View Full Version : B-Movie Entry: Nicolas Longchamps

01 January 2010, 03:05 AM
Nicolas Longchamps is entered in the "B-Movie" update: View Challenge Page (

Latest Update: Work In Progress: Rigging Test (

01 January 2010, 04:03 AM
First time joining a challenge. I know in advanced i'll be short on time so i'll aim for something i know (hope!) can be done with my schedule. I've already set up my Google Calendar to plan my time. But this will make a nice change from what i've been doing at work recently (mostly technical work).

This is really an awesome subject! I cant wait to see all the entries develop, this is going to be fun! Looking for some inspiration now. Lots of movie watching is in order for the next little while. There's actually a lot of movies available on

B-Movie up for tonight will be the classic gore-fest Story of Ricky (link) ( :)

Have fun everyone!

01 January 2010, 02:32 AM (

After brainstorming with a big list of keywords, here is a really rough sketch depicting the main theme for my entry;

Attack of the Giant Mutant Electro Squid!

Ill make a better sketch later, for silhouette study and model sheets of course. This was to just put down the idea.

01 January 2010, 03:14 AM
Ill be rendering in 640x360 16:9. That should shave a bit of time off rendering.

I've been studying imagery from classic sci-fi too. Id like to try to mimic the subtle film look of that era. At first i thought i would work in black and white, but im not sure that will necessarily cut production time. And black and white has its own challenges, if i compare to photography. The special FX will come out nicer in color too.
So i'm aiming for a 50's era sci-fi look: Slightly-off colors, slightly grainy... ill have to find a recipe.

01 January 2010, 06:14 AM (

Monster head design
A quick sculpt to use a base for retopology in 3D.

01 January 2010, 11:31 PM
Watching some more reference while working.

This time its was "Killer from Space" (1954)
(google video link)
Wow! That was a BAD movie! So a good reference i guess :)

I found "Invaders from Mars (!" (1953)
This is the color and image style id like to try and use. Ive seen this movie before though i think. Im pretty sure it was remade in the 80s. The original version's beginning with the psycho husband is pretty funny though.

Tonight ill be watching "Mole People (" (1956)
With a title like that i cant go wrong! ;)

01 January 2010, 05:17 AM
Looks great Nicolas. l love the look of your creature and the electrical shocks. :)

01 January 2010, 04:49 PM
Thanks Lorne!

I've since done other drawings, but i cant seem to reproduce the same "dumb" look the monster has in that quick sketch. I want to try and capture that in the final model.

I find thats the real challenge to this event, making well made & good looking "believably sub-par" material... don't know how to explain it.... "good bad" VFX. :shrug:

There was a VFX challenge a little while back called "Tesla", and i had played around with lightning bolt recipes for that event. I never submitted anything but the RnD will be useful now!

I have to completely review my storyboard. Once i started putting the shots together in a 2d animatic for shot timing i quickly realized it was far beyond 90sec and way too ambitious. Got to keep the time to something reasonable. I made some quick calculations;

90sec @ 30fps = 2700 frames
2700 frames @ average 2min per frames (including all passes for that frame) = 5400 minutes
5400min / 60min =

90 hours (3.75 days) of solid non-stop rendering, not including retakes or compositing.
double that if i average 4min per frame.

Im having trouble finding time to work on this, but its coming along. :D

01 January 2010, 03:10 AM (

Trying out a stylization test for human character(s).

01 January 2010, 04:34 AM (

concept idea for human character(s) look.

01 January 2010, 04:36 AM (

Couldnt help myself from surfacing the teeth.

02 February 2010, 05:43 AM (

Finally finishing up the Sabre, a 50's era fighter jet. Not sure if i'll need to model the interior.

02 February 2010, 08:44 AM
Hey Nicolas ,
The creature is looking awesooommmeee Man.:beer:
Loved it. looks like an interesting concept.

02 February 2010, 02:53 AM (

Software: Blender,XSI

Setting up an FX Rig for the monster's electric bolt effect. The monster here is missing it's tentacles, not yet modeled since i havent decided on an animation system for them.

Play Video >> (

02 February 2010, 03:06 AM
Video upload was also to test out 640x360 @ 24fps in FLV format. Seems to work fine so i'll be using that then.

Little To-Do list;
- Refactor storyboard for more realistic time constraints.
- Figure out tentacle animation system. Ideally id like it if i could rig some suction on the cups but we'll see.
- Finish monster modeling
- Move on! I tend to get stuck on little details. Gonna work on that. :arteest:

02 February 2010, 07:03 AM
The bolt test looks very convincing. Can you tell me what part of it you make with Blender and XSI?

02 February 2010, 05:22 PM
The bolt test looks very convincing. Can you tell me what part of it you make with Blender and XSI?

What you see in the video is XSI. The bolt uses ICE alot for various functions. The main idea is a source position, a target position, and 2 tangent controllers to animate the base curve. So animating the effect is very easy and fast.
The base curve drives the FX curve, which has many more points on it. The fx curve is deformed by turbulence via ICE; one high pass and one low pass. And this deformation is modulated along the base curve's length so as the start and end points dont divert from the start/end positions.
A circle is extruded along the FX Curve and this extrusion is animated to create the final bolt mesh that jumps from point a to point b.
I also use a point cloud to instance lights along the fx curve, at every 0.1 U positions. And the sparks are spawned at the end position, with the orange null giving the burst direction.

Blender i use for sculpting base volumes, concept modeling, etc. Sometimes i retopo a bit in Blender too; you can extrude vertices which makes drawing edge loops fast in retopo mode. I use it to unfold some UVs, to sculpt surface detail, which i bake to normal/displacement/bump map.

02 February 2010, 06:14 PM
Cool Process. I only use Blender & Cinema 4D so I was just wondering what parts of it were done in Blender. Thanks. :)

02 February 2010, 04:59 AM (

Working out scaling, blocking out environment etc.

Human model is not mine, just using it as stand-in for scale. Its a free base mesh by Jonathan Williamson you can find here;

Ill replace with my own character mesh eventually.

02 February 2010, 07:15 AM
Everything is looking pretty cool man. I like your monster. Keep going this would be an interesting challenge.

02 February 2010, 05:33 PM (

After trying several methods for fully geometric tentacles and suckers, i've settled on mapped detail instead for ease of rigging / surfacing / animation etc.

Normal mapping for high quality, fast rendering bump and displacement mapping for closeups.

Combining the two gives a great result where fine details can be resolved by normal bump so i dont have to push displacement tesselation to crazy numbers.
Normal Mapping also nicely accentuates the displacement, and for farther shots i can turn off displacement entirely.

The displacement map is grey to support bidirectional displacement.

02 February 2010, 06:55 AM (

Working on Normal / Displacement mapping. Coloring will be pretty simple.

02 February 2010, 02:12 PM
he's looking great so far, and i love the angelfish-meets-squid concept :)

i think maybe his suckers on the tenticles feel a little .. perfect? or symmerical? or perhaps it's that they're very confined to a single strip ... it could help maybe allow them to have a little more varied distribution? still, all depends on the shots etc and the overall style.

keep it coming!

02 February 2010, 02:49 AM
Thanks Wil
Yeah i caught that too. I dont think its symmetry; i looked at some reference for suckers and they tend to be very symmetrical in nature. I think its the density of local detail that throws off the rest of the model. There may just be too many, i dont know. Maybe its just the neutral pose that makes it look unnatural. I might revisit it but Ive spent too much time on this already.

02 February 2010, 06:24 PM (

Software: XSI

Small update. Its been crunch time at work so i havent really been working a lot on B Movie... Storyboards coming soon.

02 February 2010, 06:53 PM
Love the concept and the monster is looking great, however I agree about the suction cups being too perfect. If you have time you should add some randomness to the different tentacles.

03 March 2010, 06:55 AM
Very interesting monster.
The rendering is awesome.

03 March 2010, 06:53 AM
render looks great, what sort of treatment did you use for it? :)

like the dof

03 March 2010, 05:13 PM
Thanks for the encouragement guys. I havnt had a lot of time for this lately. I tried working last night but almost fell asleep on my keyboard :shrug:

No pics, but by popular request: tentacle suckers were reworked. The new version works much better. Gotta move on now!

The rendering in the last image is nothing special. 1 area light, 1 fill light. Mostly material work and rendered in MR with DOF @ 8 samples.
In post, I use the equivalent of gradient mapping to color correct the image. I bloomed the highlights, did a really cheap diffraction effect and added the lure glow.

03 March 2010, 05:44 AM (

new suckers. Displacement map added and other details.

03 March 2010, 07:30 AM
Details of the fish is real good i wondered the render time for that. If i make this in my machine with the basic methods it would be about 10 minutes i think :)... After you finish and win the challenge, can you make a tutorial for ameteurs like me, pleasee...:)
Good work, hope to see story developing...

03 March 2010, 05:59 AM (

Software: XSI

Ive had almost no time lately unfortunately. Work has been intensifying at the office with E3 coming up fast. My goal in this contest was to participate and submit a finished work. I might have to downgrade that to paticipate.

Excuses, excuses...

Nevertheless, heres a rigging test. Took me a couple tries to get a good yet not too complex system for the tentacles. The bones are driven by a curve, which itself is driven by control points. But the curve can also be animated procedurally, such as in this video. This helps to add constant movement without adding animation work.

Play Video >> (

03 March 2010, 06:17 AM
Details of the fish is real good i wondered the render time for that. If i make this in my machine with the basic methods it would be about 10 minutes i think :)... After you finish and win the challenge, can you make a tutorial for ameteurs like me, pleasee...:)
Good work, hope to see story developing...

Thanks chino!
Render time really isnt that bad. Less than one minute. I like to keep thing efficient.

Bump details are normal mapped. When you get used to working with normal maps and understand how to use them, I find they give better results and render faster than traditional scalar bump.
Theres displacement mapping but it can be disabled for farther shots where it is unnecessary.

I can make tutorials sure, but you'll have to be more specific on what you want to learn :)

CGTalk Moderation
03 March 2010, 06:17 AM
This thread has been automatically closed as it remained inactive for 12 months. If you wish to continue the discussion, please create a new thread in the appropriate forum.