3/30/09

Improved Animatics

I've been refining our animatics, moving them another step closer closer to final footage.

I added animated streams of traffic to a bunch of the Coruscant scenes. Here's an example:

You can barely see them through the atmospheric haze, but there are now streams of traffic flying through the background. I tried to point a few of them out with the red arrows, but they're still really hard to see in this compressed image. Trust me, they look much cooler as video.

I added a hyperspace background outside Yane's shuttle. Here are before-and-after screenshots:


And here are a few reference photos of the hyperspace effect from "Return of the Jedi" and the Wookieepedia website:

As you can see, our hyperspace effect is close, but not quite final.

Also, you can't tell in the still photos, but our hyperspace tunnel rotates clockwise and moves towards the spaceship. Here's a pair of pictures taken about a half-second apart so that you can see what I'm talking about:


Finally, I fixed one of our Star Destroyer animatics. In the old version, the 3 Star Destroyers moved at exactly the same speed, which looked totally fake. Here are screenshots of the old animatic, one screenshot from the beginning of the scene and one screenshot from the end of the scene:

Here are screenshots from the new animatic:

See how much closer the nearest Star Destroyer is in the 2nd picture, above? You can also see that the leftmost Star Destroyer has moved faster than the furthest Star Destroyer.

Unfortunately, that's all I had time for last week. That hyperspace effect took much longer than you'd think. :(

Later,
Bob

3/23/09

Fire, Smoke, and Yane's Shuttle

Sarah went to the Garment District on Saturday, so hopefully she'll finish Brad's Jedi costume soon and we'll be able to resume filming. I can't wait!

Brad's been working on CG fire. Realistic CG fire and smoke have been a problem for us since Day 1, but it's been too time-consuming for me to figure out, so I left it on the back-burner. Now that Brad's helping me out, he's tackling CG fire and smoke as his 1st task.

Here's what our previous CG fire looked like:
video
Yuck! Not even close to usable, right?

Now take a look at Brad's 1st attempt at CG fire:
video
Wow!
Yes, there are some collision issues (where the fire interacts with the building) and we need to add smoke, but it's still a HUGE improvement over my previous attempt -- and this is only Brad's 1st draft!

Just so you guys can get an idea of what our final CG fire and smoke will look like, here's one of Brad's first tests (from a tutorial) showing CG fire, smoke, and proper interaction with the environment (i.e. the teapot and lid):
video

I spent several hours improving the texture maps on Yane's shuttle. Here are some before-and-after pictures:

This background will be used in close-ups of Katinka when she's talking to Brad.
The original CG model is the interior of an Imperial Shuttle, which is why the original seat is black plastic/vinyl.
To make our shuttle model look more "consumer" and less "military," I made the seat brown fabric. I also added more light to the scene and improved the wall texture maps.

Here's another before-and-after:

The changes are less dramatic in these pictures, but only because the light is so dim. If I made the lights brighter, you'd be able to tell that the cockpit seats are now brown fabric, and I also improved the texture maps on the walls, instrument panel, and table.

Unfortunately, that's all the pictures I have this week. It's kind of depressing how many hours we can spend on something, with very little to show for it picture-wise. However, I'm confident all of our hard work will pay off in our final movie when everything will look so cool that we'll be air-humping for months! ;D

Later,
Bob

3/13/09

The Dogfight Animatic is FINALLY Done!!!

Sorry for the belated blog post. My DSL modem failed a week ago and I didn't get the replacement until today. In the meantime, I only had dial-up access, which is WAY too slow to update this blog!

On the bright side, the dogfight animatic is FINALLY done! Here are the last 2 scenes that I completed last week:

Scene D245:

This 1st screenshot shows the Jedi Starfighter as it speeds away from the pursuing TIE Defenders.
The 2nd picture is the corresponding reference shot from "Star Wars."


In this 2nd screenshot, the Jedi Starfighter gets hit by a laser bolt. We'll add the laser bolt and explosion later.


In this 3rd screenshot, the Jedi Starfighter flies past the camera while the pursuing TIE Defenders (not pictured) continue shooting.

Here's Scene D247:

Right before this scene, we'll have a shot of Brad in the Jedi Starfighter cockpit preparing for hyperspace. This 1st screenshot shows the Jedi Starfighter right before it enters hyperspace.


This 2nd screenshot shows the Jedi Starfighter as it enters hyperspace.
And this, my friends, was the final animatic in our dogfight! (I promised myself I wasn't going to cry... :D )

On a separate note, I think I mentioned previously that Brad was concerned about Mr. Stevens' performance in one of the Imperial Officer scenes. While tweaking the master animatic recently, I digitally accelerated Mr. Stevens' scene by 10%. In layman's terms, that means he speaks 10% faster. I think it improved the performance, so hopefully it will satisfy Brad. If not, we'll blame him when Mr. Stevens comes back for re-shoots. ;D

Now that the master animatic is done (after completing the dogfight animatic), it's really just a matter of refining everything. I think I'm going to improve the texture maps on the interior of Yane's shuttle, and I may also try to figure out how to create the hyperspace effect which will be visible outside the cockpit windows.

Later,
Bob