View Full Version : B-Movie Entry: wil manning

01 January 2010, 02:47 PM
wil manning is entered in the "B-Movie" update: View Challenge Page (

Latest Update: Work In Progress: scene one first animation pass (

01 January 2010, 02:58 PM
After visiting Japan this year (and going to Ghibli museum) my girlfriends extra in love with cute, weird little characters. So I was thinking of doing an exploitation era B movie trailer but executed with vinyl toys :)

The idea hit home while I was trying to demonstrate my enthusiasm for the B movie genre by re-enacting Godzilla with a carton of coffee chill (iced coffee drink) and my mobile phone, complete with impersonations.

01 January 2010, 03:01 PM
So I started off by thinking about setting the entire film inside a fridge or a kitchen, with all the characters being based on food stuffs, but I've sort of moved away from this idea now and I'm thinking that I'll just make it take place in any locations but the scale will still be to the size of my little characters.

I did some sketches of some food and appliance characters yesterday and scanned and roughly coloured a couple this afternoon. I'll post them below.

Big inspirations right now are vinyl toys, the wrigleys extra commercials, and Miyazaki's strange assortment of characters.

01 January 2010, 03:09 PM
A couple of ideas I've had about the plot and general B-ness of things:

Remake the trailer from Shogun Assassin but entirely with my cute little characters,
Do something more modern since the asian theme of shogun assassin might not translate well to the vinyl toy look,
Take a B movie I like and do a 90s speed run of the show, condensing it down to the most basic plot points.
Whichever I do I think it'll help me to have a good structure around which to add some real character to my little guys. Making them fun and awesome will make the film work.

Finally I've been considering doing the characters on live action plates. Tempting thought and reminds me of the Wringleys extra commercials ( which I think are really awesome.

01 January 2010, 03:17 PM (

Some early character thoughts. I was watching Shogun Assassin at the time so there's some asian B movie madness creeping into some of them.

01 January 2010, 05:48 AM
Settled on a theme so I can move on.

The little vinyl creatures are remaking classic B movies. They are dressing up the bigger ones in monster costumes, creating little paper cut-out cities to stomp, using cheesy special effects, and in general bumbling around while making their little films.

Here's some concepts for the various movies and costumes:

01 January 2010, 05:50 AM

more concepts for creatures and costumes. i want the props to have a hand-crafted feel.

01 January 2010, 05:58 AM
must make the film full of:

01 January 2010, 08:55 AM
Nice idea - love the characters.

Looking forward to seeing where you take it. Good luck!

01 January 2010, 11:23 AM (

just a quick model of a possible character to test look and feel and begin thinking about the mood.

01 January 2010, 11:13 AM (

WIP of big green creature dressed up in his Godzilla costume

01 January 2010, 12:44 PM
Like the characters too! Good luck :)

01 January 2010, 04:32 PM (

just a quick model of a possible character to test look and feel and begin thinking about the mood.

That looks cool :)

01 January 2010, 12:08 AM
lovely sketches !

01 January 2010, 08:09 AM
@Duncs: Thanks for the vote of confidence :)

@DannyT: Glad you enjoy them, hope I can make them come to life.

@LastEmperor7: heh, yeah i think lighting is one of my main tools in this sort of animation. i want to set each scene up just like a virtual set with cyc and all that to add some wierd authenticity

@Piotrkura: hey thanks, wish i was better :arteest:

01 January 2010, 08:44 AM
I just watched a great youtube video (, the original japanese trailer for Mothra vs. Godzilla.

I love how I can barely understand what's happening and it's so hilarious because of it. Suddenly there's a shot of some character and a close-up of their eyes as they 'get serious' then we cut to two gigantic creatures fighting, then there's a tank catching on fire ... it makes no sense!

And I love it.

I don't want my creatures story to make much sense, except as a reference to precisely this kind of thing. Also some other things I got out of it were more atmosphere shots of the normal people being crushed and running in terror. The music was great too. Wonder how I'll accomplish something like that :P

Oh, here's another great trailer (, this time it's in German and there is a giant robo-zilla built to fight godzilla! Even the title of the movie is cool "Konga, Godzilla, King Kong - Dei brut des teufels"

01 January 2010, 10:47 AM
Looks like we're both going to smash some city ;0
Good luck I'll be watching this

01 January 2010, 11:28 AM
Looks like we're both going to smash some city ;0

hehe, i bet you must be looking forward to smashing up all the cars you've made :)

01 January 2010, 08:33 AM
Great choice for theme! The sketches and characters are really cool - looking forward to see this one develop. Good luck!

01 January 2010, 02:10 AM
love the style, good luck.

01 January 2010, 06:04 AM
fantastic designs.
I can't wait to see this moving!

01 January 2010, 12:45 AM (

This is the 'mad scientist' character who invents a Pink Goo. The PG is bascally an excuse for all wierd mutations (godzilla, king kong) and odd behaviour (zombies, psychic powers).

01 January 2010, 12:56 AM
@Gunilla: glad you also like the theme. i've actually done a lot more development (mostly sketches and storyboards) but need to scan a lot in an post up at some point.

@bstout: thanks, the encouragement helps! :D

@KOryH: thanks for the kind words, means a lot from someone with your ability :) and yeah i'm also looking forward to making them move. i see it in my head, now just have to make it happen in maya...

01 January 2010, 01:05 AM
Haven't had much time so far this week due to moving my office about but i did manage to get 20mins work on the mad scientist character last night.

I've also storyboarded most of the piece but there's more i want to fit in, so i'm trying to shuffle bits around until I reach a happy medium. Fortunately this stripped down style makes assets quick to develop so hopefully I'll be able to have some flexibility (Cursed words for a CG challenge perhaps?).

Apart from character development I really need to get my palette under control for the various scenes. Fortunately there's not much texturing with all the flat colours I'm using so again I've got some room to move on that, which is handy.

Expect over the next few days the following characters:

Generalisimo (plus his two side-kicks and their tank)
Giant Killer Bee
Giant Killer Robot
Damsel in Distress
Punk Assistant to the mad scientist (drinks Pink Goo, becomes first zombie)
Sailor (who melts off his hands in Pink Goo)
More screaming little guys

And I've also got some others planned (King Kong, The Blob - a giant Jello, Psychadelic Mind Controlling Alien) but we'll see how I'm going for time.

02 February 2010, 12:48 AM (

tidied the doctor a bit, added some pink goo, created the punk assistant (who turns into zombie later)

02 February 2010, 09:38 AM (

First half of story boards.

02 February 2010, 06:30 PM (

Character Notes:
Braver leader of the combined allied forces, Generalisimo was tragically killed during a full scale assault on Godzilla.

He was leading his tank battalion at the time.

Production Notes:
Generalissimo will be stunningly characterised by Gerard Butler, who will be in turn characterised by a Potato.

02 February 2010, 08:00 PM
Since these b-movies are made by little creatures with not much in the way of resources, just their imaginations, I've started adding in quite a number of substitute and low-budget props.

For example, Generalisimo above couldn't get a cavalry whip so opted instead for a fly swat.

Oh, and he also has a cigar to munch when he's riding his tank into battle :D

02 February 2010, 02:51 AM (

Environment Notes:
The strange Pink Glue was transported in magnetically sealed bio-hazard containers aboard a modified Hercules cargo transport vehicle.

Unfortunately the tamper proof boxes malfunctioned after exposure to magnetic radiation, primarily from headphone wearing crew member silently rocking out in the corner.

Production Notes:
Crate shown is the Hero, and it's not quite finished. Pink Goo is a little too purple right now and there's some wierd geo problems. Oh, and it took 17mins to render ... oops.

The env. shown is the innards of the cargo plane. Currently working on the lighting and thinking about how to make it more 'b' feeling.

02 February 2010, 05:15 AM
Modelling and FX To Do List

Scene #1 - Cargo Plane Int.

Pilots *2 pilot hats and aviator sunglasses? (could go with the Han/Chewie tribute idea?)
Air Crew #1 with iPod and big headphones
Air Crew #2 with melted hands FX
Simple crates
Pink Goo FX
Scene #2 - Cargo Plane Ext. Night

Silhouette version of plane
Clouds (2D)
Ocean and underwater env.
Scene #3 - City Ext. Day

Multiple simple cut-out buildings
6+ misc. characters
Smoke and fire fx (too look like dodgey sfx)
Godzilla additionals
Scene #4 - Conference Room

Microphone & Podium
Military Aide *2
Boom Microphones
Scene #5 - City Ext. Day

Tanks (2-3 varients, all simple)
Jet planes on strings
Jeep (maybe not?)
Scene #6 - Lab Int.

Lab equipment
Zombie props
Blood FX
Chimp critter
Pink Goo FX
Scene #7 - Lab/City Ext. Day

King Kong

... more things if I get the time.

02 February 2010, 05:55 AM
sick looking toons, do I hear best character award? good luck guys :thumbsup:

02 February 2010, 12:58 PM (

These Cargo Pilots still need some work and I'm not sure if I'll run with the Maverick/Goose gag, or if I do if I'll let it be so un-subtle.

For now it's a bit of fun to help ease the work through :)

02 February 2010, 01:19 PM
Very nice style,and the characters looks great!Best to you guys!:thumbsup:

02 February 2010, 01:54 PM
@KADAMA2 thanks, glad you like the characters :)

@adib thanks, means a lot since i always love watching your cg challenge films evolve, and especially like your characters

Oh, and thought i should mention it is a solo entry, so it's just me here :)

02 February 2010, 11:42 AM
A colleague showed me these shorts by Marc Craste (of the glorious Studio AKA) as my critters reminded him of the characters in these:

Jojo in the Stars (
Pica Towers (

Anyway I've watched them all multiple times now and will probably try get hold of them on DVD since they're definitely worth keeping. I had a massive moment of "Ooooh, that makes sense!" when I saw who they were by as Studio AKA are one of those shops that i always watch out for news on.

Anyway my latest critter has arms and hands very similar to the solution used on some characters in Jojo. I had noticed them before on some vinyl figures and some other characters about the place but this film convinced me they'd look good in motion.

Wheee... time to plow on!

02 February 2010, 01:48 PM (

Aircrewman Peters suffers an unfortunate accident in the first few seconds of the film where his hands melt off.

Thus the big mouth to accommodate all the screaming he'll be doing :)

Aircrewman Peters will be played by Ben Affleck who will in turn be played by an over ripe Tomato.

02 February 2010, 12:24 AM
Really cool style!
Good luck!

02 February 2010, 10:19 AM
very unusual style, but also very cool. its funny how we can simplify everything to just main shapes, and still it looks very alive.

keep up m8

02 February 2010, 10:32 AM
@Thiago-Pires: Thanks!

@borisignjatovic: Yup, only needs a couple of simple lines to evoke emotion from a good artist. I think simple is still difficult. People notice every detail more when you don't have many details, and the focus becomes on all the accompanying bits.

For me the choice in style was because my computer was at the office and my home laptop broke :cry:. Still had time, just not on computer. The other big thing was a change in pace. Doing something very details and realistic at work at the moment so this represents a nice departure from that.

I hope it really does come 'alive'

02 February 2010, 11:02 AM
Really like the style of your characters, very curious to see how you animate, especially their facial expressions. Are you planning on using 3ds max for rigging? Do you make you own GUIs for facial expressions, or do you use morph targets?

02 February 2010, 11:26 AM
@AlBrown: Makes me happy that you like the stylistic approach :)

I want a very simple sort of movement where the critters look like they are being walked by kids, sort of. So they'll waddle from the bottom as if someone's walking them by tapping their feet alternately on the ground. Rig will be pretty cut back for that purpose.

Facial rig will be blend shapes animated through GUI (simple to do and nicer to animate i think). Some characters, like the aircrewman, might have some bones in their mouth. I was also thinking I might use some simple lattice deformer animations to achieve some of the odder stretch/squash effects.

Hardest part of the setup is the mouths as characters are smooth and have a subtle gloss which causes any little imperfections or kinks in the curvature to stick out. This is bad because I want their mouths to go from tiny things lines to massive gapping maws of screaming doom. And I want those big mouths to affect the silhouette. I think doing this without kinks will prove difficult which means I'll need to trouble shoot the geo, eventually leading likely to retopo work for quite a few of the characters.

Still thinking about other ways to do their mouths ... like simple animated displacement maps or something. I doubt that would work though since the inside of the mouth also need colour, spec etc. Might be a bit of a hassle :/

Love to hear suggestions on the Big Mouth Conundrum if anyone has anything to offer,

02 February 2010, 04:14 PM (

Gathering assets, laying out shots and working out what assets I still need to build for the opening sequence.

02 February 2010, 07:53 PM (

feel good, 18 shot setups done tonight complete with basic lighting and a bundle of small props made.

02 February 2010, 07:55 PM
wheee, so tired. almost 4am and have to be back at work (where i am right now) in 4-5 hours. just enough time for a quick nap before powering through a day of sculpting.

but! i got through to the last shot of the opening sequence for shot setups. happy :)

02 February 2010, 02:50 PM
need to do some underwater stuff for the next little montage ... but i'm thinking about doing this with a little 2D montage in AE ... but i think all the characters are done for the next set so i should hopefully be able to post the next set of set-ups in the next few days.

next set includes: Godzilla coming out of the ocean and flattening a city.

set after that (also characters completed) is Punk Zombies eat people, another great b-movie staple.

would love some feedback on the storyboards above, if they make sense etc. haven't posted script yet so would be helpful in seeing if the story works :)

02 February 2010, 08:04 AM (

Software: Maya

Playblast of early animation draft. Scene1, Shot 3 from the storyboards :)

Play Video >> (

02 February 2010, 01:06 PM (

Just under 58s of draft animation, lighting and camera work. Playblasts, with simple cuts, are viewable below.

Still missing 2-3 shots at the front establishing the plane from outside and some dynamics for the burning hands and goo at the end ... which is why the guy runs around like crazy: his hands are burning off.

Still need texturing and some more detail on lots of props, most notably the boxes.

The 'burnt eagle joke' placeholder is for a sort of burnt monogram resembling the Indiana Jones crate containing the ark of the covenant: Just as B-movies tend to rip off their betters, so shall I :)

Play Video >> (

02 February 2010, 01:28 PM
Good stuff mate, the scream at the end is hilarious!

02 February 2010, 12:47 AM
thanks duncs, glad you liked the scream. i hope it will work better when his hands start smoking and melting :D

03 March 2010, 06:52 AM
Starting to think I won't have time to complete the project at this stage. In a literal sense there's still more than enough hours free between here and the deadline but time is definately running out in that much more pertinent motivational sense.

Hopefully I can generate some energy this weekend :)

03 March 2010, 11:33 PM
Characters are pretty cool and they're acting perfect i think....:)
You should definitely complete it...
Best wishes to finish it before the deadline it has to be in the final...

03 March 2010, 05:49 AM
Keep at it!
Can you lower the scope of your project? It seemed to me like you were ahead; with your camera shots in place and base animation down, you were on to finishing and polish.

Im having trouble finding time too. But we have to give whoever will win a run for his money :D

03 March 2010, 09:00 AM

Projects are piling up here too, not leaving much time for fun stuff. Would be a shame not to see this finished though, it's looking great so far and, like Zen said, yours is one of the furthest along.

All the best

03 March 2010, 10:33 PM
Don't give up! There is still more than a month left!
BTW - What are you using for your cloth simulations? 3ds max?
To save you some time, I would totally recommend SimCloth3 ( It is an awesome free plug in for max that runs very fast and accurately. It may be useful if you have simulations left to do.

03 March 2010, 12:07 PM
zen, duncs and abrown, i very very much appreciate the encouragement :)

if i can get past the next two weeks then i might be able to give it another solid push. i also could reduce the scope of the project but i really need to complete the two other scenes in order to solidify the b-movie theme. been a very tough time recently :(

albrown: i'm using nCloth in maya which i'm pretty familiar and happy with but thanks for the suggestion :)

CGTalk Moderation
03 March 2010, 12:07 PM
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.