Devils, Angels & Dating - CG Short

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Old 04 April 2010   #62
Podcast Episode 10 is out... the usual links or you can go here:
or here:

Soft Distortion and I talk about collaborative film-making over the internet, and I take the opportunity to give a status update on Devils Angels and Dating.
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Old 05 May 2010   #63
Dan Lauer made the team a GUI for picking the character controls.
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Old 05 May 2010   #64
Our latest animatic with lots of new animation. We're now 25% through the animation phase and eager to hear from other talented animators.
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Old 05 May 2010   #65
We've all been busy animating... with about 29% of the film through animation now. Here's our latest edit updates for the teaser trailer and a clean version of the full film.

We're on the approach to rendering the teaser trailer so we're looking to get some of the effects worked out. If anyone would be interested in helping with a robust and repeatable beam effect check this out:

We recently completed our application for a grant... fingers crossed!
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Old 06 June 2010   #66
We've been doing incredibly well for an online team with no budget. I can't stress how impressive it is, and I'm in a huge debt to such an amazing community of artists persisting to perfect their craft.

We're now 30% through the animation process, which only started animating back in January this year. You'd expect the first few months to have teething troubles while we worked out the kinks in the pipeline and the rigs, but we've moved into a decent routine pretty quickly and the process is very stable now. I've talked to a lot of other short film directors and they've all stressed how hard it was to get animators, so what we've achieved here is very unique.

We're on the approach to getting the teaser trailer done. Most of the animation is done with just a few shots still in progress. I'll be spending the next month picking up the scraps and helping with the lighting and rendering setup. Then we can expect a large chunk of rendering and compositing time. If we have any team members with strong Maya Mental Ray experience we'd love to hear from you to assist. Hopefully we'll have it all done in time for Siggraph in LA, which I'll also be attending. Here's the latest Teaser Trailer edit:

If you know any Austin, Texas based generalists with strong Maya skills please send them our way as we can certainly use the extra on-site help over the next couple of months to get the teaser trailer done, while we're juggling the rest of the production.

The latest full film animatic is here:

Thanks to everyone that's made the project what it is today!
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Old 06 June 2010   #67
New music, animation, and lots more... our latest animatic updates:
Teaser Trailer:
Full Film:
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Old 06 June 2010   #68
[img]*1ToUyzZ1ojJITbG8KUGK8vfaqMaJsZy7nSJWB9HT9HvkGeT -r-rxwC0jZSNt2/Death_Test_Render.jpeg[/img]Rendering is about to start!
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Old 06 June 2010   #69
Looking good.
Old 07 July 2010   #70

Continuing to develop the rendering pipeline, this is a work in progress. I was hoping to have included the better lit scythe and motion blur but had some obstacles so this is what I have so far. She doesn't have Ambient Occlusion here but we're considering using that. I need to learn more about how to set it up. The God rays seem rather lifeless and I'm wondering if simply animating a rotation down the length of the beam could be enough to give it some life. The particles are only in the background here as I've not setup a mask to allow them to appear in the foreground yet. I've still not solved the reason for the clouds not rendering in batch rendering mode, but after recreating the entire cloud scene from scratch... I realized I could just import the reference to solve that problem temporarily.

The HD video can be viewed here:
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Old 07 July 2010   #71
Hi Michael.
Nice update!

Curious, what kind of render times are you guys seeing per frame. What res you rendering?

...animating the rays would add a lot imo. Light motion all round would probably add to the life as well...some spill off the rays dancing on the main character/chair?

Either way, you guys doing some amazing collab work all round.
Old 07 July 2010   #72
Thanks SD

We're still going through the growing pains of working out the rendering pipeline but we've got some good people working on things. We're still interested in hearing from anyone else that wants to get involved though.

We're aiming for 1280 x 720 at 24fps, and so far those frames were taking about 4 minutes each once you add up all the layers. We'll be optimizing things as we go along though and trying to speed up the comp stage too per shot.

I'll try animating the rays and working on the overall grade before this shot is done.

Thanks again for the support SD.
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Old 07 July 2010   #73
Time for an update. We've been starting to render shots, working out the render pipeline with the goal of rendering as much of the teaser trailer shots as possible over the next few weeks. The first shot we chose was a nice close-up of Death to keep things simple and you can check that out here:

While that's going through some final stages of refinement and grading we're turning our attention to a Devil shot that's a bit wider. With the help of the team we should have most shot types planned out and ready to setup for lighting and rendering in the next week or two at which point we can probably take on a few talented lighters to help us out.

Stoyan has been working away on the score and gave us a full first pass of the score for the entire timeline, so we're no longer using any temp tracks. You can hear it in the latest animatic that went up today:

Danielle and Alex have both been busy painting to help us define the colour script for the film. We also compiled a single image with a large number of those paintings so that we could refine the overall vision.

Iskander and I tidied up the last few niggling issues with our rigs recently including fixes for Cupid's eyelids and his holster chest strap, as well as making the neck control more accessible on all the characters. Dan made us a GUI picker for each character a while ago too which many animators prefer to use.

There's been a lot of behind the scenes asset shader updating which we should start to see in the renders over the coming weeks. We can thank Kurt for his help in that area... it's not glamorous work but somebody has to do it and deserves a great deal of praise for his help in a lot of the rendering pipeline plan.

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Old 07 July 2010   #74
At this point it's pretty clear we won't have a fully animated and fully rendered teaser trailer before Siggraph as we'd hoped. It's not the end of the world but it is a sign that, as I've pointed out before, you just can't really set a deadline for a team of volunteer collaborators spread over the internet. Better to let people work at their own pace and manage the work across the project as things lose pace in certain areas. You can see where the state of the teaser trailer is in this snapshot of the tracker.

We were lucky that we had so many shots in progress as it meant that as the shot's I'd planned to put in the teaser slowed down or stopped it was possible for me to choose different shots to replace them, which reduced our Animation dependencies down to only a few animators. But even those animators got side-tracked and we don't have 100% of the animation done. But we did rather well regardless, and as the pace picks up again after Siggraph we should have enough animation for the teaser soon.

I underestimated how many people we'd lose as we moved into the northern hemisphere's summer and on the approach to probably animation's biggest calendar event of the year, Siggraph. It's understandable that (I'm guessing) there are a lot of team members preparing portfolios. I'm just hoping we get most of that talent back again in August. But I'll redouble my efforts to find new talent anyway just in case we don't.

Rendering has been our biggest issue though. In order to really crack the surface we needed the assets, textures, shaders and light rig done months ago. I pushed for it but it turned into a bottleneck. Even now we don't have every last issue ironed out, so even if we wanted to render everything it wouldn't be final. So that's an area I'll have to keep pushing.

Beyond prep for rendering, the actual render setups have been making progress. Or at least the ideas behind the plan. I've been learning a lot, perhaps more than I'd planned! But it's all worthwhile and the more I know the better the plan we have in place and the faster we resolve issues.

Rendering became the highest priority on the approach to the show so I threw myself in. Essentially the deadline forced us (as a team) to redirect our efforts and there's been a lot of progress made even if we didn't meet our end goals. But the downside is that since I've taken my eye off other areas things have slowed down in departments that were working. I stopped animating, many other animators starting getting less in depth feedback from me, etc... and animation suffered. We also received a full musical score that I've been unable to spend any time providing feedback for... and that's criminal considering how important the score is! So I'll be changing gear, letting rendering go back into the hands of the experts to some degree and refocusing on animation.

Here's a peek at a couple of the work in progress renders that should help kick start the rendering side of the pipeline.

I'd like to thank those team members that have put in the hours or simply been here to support the rest of us. It really makes a difference and I know who the super heroes are. It won't be forgotten!

As a little perk we're hoping to have some of what we have screened at the Austin Siggraph Chapter event before the main Siggraph show in support of a Texas Animation Festival planned for later in the year.
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Old 07 July 2010   #75

Are you looking for any lighting artists? It seems like you are pretty far along but I figured I'd ask.
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