Mitchell D. Harper
FX Artist
Studio 2
Original rough concept Clockwork Calamity! The idea I had for this project was a traveling show made of poorly built and behaved clockwork automatons. I wanted to start conceptualizing the "truck & stage" they would be preforming on.
Original concept refined (a little)
Original Truck Concept
Truck & Stage References
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Truck & Stage References
LookDev Inspiration
Music Box Dancers
Here is a REALLY early (and pretty sketchy) animatic of the dancers. My idea is to have them dancing, glitching, falling over and other nefarious activities.
This is a little bit of progress on my idea to have them dancing, glitching, falling over and other nefarious activities.
As I work on the concept of what the dancers will be doing, I have also been doing a little work on their overall appearance. This is the quick and dirty concept model I was using... Here is a slightly updated version of the model with a more detailed head and torso. The color was just for me to get a better idea of what they would look like shaded. These are not the final shaders. I still need to work on the joints, the arms, legs and fine tune the head and torso.
Clockwork Gears R&D
We found this reference of the insides of a watch, which I felt was stunning and I really would like to achieve this level of detail in parts of the stage and possibly the actors.
I thought of a few ideas of how to "carve" into the metal and I think I have found a technique that I will be happy with. Of course, this example is just done with rough curves, the production version will have much more detail!
A New Direction? Lets Talk It Out... As I was trying to solidify my ideas for act 2 and 3, I started looking over the references I have collected. One thing that kept jumping out at me was the references I found for Indonesian Shadow Puppets. I was also concerned that the current direction did not really tell a story (I know we don't need one, but...) So what if the music box dancers were actually forest wardens that kept evil away? What if something drove the forest wardens away and the world was overrun by evil? There is a story there somewhere and I like that. I think there is also more opportunity to do some additional FX work.
Progress On The Stage The one thing that will NOT change in any of this is the stage, so I have been working on it some. Due to the amount of work I think will be required, I really want to have this done by Class 1.
Just a quick flipbook showing progress on the stage. A few of the elements look like they dont make sense, however, they will make perfect sense in a few days!
The New Direction! Indonesian Shadow Puppets So here is the new direction! After searching my references and discussing this with Professor Joe, I feel very strongly about doing something similar to a Shadow Puppet show. The following shots are some mood boards I threw together.
Week of September 2nd It has been a busy week starting work on the animatic. I am not done yet, so the timing is WAY off! The work I have done this week will be able to detail the overall concept of the animation.
As mentioned before, the timing is off and it is still missing several actors.
First Look at Our Villain There is a scene in Kill Bill that I wanted to recreate the overall feel for our villain. I have always been entranced by the coloring and the desolate feel of this shot.
The Dragon
First Animatic
Class 2 Animatic Update
Class 3 Update
Camera Angles I was feeling like parts of the animatic were not working so I got some feedback. I am going to add a few different camera angles, one with a rack focus. The image below is a rough concept of the rack focus where the camera focuses on the back pixie then pulls to the front pixie.
Pixie FX Progress So since the particles were looking a bit like leaves and/or flowers, I decided to play with the color a bit.
The "plant theme" really works for me so I have taken it a bit further with crafting the particle system. Now the particles come out like branches with leaves and flowers.
Animatic Update I'm still trying to work out some issues with the animatic timing. Overall, I still think everything feels too fast.
Class 4 Update
Timing Update I have fought so hard trying to get this timing right to no avail, then Professor Joe steps in and saves the day! Instead of trying to sync the motion to frames I was able to sync it to a click track and everything fell into place!
Class 5 Update
Class 6 Update
Strange twists and happy accidents. This is not my original vision for the pixies, but, wow!
Class 7 Update
I have continued to refine the overall appearance of the Pixies. This is the current version. I am still not done yet but I feel I am making great progress!
Most of my time over the weekend went into developing the clockwork dragon. He still has the original head, feet and tail (which I may or may not change) Drag-On! Progress!
Here is a rough and dirty animatic. The animation is not quite done (he will move more smoothly when he is done).
Class 8 Update
Most of this week was spent on refining the dragon's animation, starting his pyro fx, and working on sound. More Drag-On! Progress!
Class 10 Update (yes, I skipped 9 to get ready for 10!) Week 10 - The Cast of Players The Pixies
The Bunnies
Class 11 Update
Class 15 Update Wow, where is the time going?!? I need to admit, I was trying to be lazy with my UV'ing and use the SideFX Labs AutoUV node (which works amazing btw!). So I threw a ton of renders at the RenderFarm, and as usual, it just laughed at me and said NO!!! ;p With that said I spent most of the weekend re-UV'ing most of the project. I am actually glad I did because I caught an issue with the pixie head and was able to clean it up a bunch.
The renders are looking good! The RenderFarm is working great right now and I am getting tons of renders back. Here is a quick comp of the dragon, his fire and the Pixie's attack particles! I noticed there is a lot of wiggle in the particles. I will kill their velocity on impact and re-render if there is time.
Class 15 Animatic
Class 16 Update Thwunk The last two days I have been thwunking out (yes, I know that is not a real word!) a few ideas for a title card. The one on this version of the video is pretty bad but I am running out of time...
Class 17 Update A Good Weekend!!! This weekend I was able to finish rendering the backlights. My first pass had some serious issues, everything had a halo around them so I had to matte everything out of the backlight layer. With that corrected I am about 99% rendered now. There are a few small issues I would like to hammer out, but my stress level is at 0% right now!
Class 18 Update Happy Last Thursday!!! This is it, the last Thursday of class. We have the weekend, Tuesday, and then we present on Wednesday! The last two days have been very productive. I was able to make a clockface overlay for the stage. I was not sure this would work or how it would look, but this IS meant to be a clock. I feel the results were successful. I have also started working of the projects color finishing.