Final Year Short : Skyfall

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  06 June 2006
Final Year Short : Skyfall

Hey guys, I've recently finally finished work on my major project at Bournemouth and so far the response has been pretty positive so I thought I'd put it up here.

Name: Skyfall

Software: Maya, Novodex (Nima), Shake, Photoshop, Rendered in Maya Software/Mental Ray

Description: A 3 minute animated narrative short viewed through first person seeing the effect and aftermath of an apocalyptic event. The main emphasis of the piece is on atmospheric and powerful visuals. The idea is inspired by and uses an existing piece of music called "The Dead Flag Blues" by Godspeed you black emperor!.

The amount of time spent on this project is quite hard to measure due to having 2 other projects and 2 exams running simultaneously but I'd say the vast majority of the work on this was done over a 3 month period. It's an entirely solo project.

38.2mb Mpeg4 dowload:
Mirror 1
Mirror 2
Mirror 3
Mirror 4

Thanks for the mirrors guys!

I've had a few problems finding a decent compression solution but the above is pretty much the best I could do, however it does feel like there's some framerate issues but hopefully it isn't too much of a problem.

If anyone has any comments, suggestions or questions then please let me know, I'm eager to see what people think.

edit: If anyone is interested I've uploaded a small making of video

14mb quicktime:
Download here

Also if you want to take a look at my project report I've uploaded that too, I can't guarantee it's interesting though:

3mb PDF download

Last edited by MattBirkett-Smith : 06 June 2006 at 06:07 PM.
  06 June 2006
I really love your animation Matt, it is one of the best animations to come out of the NCCA yet. You've really done the song justice with a piece that fits the mood well. Of course, the visuals are truly exceptional as well.

Last edited by davidstop : 06 June 2006 at 05:37 PM.
  06 June 2006
Loved your animation and visual effects. Music and storytelling helped alot to get in the mood. REALLY NICE WORK!
Im new to this wonderful world of art, and Im willing to learn!
  06 June 2006
Hi Matt,

Wow, that was a very impressive short. I love it! Nice dark ambience and the whole going-backwards passage is great. The music works very well too. I'm a filmcomposer myself so if you ever need any original scoring done with something like this I'd be happy to help. You can check my site for music demos if you're interested:

Siddhartha Barnhoorn
(composer for film, tv and media)

  06 June 2006
Really impressive piece. i love the structure and amazing mood.
  06 June 2006

WOW.. nice work. Really love the whole look and feel of the piece. I tried to do the same with my final animation of my degree, concentrate on on the look/colours/comp/feel. Reminded me of the film 'avalon' and also 'a very long engagement', with the colour grading and punched out blacks and whites.

Did you use real camera motion for the movement, as its very realistic... which is quite hard to get looking rite with just random noise or hand keyed animation.

What kind of a job are you looking to get into now that you've finished uni?

Really good work!

-Who is General Failure and why is he reading my hard disk?
  06 June 2006
thanks for all the encouraging comments so far , it makes all those long hours feel worth it. This piece isn't as "finished" as I had originally planned (the ending featuring a secondary character got cut) and I'm aware of many flaws but I've reached a point where I have to declare it done and let it go.

Sid: Thanks very much for the offer, I don't know when i'll next have the spare time (and rendering facilities) to produce another short but it's something I'll keep in mind.

Eightgr: Thanks very much for the plug.

Harrod: Yeah, the look and atmosphere was the main focus point for the project, the dynamics just kinda grew out of what I needed for the narrative.

The camera motion was a bit tricky to do but yeah there's no way I could have done all that by hand or with procedural noise. For the opening section it's all taken from actual hand held camera footage which I then tracked to isolate the camera movement. I tried doing the same for the blast sequence but it proved to hard to get a proper track with all the motion blur going on. I tried handkeying but it would have taken me ages, in the end I was lucky that my uni has a Mocap studio, recording the motion took around 30 mins and the data I got out of the end was pretty clean.
At some point I intend to make a short making of video for download just showing stuff like pass breakdowns and how I went about doing things, the camera stuff will probably be included in that.

Jobwise I don't know yet, I'm pretty much a generalist and I'm having trouble choosing to commit to one thing, I also have a love for character modelling which doesn't come across in this piece . I'm going to have a fish around at our degree show and then see what opportunities present themselves.

One last thing, I've just chewed through a lot of bandwidth in a very short amount of time... if anyone knows of somewhere good for mirrors it would be greatly appreciated!
  06 June 2006
Hi matt, I love the short. (I always like the type of apocalyptic story)

I thought it is very impressive, considering its a 1-man job and you are still in uni, especially the part where the buildings are collapsing. Maybe you could share a little bit on how you did this part. Did you use any plugin to break the models? For the dynamics i see that you use nima, why do you think you need to use it instead of the maya built-in hard dynamics?

  06 June 2006
Very impressive work. You really created a somber and dark atmosphere in this piece. Could you give a little information on how you created the collapsing buildings?
I will never be a fan of any kind of political correctness: I think it's instant death to creativity." - Mads Mikkelsen
  06 June 2006
FANTASTIC work mate! Had a hard time believing it was all cg!
  06 June 2006
Very inspiring piece. I love it. The colors are incredible.
Toyota Supra
  06 June 2006

awesome work.
  06 June 2006
absolutely awe inspiring work, Visually and emotionally.

It was a surreal experience watching this film.

I like the overall message of the film too. It could be many things that happened, Like meteor impact or nuclear explosion, I like how it wasnt too specific, and the viewer could draw many conclusions. Because of this "open-ended-ness" it doesnt get too preachy or political. It does universally make the point that everything can and in a second and you should enjoy your time here while we are alive. I dont know if that was your message, but whatever it was, it was really well done, none the less.
"non-photo blue, my ASS!"
  06 June 2006
what a great piece!
  06 June 2006
A very powerful piece. Amazing for a solo piece as well. Great job. 5 stars.

Could you tell us about some of the challenges you had to overcome? Some techniques you used?
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