model bonded together.

All seems quiet on the front where I am, but C&C is always welcome.

07 July 2009, 11:35 PM (

This is the full body model.

Extra details like embroidery will either be painted on in Displacement/AO maps/Texture Maps or they will be modeled right on set to match the exact pose.

Not a fan of pushing vert counts too high. hehehe.

Also, she will be wearing a black headress/cowl similar to Maleficent from Walt Disney's Sleeping Beauty but without the "horns". So there won't be any hair on her head model. Might leave the ears out or cover them up, I will decide that in post.

An FYI to some people who might be wondering... Teeth and Eye Balls are separate meshes on this one. I normally do animation so making Eyes separate is the only way I've known to model actors. I am very amazed though at the "Greek Statue Eyes" I see on some of the other works. They seem more organic even if you know they cannot really rotate.

C&C would be welcome.

07 July 2009, 04:30 PM
its coming along nicely buddy! keep it up!

07 July 2009, 05:47 PM
The full body model looks good ... though I'd like to see bigger views (esp. the image on the left) to offer any real critique.

07 July 2009, 12:35 AM

To Yecire: "The rear view is admittedly "underdeveloped". hehehe I am really emphasizing the front view. But thanks for the feedback. Like Ding Wang, I will be hoping to pickup a few extra Actors and Assets from this Challenge but I guess that means I will have to remodel parts after... but that's okay. I will post an update later that shows the boots, realized just now nobody can really see them."

Using this Challenge to test Baking Displacement Map to Lo-Res gave the left side of her lip a sag (No, this update isn't posted). I'm going to try and see if there was a bug of some kind or if I can paint over the face's Displacement map to correct it.

I'm really in envy of those who seem able to model so much detail as actual verts... Maybe I just don't know how they do it.. but continuous Loop-Cutting with a subsurfed model eventually causes creases, and just Subdividing repeatedly creates a bloated model.

Right now my strategy is to use Displacement Maps, and literally paint details as lighter bumps or darker pits. You won't see that in the face, but we will be seeing it in the clothes.

07 July 2009, 11:35 PM (

Well I'm close to wrapping up work on this model. It's not perfect, I can see the slight smile that is appearing there but I might retain it if only to keep it for the Image's sake.

Will probably fix the Chest Armor a bit, Emboss the Collar details, do the "Corset" style ornamentation, a few trimming colors, then pose it for blocking on the set.

Then the Spy.... then Finish the rest of the image. :)

C&C is welcome.

07 July 2009, 11:42 PM
A few more notes:

1) The Ears will be "painted down" in post. I thought about it, and leaving the ears out is a bit too "Marvel Comics" for this image.

2) I'm really trying to up the Extremist Military Asian flavor of the character. This hints at a backstory which I am happy to leave the viewer to determine, but I want to load her figure and costume with enough "backstory hints".

:wip: Almost there..... I can see the finish line....

Oh and stay tuned for the Superweapon, I have just hit upon an inspiration for that thing....

07 July 2009, 09:27 PM

So this is what you have been up to!?!

Great concept. Although I have to say I prefer the first concept...but regardless this will be agreat image.

Critique for you: the belt on your dictator seems to be sitting awkwardly. I would have thought it needs to be higher around the waist (creating shape) or lower around the hips (sexy)? Thinking about higher is probably better for a prim and proper dictator. And maybe add some volume to the hips for shape.

Assuming I have the same picture in my mind as the one you have this is going to be brill.


07 July 2009, 11:30 PM
Thanks for dropping by! :)

As you can see, my love for motorbikes and cars is exceeded by my love for the cinema and 007. :P

Noted about the Dictator's belt. I did have Russian uniform pics that did have the belts higher, but my storytelling element required I made an overt use of the VENUS faction logo as an ornament on her uniform, and I sort of made a "corset" ornament for it, so the belt had to be lower. One of my dilemmas is "What if she doesn't look like the boss?".

Noted also feedback about the hips. It's a slight shame I only got your comment this morning, so they may not be reflected in today's update, but they are good suggestions.

A note on the original concept, It was originally a more vertically oriented, but wide, shot, with the monitors stacked over each other, but during the actual Mock-Up build, it wasn't working out.

The monitors ended up looking like they were mounted on their sides (they were too tall compared to their width). Maintaining the scale made all the actors too small. Finally if I opted to give up on retaining a wide angle, the actors and Superweapon would overlap each other.

So I made a decision to opt for a Pure Wide version by adjusting the camera length, and changing the monitor placement (the large wide monitor will now incorporate information that should have been on the stacked monitors).

I think the original might have worked if I played a bit more with blocking, architecture, but I know my speed limits and I had to do something to get it moving. And I wanted a large "expensive" base, not a "tower of babel" base.

Thanks for the feedback. :)

07 July 2009, 11:39 PM (

And this is her model and pose cropped to a larger size so we can see her better.

Her height relative to the 4,030 x 2,700 image as the foremost element will be about half the image's height, this sort of allows your eyes to move from her, to the wide monitors, to the Superweapon... before you look down to notice the Spy is already trying to escape to foil the plan described on the monitors.

She's not the most realistic model, I know, but we'll paint extra details in GIMP during the compositing process (she will be rendered separately from the set because of a software bug though in truth her model is only about only a few hundred polys).

C&C welcome! :)

07 July 2009, 11:41 PM
In the actual composite her entire body will be visible....

I'm trying for that "Evil Mona Lisa Smile".

If she reminds you of some nasty Grade School teacher who made you stand in a corner for being too noisy, I will have succeeded somehow.



07 July 2009, 12:32 AM
hey man, nice update, but the head seems a little too big to me.
ever think of giving her a stylish look? not too realistic?

07 July 2009, 12:40 AM
Noted concerns about the head.

That's one of the problems of using the camera settings I did to frame this shot. Some things begin to look slightly orthographic in an attempt to "bring objects up to camera".

I have different feelings about the head and I know in reality it is the correct size (I use a copy of Vetruvian Man for the modelling). But I think there is an optical illusion at this "Camera dropped to floor" angle.

I am thinking about fixing it, but I'll know more when I do a compositing test this weekend at 4,030 x 2,700. Those ray-traced Volcanic Rocks now take a loooong time to render at that size! :P

Stylized... You know what's funny? I've NEVER been able to do stylized, even when hand-drawing. I always veer towards semi-real. My visual goal for this is "PVC Playset".
I want it to have that sense of fun from LEGO toys, GI JOES, but retain the ridiculous gravity of a 007 world-threat movie.

Checking out your thread too Ding.. Looks great.... I really hope you can make it... :)

07 July 2009, 01:24 AM
Hey Giancarlo,

Very cool idea, like the concept and style on it! :D The V.E.N.U.S. base background looks amazing and the retro style on the rocket works well. The design of Minerva´s outfit is really cool. Maybe you can open the bottom part of the coat to expose the Minerva's legs, I think that can help when you make the final pose for she, too looks with more angles and tension and more dynamic feel. Only a comment :) Great work so far! Looking forward for more updates! Cheers!! :beer:

07 July 2009, 01:42 AM
Thanks Fernando! :)

Major respect from me to you. Saw your portfolio and it looks very good. :) I especially loved "Lobsters for Dinner". :thumbsup:

I thought a bit about the legs, and... honestly, I just didn't model them because I know I won't make it on time if I do... :blush: hehehe. :P

My spy is coming up soon, and the monitors will be live around next update or the one after that. So it's going to start coming together quite fast now.

The rocket... There's going to be a surprise there....Also coming together with the monitors since the two are related.

I am trying to plan it so that I have enough time for some 10-foot Robot Soldier/Servants to complete the scale/mood....

Thanks for dropping by! :)

07 July 2009, 01:50 AM
Just a minor update (and therefore not being submitted as a WIP through the Submitter Page). It's one of the "Prop Robots" that we have standing around the base.

These materials are not final (Ray-Tracing is missing in this preview render). The simple geometry is intended to allow them to disappear into the background setting.

I really really wanted to show more, but we are already preparing composting for the final 4,030 x 2,700 image. We have discovered the rendering times with all the Ray-Tracing Effects now exceed 8 hours for just one image! And that's on an empty set without General Minerva who is on her own layer! (Her image was used as the last official WIP prior to this reply).

The image is so massive that it cannot be uploaded to this thread without cropping, which we will probably do in the next few days to show people parts of the image as Compositing for them completes.

Note to some people who liked the Rocket. It's gone now, but only because I hit upon something that seemed like a better idea for a Superweapon (no.. It's not a Giant Robot).

Like everything I've done.. it's all about Story and Research. :)

We'll be showing that also in the coming days. I was going to tease a bit by showing the Mock-Up but given our limited daytime for Rendering, we went straight to dedicating rendering of the Final Superweapon for Compositing (which is where it is right now).

The next official WIP's should be lots of fun for people following this thread.

Good luck to all and everybody take care! :)

07 July 2009, 06:18 AM
Looking great. Just a humble idea for you:

Considering your statement on the identity of the villain, perhaps a warmer collor pallete like red and tan would help solidify her identity, as some asian cultures value reds and golds. Purples seem more regal and authorotarian in European cultures. Then again, there are a bunch of Japannese girls with purple hair around here, so maybe you're on to something.

Great to see this one evolve. Good Luck.

07 July 2009, 08:32 AM
Hi Christian,

Thanks for the suggestion. :)

My original tests used a lot of Gold and Reds. Those were really my first choice of colors!

But with the designs and themes channeling a strong Militaristic and Asian flavor I didn't want people to confuse the villains for Communist China.

I then swapped Red for Purple/Violet to add a fictional quality in terms of "Faction Colors" but retained the symbols so that my desire for a feel of the Cold War 007 films can be retained.

Thanks for dropping by. :)

07 July 2009, 08:09 PM
I figured you may have already considered it. :D Can't wait for more updates.


07 July 2009, 12:01 AM
Our gadget of choice for our Secret Agent to attempt his escape from the chains he will be shackled with in our scene is a Parker Duofold modified to house a high powered cutting laser.

Parker Pens asserts that the Duofold, its flagship product, comes in 23K gold plated trim, electroplated to an average of 5 microns, with highly polished 18K nib with platinum plating; a technically advanced feed system, a de-luxe piston filler suitable for Quink bottled ink.... And.... a Full 2 year warranty.
Snazzy. :love:...... but at 255 British Pounds you don't expect anything less.

In addition this particular Duofold has been modified to carry an Industrial-grade Cutting Laser. The gold trim near the clip rotates to select settings for Cut, Melt, or Burn, while the clip itself, when depressed, fires a highly intensified beam generally less than 0.0125 inches (0.3175 mm) in diameter out of the pen's nib.

This will be modelled in 3D and UV-ed to create a near-exact replication.

P.S.: So where is the spy himself? Actually he's already finished but is incomplete because he is lacking accessories: The Shackles and the Pen.... Also because he is no longer based on Ryan Reynolds but will in fact be a re-worked version of an earlier model I made based on Keanu Reeves but with new Texture Maps to match Minerva (I didn't have any AO on the original model).

07 July 2009, 12:34 AM (

And here is some cropped detail from the 4,030 x 2,700 size image for our Spy.

This is a total re-working of an earlier model I made just to learn about making human models but now he's going to "star" in this as a determined spy who seeks to foil a major plot by V.E.N.U.S.

He'll be looking at the evil Minerva character during final composite as his eye tracking has been set towards her.

07 July 2009, 12:41 AM
Here is a wider crop showing his body pose and stand-ins for the shackles, chain, and Pen-laser.

Lighting and Shaders are not final. This was mostly a blocking/posing test.

C&C Welcome.


07 July 2009, 05:26 AM
Looking great so far! Nice to see another escape scene. Even better to see another blender user! Keep up the fantastic work.

07 July 2009, 05:34 AM
Thanks Brett!

Nice also to hear feedback from others in the Blender "family".

The software has grown quite a lot in the last few years, part of my goal with this challenge is actually to see how far I can push Blender, as well as for practicing things like the relatively new AO-baking.

This actor also uses Mesh Deform for the posing with an Armature.

Thanks for dropping by. :) Hoping to score a few points for the "family" on this Challenge. :)

07 July 2009, 07:41 AM
Look'n good!

07 July 2009, 01:04 AM
Thanks Paul.

Good luck with your entry too. :)

07 July 2009, 02:17 AM
Nice pose!

I was thinking along the same lines before with the spy all tied up. I think you nailed it there.

Keep up the great work.


07 July 2009, 04:37 AM
Nice to hear from you again Ken! :buttrock:

I've seen your thread too.. My has your idea evolved! :eek:
If I connect La Souris with some of your later ideas.... I'd say you were a lover of Cthulhu fiction.....

I am too.. but only when it's Ghostbusters. hahaha :D

07 July 2009, 02:33 AM
Hey man!

I love where this is going! I especially like the poses of the characters! Very well done. Looking forward to following it to completion. Best of luck! :)

07 July 2009, 02:39 AM
Thanks Chris! :)

Very grateful for your positive feedback. :)
I actually have more updates on this... a major one is coming this weekend.

FIRST FINAL IMAGE! *Dramatic Music!* :scream:

Yes, I know.. I kinda skipped showing WIP for the Superweapon. I'm sorry for that but like I mentioned before rendering it took 8 hours.. I hope when people see it they will think it was worth the wait. :)

P.S.: Years of playing with GI JOE's I guess improves one's sense of character posing. hehehe :P

07 July 2009, 06:03 PM
Hey Giancarlo,

Cool updates! Like the robot retro design, really nice. The pose for the agent looks great, maybe the right hand pose looks a bit "delicate" .... but if he is scaping with his pen-laser I think is ok :D he can cut his neck if he dont use that laser carefuly :D. Good work!! Waiting for more updates! Cheers!! :beer:

07 July 2009, 11:58 PM
Hello Fernando, :beer:

Yes.... The "delicate" touch of the right hand is precisely because a 50 Megawatt laser is prone to burn quickly through hair and flesh... OUCHIE!

But if you are chained... and the apocalypse is 8 minutes away.. you just have to try things like using a cutting laser with your hands tied behind your back.

07 July 2009, 10:10 PM (

"General Minerva of V.E.N.U.S. (Vengeful Espionage Networks United for Supremacy) is just mere minutes away from fulfilling her plan to vaporize the American capitol with her G.A.I.A. (Guidance Adaptible Ionic Array) Plasma Cannon.

Our hero is shackled. Helpless.

Or is he?

Our hero seems to have a few more tricks up his sleeve but can he save the free world in time?"

Sky Texture -

White House - U.S. Department of Defense 1984 Surveillance Photo (public domain).

World Map - (Image was EXTENSIVELY EDITED by Artist)

Special Fonts - TypeNow (

Other Materials -

07 July 2009, 12:14 AM
Well this is it.

Going to try to use the ChallengeUploader tonight to upload the final high-resolution version as Tiff.

And then once that works, the rest of the next few days will be spent on improvements.

Minerva's costume will have a few extras added on, and the World Map will be adjusted to aid storytelling.

Otherwise, this is it.

C&C please! :D

07 July 2009, 01:24 AM it!

07 July 2009, 01:40 AM
Thanks Paul! :beer: Made a few suggestions in your thread too.... I know you're going for realism.. But I really think it's time to take a look at a few anime "tunnel chases" and use some speedlines and "dragging lights". :)

I am hoping to have some time (after all my uploading confusion is sorted) to try and improve the image in the next few days... adding Shoulder Aigulettes to Minerva's uniform, adjusting the Coat a bit.... Improving the World Map to show more details of the plan.... (It was really foiled by the blocking because the Plasma Cannon became more complex than initially used with blockers.. :P ).... The map is supposed to explicitly state that the Cannon will vaporize Washington D.C. That correction will show up in a few days' time.

The design of the new Superweapon was inspired by a chance reading on Tele-Force Weaponry, a project Nikola Tesla was working on before he died. It was going to be his life's work and he tried many times to get the U.S. Government to finance it.

The concept involved forming a large electric circuit using the Earth and the Stratosphere to allow the conveyance of an Ionic Array (equivalent to a bolt of lightning) through normal atmospheres without the aid of conductors. Coupled with modern-day knowledge about the connections between electricity and plasma production, I thought it would be good basis for a Superweapon.


P.S.: Just got word from Khendar, and it seems the CG Challenges are standardizing to high-res JPEG. TIFF's are being phased out. Just helping to spread the word in case others were confused too.

07 July 2009, 02:57 AM
I really like the story of the piece, and In that aspect I think it was well executed. good job :)

07 July 2009, 03:36 AM
nice work dude, but I like ur very first pencil sketch, the character stands out more, and the overall image is more dramatic

keep going!:thumbsup:

07 July 2009, 04:53 AM
Well to answer that question Ding, I have to take you guys through a little tour of the Pre-Production process for this thing. :p

Originally the idea was more Screens-show-story intensive. So I had lots of stacked monitors.

One displaying a map for targets, another displaying the timers, yet another one showing the weapon (back then it was still a rocket), etc.

The initial concern was that the scale of the villains couldn't be established if all they had to show for it was "a wall of monitors". So there was this idea that the rocket could be shown "on location" rather than "on screen".

That presented certain blocking challenges.... pushing the actors to the left of the planned image rather than on the center. I knew that would result in some "Subject Challenges", but in an effort to retain their importance, I still have them closest to camera.

Further blocking challenges resulted in the volcano opening being not visible at all with screens stacked so high. To get the towering IMAX-style screens in, plus the rocket, would have resulted in the actors being too small!

The monitors then also didn't block properly during mock-up testing. So the plans were changed again to use just two large screens. The rapid changes are a direct result of the time frame.... Normally I'd devote 3 weeks just to designing, and devote many weeks to modelling, and screen-testing. But this time everything has to move fast.

Finally there was this issue about not having any places to show the "Wall of Rocks" which I wanted to establish the "secretive" nature of the location.. that it was either underground or in a volcano.

I think William will be the first to tell you guys that working with me is an exercise in "Revised Visions".. Changes this many are common for me. Hehehe. :D

07 July 2009, 04:56 AM
I really like the story of the piece, and In that aspect I think it was well executed. good job :)

Thanks man! :)

I'm almost done here... Then we go back to our movie. :)

07 July 2009, 12:08 PM (

Software: Blender,GIMP

"General Minerva of V.E.N.U.S. (Vengeful Espionage Networks United for Supremacy) is just mere minutes away from fulfilling her plan to vaporize the American capitol with her G.A.I.A. (Guidance Adaptible Ionic Array) Plasma Cannon.

Our hero is shackled. Helpless.

Or is he?

He seems to have a few more tricks up his sleeve, as he tries to cut through his bonds with a Laser Cutter cleverly disguised as a fountain pen.

But can he save the free world in time?"

Sky Texture -

White House - U.S. Department of Defense 1984 Surveillance Photo (public domain).

World Map - (Image was EXTENSIVELY EDITED by Artist)

Special Fonts - TypeNow (

Other Materials -


07 July 2009, 01:03 PM (

Software: Blender,GIMP

"General Minerva of V.E.N.U.S. (Vengeful Espionage Networks United for Supremacy) is just mere minutes away from fulfilling her plan to vaporize Washington D.C. with her G.A.I.A. (Guidance Adaptible Ionic Array) Plasma Cannon.

Our hero is shackled. Helpless.

Or is he?

He seems to have a few more tricks up his sleeve as he engineers a daring escape with a laser cutter disguised as a pen.

But can he save the free world in time?"

Sky Texture -

White House - U.S. Department of Defense 1984 Surveillance Photo (public domain).

World Map - (Image was EXTENSIVELY EDITED by Artist)

Special Fonts - TypeNow (

Other Materials -

07 July 2009, 02:13 PM
And I'm finished! :D

This is the absolute maximum I can do at my current skill level. I feel like my story and vision exceed my skill though.... :p But that's not to say I'm unhappy with the result. It's just that one always envisions more, but I know, for now, there isn't more I could do with it with what I know.

I had a spectacular time. I wrote a story, stuck to it, created an image, learned a lot along the way (Ray-tracing and AO bake), met a lot of people who command my admiration and respect.... Most of all, I had FUN. :applause:

I hope one day to have the pleasure of working with some of the great talent all over CGC XXIV as I continue to direct animated movies.

Thanks guys. I really really loved this Challenge. :)
Good luck to everybody! :)

07 July 2009, 12:09 AM
Looking good my friend! Great looking final image!:applause:What I enjoy the most is that the image tells a story. And that this story is easily understandable at first glance when you look at the image. Very well done! :)

07 July 2009, 01:05 AM
Looking good my friend! Great looking final image!:applause:What I enjoy the most is that the image tells a story. And that this story is easily understandable at first glance when you look at the image. Very well done! :)

Thank you Christopher! :)

Gosh.. sometimes I wish I had you on "Set Construction". The sets you build are amazing!

Good luck with your entry. I really want to see it finished. Maybe we work together some time. You have a super talent. :)

08 August 2009, 11:58 PM
Hey Giancarlo,

Congrats on your finished pice! :D Nice image, like a lot General Minerva´s pose, happy to dominate the world :D And cool plasma cannon, looks impressive :D
Agree with you that the better prize of this challenge is the opportunity to share experiences and learning :) Hope to see you in the next one, and now time for a well deserved beer and a lot of tequila !! :D Good luck and Cheers!! :beer:

08 August 2009, 12:08 AM
Thanks Fernando! :)

Good luck to you always. :)

08 August 2009, 12:11 AM
hey hey hey !!!

i almost forgot about you my friend :):):)
great execution in the end,
i would love to see some close up shots of the final image,
i almost did not to see what that scoundrel of agent got up his sleeve, and it came to me
"its the MINI GUIDANCE ADAPTIBLE IONIC ARRAY PLASMA CANNON"!!! (MAN! that sounds cool while being pronunciated) :):):)

good luck to you in the competition my friend,
and thank you once again for such good critics during the challenge!

08 August 2009, 08:18 AM
Yes.. that superweapon she will use to vaporize washington is called the Guidance Adaptible Ionic Array Plasma Cannon..

Or.. "GAIA" Plasma Cannon.. it sounds like Gaeia.. the mother of the Earth.

But this is more like the Wrath of God.... because it uses concepts from Tesla's Tele-Force ion cannon which is a common superweapon in Red Alert games.... which is one of my inspirations.

Yeah... Actually I do a lot more work writing and Directing.... before modeling and animating.. and I guess it shows. :)

Your entry was also very nice (or nasty.. I think we both know what we mean).
It's very good that you can make something like Goldilocks and the 3 Bears "creepy" without ending up imitating the imagery of say Tim Burton... The images are your own.. but they are just as creepy as something Burton would have done if not more so.

Good luck to you too! :) :) :)

08 August 2009, 10:04 AM
Plzzzzzz................don't Project Maggie As Villian.i Love Her......

08 August 2009, 11:36 PM
Hello Pankaj,

Don't worry about Maggie.... She's a very good actress.
It's "just a movie" hehehe. :wise: :P

Actually I plan to re-make her as a heroine in a different project..
And also I'll be using more advanced AO, Displacememnt, and Normals for that one so she should look better there than she ended up here.

So I'm sure you'll like that more. :)

Yeah... I love her too. :P

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