Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The One Man Monster Squad

I've been sitting here watching Samurai Jack: Season 4 for most the day while I've been creating various pieces for another project, I've mentioned it before: Mr. Toesley and The Love Powered Space Machine. It's kind of on the opposite end of the spectrum of The Monkey Rodeo, but it's all CG. And I've been working away on some of The Monkey Rodeo demons off and on as well.

I don't know if I'm on a roll, having a streak of good luck or just what the hell is going on, but I managed to come up with another pretty decent demon design - The Librarian character. I spent a little more time fiddling around with it and I've managed to make some more improvements in my realistic character creation (don't know if I could do a human, but demons are pretty easy it seems).
There's still more work to do obviously - he needs a body, which will be a robe, the only other visible flesh on him will be his hands. I'll be creating a very low-res body to interaction with the robe - which will be done as a cloth simulation. So his robes will flop and flap about fairly realistically.

The upside of demons is they don't need to fit any pre-defined parameters. Like a human needs to look and move a certain way obviously to be believable as a realistic looking human if it was done as a CG character. So it makes their design and final creation a little more fun. The downside, however, is that they will never look truly realistic.

The only time I've ever even kind of gotten lost in the fact that what I was watching was not a real actor, but a CG actor was in the case of Davey Jones from Pirates of the Caribbean. That was without a doubt some the best CG I think you'll see for some time, in part because his performance was an exact duplicate of Bill Nighy's performance in motion capture. And if you're familiar with the actor, you can really see all his little quirks in the CG version of him. And the fact that Davey Jones' eyes look exactly like Nighy's really help.

I don't have the luxury of motion capture or Bill Nighy unfortunately. That's not to say I think my characters will be lacking - I am comparing my work to some of the best work ever in the CG industry, it's not a fair comparison - nor do I think that I'll be blowing people's mind with my most excellent special effects. But really I think for the first time I've been doing this, I'm actually creating some really decent visuals.

Now there are definitely some elements to the movie that might be lacking, I would never be so arrogant to believe otherwise in fact. I am, however, pretty damned confident that some of the newly created CG characters will be rather outstanding and really help the movie overall. I never really thought I'd get to the point with computer animation that I'd actually impress myself, but I sort of have. Now I just have to hope my animation skills are up to it.

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