Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The League of CG StuntMen

I started working tonight on one of the (many) computer generated stuntmen for the movie. I’m kind of writing this while I’m working on it, so if it seems disjointed or perhaps annoyed by times, it could be because it’s not working terribly well.

First off, I started with some front and side posed images of the actor who the stuntman will be based off of. In this case it’s Steve Gillespie. The stuntman will only be used for a couple shots, but they’re very necessary shots – for instance when Malice slams a hand into his chest and sends him flying nearly 30 feet through the air into a wall.

The pictures were taken, when we were filming the other night, by Moe. They’ll be used for textures and reference. Normally the textures are a huge deal, in this case, because I so cleverly had Steve wearing all black it’s not such a big deal other then the hands and face.

Leaving all the technical parts aside, which are rather tedious and boring in this case, I started literally from the ground up, shoes, pants and finally torso and arms for the basic suit (and technically untextured parts).

Here's a hi-res wireframe.
(still pretty low-res by average standards)

Just what's called a "clay render".
No texture, just a greyish neutral colour.
And with a rough basic texture.

Now this is being modeled for distance shots, so it’s a little angular and exaggerated and fairly simple. If it was for something more closeup, like some of the other computer animated characters, it’d have more much detail and whatnot. I normally would’ve added the pocket flaps and buttons and whatnot, but it really isn’t visible from the distances I’ll be using – so why bother?

*At this point I’ve been working on the model for about 2, maybe 3 hours, or about 3 episodes of X-Files. That’s how I’m measuring all this, by the way, per X-Files episode, Season 2 specifically.

And now for the hands. I’m actually debating at this point as I look at the “textured” version of the model, I might actually do a rough texture to add the buttons and pockets, and even something to the shoes.

The hands will be fairly simple, again because of the size they’ll be onscreen.

The most important part – the head. This is going to be the hard part. I think I just past the 4 episode mark.

Luckily Steve has a pretty symmetrical face, and very distinct, so if it’s even slightly off it’ll be pretty obvious…Actually, that’s not really a “luckily” sort of thing, it’s a pain in the ass, but it makes it easier to decide when I’m done.. This is the part where texturing the model become really important, because it’s the only part that really sells the model when you see it onscreen. That’s also what makes it the hardest. If there’s something not right looking about the face, it just doesn’t work. And of course from there it’s the quality of the animation too.

Not terribly impressive is it? It never is at this point.

So there it is. It does look a little funny, but remember it’s just a simple model. However, I still may do some work with it, add some detail to the hair, which seems to be the weakest part. So I added a few little sticky out parts here and there, it’s a little too symmetrical for now, I’ll work on that later I think, just wanting to see if it works for now.

Overall, this isn’t too bad for only a few hours work, for a model that will really only be seen in 3 or 4 shots. Yes, it does look a little weird, but that shouldn’t be noticeable.

What will really help sell this is of course, as I mentioned earlier, the animation. Rigging it will take some time, and I do have other things on the go for tomorrow – and prepping for the Bile Demon scene, hopefully I’ll get a chance to work on it again pretty soon.

I did a quick scene render, just to get a scene oh how the model will look once it gets into some of the final footage. You can see it's actually pretty good - the only real giveaway is that I don't recall Steve standing around in this pose too often.

The final version will have much more work done to it to make it match as well. Anyway, there you go - an almost finished CG Stuntman.


  1. Heather5:25 PM

    wow, that's creepy and cool all at the same time!

  2. Will B12:33 PM