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adaminator1
12-28-2008, 11:58 PM
I'm kinda new at Lightwave, my big bro went to a place called natcoll and brought it home with him, and i had a bit of a fiddle around with it - that was three years ago. Now, I've looked up tutorials, banged my head against a wall because of my lack of a tutor to help me, and here i am. Working on a mysterious web series project entitled "Project Scythe."

This venture will take all of lightwave's capabilities, as i would like to achieve character, lighting, and location animation similar to that of the movie "Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children". One of my major hurdles is the fact that i am doing this on my home computers - both with one gigabyte of RAM, which makes it take forever to render a single frame. The premise of the series of which i am trying to create is:


Aeons ago - a war was raging between the dragons, and the humans. Each side has its strengths and weaknesses - but each side was not entirely perfect - there were flaws in each of the races which induced betrayal, murder, and that of which fueled the war for over twenty generations. The humans weilded the sword of light, for it gave them strength - but it also gave Dragons their magic, so it could not be destroyed or else the humans would not have anything to protect themselves from the Dragon's Wrath. But finally, the time came where each race was devastated - and almost extinct. So, the Elder Dragons summoned a meeting with the Kings and Queens of the human race - and thus, a plan was devised. They aimed to create one perfect being - a cross between man, and dragon. A hybrid. But the magic required to pull it off would mean almost destroying what was left of the Dragons in the process - and they needed future generations of hybrids too, so extinction was out of the question - so only one thing would be able to help them achieve this ultimate goal - The Sword Of Light. Natrually, the Humans did not want to give it up, but in the end, they had no choice - the plan must proceed.
So, with the humans wielding the sword of light, and the Dragons wielding their magic - they threw together a spell. But they needed two humans in order for the plan to work - and they chose the High King, Welianiar (might change that name later), and the High Queen, Eliameria(also subject to change) to become the hybrids and lead the world into the golden age.
But the humans were the ones who were flawed this time. They devised a scheme to change the spell in such a way that the dragons would be trapped inside their eggs forever - until someone of the royal line touched them with their bare skin and became a hybrid. Naturally, the Dragons were so focused on their spell that they didn't noticed what had been added, and they were ultimatly defeated, trapped in their eggs untill the time came where one lucky - or unlucky man decided to pick one of them up...

The series follows the adventures of the main character, whose temporary name is Ryan. His father was seemingly killed by an Agent - a being of pure evil, who wants to find, and destroy every dragon egg before it hatches. The reason behind the title Project Scythe, is because that is what the Agents call their primary objective (a.k.a eradicating the dragons from existance.)

I was kind of wondering if any of you guys in the community would like to help me on this venture. If so, we shall discuss the storyline i have in mind more thoroughly in an MSN conversation (or Xfire, whichever you prefer). I have a feeling that this series will be awesome, and that it will have plenty of internet users hooked and begging for the next episode. This would also be a great opportunity to get our names out there on the animation scene and help us as animators to get recognized in the animation world. I need all of the help i can get, as i have now come to the realization that i cant do this alone - it would take forever just to get a single episode finished, voice-acted and the whole SFX thing going. Which is why i am relying on this community's help in order to make it happen.

Reply here, if you would like to help, and i will PM you my MSN addy so we could discuss future plans. Reply also if you would just like to comment on the idea.



Cheers,
The Adaminator.

Tippsy
12-29-2008, 12:37 AM
Hey this looks like a great opportunity for some sweet animation and modeling work! And I would definitely be interested in adding my skills to this project! My msn name in [email protected] So we should talk and get this project rolling! Also I have an amazing composer as a friend and I am sure I can convince him to do any music for this project! I can send sample songs etc. but just go ahead and message me!

Revanto
12-29-2008, 12:42 AM
You do realise how much actual work goes into projects such as this? You are pretty much asking people to make a big sacrifice to make your dreams come true. FF7: Advent Children took years in the making and involved hundreds of people. I just think you are aiming too high. I wish you luck in getting this done but, reality check, it's way harder than you think it is.

Rev.

PS: The story seems kind of blah. It seems very cliche. Tons of anime go through this same or similar sort of template.

Tippsy
12-29-2008, 12:47 AM
Yes Revanto has a point but I think with revisions and lots of effort we may be able to achieve a great look/feel etc. but with shorter time frames if we did episode like things and maybe toning down the FF7 look to get our own great looking style with out as much time but yes this would still take a lot of time but hay whats life for.

meshpig
12-29-2008, 01:12 AM
You're going to maybe also need Silo

http://www.nevercenter.com/about/

and how about dong the bloody Dragons into the bargain!!!


m:)

adaminator1
12-29-2008, 04:00 AM
You do realise how much actual work goes into projects such as this? You are pretty much asking people to make a big sacrifice to make your dreams come true. FF7: Advent Children took years in the making and involved hundreds of people. I just think you are aiming too high. I wish you luck in getting this done but, reality check, it's way harder than you think it is.

Rev.

PS: The story seems kind of blah. It seems very cliche. Tons of anime go through this same or similar sort of template.

I do realize, i once spent a few months creating a 14 minute long episode which didn't even have any anti-aliasing.

Oh, and about the story, it shall go much deeper than that - and the storyline it gets sent into will be awesome, ive had this series planned out for a while (it used to be a book i never got around to completing ;)).

And thanks Tippsy, you are now a proud part of what i like to call "Chip Productions". The origins of the name are really quite funny, actually :D

Will add you tomorrow, i'm just a bit tired atm and gotta go to bed. Cant wait to see who else would like to join!

AbnRanger
12-29-2008, 06:43 PM
There are plenty of Joe's out there with big ideas and little resources. You appear to be one of them.
Most artists skilled enough to help you with it are too busy making money with their work. That's why projects like this usually never get off the ground. Sorry to discourage you, but that's the stark reality of it. Just completing a 90 second short involving a portion of your idea will be challenging enough. Start there, and then you can make a better assessment as to whether it's worth it to go further.

If you have yet to attempt Character Animation, you have no idea how much work is involved. Just wait til you have to troubleshoot technical issues...trying to track down why the program keeps crashing on you (not saying this happens often, but sometimes you just run into issues you never planned to deal with, and it can suck up a lot of time).

Matt
12-29-2008, 07:08 PM
Before you even touch anything in 3D. You need to storyboard your script first. It will help you decide which shots you need, and from that, what you need to design / create in 3D.

I highly recommend you read this book before starting out:

CGI Filmmaking The Creation of Ghost Warrior by Timothy Albee (http://www.amazon.com/CGI-Filmmaking-Creation-Ghost-Warrior/dp/1556222270/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1230602544&sr=1-1)

It's a little old now (the actual film) but the book still holds true.

Good luck.

adaminator1
12-29-2008, 07:43 PM
Before you even touch anything in 3D. You need to storyboard your script first. It will help you decide which shots you need, and from that, what you need to design / create in 3D.

I highly recommend you read this book before starting out:

CGI Filmmaking The Creation of Ghost Warrior by Timothy Albee (http://www.amazon.com/CGI-Filmmaking-Creation-Ghost-Warrior/dp/1556222270/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1230602544&sr=1-1)

It's a little old now (the actual film) but the book still holds true.

Good luck.

Yeah, storyboarding is great and all, but i kinda suck at drawing, but not at modeling -.-
But I will give it *yet another* shot, as i have plenty of time (as it is, after all, the holidays ;))

Anyway, thanks for all the help guys! I know character animation will be difficult, but it will be worth it, i have an image in my mind of where the series will go and trust me, it will be EPIC.:santa:

Matt
12-29-2008, 08:29 PM
Yeah, storyboarding is great and all, but i kinda suck at drawing, but not at modeling

It's not only "great and all" but absolutely ESSENTIAL, especially if you plan on working with a team of people, how are you going to communicate your ideas, or allocate who will be doing what?

I checked out the other thread of your work, although it's not bad for someone new to LightWave, I would say with the utmost respect, I'm not sure you're ready to tackle a full production, I would start with a smaller project and focus on the quality of your work.

Although I'm happy to be proven wrong!

Matt
12-29-2008, 08:52 PM
Also, check out this one-man-band project, the quality is awesome:

http://www.insearchofhumans.com

(His main website)
http://www.oddballwes.com/

LW Thread about "In Search of Humans"
http://www.newtek.com/forums/showthread.php?t=88328

meatycheesyboy
12-29-2008, 09:54 PM
It's not only "great and all" but absolutely ESSENTIAL

What was that rule back in school that my video production teacher was always harping on? I think it went something like one hour on the front end (pre-production) saves you 10 hours in the back end (editing/animating/post production).

Matt
12-29-2008, 10:12 PM
What was that rule back in school that my video production teacher was always harping on? I think it went something like one hour on the front end (pre-production) saves you 10 hours in the back end (editing/animating/post production).

Same as "measure twice, cut once" from wood working class!

adaminator1
12-29-2008, 10:47 PM
I know storyboarding is necessary, but i'm not that great at drawing - even though i might as well give it a shot, and see how i do ;)

And i did tackle something smaller, those doomschip episodes were done purely from visualization (I could defiantly have done storyboards if i really needed/wanted em' ;)

I just think that the best way to attempt to get this series done is Trial and Error, learning the hard way, but i appreciate all of the comments and will do my best in order to make the series into its fullest potential - which includes following your advice :thumbsup:

Also, i may not have as much experience as the average Lightwave user, as i'm only 16 and have only been working with Lightwave "seriously" for at least three-quarters of a year ;)

Also, you do NOT want to know what i was making BEFORE Doomschip... it was sooooo bad.... *Shudders*

Revanto
12-29-2008, 10:56 PM
Yeah, storyboarding is great and all, but i kinda suck at drawing, but not at modeling -.-
But I will give it *yet another* shot, as i have plenty of time (as it is, after all, the holidays ;))

Anyway, thanks for all the help guys! I know character animation will be difficult, but it will be worth it, i have an image in my mind of where the series will go and trust me, it will be EPIC.:santa:

Storyboarding doesn't require great drawing skills. You can even use stick figures to create your panels. But if you want to use something more solid, you could just create crappy lo-poly models to represent what's going on. Then you can use photoshop to spruce things up. You can even go as far as to use photos for instant backgrounds or textures. The possibilities are endless and, since it is just storyboarding, you can be as cheap as you choose to be. As long as you can see what is going on, be as crappy as you want.

Cheers,
Revanto :p

adaminator1
12-29-2008, 11:06 PM
Storyboarding doesn't require great drawing skills. You can even use stick figures to create your panels. But if you want to use something more solid, you could just create crappy lo-poly models to represent what's going on. Then you can use photoshop to spruce things up. You can even go as far as to use photos for instant backgrounds or textures. The possibilities are endless and, since it is just storyboarding, you can be as cheap as you choose to be. As long as you can see what is going on, be as crappy as you want.

Cheers,
Revanto :p

sweet! I wonder how many Storyboards i'll have to create to encompass the actual episode though... hmmm....

The length i'm aiming for is about 20 mins but that would take forever, so i could just animate each sequence while post-producing the next?

Matt
12-29-2008, 11:14 PM
so i could just animate each sequence while post-producing the next?

Surely you want to have the whole story outlined first?

toby
12-30-2008, 02:38 AM
sweet! I wonder how many Storyboards i'll have to create to encompass the actual episode though... hmmm....

The length i'm aiming for is about 20 mins but that would take forever, so i could just animate each sequence while post-producing the next?
The whole point of storyboarding, or an animatic, is to see how the whole thing plays out. You wouldn't start rendering without a story, right? Storyboarding is the next step. If you don't storyboard/animatic you may find out that some scenes are too long, after you've animated and rendered already; you'll have wasted tons of time.

Here's an animatic:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5j1bMU0tlIw
it's just very rough animation just to see how positions, cuts and edits look together.
(you can make it with rough models and 3d animation, no need to draw it)

Instead of the first episode, you might want to start with a 3 minute trailer of your show. Most tv shows start like this, it will give you an idea of how much work the show will be, and also help you attract other artists to come work with you.

adaminator1
12-30-2008, 03:11 PM
Surely you want to have the whole story outlined first?

Ive got most of the story plot outlined, so thats not gonna be a problem ;)

And toby, I might just create an animatic also, it will definatly help 'us' get it done (Chip Productions) ;)

And i also have a very good trailer in mind, have had for a while ;)

kevman3d
12-30-2008, 03:37 PM
Storyboarding doesn't need great drawing skills (though they can help) - If you can draw simple 3D shapes (cubes, spheres, etc) and lines, you can draw fairly reasonable storyboards...

Sometimes I just thumbnail (roughly scribble small 'representations' of scenes) on paper then recreate the whole project in LW as a Previz.

In fact, previz (animatic) I prefer to work with as its that 'moving' storyboard - It lets me place the camera, adjust the lens, get the angles I want and time out the motion. Sometimes these are things that are hard to draw or get 'from head to paper'. The key is low-poly and quick cause you don't want to spend hours and hours producing 3D content to previz.

It also doesn't hurt to source animations, or DVD's containing shots that you are inspired by for your production and use these to guide your visual storytelling - A good grasp on basic cinematography (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinematic_techniques) is essential imho.

What I would suggest considering is, as Toby suggested, produce a teaser/trailer - Something small and manageable. This would help really highlight any work-flow issues early on and give you a heads-up on how to best move forward...

Just my 2c on this one... Good luck. :thumbsup:

AbnRanger
12-30-2008, 09:49 PM
All your time and effort won't amount to jack if you don't first understand principles of cinematography, perspective, color theory, typography, design, etc., first. What you are attempting to do is put the cart a mile ahead of the horse. You won't get anywhere with that.
There is a great deal more involved in a "Production" than you are aware of...and that is why it's done by numerous people who have not only learned these principles but have worked with them for years. Each person HAS to be damn good at what they do, or the whole thing gets bogged down if it gets done at all.
The old addage "Jack of all Trades and a Master of None" is quite true. Most of us have been guilty of being "Gung-Ho" and wanting to immediately dive in head first before we give ourselves time to learn the craft before we attempt to apply it. For example, just learning to rig a character properly for production is a trade in itself. Then learning to master character animation sufficiently enough to produce a believable clip is another enormous, time-consuming task as well.

You haven't even ventured into the realm of complex UV layout and believable skin, cloth, vehicle, etc. texturing. Hair isn't done convincingly at the push of a button. Then you have issues with cloth dynamics on the character...how do you keep it from penetrating the mesh of the character properly, and bending and wrinkling appropriately as the character moves. Beyond all of that, lighting with Global Illumination (on a 1GB machne?).
Do you already know how to skin a character properly, after you've rigged it...properly? What about visual effects? Are you going to learn to master particles/hypervoxels in conjunction with a Compositing program that you've yet to learn?
I'm sure you plan to use that for Final Fantasy level work, right? Just having a good story in mind isn't sufficient to even get out of the gate.

What you need is time to learn all of these skills BEFORE you even think about trying to start a production. Otherwise, coming on here asking for help in your "Vision" is nothing more than the "Blind leading the Blind." Forums like this and CGSociety are chock full of "Visionaries" like yourself trying to solicit help (for YOUR vision...as if they weren't working on paying projects or VISIONS of their own).

Am I trying to simply rain on your parade? No...not at all. But Zeal and Vision MUST be tempered by reality and facts. Hold on to your story. Indeed work toward seeing it done one day...at least a small 3-5 min portion of it (a short...which many Art School Graduates work collectively on). You are off to a good head start, but I would be realistic about things and learn to walk before you ever attempt to run in the olympic games. One step at a time. Learn some patience in the process.

Plan on attending a good Art college when you graduate High School. In the mean time, learn as much as you can before that, so you can really shine once you are there. In order to produce what others have done, who paid their dues to get to that point of proficiency, you also have to pay your dues. It involves far more than just learning to model decently in a 3D program like LW. Why not just try to be the best modeler that you can be and demonstrate that you are a modeling wiz with mad ZBrush/MudBox/3D Coat skills and take things from there. But if you want to produce a "Killer" Sci Fi/Fantasy story you have in your head...get in line and take a number. Who doesn't? It's going to be a long journey, so just get that settled in your mind.

So, you have a script to write, then storyboards to draw (much of your scene layouts will be hashed out DURING, not in spite of, that process).
Based on those essential steps, you decide what elements you need to work on.
As you do the storyboards you can decide what you're going to do regarding camera angles, camera movement...do you zoom in or out on a character or object. You're going to make decisions for each shot or scene about the lighting...asking questions about how you can make it more interesting, so that every shot doesn't look the same and how to use the camera, lights, color, dialogue, music,etc. to help you tell the story. What shortcuts can you take so that you don't have some spend needless resources and time producing what will not be seen by the camera. Do you want to make an energy blast or rocket exhaust using particles, or use animated objects in the scene with materials that use animated transparency, self-illumination/glow, fractal noise, etc.? Maybe you can do it more quickly and just as convincingly in a Compositor with robust Particles like Combustion or Nuke (which has a PLE by the way)? After Effects will need plugins like Trapcode Particular, and Shine.

Best thing to do, regardless of your drawing skills, is to do exactly as you were advised, and start with a small, managable portion of it...Storyboard that portion (do you know what the rule of thirds is, BTW?). Once you do that, go over to the WIP section and show them, soliciting constructive critiqes, where those who already know and use these principles (we discussed among others), can help you refine your scenes...even give you good advice about your characters, and how to make them look the part.

From there, take one step at a time. Start modeling your characters and follow tutorials that help you with a game character...cause keeping your character low-poly will help with skinning and animating (come render-time, you'll want to use your high detailed normal maps and or displacement maps imported from sculpting/detailing work you did in ZBrush or a program like it.). Once you have your characters modeled, including cloths, armor, and props like weapons and such, then you move on to texturing each one of them. Once that is done, you're ready to learn to rig, skin, set up facial morphs, and do a test animation...including lip synching.

Continue at each stage to have critiques in the WIP section to help you iron out problem areas and give you valuable ideas how to improve the characters/objects. Then you do the same for you scene environments. Do you use Vue for much of your environments or or you going to set everything up in LW? Why not learn how to do Matte Painting to aid you in much of your envorment work? Once you've learned each of these, you'll know when to use them and when not to.

Once you've reach this stage, animated your characters, set up your environment and have it properly lit, you render it out, and again take it to the WIP section for critique and tips. At THAT stage you're ready to ask for help in completing a short. You're far more likely to get someone to buy in and offer to help you complete it. But just saying you have a good idea isn't going to get you far.

pauland
12-31-2008, 04:30 AM
Personally, as a first project (or even tenth project), this seems way too ambitious to have any chance of seeing fruition.

Would be much better to have a simple stylised project that is about story rather than attempt anything near a photo-realistic look or lengthy duration.

AbnRanger
12-31-2008, 07:41 AM
Personally, as a first project (or even tenth project), this seems way too ambitious to have any chance of seeing fruition.

Would be much better to have a simple stylised project that is about story rather than attempt anything near a photo-realistic look or lengthy duration.Yeah...a cell-shaded look is a bit more forgiving:
http://www.hulu.com/watch/7991/spider-man-royal-scam

LW_Will
12-31-2008, 12:24 PM
I agree with the principals. I also disagree with AbnRanger a bit, but just a bit.

Okay, so you want to do a film. You want episodic shows, 15-20min each. You have a cast of characters, ships, space and a virtual camera.

There, you are now ready to shoot. You are also ready to make an *** of yourself.

And that is okay.

You need to get experience to develop your skills (not to mention getting a mentor, looking at tutorials, and asking questions here). You do not have to wait until you are ready to go out and make a film. You are a cartoonist, an animator a filmmaker. That part of the obsession is over. Now the actual sitting down doing it is here.

Abn makes good points, but not for you. You, I take it, want to be a filmmaker, not a texturist, a render specialist, or some other form of pixel pusher. You are the guy sitting in his room in 1985 drawing a comic book, didn't matter if it was any good, but it was a way you could get the story in your head out so people could see.

So, if you want to work at Pixar or DD or Lucas Digital, by all means go to school and study like the Dickens. Get a peice of paper to show that you know the everything of your little rut.

But, if you want to help create new cartoons (anime, animation, whatever), DO IT.

LW_Will
12-31-2008, 12:37 PM
Oh, and do an animatic with stand in characters and spaceships. As you hone these animatics, be creating characters and ships to take there place.

- Use locations that you will be able to use in multiple episodes, ships and people too.
- Limit your new things by episode (new base, refueling station, female alien, whatever) to like one per.
- Go with DAZ for characters, objects and backgrounds. Don't make what you can buy. Custom coloring for each I'd say.
- make three episodes before you release the first.
- structure your scripts around what you can and cannot do, but do not be afraid of trying new things. You will get better as you go.
- get a hold of and watch, Max Steel (1st 2 seasons) Roughnecks, Dan Dare and Captain Scarlet. They all did it with Lightwave, and they got better as they went along.

As you can see, I've been trying to get this thing going for myself.

toby
12-31-2008, 10:17 PM
Some more perspective about the FF movie - the animation was likely done by people who have *years* of experience doing *nothing but animation* (and they were using mocap too), the lighting/rendering done by other people who have years of experience at nothing but lighting, the modeling by another set of people similarly experienced, the texturing by another set of people, cloth and hair by still another set of people, and then there's writers, concept artists, storyboard artists, editors, compositors, effects artists, pipeline technicians, altogether they represent many decades of experience. So don't beat yourself up if you can't reach the same level. I had an ambitious project when I was starting out (but not this ambitious), I never finished it but it taught me a lot, it was totally worth it.

That's why we're saying keep it very small and short, and plan everything out. Cel shade / stylized is a good idea too. My first short film was like that, and besides being easier to make, it renders very fast.

The Tale of Despareaux has some dream sequences that were kept simple, sort of 2d / cel looking but still 3d, and actually looked better than the rest of the movie, because they didn't try to do anything out of their realm. Making a movie that looked as good as a pixar one definitley was.

adaminator1
12-31-2008, 10:52 PM
I know this project seems far-fetched by a dude like me who has used lightwave for 3 years without anyone to teach him, and can only get something as good as "Doomchip" done, but trail and error have helped me get this far, and i know, rendering is hard on a 1GB machine, i've had render times which were over 24 days, but the end project is worth it ;)


By the way, i have two questions:

#1 - How do I give it a Cell-Shaded look?
#2 - How would i be able to change the weight of bones so it dosen't move unwanted parts of my characters?

And also, this project is a based on an incomplete book which i created by first visualizing it while i was writing, as it helps me gain a better perspective of what i was trying to describe in the chapter. I know, it seems impossible, but even if the render times for a 3 minute scene are 100 Hours, I will still do it, because I am determined to see this project through. No, i'm not ignorant, but it just seems to be the quickest way to actually learn lightwave is to WANT to get something done with it, encountering problems, and finding solutions to those problems and moving on to the next one ;)

Sure, I've used lightwave for 3 years and haven't even learned how to use bones properly, but thats because i had no tutor, only tutorials, and a limited amount of those, even. Most of what i know now is through trial and error, but before i continue, I will show you what courses i will be going through in the next two years:

Natcoll Diploma: Animation and Digital Video (http://www.natcoll.ac.nz/Courses/Service/Display/Course/197/Info/General)
Diploma of Animation (Advanced) (http://www.natcoll.ac.nz/Courses/Service/Display/Course/73/Info/General)


The reason why i would like to undertake a project so ambitious is because i have my heart set on it, and animation IS my passion. I will go to whatever lengths in order to make my dream come true, and i know, it may seem like a futile hope to start at it this instant, but like i said before, Trial and Error is the best way of learning (for me) without a tutor.

I also recently brought a paperback copy of Lightwave 3D V9 Essensials from amazon (Slightly cheaper ;)), its one of the best Lightwave Reference guides out there, but i have left it at mums place and cant be bothered to go over there and get it, as its on the other side of Christchurch ;)

kevman3d
01-01-2009, 01:06 AM
I think the key here is realising you want to make an animated story/show/film - Your current comments seem mostly aimed at mastering a production tool to do it?

So I would suggest checking out the following PRIOR to jumping in the deep end and thinking you will become the all-encompassing production unit...

Digital Juice DJTV series (http://www.digitaljuice.com/djtv/default.asp)

Check out some of the excellent video training here on compositing, special effects, lighting, cinematography and more. Well worth spending a few days browsing and watching as these skills are core to what you want to do - What you seem more involved in here is worrying about using the tools.

The other thing to realise is that you can't always directly translate a book/written piece into a film - Film is visual, and you need to tell the story through visual imagery. Whatever you do - PLEASE - don't just assume lines and lines of spoken dialog will be interesting if you just slap an animated character lipsynced to it in 3D. Film is visual - That means imagery, so consider (there's a great DJTV article on this somewhere in that collection) thinking about the visuals first, and then use the dialog as the support to tell your story... :hey:

Something else to consider - When its an episodic series, that gets even more complex as you don't want to (well, maybe you do (depending on your story)) linearly link each episode end-to-end so that your audience can predict what happens, or just knows because its too clear. There's going to be sub plots, key events that influence other events, characters that seem unrelated that have an importance relevance and more.

I guess what I am trying to say here is that these are the important things to deal with BEFORE the 3D begins.

So far there's been some great feedback here - I think this is an interesting thread well worth the time of everybody to post to.

Good luck with Natcoll! :thumbsup:

Tippsy
01-01-2009, 02:32 AM
I might have been a little quick jumping in here I misread and thought you had had 3 years experience with Lightwave. When you aren't even sure how to get the cel shaded look and weight maps for bones I am sorry I jumped in so quickly but everybody else is right you need a lot more experience to be able to do amazing stuff. But like someone else mentioned don't let any of stop you go right ahead and it will get you some more experience just don't expect it to be absolutely amazing and for people on these forums to want to join in. Sorry

RebelHill
01-01-2009, 04:41 AM
So let me get this straight.... Uve got the mettle and determination to sink ur teeth in and produce a piece of CGI work at the very top of the game... BUT, u cant be bothered to catch a train/bus/whatever across town to pick up a book thats "oh-so good"...

Ur having a laugh, mate, and talking out ur arse.

AbnRanger
01-01-2009, 07:12 AM
So let me get this straight.... Uve got the mettle and determination to sink ur teeth in and produce a piece of CGI work at the very top of the game... BUT, u cant be bothered to catch a train/bus/whatever across town to pick up a book thats "oh-so good"...

Ur having a laugh, mate, and talking out ur arse.Sounds a lot like some clients expectations...thinking it's all a matter of pushing a few buttons and letting the PC do all the work for you. :D
These IFreelance.com and SoloGig.com places are just loaded with folks grossly under-estimating the amount of work that goes into a given project. For example...even a nice simple-looking logo isn't usually done in a matter of minutes. Maybe if you work this fast and have the finished design magically pop into your brain from the start:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-uDnln3dp7E&feature=related

LW_Will
01-01-2009, 10:56 AM
I agree Don, it takes more effort to do this than most civilians understand.

It also takes more work than adaminator knows, else why would he do it?

Look, I think that if you are looking for a look of FF, Incredibles, or even Deligo... you are looking to fail... BUT, if you have a vision, you shoot for the heights, and you are good, you come out on the other side with something that is okay.

(of course, this gets into the philosophy that whatever you get out of an idea is horribly flawed and wrong. You see it perfectly, reality demands that it have little compromises. The trick is to be able to live with the compromises.)

As to the Cel Shader and the weight of bones (the last one is a trick question, you do not put wmaps on every bone, you see where there are flaws, then you add the wmaps... but I digress...) what I would suggest is to go over every video in the video tutorial section of Lightwave3d.com. There are interesting videos, I've been pissed off by some of the conclusions but I have never been pissed by the techniques I picked up.
if you are particularly interested in cel shading as a technique, go to my friend Jen Hachigian's site celshader.com for the inside info. More data is carried there than any other single source.

Also, you should try and get a hold of FREEDOM. It is a new (2008) anime done with Lightwave3D. You know, unless you know what you are supposed to look for, you would swear it was 2d cel animation. (Several people who should know said so.)

So, you don't know what you are getting yourself into. Great! Don't think that you are going to sit down and boom... FF! (Or Incredibles, or Wal-E, or whatever). But you could tell a whole cohesive story with cool graphics.

Remember, everybody has three things when they start a film; Time, Money, and Story. You do not have money (I'm assuming), so use what you do have; Story and TIME.

adamredwoods
01-01-2009, 01:12 PM
The Freedom Movie (wmv files ):
http://freedom-project.jp/movie/index.html

adamredwoods
01-01-2009, 01:23 PM
A word on storyboarding:

I've worked as a producer on a short animation (15min educational), and without storyboards I would have been dead in the water.

Not only did I have storyboards, but I had multiple storyboarders, made my own storyboards in a pinch, and created an Excel spreadsheet of estimates of timing.

Storyboards also help when deciding where to "cheat" your 3D-- ex: when to do a detailed background and when not to. This saves on working time and rendering time.

Don't make excuses not to do storyboarding. It is the plans to a house. They can (and do) change, but without them you will not be able to communicate with others on the project.

Carm3D
01-01-2009, 01:46 PM
Okay, I have a suggestion for you. It seems clear to me that you are in way over your head. But yet you will not let anyone dissuade you from making this ANIMATED SERIES. Sheesh.. You have no idea what you are in for.

So here's my suggestion. Before you begin with the series, create a teaser trailer FOR the series. Pick some of the coolest action moments and some nice acting beats and just focus on them to put together a 30 second trailer for your series. After creating the trailer you will have a better idea of the hurculean task ahead of you and you can make up your own mind where to proceed next. And, if you impress someone with your trailer maybe you can get other people interested in joining your efforts or... dare I say (dare! dare!)... funding.

Does this sound like a reasonable compromise to your plans?

adaminator1
01-01-2009, 01:56 PM
Okay, I have a suggestion for you. It seems clear to me that you are in way over your head. But yet you will not let anyone dissuade you from making this ANIMATED SERIES. Sheesh.. You have no idea what you are in for.

So here's my suggestion. Before you begin with the series, create a teaser trailer FOR the series. Pick some of the coolest action moments and some nice acting beats and just focus on them to put together a 30 second trailer for your series. After creating the trailer you will have a better idea of the hurculean task ahead of you and you can make up your own mind where to proceed next. And, if you impress someone with your trailer maybe you can get other people interested in joining your efforts or... dare I say (dare! dare!)... funding.

Does this sound like a reasonable compromise to your plans?

Yeah, I know i'm in way over my head, but it is my ambition to get this series done even if it takes me three years to accomplish it :thumbsup:

And I do have some idea of what i'm in for (But nowhere near as advanced as what i'm trying to achieve)... check out this thread (http://www.newtek.com/forums/showthread.php?t=93357) for more ;)

I think I will make a trailer, and hope for the best, thanks for all of the advice! :D
Also, the only reason why i don't want to go and grab the book is that i'll be there in a couple of days anyway and i'll just pick it up then ;)

Carm3D
01-01-2009, 02:24 PM
After seeing your samples.. I suggest making five trailers before attempting to do a series. :) Make the same trailer over and over again. Better each time.

adamredwoods
01-01-2009, 03:39 PM
I also suggest writing a short story about the project you want to create. If you can do that, and people find it compelling, then you have a good foundation upon which to create the animation.

I envy you people who have time to make something! I wish I had more time... :)

adaminator1
01-04-2009, 01:03 PM
Just to let you guys know, I also have VUE to help me with this :D
The trailer attempt #1 is coming along nicely - and for xmas i got a book called "The Animator's Survival kit" from one of the dudes who worked on "Who Framed Roger Rabbit", which has been handy, and will be handy when i do my storyboarding :D

Carm3D
01-04-2009, 02:12 PM
I hear that book is excellent. Good on you!

geothefaust
01-04-2009, 02:27 PM
It's a great book, and a great start. It'll really help with any kind of animation, be it 2D or 3D. It's helped me quite a bit. :thumbsup:

cresshead
01-04-2009, 05:27 PM
hi i have 2 points to make!

1.as others have stated, it's a tough job your taking on.
2.you never achieve anything of note by staying in your comfort zone and not going out on a limb to uncharted waters..i find that trying to do stuff that's outside of what you've done before even if you fail is worth the time...most times to succeed in something worthwhile you have to fail many times first!

good luck!

Rhothgar
02-28-2009, 06:14 PM
Well I've been sitting here reading this thread and there are so so many excellent words of advice. I'm glad that for the most part the tone is constructive...

As I've been reading I've been thinking about what I could ad in terms of suggestions / advice....

adaminator1 you sound a lot like I did 7 years ago when I set out to make my first feature film...wow I can't believe it's been that long.
"We are gonna DO this!" "The special effects are going to be AWESOME!" "And if we do them ourselves we won't need a huge budget!" :thumbsup: "The story is great and it's a fantasy action adventure." "Thanks to Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter more and more people love that stuff now!" "We will get a theatrical release for sure!" ;D "This is NOT going to be one of those projects the never gets finished!" "YEAH!" "YEAH!!!" :rock:

Heh I even had my Oscar speech all written out.

I wrote the script in Feb 2002. After a not spending even close to one ounce of enough time and effort on pre-production we started shooting in April.

I thought we would have it done in a year maybe two. Now several years later Instead of rubbing shoulders with Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg here I sit waiting for my ancient computer to render a test for a shot with a digital double of one of the actors...I just can't get the hair right... But just like everything else I know I'll figure it out....

Our film has 540 effects shots....*sigh* That's as many as Lord of the Rings (Fellowship)....WHAT THE HECK WAS I THINKING!!! :foreheads

Our joke that basically turned into a mantra was "Ahhh we'll fix it in post." This turned out to be our curse...

As was mentioned earlier. I was short on money but long on time and I think the story was/is decent.

I was short on money....I thought my credit cards, sale of my house, 401k, savings, and tons of people working on deferral, did I say credit cards? for a budget of 1.5M along with LOTS of creativity and raw BELIEF and DETERMINATION...would be enough....well...hmmm.....:stumped: I think I may have made a slight miscalculation....

Long on time...I had been laid off and I was changing careers..."Now I WILL BE a filmmaker!"

As time went on I began to realize when you make a film digital or live action or in our case live action with tons of visual effects Murphy's law is on steroids, never sleeps and is around every corner! Basically every thing you can imagine going wrong goes wrong and all the things you can't imagine going wrong go wrong and little gremlins that lay in wait to sabotage your next move really do exist! :yoda:

Well the film is in the can (photography is done) and has been for several years....I remember thinking "I just can't wait to get to post" "It will be so nice just to sit there at my computer and work on shots..." Little did I know what I was in for. :compbeati At one time we had 30 people on post...modelers, animators, texture artists, compositors, matte painters, etc...The unfortunate thing is that when you ask people to work on a project for "deferral" (you get paid after the movie is finished and only if it makes money) you have a difficult time attracting good talent. I had to let most of them go because there skills just weren't that good. The other challenge is that the really good people do a few shots and then get nice PAYING jobs at Digital Domain or some other decent shop.

Well after nearly going bankrupt (my parents bailed me out. I'm still paying them back) and almost losing my wife and 2 kids..(being broke puts a lot of stress on a marriage) :argue:I wound up living in a trailer with my little family thinking..."Man I never really dreamed about living in a trailer...."

I can probably go on for hours and hours telling you what to avoid and making suggestions but I don't want to clog up the internet and I'm sure some of you are quite bored of this post so I'll wrap it up.

I got a sales job and eventually we bought a house. My little family has grown (I now have 3 kids) and my relationship with my wife is better than ever.

I work on my film on nights and weekends. I'm not sure when it will be finished but it WILL be finished.

I'm not rubbing shoulders with Peter Jackson or Steven Spielberg but I AM a filmmaker.

Our film is at best a B maybe C+ movie. We most likely won't get a release in theaters but I think when it's done we'll have a very strong argument for the Sci-Fi channel.

My dream is not dead. It is just taking longer to build it than I could ever imagine.

Yes. The last seven years have been brutal to say the least but I would not trade them for anything. Nope not anything.

So after this long life story here's my advice:

I say go for it! And don't let anyone hold you back.

Just listen to all these good people and you may even be able to avoid some serious very painful pit falls along the way.

Scazzino
02-28-2009, 08:25 PM
Hi Adaminator,

Many of the suggestions people have made are indeed good. However, don't let that stop you. ;)

Sure, you could take ten years (or more ;-) to master many of the various special aspects of a large scale production... or you could just bite off the very beginning of your project, and do it... get that first shot, or first scene done... make that your first "episode" and learn from it. Once that's done you'll have something to show, and to analyze. Then you can take stock of what went right (and wrong) with your first step. Then you can make your next step... improving each along the way, but always moving forward.

So just get on with it and learn as you go... I'll be looking forward to see what you come up with.

Good luck! :thumbsup:

kevman3d
03-01-2009, 12:00 AM
I'm glad to see this thread is still going. And its full of very interesting advice - I may forward this onto some of my over-ambitious students to also read, as its all good stuff.

"Animators Survival Kit" was every animators "bible" at the last studio I worked, and since then I recommend it to everybody serious about mastering animation. One of our most talented artists there had actually animated every single walk-cycle and sequence in that book in 3D, just for 'practise'... :)

As Scazzino has said, create something and learn from it. My advice on that one would be to get it critiqued by your peers (not direct family as they tend to be positive no matter how many mistakes that are there :) ). Try classmates (if you happen to be at school), or post the work into a WIP forum somewhere for users to give feedback on. Always take critique as constructive, never personally, and use it to improve your skills.

As for production, I've spent a few months now brainstorming, sketching, designing, writing notes and development materials for a fantasy-conceptual animated series with a friend. 20+ pages of typed text, several pages of gesture scribbles, ideas, weapon designs, etc.

Now I'm onto developing one of a few teasers (short 10-15 second animated 'moments') to test some of my ideas out (and because all that writing and planning starts to stagnate the enthusiasm if it goes on too long). It gets me back into the creative flow - I sat down and started to nut-out some storyboards to how I'd visually tell short parts of the story (ie. the teaser). Working on small snippets at a time suddenly make it all fall into place and generally I'm back on form again after feeling unenthused. It also means I have come up with some ideas for animation I wouldn't have thought of if I hadn't spent so much time doodling, planning, designing and brainstorming.

I can't recommend the planning and design stage strongly enough. It doesn't have to be all writing either - Visuals, pages and pages of sketches, and so on can really get things rolling and inspire you to think and design.

BTW, if you're studying at Natcoll, do check out the Intranet's "student common room" there as I post technical and production advice there, and answer student questions frequently. (Yes, I teach there (Auckland))

Rhothgar
03-01-2009, 12:21 PM
Just a few more things to ad.

I hope my post earlier post is not overly negative. I just wanted to share with you my experience as in many ways I started my project the way you are beginning yours. All the things that go wrong are really stepping stones to getting things right. It's been a very valuable education for me. And again I would not trade it for anything.

I really like the advice that Scazzino has so nicely outlined.

As for learning lightwave. I've been using it since 6.5 and after working on this project I actually know a little on how to use it better. I still have a long way to go.

I would recommend as others have to get your hands on all the training videos and tutorials you can get your hands on. What I've done is to decide on what I want to do then find tutorials / training on how to actually do it. This has been extremely helpful. You can shorten the learning curve tremendously.

Remember also that there is always a way. There will be people that will laugh in your face but you will also find many who will be supportive and cheer you on. Listen to both take what you find helpful and keep pressing on.