Monday, 24 June 2013

'Monsters!' Episode 1

First up the important stuff that if I just stick at the end, 70% of you will not get to:

 'Monsters!' is going to be an occasional episodic series of 1-2 min shorts in a pseudo documentary format (think of sort of national geographic meets monsters lol).   The first episode is a 'technical test' to iron out the bugs and problems.  It was produced from scratch in 3 days, took another  3 day to render.  I am aware of an problems you that may spot I can assure you,many are either due to having to cut corners so I could actually render it on a single desktop machine, or simply due to the 3 days I had to make it.  At some point I will redo this episode to bring it up to the quality of the others but for now it stands as it does.  Script mattered and acting mattered less for this test than the technical stuff (although I apologies for the 'non rigged' shoulder are.... but hey I had 3 days, deal with it lol).

The concept behind this series is  simply 'what if monsters were real, what would they think of us?'  Each episode will cover both a differing topic and a different 'Monster' (although as this video shows, to them WE are the monsters!)   This subject was picked for the technical test  / 1st episode as it wrote itself and I had the script knocking about for months. I was Sculpted and textured in Mudbox, with facial system created in in 3Ds Max using data from 'Mask', my in house facial MOCAP app / system.  It was rendered  using Mental Ray.

For those interested, the 'Monster' in this video, Xaphan is actually based on a demon documented in both the catholic religion and demonology.  Xaphan was both 'Duke of Hell' and ruled the 28 Legions.  But prior to this,he was an arc angel and was documented as being the 'angel who set hell on fire'.  (Who said angels have to have wings and fucking halo's????? )  So yep I did do some 'demonology research', and didn't just pluck the character out of my arse, you'll be pleased to know.

Before you write for any character I believe you must 'know them'....hence the research.  But again this was primarily a technical test of the pipeline for my in house facial motion capture system / app and re-targeting existing data onto a model with non human anatomy.  Eventually the plan is to compile all the episodes into one far longer, more optimised scripted short

Hopefully you enjoy it and the 'message' it contains ...sometimes its easier to listen to pretend creature than to other humans.  (Plus no one can accuse HIM of being a pontificateing old bastard lol....)

Everything you see and hear was done by me, right down to sound design, although I must thank Lukáš Duběda for help rendering it out, and Ruairí Robinson for the script advice.   No man is an island.

[Side Note]
Far from being a picture of calm over the 3 days making this and the 3 days to render it, I have to admit that sanity was in short supply and that procrastination ruled.  I was convinced I would not meet the deadline (imposed simply as I wanted it ready before I went to the End User Event in Utrecht Holland to lecture lol).  No one is more surprised than me that it is done I can assure you.