Thursday, January 1, 2009

Honolulu International Film Festival (award!)

"Congratulations! Your film has been chosen to receive the Silver Lei Award for Excellence in Filmmaking at the 2009 Honolulu International Film Festival."


Not only was the film selected to be a part of the Honolulu International Film Festival, but it one an award. Im very excited and proud. Hopefully I can make the award ceremonies in Honolulu. The festival runs March 6 – 8, 2009 in Honolulu, Hawaii.


100% on my festival submissions!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Festival time!!

How cool this, so far i'm 100% on film festival submissions =)
Here's the list so far.


Hubbub: The Las Vegas Global Animation Festival
Jan. 8-11 (Exact day and venue TBD)
The 3rd Annual San Francisco International Children's Film Festival
Feb. 28-March 1, WonderCon at the Moscone Center
The 6th Annual San Diego International Children's Film Festival
July-August, Comic-Con International and Museum of Photographic Arts
The 4th Annual Los Angeles International Children's Film Festival
October 2009
Los Angeles County Museum of Art and other venues

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Voiceover talent on board!

I finalized an agreement with a kick ass voiceover guy tonight. He was very generous on the agreement, mostly due to the fact that he's a huge Israel fan (even been to a couple concerts of his when he was alive). I'm extremely excited, because the voice is exactly what I was looking for. He's a veteran professional, and his talent really brings this short to another level. I couldn't be happier. I'll post more details in a bit. Im just excited and wanted to share that. =)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Some Useful freeware

Two particular pieces of software that have saved my life during this project happen to be free. The first, Renamer is a simple program that does...you guessed it, renames stuff. When Your dealing with 36,000 + images, you'll find yourself needing to rename many things in bulk. This program is a little tricky at first, but it rocks once you get the hang of it.
The second, Audacity. Audacity is another free program that is used for editing audio. To program is extremely easy to pick up, even for those that have never edited music. It has some very useful features, including a ton of filters. And, of course, its free. Can't beat that.
I highly reccomend any digital film maker to grab these.
And no, I didn't get paid to put these here. I did it for free. heyooooo

-eric

Title...........maybe =)


Here's the current title screen. Im still not sure if I like this one or "IZ - Spreading the Aloha".
Either way, i'm pretty sure it will start with IZ.
Things are going great. Im about 95% done with all the compositing. I've started editing. Most of the Sound Effects are done.
I've also been tweaking the writing (narration) to sound more Hawaiian.
I've contacted a kick ass voice over guy, and I think he's on board for the project. Keeping my fingers crossed, as this guy would really take my film to another level.
Depending on when I get the narration, im pretty sure this thing will be done by Sep. 10th. Then, its off to the festival's. Starting with Sundance (which is obviously a long shot, but worth a try imho).
Wether or not this thing does well in the festival's, im still very happy and proud of the final product. This was my first film, and i think I did a pretty good job. Especially considering the manpower (1) and the speed (3 months!!!). Just to put it in perspective, most 5 minute animated short films take about 1 yr to make with a team of 4-6 people working on it. With the exception of some of the animation quality, I think my film holds up very well to these other shorts.
Ok, enough talk about how amazing I am. lol. Im really not, im just proud =)
Enjoy..
eric

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Small clip

Getting closer!

Thats a huge batch!

Bah, organization is starting to catch up with me. Err, bad organization that is.
Right now, as I'm rendering my final scene, the total amount of total rendered space is nearing 75 gigs. That is a LOT of rendered images. Thank god for my new external harddrive.
You figure, for each second of film for this short, I have 4 passes (sometimes 5). Each second is 30 frames (30 pictures). 30 times 4 is 120. So, for each second we're looking at 120 pictures. Considering there will be around 300 seconds of film. That's a lot of images to keep organized.
And it has turned out to be quite a pain. 36,000 +
Ive spent that past couple days fixing little problems.
I've also completed about 50% of the compositing. Once that is done, I'm going to create the opening title, add the audio, and possibly put together a little teaser/trailer.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Random shot


Random greyscale shot of the beach and grown up Iz.

Friday, August 15, 2008

What should the name be?

I started working on the opening title of the film and realized I still havn't really land on a name for the film yet. Anyone have any suggestions?
So far im thinking......"Aloha and Aloha", "Aloha Bruddah Iz", "Bruddah Iz", "Iz"

Help!


Thanks,
Eric

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Score

I made a pretty good choice last night. You know, Ive been putting my blood, sweat, and tears into this thing for a couple months now, and im still not really sure what the final product will be like. I guess you never really do when you make something like this. So, last night I decided to take a couple hours and put together a rough draft version of the film. I guess you could call it a souped up animatic. Complete with narration and music.
After viewing it about 100 times, I have to say, I dont think Ive ever been more proud of any achievement in my life. Any animator will tell you, putting a short film together is no easy task. With or without a team.
Im happy to say that with a few more weeks of hard work, I will have a good little short film that I can be proud of.

As of right now.....................

Modeling - done
Rigging - done
Texturing - done
Lighting - done
Animating - 95% done (just one scene left. Wahooooo)
Rendered - 80% of the film (my 2 computers have been rendering around the clock for the past 3 weeks. 24 hours a day. Its a pain, but the end result is worth it.)

Compositing - 10% (This should go quick. Ive landed on a look that I want)

Audio - 0% (I found a professional voiceover actor that has the perfect voice for this, but I havn't approached him just yet. I plan on recording one of my own original songs to play throughout the film. Basically just some slow accoustic guitar. And , of course Israel's version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow)

Editing - 0% This should only take a couple hours when I get to this point. The first run through for my roughdraft version was very quick.

Its looking like the film will be around 4 and a half minutes long when all is said and done.

So there ya go. I get some new stuff up soon. Hopefully a teaser/trailer.

Peace out,
Eric

Sunday, August 10, 2008

New pic of the beach scene


Im getting super excited. It looks like I will be completely finished with animation this coming weekend. Renders should be done within 2 week. Leaving a good bit of time for me to finish everything else up (compositing, sound, etc.) by Sep. 20th.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Sleep


Still tweaking the look. Here's a shot of boy Iz sleeping.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Show and tell




So, here I am, just 2 months into production and Im already over the 3 minute mark. Thats 3 minutes of completely finished film, excluding editing of course. Its looking more and more likely that I will hit the finish date of Sep. 20th, which would be rad. Here are some new pics. and a short animation from the film. Keep in mind, the final look will be a bit different, and this particular shot is a little too dark. Anyway, enjoy!

Edit: Ack, just checked out the clip after I uploaded it and now its even darker. Sorry about that. I'll get a new one up soon.


Monday, July 28, 2008

Project system specs

My hobby is my work. I'm not a car person, and I really dont care to have the latest and greatest sound system. So, any "play" money that I get goes to improving my hardware. For this short film, I've been using 2 computers. My main computer is a Core 2 Extreme QX6800, 8 gigs ram, 150 gb 10,000 rpm hdd, 500 gb hdd, geforce 9600 512mb graphics card, and a 30 inch Dell monitor, Intuos 3 Wacom tablet. Vista 64bit
My second computer, which I have mainly been using to render (so I can do round the clock rendering without having to stop when I'm working on other stuff), is a Core 2 qx6600, 500gb hdd, 4 gigs ram, geforce 8600 512mb graphics card, and a Hanns 28 inch monitor. Vista 64bit

I've also been using 2 external hdd's to transfer stuff back and forth, and a gateway tablet pc for a lot of the sketching and storyboarding.

Organize, recognize!

The farther I get along on this thing the more I realize how important it is to stay organized. Something I've never been very good at.
I estimate at this point that I have about 50% of the short film animated and rendered. Each scene that is rendered has 3 to 4 passes, giving me 10's of thousands of images to keep named and organized until I'm ready to composite all this stuff. Thankfully, I have a new 750gb usb hard drive. So room is not a problem. That reminds me, I should post my system specs or those interested. I'll do that asap.
I also realized that I haven't really posted any technical shots (zbrush screenshots, wireframes, etc.). I'll be sure to get some of that stuff up soon.
Until then, peace!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

status update

Well, with 2 months remaining until my target finish date (sep. 20th), its still looking like I will make it.
As of right now, I am completely done modeling and texturing all assets. I'm sure I will add a few more things later on, but Its nice to have all the characters complete (young Iz, Grown Iz, Skippy, and 3 different spirits).

I have about 1 minute and 30 seconds completely animated and rendered.
I'm aiming to have all of the animation and rendering done by Sep. (Around 4 minutes total). Leaving me with 3 weeks to complete the editing. I have a feeling that I will hit a lot of problems when I get to the editing stage. It will be the first time I have worked with sound effects and music.

Anyway, things are going smooth. I'm almost done animating what I consider to be the hardest shot in the film.
I'll have some new pics and clips up within a few days.

Peace!
Eric

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Question Session

Here are some questions I've been asked. Feel free to ask more. I'd be happy to answer them.

Why blog?
This blog is really only meant for myself. I find its a great way to keep the status of this production. I was one of those kids in school that always had to write things down to remember them.
I often go back and read through the blog and it gets me caught up.

Why a film about Bruddah Iz?
I find Israel to be a very fascinating person. Everything I've read about him points to him being a playful kid in a giant's body.
In a lot of my illustrations you'll see that I love to use things that are ironic, and a little out of place. Who more then Israel fits this description. I mean, we're talking about a guy who was 750lbs, and yet he had a heart of gold and an incredibly beautiful singing voice.

Why so many stupid smiley faces? =)
I have no clue why I add so many friggin smiley faces when I type on the computer. Its a disease that must stop. But, it won't =)

Why work alone?
Do i hate people? No, well maybe... no. I really love working in a team environment. So, why would I take on this venture alone? Surely, I have friends that can help? Surely, I have a few bucks I can throw at a student for some help? It really just boils down to being impatient. I don't want to have to wait on other people. I figure, If I can do it myself, then I should do it myself. Even if it means going outside of my boundaries. Especially if it means going outside my boundaries. Thats how we learn.
Working alone also gives me full creative control. I mean, I create other peoples ideas at work all day. I want to create my own ideas. The key is to always get feedback. Just the other day I took my fiancee's advise and redesigned the spirits.

Boxers or briefs?
Im out there Jerry and i'm loving every minute of it.

Where do babies come from?
Cheerleaders.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Moving right along

Just a small update. Everything is still going great. Most of my time is going into animating. Im currently working on most of the scenes that involve spirits. After some great feedback from the little lady, I decided to rework the design of the spirits.
I'll post some new renders soon.
Stay tuned =)

-Eric

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Tiki Time 2.0

So this is a busted render from last night (I set the wrong camera to render), and keep in mind that the spirits will be compossited different. But I figured it would be nice to put up another animation work in progress. So, here ya go.


Saturday, July 12, 2008

Tiki Time!


Heres a work in progress shot of some tiki mask I am making.
Enjoy!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Detailed Film Summary - Big Big post =)

Well, I couldn't be happier with the project so far. Last night I figured out some very key compositing techniques that should save me a lot of time, and make the overall film look much better. (Hello Motion Blur! =)
I'm also very happy to announce that just a month and a week in to this, I'm up to about 40 seconds of finished film!!!

I realize the blog must be getting a little annoying giving the fact that I really haven't laid out the film to you guys yet. Sure, I've said its loosely based on the life of Israel Kamakawiow'ole (yes I can pronounce and spell his name now =) but, Israel is a boy? There are spirits? There's mention of a narrated poem, where is it? What does the class pictures mean? etc, etc.

I'm trying not to give to much away because I want people to have a fresh, honest reaction to the finished film.
With that said, it is only fair to at least give a little more detailed summary. So, here goes.......

First, its important to know who my target audience is. The film is geared towards kids with big imaginations and sentimental grownups. I say sentimental, because I really want this film to touch people. That's no easy task to do in just 3 to 5 minutes. So, I have my work cut out for me.

Here's a little background on Israel.....

"Bruddah Iz" was a beloved figure in Hawaiian music during the 1990s, and his popularity continues to grow around the world. His pure, light tenor was as famous as his sumo-sized physique; at one point he weighed over 750 pounds. Kamakawiwo'ole's popularity in Hawaii was such that after his death in 1997, his body lay in the state capitol building. Becoming just the second U.S. citizen to receive the honor of having his body lay in state at a capitol building.

Best known for his version of "Over The Rainbow"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PL-uL2M3xvM
In my opinion, the most beautiful song ever.


Ok, on to the short.
The film will be 3 - 5 minutes.
Created entirely by myself (so far, and of course with feedback from friends and family. Thanks Holly =)
Target finish is September 20th, 2008. But, i'm not going to stress about getting it finished by then.
Biggest hurdle left is getting the rights to use one of Iz's songs in the film. I've tracked down the publisher who owns the rights, but have yet to contact them because I want to be able to show them a large portion of the film when Im on my knee's begging to use the song =)
Its a 3d animated short, with sound effects and narration (no characters talking).
To get an idea of the narration im going for, you can check out some of my poems here
http://www.ericprovan.com/en/merman.html
http://www.ericprovan.com/en/flapper.html
or check out Tim Burton's short "Vincent" here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fxQcBKUPm8o&feature=related

The main software im using is Maya, Zbrush, Photoshop, and digital fusion.
Much like my illustrations, Im trying to get as detailed as possible. People who know Israels entire story will find tons of references to different things in his life (bone fish hook, Elementary name, etc etc)

The short starts with Grown Iz on a beach looking back at his life, cuts to young Iz (around 10 yrs old) being picked on, dealing with the trials and tribulations of being an over weight kid. This is true and not true of Iz's real life. Iz was a big boy growing up, but from what Ive read, if someone made fun of his weight, he would beat them up. hehe. Anyway, in my film, Iz is sad about being so big. But, with the help of his big Brother Skippy (who also trageically died at a young age) and some hawaiian spirits, Iz learns to play the Ukulele and uses music to heal his wounds and spread the message of love throughout the world. I'll leave the finish out for now. In short, the finish wraps things up and makes me smile just thinking about it. And yes, there might be a rainbow involved =)

So, there ya go. I hope I didn't give to much away. The visuals and narration should add a lot more, so im not to worried.

Word,
Eric Provan

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Beach Test

Working on the beach scene, and first look at adult Iz. Well, kinda =)


Monday, July 7, 2008

Some more work in progress shots





Keep in mind, these shots are very rough =)
Hope ya like em

3 day weekend

Hello everyone, or no one =)
I actually took a bit of a break this weekend. Over the past three days Ive only put in about 6 hours to the short film. I've been working on animating 2 scenes. One were boy Iz is crying, which is almost done, and the other were he is sleeping and a spirit is flying around acting all spirity. The biggest headache has been animating the spirit. It being the first scene he is in, I'm finding all the problems with his rig and having to go back and fix them and reanimate. But, I'm happy to say that I'm finally confident that the spirit is at a solid point.
I should have some new animations up within a day or two. Peace

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Random thoughts

So, tomorrow (July 4th) marks one month of working on this film. I couldn't be happier with the work so far. As of right now, I have about 23 seconds of the film complete. This number should be going up quick considering all that is left is animation and rendering.
Things do finally seem to be slowing down. Not in the amount of time and work im doing, but in the amount of results im seeing. This is due to the fact that im pretty much done with modeling and texturing and am mostly animating. As I said before, im no animator. But, im learning more every day.

As of right now...
Characters....
Main Character - Young Iz - Modeled, textured, rigged (Complete)
Spirits (3 different ones) - Modeled, textured, rigged (Complete)
Bruddah Skippy - modeled, textured (barely in the film, just needs a quick rig)
Grown Iz - Modeled, Textured (just need to rig him and finish his beach env)

Environments.....
Bedroom - complete
Sidewalk environment - complete (still tweaking look of rain)
Beach - Modeled, textured, still tweaking lighting.
Classrom - complete
Playground - modeled, finishing texturing

I've been thinking a lot about something I read the other day about narration in film. Basically it said not to make the nararation tell the whole story, but simply help the visuals along. This is particularly tough for me because im no seasoned animator and was hoping to tell a lot of the story in the narration. The compromise is to meet somewhere in the middle, and so im going back and tweaking the narration and putting in more visuals/animation.
All in all, its a good thing to do that will make the quality of the short much better. Its just a pain =)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Random Shot


Other side of the bedroom (work in progress)

Wahoo

Feelin good today. I got so much done yesterday. Finished modeling and texturing the spirits (yes, of course there are spirits!), finished modeling/uving Grown Israel, finished modeling/texturing a new bedroom wall. Best of all, I solved a few problems that were holding things down with the renders.
I currently have 2 complete sequences finished. That's 13 seconds!

The animation is going great so far. Its almost exactly as I expected it to be. Pretty average in quality, but enough to tell this story. One which I consider to be above average =) I have to some have kind of confidence right?

Random stuff....
Rendering at HD720 (1280x720) so far. (Usuaully 3 passes - Color, Occlusion, Normal)
Target finish date - September 20th.
Biggest hurdles to come - water for beach scene (should I even try? =P), getting the rights to use a song, finding a narrator with a Hawaiian accent, facial animation, sound effects.

I'll throw some new pics up soon.

Peace,
Eric

Monday, June 30, 2008

Bleh..

So, After 3 weeks of hard work, I finally had the crappy night I knew was coming. Tonight, instead of focusing on getting some work done, I got side tracked with research into copyright laws. The big problem is that I want to use Israel's "Somewhere over the Rainbow" song at the end of the short. I am making this short with NO intentions of making money on it. Which would make the use of this song ok. However, I do want to submit this film to film festivals/competitions. While I don't want a single penny for this film, I do want exposure. I want people to know that I can put a film together. Anyway, as far as I can tell, festivals wont accept the film unless I have the rights to use the song. Getting these rights seems to be extremely hard. Especially for a scrub like myself.
This is exactly the sort of thing I shouldn't be thinking about right now. So, tomorrows all about getting back on track. I need to get back to animating. I finished my first complete scene renders this weekend. The render times were sick, but im in no hurry =)

peace,
eric

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Work in progress animation

Class Picture


Another Shot from the short
.

Happy Happy joy Joy

Man, I can't express how amazingly well this project is going so far. Ive tackled animated shorts a few times in the past. All of them have failed within a few weeks. Its always a combination of feeling that I'm in over my head, hitting to many bumps in the road, and loosing inspiration.
I know that the bumps will eventually come. If I can get far enough along, hopefully the bumps wont stop me.

This time, I'm confident I will finish it. I feel like my experience is finally catching up with my ideas. Everything I've have tried so far (look development, rain, animation, rigging, etc etc) has gone wonderfully.
Im rendering My first finished scene right now. I haven't really decided what I will put here on the blog, but there will be screen grabs for sure.

As things stand right now....
Story (narrated poem) is complete.
3 of 4 environments are complete. The forth is modeled and about 75% textured.
The toughest environment is final. (a classroom picture that includes 6 different characters)
All characters are modeled (3 total). The main character is textured and rigged.

3 of about 15 sequences are complete.

Rendering/Compositing work flow is final (the look basically).

yay!

Another early shot of a ukulele.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

First shots

Here are some of the first shots of the film. Im very far from finalyzing the look, but these give you an idea of what im going for.






Note to self

This is not meant as advice for others. Everyone has their own ideas and ways of doing things. This is simply meant to help myself. I feel like I need a little pep talk when things slow down, when something doesn't work, when a scene crashes. This is that pep talk.

Target Audience:
Know your audience - Kids, Sentimental Adults, Israel fans.
Animation: Your not an animator! Focus on story and look, thats what you do best. I know that most people will say this is crazy. And it absolutely is. But, the point is, the animation is only going to look decent. I'll do my best, but im not an animator, im a digital artist. Im just hoping that the look and feel of the short will help people look past the average (at best) animation.
With that Said, know that this isn't going to look like a pixar film. This is a project being down by one person with no budget. I dont have a render farm with 3000 computers, I have 1 computer.
Skip corners were you can: See above...
Have faith in your idea: Not everyone is going to like this idea. Not everyone is going to like the characters, the story, the look. Take criticism seriously, but don't become discouraged. The only way your going to get this done is if you 100% believe in it.
Focus on one thing at a time: this has killed your ideas in the past. Dont scatter yourself all over the place. You need to see results and the only way that will happen is by finishing sequences one at a time.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Story of Brother Iz

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel_Kamakawiwo'ole

The idea came while the little lady and I were choosing a song for our upcoming wedding (scary =). We both agreed on Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's "Somewhere Over the Rainbow". There is just something about his version "Somewhere Over the Rainbow", that never fails to make me emotional. I can't get through the entire song without tearing up. There, I said it =)
Anyway, this led me to read more about Israel (Brother Iz) and his fascinating life.. My first thought was, "man if I ever become a director, this is the animated feature I want to make". A fantastical version of his life in Hawaii, complete with fat jokes and of course Hawaiian spirits.
After thinking a bit more (obsessing), I began to think of ways to get this story across in 3-5 minutes and still make it my own.
The task won't be an easy one, as I plan on doing everything myself (rigging, animation, ack!). But, I am up for the challenge. As of writing this, I have completed the story (a narrated poem), 2 of the 3 environments (this includes modeling, texturing, and lighting), the main character (a young Israel, who is textured and 90% rigged), as well as many compositing and fx test.
I figured a blog of my progress (whether anyone reads it or not), would be a great way to keep me motivated to finish this bad boy.