Saturday, 6 December 2008


Hey guys, here's my mug shot. I used Neil's tutorial to help me. God I help the way I look.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Dust Test

I tried to make a dust effect in Maya so that it would add an extra dimension to our piece. I used a fog effect on a spot light. On the fog I added a rock texture and fiddled with the settings. It does not look that great. I don't even know why I'm putting it on the blog as the picture quality has been so reduced you can't even see it.

My Animations

Here's my animation guys. It was far more tricky that I thought it would be. Especially the sign as I originally wanted it to swing down then drop. I tried to get it to do this for hours, but it ended up spinning like a ninja throwing star. The tumbleweed was hard as well as I could not add any squash and stretch as a tumbleweed has an almost weightless form. Anyway tell me what you think.

Thursday, 4 December 2008


Today the group received help from Rob Jones. Here he told us all about lighting. However, we had many problems. Firstly, the hills were creating some weird shadows, so we raised them up slightly off the ground, and switches off the cast shadows feature. We then created a point light (we used this because it turned out to look the best) and pointed it towards the ground. The mountain's shadow was eclipsing the village so we switched off the cast shadows feature on it. We then created another light on the opposite side to light the front of the houses. We created a sphere, cut it in half and imported my skyplane on it. We clicked the normalise feature on the even the skyplane. Finally we coloured the point light a red to create a sunset effect. we also coloured the other light a light purple. to reflect the colour of the sky.
This creates a very moody effect and everyone is happy with it.

Sky Plane

With the realisation that our film actually takes place at sunset, I decided to edit our skyplane. I firstly quick selected the bottom are on a new photoshop layer. I then applied a gradient to the selected layer, changed the opacity and applied a Gaussian blur. I think it creates a convincing sunset.

Saturday, 29 November 2008


Jared requested a tumbleweed in the final film. And what Jared wants Jared gets. So here for you Jared, is a tumbleweed. I made it by creating cylinders and bending them around. This will hopefully really seal the western effect!

A Grave Undestatement...

I thought that the other side of the canyon needed something more, so I decided to make a graveyard. Here I modelled on grave out of a cube and then duplicated it several times. I thought the graves looked a bit bare so i decided to cover them with rubble. However, afterwards I thought this made it look like the graves had acne so I took it away. I then Couldn't decide whether to smooth the graves or not so I posted up an example of both. What does everyone think?

The Hills Have Eyes 2 (man that wasn't very clever was it)...

This is the revamp of the hills that I made it maya. I spoke to Josh who said that I had too many hills, and when I looked I realised he was correct. So I took half the hills out an extended some of them. I then added in rocks to fill the area. I'm not sure how this looks as I think it is rather simple, then again less is more and all that.

Friday, 28 November 2008

The Hills Have Eyes...

Today has been quite frustrating. I decided to tackle the hills on which the graveyard is built. Firstly I tried to extend the actual floor to create the hills. Unfortunatly this did not work...I mean nothing happened. I tried for ages to move the vertexs but nothing happened. I then decided to move onto plan B. I started to build the hills out of a cube. This I felt was quite unsucessfull, as it just looked like a blob. I then decided to move onto plan C. This is where I create a sphere cut it in half and shaped it into a hill. I then repeated this for all the hills in the area. I then duplicate some of my rocks to create a bit of rubble in the area. I also created a boulder for good measure. I don't think this is finished yet but I really need to know what you guys think of it. Please comment!

Thursday, 27 November 2008


In our group meeting today Jared said that the Animatic reminded him of an introduction to a western. This got me thinking about the credits for our film. Instead of it being an ending credits...lets make it an opening credits. Instead of having just black with our names, for example "modelling by Sam Saunders", we can have "Starring Sam Saunders". We could also have grainy images of us in cowboy hats and things like that. Much like the intro to 'The Good The Bad and The Ugly'. I just think it will end the film on a more exiting note.

After Effects!

This is an image of an after effects tutorial I gave to Sam. Here I just used a ramp shader create a colour range in between a pale brown and a warm grey, along with a dark brown outliner. I rendered that to a layer, then I created a point light and shone it on the barrel. I uped the intensity to give it a sharp shadow. I then Rendered that aswell as an occlusion layer. I imported all the images into aftereffects, and put the occlusion and light on multiply. The image was rather dark so I uped the brightness on all the layers. I also slightly blurred the shadow to give it a sense of depth but not too much as I did not want the shadow to loose its power. This is just a quick example of what the final thing will look like.


As I promised here is a a new version of Dead Man's Quarry. I built two huge boulders to stand either side of the ramp. I then built a rock which I duplicated a re sized several times to create the rubble. However, the whole thing still looked bare so I duplicated Niel's mine cart and pulled it apart. I overturned the main part of it and made more rubble to look like it broke and capsized whilst carrying coal from the mine. I then took the wheels and pulled one of them apart, and placed them in different places. This creates the illusion that it has just been left there. To top everything off a placed a crate and a plank of wood in the scene so it will make it seem like people where working there. I think that Dead Man's Quarry is more or less finished. Now I must move onto the graveyard.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Dead Man Walking...

Although it doesn't look like it, Today has been pretty event full. Firstly started building the curve in the track to Dead Man's Quarry. After a an hour the laptop froze, and I hadn't saved. After having a hissy fit, I decided to try the uphill incline again. this was with more success. I Used the edge loop tool to rotate, move and shape the tracks. I then widened the hole that was cut into the mountain to make it look more interesting. After that I created modelled the Dead Man's Quarry sign. This took a very long time. Although you cannot see it, I also started modelling some boulders to go alongside the entrance, however they are in a separate file that I will import into the environment. There is still lots more to do to the entrance like having an overturned cart and some rubble. I'm hoping to finish it soon.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

A New Look Revisited...

With Rob Jones help, our group has worked out a new style. Similarly to what we did before we used a ramp shader and occlusion rendered on layers. Also we used blurr and brightness to toggle with the depth of field. This time however, we inclused a shadow layer and a skyline. To top it off we used the toon line but instead of just placing a black outline around everything, we decided to use a darker colour of what it is outlineing. this gives it a more earthy feel and reminds us of Sean Galloway's artwork. We did try using the outliner on a seperate layer but it looked terible so we decided to render the outliner with the object.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

A New Look...

Hey guys, today has been pretty event full. Firstly Neil and I tried to get a more subtle colour scheme to the toon shader. We fiddled around and got a little further but it still looked really flat and boring, we weren't sure whether to use the toon shader at all. Then we met Rob Jones and like a beacon of light he lifted our spirits. He showed us how to render in layers and how we can manipulate those layer to create a unique look. He firstly coloured the scene with a ram shader not the toon. This gave a greater variety of tone. He then rendered the background, fiddled with the opacity, and blurred it slightly to create a greater depth of field. He did the same with the house except he didn't blur it. He then rendered a layer of occlusion on top of what we had done to make it more grainy, and to get a better balance of light. These subtle things made a huge difference as the scene really came to life. This really reminded me of the backgrounds in the Batman animated series. This was only a quick test but I already think it looks fantastic! an actual shadow is needed now and I still think we could use the outliner but more subtly.

Monday, 17 November 2008


Hey guys here's the animatic, with art by Josh Cook and editing by yours truely. One thing to not is that the shot where the camera spins around will not look like that in the final movie. It will actualling spiral down around the houses created a much more 3D effect.

Friday, 14 November 2008


Hey Guys, (loads of posts today aye?). I was thinking about our film and it's zombie standoff-like theme. With that in mind, I've come up with two titles for our film. I was thinking either "Dead at Dawn" or "Dead at Dusk". What do you think? I need to know as I'm going to put it on the animatic.

A Score to Settle...

Hey guys, here is the song I showed everyone yesterday. It's what I think we should have playing in our film. Knowing about Ennio Morricone's epic scores, especially the Clint Eastwood westerns, I decided to listen to many of his soundtracks. The track that I think best suits our movie is 'Man with a Harmonica', from 'Once Upon a Time in The West'. The track starts with a lone harmonica wailing, drenched in reverb. It is incredibly lonely, isolated and mourn full (in fact it almost sounds like a baby crying). The track then builds to create a tense atmosphere, which makes you think that something is not quite right with this situation. Finally as the track crescendos with it's full scale orchestras and twangy guitars, it creates the foreboding feeling that something terrible is afoot.

A Shot in The Dark....

Hey guys, I was playing around with Sam's storage shack which is loaded into my rock face, and came up with a few things. Here are some ideas for some fly through shots for our film. It's pretty basic because there is only one building in the scene. It makes me think how much more exiting it will be when everything is all together.

Trials and Tribulation with The Toon Shader!







After our chat about the toon shader, with Jared, I decided to experiment with the cell shade effect. The image labelled 1. is my first attempt. This is a scaled up version of my rock face, the actual toon shading worked OK, but the outline is practically invisible, despite the fact that it is on max. The images labelled 2., 3. and 4. are my rock face in its original size. Here the outliner has worked better however, they all still look rather two dimensional and I am not very pleased with the look (granted it was a very quick attempt and it's not even in the shade it is supposed to be in). The image labelled 5. is the same model as the previous three, except this time with a light. Unfortunately the light has seemed to rob the model of all its dark shading. I don't know much about lighting so I could do with researching it more. For the image labelled 6. I decided to use up to five tones in the toon shader, but, to be honest, it barely looks any different. For the last image, I decided to go a little crazier with the outliner. Here I set it off the edge and played around with all the settings. It makes it look rather disjointed. I don't know, I don't really like it but what does everyone else think.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008


Here it is. The mountain and the ground are fully combined! I did this by deleting the faces, combining them and merging the vertexes. There's not much more to say. There was a couple of little hitched but they were ironed out. I'm pretty sick of saying this's still got a long way to go!

Monday, 10 November 2008


Hey guys I've been playing around with lighting and came up with this. I used a point light and turn the shadow intensity to black. It creates the Mike Mignola look, I'm pretty pleased with it, give me your thoughts.