View Full Version : FXWars! NEORACE!: Team 3dFramework, Freeform

07 July 2009, 07:27 PM
Hi all,

Seems like this should be a great challenge, so 4 of us at 3dframework are throwing our hat into the ring. I'm in charge of keeping this thread updated, but just to give credit to the other guys who'll be working on it, there'll be -

3d -

Rich Jones
Tim Ash

Concept and matte painting -

Phil Chin

I'll try and make sure they all get signed up to here so they can be fully involved in the challenge.

Anyway, we've got an idea for the animation, but I'll explain that more when we have an animatic together, so for now I'll just put up the evolution for our concept of the vehicle.

We knew we wanted something kind of clunky, like Mad Max or the Games Workshop Orks, so that was our start point and we went from there.

This stuff is all done by Phil's frenzied little brain, the rest of us shouted ideas at him while he was scribbling away furiously (these images are really just a sample of all the drawings he did):

Starting out pretty epic - we just decided it was maybe a bit tooo big for racing -

Taking the size down, but a bit too armyish, too neat aswell -

Appropriately clunky, just a bit too steampunky -

Hooray! Everyone's happy -

A few changes and refinements, and a drawing we can base the model off -

So at the moment myself and Tim are trying to bash out the model as fast as we can. Rich is working on an animatic so you can see what we have in mind for the animation, and we'll get Phil to put his hand to some environment and character studies. I'll try and update tomorrow or Friday with whatever we come up with.

Thanks for taking the time to look, and of course, feedback is always appreciated.

07 July 2009, 08:12 PM
sweet sketches, looks promising!!

07 July 2009, 09:26 PM
My goodness those are amazing.

08 August 2009, 04:50 PM
Thanks for the replies. Sorry we're being a bit slow on the updates, that's me being lazy. We are working hard on this though.
So today's updates is character concepts and vehicle model. We went a different way round on concepting the character, I basically fleshed out some very quick concepts in zbrush, just heads, but each representing quite a different personality. The idea is they are just slightly off human, maybe a future mutation or alien race.

I did more, but forgot to save them all, so here's what I have -

From that, we took the head on the far right, and started playing with the idea of an eccentric english toff sort of character. After settling on that, we plugged the idea into Phil's brain to see what concepts he'd draw from it. He came up with this, a slightly more sinister gent on safari:

Which we all like. We were happy with the juxtaposition of this with such a behemoth of a vehicle aswell, especially as he's quite removed from it, like a coach driver, but we thought we'd tweak the design slightly to fit him again. So Phil came up with this, the shape being inspired by a coach carriage, but the style/construction kept close to the vehicle:

So here's the final model (done by myself and Tim), with the new driver section:

I'm busy unwrapping that at the moment. To be completely frank, it's not fun, and I'd rather spend the time licking a goat's testicle, but it's nearly done. Rich has a nearly finished rig, and when that's done we'll drop it into an animatic so you can see where we're going with it, so I'll try and post either that or some environment concepts by tomorrow.

08 August 2009, 05:19 PM
this is looking way badass!

08 August 2009, 03:30 PM
Cheers fushizzle :)

Ok today's update is the animatic. Obviously everything in there is very much WIP, and the vehicle is largely proxy geometry. Rich spent a while on the vehicle rig, if anyone's interested in seeing how any of that was done let me know and I'll get him to post up a little video demo of it. Sound is being done by the talented Pete Nixon.

Just so you have something to look at in this post, here's a still from the animatic -

And here's the link to the .mov (23mb) -

Animatic (

Hopefully that conveys pretty much what we're after, we wanted something that would just be a single shot just because of the time constraints. Feedback always welcome

More tomorrow...

08 August 2009, 05:46 PM
That is just awesome!!!

08 August 2009, 06:21 PM
Thanks a lot for your comment Ronnie, and for stopping by. Your entry is looking great :)

I said I'd post an update today, so I'm putting up some environment stuff since I haven't shown any of that yet.

This is mostly concept stuff since very little of the environment has been modelled so far and the matte painting which ultimately we'll use for the backdrop.

First up, the concepts for the scanning equipment which assess the vehicle for damage (see animatic in my last post) -

Ceiling based scanner -

Floor based scanner -

Scanning arm -

The background was roughed in in 3d so that we'd be able to get an idea of whether it the composition worked with a camera move, and when we were happy with that we printed it out and Phil sketched over it, which gave us this -

And then there were a whole load of sketches to flesh out an idea of the environment. We wanted a pretty ramshackle world, maybe where everything had been destroyed and rebuilt with some kind of big post-apocalyptic shanty town buildings, made out of whatever anyone could find. Anyway, I won't post up all the sketches, just one incase anyones interested in seeing the progression of the concept -

The background of the final animation will be a matte painting (again by Phil), so here's where we're at with that (it's also got a paintover for the foreground, which will be modelled) -


08 August 2009, 06:43 PM
that looks sweet! hey could Phil tell me a good place to start for photoshop paint tutorials? my buddy wants to dig in being a traditional painter but I haven't got a good grasp on painting in layers, etc like you guys do. Like how you start out with the really broad rough strokes and then continue to refine it?

keep it up!

08 August 2009, 01:31 PM
Thanks Raymond :) Phil recommends Dylan Cole's matte painting DVD's. There are 3 of them, the first two are concept sketching which is pretty much how Phil paints. The third one goes over a complete painting from start to a polished finish using photo reference. He emphasises using a "non-destructive" workflow, basically keeping things in seperate layers so you can keep complete control of your painting without having to constantly redo things as the piece evolves.

For our painting, Phil's only got a few layers. Firstly there's layers for the buildings at different distances. This is because they'll be projected onto basic geometry, and need to be able to slide over each other as the camera moves to fake the parallax. Then the buildings are split up into a layer for basic shape and lighting, and one for details. The painting process is pretty much how you described it. Phil blocks in large shapes, and pulls bits out and cuts back in just to play with getting an interesting silhouette, and when that's established, starts refining the architecture of it all a bit, and then goes into details.

If we were going for a photoreal finish, the whole painting would then be gone over again, using re-lit photo reference, but that's not really what we're after.

The whole painting has been done over some geometry we exported, so that he can use the same perpective, and also have a basic indication of lighting.

Hope that helps :)

08 August 2009, 02:08 PM
Thanks so much, I'll pass it along and see if we can get him hooked on a little CG. Looking forward to seeing your next updates - have a good one!

08 August 2009, 02:22 PM
Hi all,

I have landed the responisbility for rigging our vehicle, now that the modelling and design stages have been completed. I am by no means a rigging expert, but we have had some fun with this one, so I thought I would share some of the features in a little video.

We noticed that there were a few questions in the R&D section that enquired about how to get wheels etc to rotate at the correct speed when a vehicle moves. We designed a few little expressions and a custom attribute to deal with this problem. I have explicity covered the expression in this video. We are working in Maya, but the theory can easily be taken across to another 3D package. Please have a look and let us know if it is useful.

It took us a while to sort this video out, but from now on the process willl be very quick. If there is anything that you want me to elaborate on then let me know and I will try and get another video uploaded.

I am finishing off another animatic this evening that will have the vehicle suspension and wheel rotations implemented. I will try and post it up here before I hit the sack.

All comments and crits welcome.

cheers all,


08 August 2009, 03:20 PM
thanks for that vid! I have a wheel spinning properly across my viewport as we speak! I'm totally implementing that into the rig - thanks!

08 August 2009, 07:13 PM
Hey guys, very inspiring stuff. There is ALOT of quality in this challenge.

Thanks for the video guys, very useful. Will the rig also turn the wheels when the vehicle turns? I would love to see that setup.

08 August 2009, 03:13 AM
Rayray - Fantastic that you have found some use from this setup. I think it can definitely save a headache or two, especially when there are a lot of wheels involved. Let us know when you get the next stage up, and we will dive over for a look.

bjAdamH - As our rig stands, the front control arrow's rotation is hand keyframed and that attribute drives all the wheel turns/vehicle lean etc. So as we have things, if the main control curve turns then the wheels wont turn by themselves. Since we only had a few corners to do, we simply put the vehicle on a path and then keyframed the arrow to turn when the vehicle should steer, and the whole system updated from there through the expressions. If you wanted an automatic steering system, then I would imagine you would have to write an expression that sampled the vehicles position a few frames into the future, and from that relative position you would know which way the wheels needed to turn. There might be a much simpler way of doing it. If I get a chance I will knock together a sample scene with such a system in place, and then you can have a play with it. If thats of any use to you.....

As for the project, I have implemented what we talked about in the video into our own animatic. There are few extra details added to the pitlane machinery. We have also locked down the animation a little more, but there are definitely a few odds and ends that are still astray... so much to get through! This video just covers the first half of the shot, and demonstrates the wheels slowing to a halt (and the suspension working).

As always comments and crits are welcome, especially as we are starting to try and lock down all the movement for the final timings!

Cheers everyone,


08 August 2009, 08:45 AM
Rich, I couldn't help but notice you posted that at 4:13am Saturday morning. Get some sleep or you'll die.

08 August 2009, 12:54 AM
Hi guys,

We thought we would chuck up another quick video on a wheel steering setup. If you have a long race with lots of vehicles then keyframing wheels steering can be a nightmare, so here is a little setup that will get the wheels to figure out how to steer themselves with a little expression.

Again, we have tried to keep it very general, so people can apply it to any 3D package. There is a link to the video, and a sample Maya 2009 scene as well, so you can pull it apart. This is really just the skeleton of the idea. From this point feel free to add loads of extras to give your steering even more character!

Video Link:

Sample Scene Link:

Let us know what you think. Chuck up examples if you use it, and of course fire any questions or crits our way :)

Good luck!


P.S. Chris- Death at this point would be terrible wouldnt it.... It would be awfully unfair for me to leave all the fun render wrangling and setup to you! ;)

08 August 2009, 10:59 PM
Ok I thought it was worth posting an update with the progress on our character, The Coach Driver.

Time being limited as it is, he's really still a sketch (although retopologised and uved), but he's fairly small in our shot so I'll see what we can get away with and maybe go back to him if there's time.

Anyway, here he is in his "coach" to give an idea of scale:



08 August 2009, 11:03 PM
Hi Guys,

Thought we would upload the final animatic. This has had (very nearly) all the high res geometry swapped in for the foreground pass, with all equipment animated with their working rigs. It also has what will almost be the final sound track. Enjoy...

Final Animatic (

Comments and crits welcome, as we are starting to prepare the final renderscenes and passes...

Hopefully, I will post again tomorrow with some of the Matte Painting for the environment. This has been a real push, with shortcuts taken where ever possible! However, it has been very enjoyable to do.



08 August 2009, 04:52 PM
Hi Guys,

We are just starting to get together all the bits and pieces now, and today we have seen the environment start to come together. This is where we are at the moment:

This image is made up of some rendered bits that are all modelled,unwrapped and textured and then 4 projection maps, that are projected on to simple proxy geometry. As we have been frantically painting and texturing away, it is good to see how things are starting to finally sit together.

The main race track in the foreground, along with the race barriers, and the big curving race track to the right hand side are all rendered. We still sorting the foreground texture, so it is left white in this image..... The "shanty town" under the arching track is the first projection map. The huge towers to the right are the second projection map. The distant city that runs across the horizon is the third. And finally there is the sky that sits behind everything. Also included in this image is the fog pass which rolls in and out of all the buildings, which helps to tie the scene together.

As always comments and crits are welcome, so please fire away, since we have been looking at these images way too long now ;)

Cheers everyone,


08 August 2009, 09:24 AM
I think it looks really good. It has a hellovalot more details than what I'm doing :)

08 August 2009, 02:02 PM
Hi Darknon,

Thanks for the feedback! When we started this project we made a very conscious decision to try and tell a story in a single carefully composed shot. That way we knew we could invest loads of time in creating a completely chaotic scene, that worked for a simple camera move.

We were actually commenting on the balance that you have achieved. The style of your environment compliments your action nicely, but is still simple enough for you to produce a series of shots without having to panic over an epic environment workload and render time! Nice trick ;)

Looking forward to seeing your next updates.

Take care,


08 August 2009, 02:17 PM
looks awesome, love the environment!

08 August 2009, 11:07 PM
Thanks RayRay :)

Sorry we've been so quiet here over the last week. Everything that could go wrong pretty much did go wrong.

Since Rich and Tim both lecture at The University of Bolton, the plan was to use their render farm, since we don't have enough machines to get this project out within the time limit. Long story short, that fell on its arse, leaving us out of the competition. Luckily, the guys at Render Nation stepped in and saved us, so we've got the project rendered on their farm.

Rich has gone on holiday (if you're reading this Rich, get back on the beach. You lazy useless bastard), so I'm doing the final comp. Something got borked with all our object ID and occlusion passes, and I spent yesterday trying to fix that. I have no idea what caused the problem or how to fix it, but it's made life pretty difficult.

Anyway, here's some wip shots to update you on the progress. The final ones won't look too different to this, but there are some colour correction issues to be addressed, and then hopefully I'll be able to get in a few hours tweaking before the plug goes live.

Environment (you can see the vehicle careering in in the distance)

Vehicle -

08 August 2009, 02:22 PM
The plug will go live on Saturday Morning!
Until then I am NOT looking.

When done Post here:

FXWARS NEO RACE: Post your final Entry! (

08 August 2009, 05:04 PM
H Chris,

Couldnt resist, had to dive on and take a look. I am on holiday with my gf, and if she catches me looking at this I am a dead man. Chris you have nailed that comp! It looks awesome, and the style follows exactly how we hoped it would. Hope all the passes are coming out on time....

Any progress on smoke/afterburn effects/dust and background vehicles? Is that all in the capable hands of Tim?

Cant wait to see the final vid. Weeing myself with excitment....



08 August 2009, 07:46 AM
Hi Rich, we have fallen massively behind schedule thanks to all the mistakes you left us with, but thankfully those are now fixed and we are well on our way to finishing!

Hopefully end of the day we will be posting the final video.... then I'm off to Las vegas for a month to spend every penny I have

08 August 2009, 05:01 PM
Ok here's our final entry. It's really been a lot of hard work and late nights for all of us, so thanks so much to everyone who stopped by here and offered encouragement, and thanks very much to the other competition entrants who have been inpirational in their work and pushed us to get the best animation we could manage in the time limits. Hopefully we'll enter again sometime in the future.

STILL IMAGE (800X600):

NAME: Team 3dFramework


DESCRIPTION: The Terrible Incident of 2010 left earth a barren, sad planet. None of the surivors were left without mutation, and most had mutated to no longer have arms, legs, or torsos. Mankind would, of course, eventually adapt, and evolve into a naturally greener, more caring species - the Tartlefleck, but this process would take many thousands of years.

In the meantime, most sports floundered and eventually died out in this new, nearly limbless world - but motor racing survived, and united the global population. Those who succeeded would be hailed as heroes the world over, and those who failed would be eaten by the hungry masses. Of those who succeeded, there was one man who outshone them all - the barely mutated Lord Henry Hamilton.

In this short animation, we see Hamilton making a crucially timed pit stop, which was the deciding factor in his narrow victory in the 2059 Global Grand Prix.

The production of this piece was done by Chris Bull, Richard Jones, and Tim Ash, with Alison Farmer chipping in with some texture work.
All concept art was by Phil Chin, and the sound effects were done by Peter Nixon. The animation was rendered at Render Nation.

ANIMATION LINK: (Please watch in HD!)

08 August 2009, 08:16 PM
close call. glad you all made it alive. hate casualties and MIAs, does bring a tear to my eye having reached the end of such a suicidal quest, Rehab next.

nice job, I know compromises had to be made with such unrepentant brutality, time scales permitting but overall Iím very happy with the result. spiffing good show! as Henry him self would say.

first time I seen this with sound effects too, great stuff. is that a Scottish accent? glad that the Scots survive the dreaded apocalyptic fate that awaits us all.

Finding my self pausing the anim to study your fine details and finishes, and ever so glossy rust effects. Hope people catch the cigar/pipe change just before he floors it.

Best wish and congrats and a well earned rest to you all

Philip Chin

08 August 2009, 02:47 PM
awesom worck five stars (


08 August 2009, 09:41 PM
toufik - thanks very much! Went spent a lot of hours on this, so it means a lot for you to take the time to leave a comment here.

Phil - Good to see you signed up to CGtalk! You really should get posting some more of your work about the place. I'm really glad you like the finished result. It's all over so fast I know, but I really want to get Baz the Pit Droid back in there sometime soon. I very much doubt anyone will notice the pipe first time around. I'm not even sure that many people will get the main joke first time round, will be interesting to see how people respond to it. Anyway, see you next week mate.



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