Space Pirate Harlock Trailer

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Old 07 July 2013   #46
Originally Posted by hgagne: Thanks for posting; seems very promising ... own the complete DVD (French) version of Albator78.

... guess it was a matter of time for Captain Harlock to come to the big screen in CG.



I must admit the lighting choices, costume design for Harlock represent a high point in Japanese CG animation. It is still very Japanese. But at the same time, they've managed to give Harlock a Batman-like demeanor and using moody shadows and stuff.

Quite optimistic this is close to the breakthrough Japan is looking for. I'm not sure though if they will find a U.S. distributor. Maybe on BluRay/DVD.

On the technology side, I'm not sure if I should feel something for how Shade 3D seems to have gotten left behind in all this.

In many cases Shade looks the most dated of all 3D applications, even Blender seems far ahead of it in a number of usage cases.
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Old 07 July 2013   #47
@CGIPadawan:

As I'm still somewhat new to the various nuances and tools in the CG industry, Shade 3D is unknown to me.

I had a look at the Mirye Software website and from what I've read it looks like the product originated in Japan and continues to have a strong presence there. Browsing the site further, I get a sense that they might be looking to leverage some of the Smith Micro (Poser) assets ... and I could even see them introducing some of their Streampunk assets into the mix.

I find the "sneek peeks" somewhat dark making it difficult to assess much of the detail; hopefully it isn't an indication of the final product. It's often unfortunate to see great scenes/work hidden under too much shadow or busyness in an attempt to camouflage accelerated post-production work so as to meet the release date.

Cheers,
 
Old 07 July 2013   #48
I've been doing this since the late 80s including working for one of the big 3d software developers. Shade 3d was pretty much off my radar too.
I remember Softimage and later XSI had a strong presence - maybe more so than they had anywhere else.

Shade 3d seems to companion with Poser quite a bit. Maybe there is a stigma with this...

I can't think of any production that I was aware of Shade 3d's involvement... I'm sure I'd be surprised-but they aren't exactly tooting their horn over here in North America (and i suspect Europe as well...) Maybe its in the Poser or Unity circles?...
 
Old 08 August 2013   #49
The above posts are very accurate with regards to how Shade 3D's operating flow and model works.

Japan, as they did when they jumped to making doe-eyed humans when Disney was doing "Bambi", jumped straight to trying to make realistic human actors when most of the CG world was still marveling at Pixar's Toy Story and other stuff with talking and singing animals.

The big thing in Japan was all those "Final Fantasy" CG cut scenes that took up space on your Playstation CD ROM games. I can't be sure, but I do believe (due to nuances in the actor quality and shaders) that almost all of this work was with Shade 3D (a native Japan CG application).

The big booster was its integration with Poser/DAZ so the Japanese could create actors very quickly in the style they wanted. I think if you consider the time frame in the mid to late 90's in which Japan and the West were developing CG.... Japan's cut scene work usually had a scale that was very difficult to do if you modeled all human actors from scratch.

So that was how they were doing it.... with DAZ/Poser insta-actors that were modified, brought into Shade and then rendered out.

The style is very characteristic of the sort of stuff that was coming out of Japan with very non-complex shadows, blown out lighting, All "mid-tones" have same value if same color, etc:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ytFcEBf37g

Even the recent Starship Troopers: Invasion is still in "this style" of output.
But Harlock looks like a world apart, and a little sleuthing reveals that while I cannot confirm if Starships Troopers: Invasion used Shade 3D, I am sure Harlock uses Autodesk.

Of course we know everything is just a tool.... but I guess if you put a good driver in a faster car, the faster car helps.

Softimage did become more popular as the demand for quality shifted. There's new features in Shade all the time, but it seems the push upwards wasn't the same as it was for other applications (Blender included). Any CG house leaving Shade 3D almost certainly would be leaving DAZ and Poser along with it. DAZ and Poser are just not as useful if they cannot export their very good rigs and complex weight-painting to an integrated app like Shade.

Certain effects are just not supported in Shade (last time I checked).
So I think today the biggest houses in Japan (Toei for example) are probably on Autodesk/Softimage, but the smallest ones would still be doing things in Shade 3D/DAZ/Poser since they need to choose speed over quality and can't cope maybe with the more painstaking process of building characters from scratch with paid specialists.
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Last edited by CGIPadawan : 08 August 2013 at 01:31 AM.
 
Old 08 August 2013   #50
Originally Posted by CGIPadawan: The style is very characteristic of the sort of stuff that was coming out of Japan with very non-complex shadows, blown out lighting, All "mid-tones" have same value if same color, etc:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ytFcEBf37g

I always cringe upon seeing this Japanese lighting aesthetic. It's as if the lighting TDs all graduated from the same school, and they all treat lighting as an afterthought after investing the most time on modeling and texturing. I won't argue that I've seen some amazing models with awesome textures in Japanese CG, but the lackluster lighting really puts a damper on their work than enhancing it.

Originally Posted by CGIPadawan: Even the recent Starship Troopers: Invasion is still in "this style" of output.
But Harlock looks like a world apart, and a little sleuthing reveals that while I cannot confirm if Starships Troopers: Invasion used Shade 3D, I am sure Harlock uses Autodesk.

Of course we know everything is just a tool.... but I guess if you put a good driver in a faster car, the faster car helps.

Where's Cresshead? He posted a few screencaps from the Starship Troopers: Invasion BTS extra over on the Luxology forum a year ago: http://forums.luxology.com/topic.aspx?f=4&t=69447 and it looks like they used Softimage XSI for the human characters and Maya for the bugs and starships. But yeah, having a faster car helps.

I'm kind of dying to know the rest of this sentence from one of the BTS screencaps, "The foreign actors had much more facial.." Facial what? Can't be facial hair because we're looking at a female character onscreen during this sentence, so more facial expression or facial range? It would go a long way towards explaining the facial animation in Harlock. Time to hunt down a rental copy of ST: Invasion, I guess...
 
Old 08 August 2013   #51
I guess facial movement points.

It was kinda better in Starship Troopers compared to previous films.

But Harlock is the real leap forward... I admittedly watched the entirety of the 12 minute preview later... Got REALLY turned off by that really silly cliff-face climbing gag and the improbability that the entire village would just RUN to some mysterious starship without as little as a town meeting where people ask QUESTIONS about it first?

BUT.. Like I said once we get to the main action.. it was actually pretty good.

Easily better than Starship Troopers.
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Old 09 September 2013   #52
Well it seems that James Cameron Loved the flick.


http://io9.com/james-cameron-loves-...harl-1307423255
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Old 09 September 2013   #53
The audience seemed to love Harlock at the 70th Venice Film Festival, where they gave it a 10-minute standing ovation. Of course, Harlock is more popular in Europe than in the United States, so I expected such an audience reaction -- a stark difference from this reaction in Japan: https://twitter.com/matteoboscarol/...5124864/photo/1
Quote: Aramaki & co are placing their bets high. Whereas Appleseed struggled to find audiences abroad outside the regular anime loving community, this time the Japanese director and Toei Animation obviously made a ploy for much bigger crowd. Their aim is clear in many things, like the effort paid to the press booklet. The amount of details it contains, as well as the way it has been written, clearly reads in and between the lines that they want it to become a global hit. A lot has been invested: 250TB of data, 5 years of production time, 100,000,000 created files, 401 years of rendering time (if there was only one computer), 896 servers, a main CGI crew of only 150 persons, 259,803 rendering tasks and so on. Can you still follow?
quote source: http://twitchfilm.com/2013/09/venic...next-level.html

This 4:15 Harlock clip montage appeared on youtube yesterday. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I99ImR2FIUU

The first 43 seconds feature motion capture clips where you can see the difference between the raw footage and the massaged animation. The rest of the video might be spoilerific, so some of you might want to stop watching after 43 seconds, but there are some spaceship fleet warping porn in-between the spoiler bits, if that's the sort of thing that catches your interest.

edit: Oh, heh heh heh, this is the same youtube video embedded in the io9 article linked by Roberto. My apologies for being redundant.
 
Old 09 September 2013   #54
Originally Posted by pomru: The audience seemed to love Harlock at the 70th Venice Film Festival, where they gave it a 10-minute standing ovation. Of course, Harlock is more popular in Europe than in the United States, so I expected such an audience reaction -- a stark difference from this reaction in Japan: https://twitter.com/matteoboscarol/...5124864/photo/1
quote source: http://twitchfilm.com/2013/09/venic...next-level.html



A picture may be worth a thousand words... but a chart speaks a few hundred more:

http://www.boxofficemojo.com/intl/j...13&wk=36&p=.htm

Captain Harlock does 1.3 million USD first week alone, but opens in No. 2 behind the 4 week old Miyazaki film The Wind Rises. Then again, it is Miyazaki....

Harlock's first week take already exceeds the 2 week run of Man of Steel. So that's saying something.

There is no other film debuting in Japan (I think) so it should be a clean run for the Captain.

EDIT: THAT has got to be the International Trailer. That trailer is the best one they ever made for this film.

A U.S. release (even if say.. limited and IMAX only) will still help this "movement" a lot. We're only starting to discover what CG animation can do when it's free of "Disney-ism".

So I hope there is more to come. God knows I've thrown my hat into that ring. lol.
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Last edited by CGIPadawan : 09 September 2013 at 11:52 PM.
 
Old 09 September 2013   #55
Originally Posted by RobertoOrtiz: Well it seems that James Cameron Loved the flick.


http://io9.com/james-cameron-loves-...harl-1307423255


Not surprising when you see his early designs for the Sulaco, he has to be a fan of anime starship styling.

That shot of the massive structure at the start of the trailer is breathtaking, the action shot of the ship coming through the fleet of bad guys blasting them from all its cannons is just awesome. There really isn't enough space combat in movies, or emphasis on the sheer beauty of scenes with constructed scale and space itself.
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Old 04 April 2014   #56
I hate digging up old thread, but I literally just finished watching this film and wanted to gush a little bit. :P

On a purely subjective and personal preference level I would easily give this movie an 8.5. It was fun, gorgeous, intelligent, visually stimulating and technologically original (at least as far as what I've experienced). This movie does so many things right that I find it easy to overlook the, admittedly, big flaws it has.

The cinematography alone should be worth the price of admission. There are alot of shots and scenes that really give credence to the term eye-candy. The characters were all immediately recognizable, the set pieces were insanely detailed and well thought out, and the tech was intelligently designed. A few surprise bits that really grabbed me; the laser deflectors, the star weapon thing, even the digitizing of the ships going into hyper drive. Alot of very cool moments.

And the man himself, Harlock, did he ever not look like a badass?! His glares, the slow pans, the stylish poses. Too good.

With all that being said however, I do have to mention the flaws, as, like I said, they are quite big. For starters, the story is just a mess. Don't get me wrong, there was a definite beginning, middle and end, but the plot delivery was jumbled and haphazardly executed. And, lets be honest, the plot basically existed to take us from one cool scene to the next.

The second big flaw of the film was the animation. Between big set pieces and epic space battles the character movements were anything but subtle. Unless someone was glaring ominously, or screaming in rage, there wasn't much going on in the face. I feel like subtly is, in large part, a theme lacking in alot of Japanese animation. Alot of anime and television shows exist in extremes. They are super happy, or super angry, or super upset. Nothing is ever done in increments, and this is something I really wish their animation industry as a whole would improve on.

A film like Harlock proves that Japan can hang with the best of em, at least visually and stylistically. But developing a film like this is also a test in subtly. The CG medium lends itself to smaller details, and I would love to see Japan take on that aspect.

...

Hmm, I seem to be rambling now. :P

Anyhow, if you can get over a messy story and a huge lack of subtlety, then do not miss this film. In fact, even if those things bother you I would still urge you to see this flick; it does so much right, that I really think you'd be doing yourself a disservice by not experiencing it.

Cheers!
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Old 04 April 2014   #57
Michael, what you've pointed out... the haphazard plot, the totally immovable faces, lack of subtlety. These are "Japan things".

I agree these things tend to pull their work down. But if you've seen some of the J-drama live action shows, they have the same issue - including the "cool glaring/staring" that goes on with "the cool guy" (usually complete with a flock-of-seagulls hairdo and popped collar), which in this case is Harlock himself.

That said, you do point out the technical leap... which is a majority of what we talked about before your post (since none of us anticipate the Japanese studios will suddenly gain the storytelling style of a Brian De Palma or a Francis Ford Copolla). They have their own thing... and I think it's just part of their output now.

You are right. This film proves Japan can do it... After years of really plastic looking stuff that seemed trapped in the Playstation One era of the 1990's.... Finally they are making stuff that looks detailed, moody, and generally cool again.

But the story is still convoluted.... :P
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Old 04 April 2014   #58
I enjoyed the film. This and films like advent children are my favorite full cg films at the moment. The level of stylization is perfect and the Japanese seem to be able to pull this off. It's almost as if 3d suits their work, where I know they work to achieve the result which is the other way around.

I liked the Harlock character the least because he looked like the ladies except without bumps I think though that his design (along with the other 2 main male characters) is very much what Japanese and 'fans of the genre' expect. So I cant fault the makers there.

I thought the story flowed pretty well but I must admit I was having so much fun with the eye candy I just oohed and aahed my way through to the end. I have always found Japanese productions to have a kind of soap opera quality. Right from the days of the old Samurai tv series I grew up on as a kid. Its like a bit of knife fighting, and then quite a bit of Days of Our Lives, then a few more knives, then back again. I find the style very relaxing. No matter the setting the core always shines through. You can argue that this is the same with every film or play that has ever been made, but with Japanese versions it seems more pronounced somehow. Its hard to describe. Perhaps the acting is also stylized, or the story telling, or both.

Anyhow its a film I would watch twice for sure.
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Old 04 April 2014   #59
I think in general Japanese people are just more "out and out".

I've worked with a few... and even in normal situations they seem "maxed out".

If you ask them to make something small.. they make it REALLY small. If you ask them to make it big... they make something HUGE. And if you want it accurate, they will chase it to the thousandths.

I think it's just how they are.
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Old 04 April 2014   #60
Ha ha, yeah my mileage was different. I worked with them in Tokyo and couldnt get a thing done Was a long time ago though.
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