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