Sunday, December 28, 2008

Making a mold of Draper's Face

I won't say it went well, but it certainly wasn't the disaster I sort of expected.

If you've been paying attention, you probably know I just got supplies for making my own prosthetics. I've never really attempted anything like this before, nor am I really familiar with the materials involved or how they work.

The biggest problem I ran into was the fact that when I ordered the stuff, that ultimately cost me $550 after shipping and customs, $400 before, was that I asked - on the phone, so I was talking to a real person - if there was anything else beside what came in the kit that I would need to do this. The answer was a more or less no, maybe a few little things I could most likely get any any convenience store. I was okay with that, seemed reasonable.

Well, that was sort of a lie. A very big, another $200 lie actually. I won't bother going into what else was needed, but it was fairly easy to track it all down. Still, it would've been nice to have some idea, since it was pretty obvious from the phone conversation that I had no idea how to do this.

Anyway, I guess it was worth it. I probably could've spent three times as much experimenting on my own trying to figure out what I needed. It was a big help for the first step in doing this. I will say I learned a lot, and I know better what I need to do for next time.

I won't bother breaking down the process in too much detail, there's much better information on how to do this online pretty much anywhere if you really look.

First, I tried to minimize the amount of mess, so Draper
got himself a fancy new wardrobe.

Now a swanky bald-cap!

Then I slathered face cream and petroleum jelly on his face,
just for fun - this wasn't really part of the process.
Actually, it's so all his facial didn't get ripped out.

And then I mixed up some alginate - I hate this stuff.
It's one of those picky ratio mixes and you can really
only use it once to make a casting - it's really crumbly
and sets up fast.

Mulder was amused by the whole process at least.

Then some plaster bandages to give the alginate
a strong backing, it's too weak to hold it's shape on it's own.

And about 20 minutes later it came out not too bad.
Not great, but not bad for my first attempt.

I sucked at this part. Again one of those weird ratio mixtures
38:100 - Ultracal to Water.

And after leaving it for as long as I could stand this thing came out.

There were some air bubbles, they can be removed with a dremel though - if you have one. But the area around the nose was pretty broken. We were nervous about getting too much of the alginate around his nose, it was so runny and heavy it kept sliding down and almost covering his nostrils.

No worries though, the prosthetic I intend to make doesn't need nostrils. The other annoying part you can't really see here is that I did have any proper way to support the mold while putting the Ultracal in and it kinda flattened the tip of the nose - shouldn't effect it too much though - I wasn't planning on added too much prosthetic there either.

So now I have to sculpt the prosthetic mask I want to make on this, and then make a negative mold. The two will then go together with the liquid foam latex in it, I'll cook it for a bit and if I did alright I will have my very first prosthetic - which will be for the character of Cronus in The Monkey Rodeo: Cronus.

We'll see how that all works out soon enough.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Post Demon Rum

Upon seeing Demon Rum I've had a few people who've asked me when Malice will be done. And a few misconceptions that Demon Rum is somehow a clip from Malice - it's got nothing specifically to do with Malice. Demon Rum is entirely a movie within itself, it just happens to be connected because of the Monkey Rodeo world.

And as far as when Malice will be done, it'll be done when it's done. In other words, I don't know. I can tell you it won't be tomorrow, or next week, or even May 2009. I've been making some great progress, but that's only been in creating, I guess what you could call, "assests" for the movie. CG characters and props and sets.

As far as the CG characters, only one is left. And that's the main villian of the movie, Mal'Vash. I started working on modeling him yesterday and so far I'm really happy with how it's coming along. His design isn't incredibly unique, but rather sort of familiar. He looks like a villian, and of course someone you would refer to as a Demon Lord.

I won't be posting any pictures of him, maybe a blurry Sasquatch type image, but that'll be it. And other then him, I've a few minor CG weapons to create, those are always easy since there's a real world version. And I think just one digital set, The Library.

Once the assests are completed I've been starting from the first scene and working my way through the entire movie scene by scene. I'd estimate each scene will take a month or so. And there's 50 scenes, by the way. But not all of them require a massive amount of post though, so it won't be another 5 years or anything. I do think it'll be by this coming fall if all goes well.

Anyway, next up is Cronus. I'm hoping to get the script nearly finalized for February and starting in with shooting by April or sooner if it works out that way.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Prosthetic Stuff

My supplies finally arrived to make my own prosthetics, well, 5 copies of one full face or several smaller pieces apparently. I probably won't get around to actually starting anything until maybe the weekend, or whenever Draper's face is free for a couple hours.

My only concern is that this stuff isn't happy with being in the cold for so long. Most of the clay and oil based stuff should be fine once it's warmed up, but the chemicals for the prosthetic itself I'm a little worried about. It's cheap to get more anyway and I most likely will have to eventually.

I guess I'll find out soon enough. I'm hoping to get some footage, if not just some pictures of the process. Should be interesting.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Demon Rum done

After several annoying hours of backtracking through all my files and trying to figure out why the final version of the movie looked like crap, I finally fixed it. It's all technical and not terribly interesting, so I won't bother explaining it and just say that The Monkey Rodeo: Demon Rum is finally done.

In the meantime I've been working away on the remaining CG characters, and even a few props, for Malice. It's all coming along well for the moment and pretty soon I'm hoping to actually start working on the movie itself. If everything stays on track, I'm hoping to put together a trailer that will include a lot of finished shots - we'll see how that goes.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Librarian

For some reason the costume part of this character was more of a design issue then the actual character. I think there were two previous designs, one was just a massive misshapen lump of a head, the 2nd was a more human looking version of the final design.

As far as the costume goes, I originally had a massive collar of sorts on him, but wasn't thrilled with any of them. So in the end I just settled on a simple brown hooded cloak. I even added thousands of little tiny threads all over the cloak, but it was too small of a detail and the scene he's in is rather darkly lit and it won't really be noticed - so why bother?

In any case, he's all ready to be animated once the scene is properly set up, so that's another one down. I should point out, other then the Demon I just finished, the Titan and this guy had been partially completed and slowly worked on over the past few months, so don't go thinking I've been cranking all these CG characters out from scratch recently.

Although, from here on out they are just on paper at the moment, so they will be an bit of an effort. And like everything else about this movie, there are way more CG characters then I originally planned. There are 5 scripted ones, and aside from the Demon, they even all have dialog. However now, there are 10 or more, the new ones are all CG stuntmen though - no worries about the design process at least.

And I'm sure I've been ranting and raving about this before, but very shortly I'll be getting supplies to make my first foam latex prosthetic. The first one will be custom made for a specific actor, and based on another prosthetic that had some major limitations. It'll be for the short movie Cronus. And yes, there will be pictures I'm sure.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Demon

Well, it's done now too.

I ended up doing way more adjusting then I thought I'd do - there are still a few minor things I'd like to fix, but given how long it'll be onscreen and the massive amount of backtracking and redoing nearly everything it'd take, I'm not doing it. The texture's a little stretched and whatnot in a few places, nothing I can't live with though.

I'm hoping to have The Librarian done by this time next week.

And also, I'm literally a few hours work away from finishing Demon Rum. I'm doing some foley this week and ordering the final music for it as well. I'm hoping to have it on the go for this weekend and will most likely post it here temporarily, I'll be removing it and replacing it with a link to the eventual website I'll be doing - no idea what that'll happen, but you'll find out pretty much as soon as I do.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Another one almost done.

I spent a the better part of the day rigging up the Demon from opening of the movie, the one that's only seen for a few shots. And while there's still a few minor little details I'd like to work out, he's pretty much done - again, like the Titan, it's just a few simple adjustments to the texture now that the pain-in-the-ass work is done.

This guy will be rendered in layers, moreso then the other CG characters to really give his skin a wet, slimy kind of look, it's a little dry looking otherwise.

I also managed to fix The Librarian character up quite a bit, the main body is done, rigged and working properly now, I just need to adjust his clothing a bit to make it work properly once he's animated. I'm hoping to get some time to finish him off this week and then I have a few more minor CG characters to do before I start in on the big bad of the movie Mal'Vash.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Titan, finally done.

It seems each character goes through 3 steps of completion once I hit the modeling aspect of creating it. the first version is usually pretty simplistic and really needs a lot more work, the 2nd is pretty much done and even the texturing and whatnot is pretty good and then I manage to finally get everything as close to perfect as I realistically can on the 3rd pass.

I posted yesterday an almost final version of the Titan, and now I think I've managed to complete it as well as I can. As with most things, I could tweak it forever, but I'd be at this for several forevers with the amount of work ahead of me to finish this movie. There's a small chance I'll make some minor adjustments, but nothing that requires as much work as going from the 2nd pass to the 3rd.
It's not too bad, I wasn't trying for ultra realistic though.

This actually brings to mind, in an odd way, something I was going to write a whole post about, and that is people's general misconception about doing 3D work. Now of course I can't accuse everyone of thinking this, I'd be being just as narrow minded as the folks I'm about to insult.

I've had several instances over the past couple years, where I encountered some pretty blatant ignorance about how much work this sort of thing is - whether it be creating a CG character or animating something. And it's that some folks truly believe this stuff is simple and easy because the computer does all the work.

That's like saying your car drives itself or your fridge does your grocery shopping.

The average person making this statement I can easily forgive, not everyone knows exactly what goes into this sort of work - nor is there any reason why they should. The folks I'm talking about are the ones involved in the arts, and some very specifically in charge of arts grants.

I'll even go so far as to say I don't care if you know anything about doing CG work, but if you're in a position that hands out money to various artistic mediums - how can you be so ignorant about it? And if you don't know, admit you don't know, it's not like it's a crime to not understand something. But don't make a statement so obviously wrong and ignorant to show off what little you really know - you could at least ask before deciding your lack of knowledge on a subject must be the truth.

It's not even so much the money aspect, or ignorance of 3D computer animation, but they would make a decision based on personal opinion. By that I mean, you can't honestly tell someone the moon is made of cheese for a fact when it so obviously isn't. There's a difference between fact and opinion. If you're about to hit someone with your car, your opinion might be they'll bounce off and be perfectly fine, but the fact is you'll probably kill them.

Same holds true here, and I'll even spell it out in case you're still foggy. You might have the opinion that 3D animation is easy, but the truth is it isn't. So where's the justification in passing it off as something simple? If that's what you think, then it's your opinion, but you're wrong - the computer does not do all the work, it's just a tool like any other, without a person with some amount of skill using it, it's just a lump in the corner used for internet porn.

I've even once had a guy who was involved in animation (2D however, and so bad it made those 70's Spiderman cartoons look like a freakin' Miyazaki movie) actually say to me that "it's not really animation". Yeah, tell that to Pixar, but make sure you've got a clear path to the exit.

If you've watched the movie Wall-E and saw the extras, one of them states that if one person were able to do that entire movie, it would take them 462 years. Doesn't seem to me like it's that easy. and I really hope Malice doesn't take that long, if so, I've got 458 years left to go.

Anyway, I've ranted enough - I assume all that made sense. I'm going to sleep.

Monday, December 08, 2008

The Titan again.

I've been working on him quite a bit the last week and I think I'm nearly done. Here's a shot of how he looks at the moment.

The only thing I'm really not happy with, seeing this version totally completed, are the joints. They definitely need to be broken up more with more debris sort of floating about. It's a little annoying to have to go back and redo the last weeks worth of work - all the texture maps and whatnot will totally have to be redone as well - but it should be worth it.

It's just a matter of breaking the left shoulder off from the torso, maybe a crack straight through the torso and a couple cracks on the right elbow and wrist. So far so good though, it at least stays consistent with how I thought the process would work, seems I have to complete it 3 time before I'm done. This represents the 2nd pass at finalizing the model and texturing, so a couple more days and he'll be done.

Also, I'll be updating again this week to show off my first attempt at making a silicone mold.