Dogfight Animatics

As mentioned last week, Sarah and Theresa came over to work on Brad's Jedi costume and our CG Yoda, respectively. A perfect time to take an impromptu, behind-the-scenes picture, right? It seems so simple on the surface, and yet hindsight being 20/20, I now chide myself on being so naive:

I swear, women can sense when a camera is present. It's kind of like how dogs can smell fear or birds can sense an impending earthquake. I don't know how they do it, but the second women sense a camera, they strike a pose. It's one of those natural phenomena I'll never understand...

Anyway, want to know what Theresa worked on? Separating Yoda's teeth!

Unless you've worked on digital models, you can never understand or appreciate how tedious and complicated it is. Digital artists work on the tiniest details -- things the audience will NEVER notice -- but only because if those tiniest details were omitted, the audience WILL notice. They might not be able to put their finger on it and identify what's wrong, but they can just sense that something's not quite right.

In this case, Theresa had to separate Yoda's teeth because only having an "upper" and "lower" row of teeth gave him a "clenched jaw" look when he's talking.

On the CG-side, I added 2 new animatics to the dogfight. Here's Scene D209d, along with "Star Wars" reference pictures:

In the picture above, Brad's Jedi Starfighter zooms towards the camera, climbing as it flies right past the camera:

Of course, a TIE Defender follows in pursuit, shooting at him. We (and by "we" I mean "Brad") will rotoscope the laser bolts later. :)

The camera whip-pans to the right as the TIE Defender zooms past:

And we see Brad's Jedi Starfighter zooming off into the distance with the TIE Defender right on his tail:

(Brad's Jedi Starfighter is hidden behind the TIE Defender in the picture, above.) Here's a better shot about 1 second later:

I'll probably add a Star Destroyer to our shot, not only because it matches the "Revenge of the Sith" reference picture better (and thus looks cooler), but also because the Star Destroyer probably should be in this shot.

Here's the 2nd dogfight animatic, Scene D209f:

This shot is pretty self-explanatory. A single TIE Defender zooms past the camera, shooting at Brad's Jedi Starfighter.

Again, Brad will rotoscope the laser bolts later.

The last thing I worked on last week was adding some light to our "Venator" Star Destroyer bridge. Here are before-and-after pictures:

If you look carefully, you'll notice that I added more light on the right so that we can see that window better. Again, it's such a tiny detail that you can barely tell, but it's those tiny details that matter.

We're supposed to shoot Sarah's dad as "Imperial Officer" tomorrow night. I can't wait, because I've been waiting to shoot the Imperial Officer footage for a long time. It will be nice to replace our static animatic with live footage. However, Sarah's sick (again) so we may or may not be able to shoot her dad tomorrow.

And in case you were wondering, no, a "monkey poo" fight is NOT responsible for her illness this time. The kid she nannies sneezed right in her face (not unlike the scene in "Jurassic Park" when the Brachiosaurus sneezed on Lex). Is it wrong that I get a huge smile every time I think of a huge blast of nose boogies being spewn all over Sarah's face? Man, what I would pay for a video of that wonderful moment... :D

Fortunately, we have 2 nights of shooting scheduled this week, so whether or not we shoot Sarah's dad, we should still be able to shoot Stormtrooper or Darth Vader footage on Thursday. Next week's blog entry should contain some cool before-and-after shots.


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