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View Full Version : So I Just Saw Battle For Terra And...



evolross
05-13-2009, 08:01 AM
...It's actually pretty good. Especially considering the size of the team (between 10 to 30 at any given time) and the independent nature of the film.

I thought I had missed it because all the theaters in Dayton (Ohio) stopped playing it but I found that it was still alive and well in several Columbus theaters. So I made the drive.

I was actually quite impressed with the render quality and some of the visual shots. There were several shots that were really nice and seemed very complex. Most of the character renderings for the Terrians look just as nice as anything I've seen out of RenderMan or MentalRay. There were a lot critics that blasted the visuals of the film but that's simply because most film-goers who go see a new CG film are expecting new technical discoveries and the result of custom research done for that film. Battle for Terra doesn't really bring anything like that to the table. So there's nothing groundbreaking technically, but visually the film really holds up. I was actually quite proud for Lightwave and also felt reinforced that I could use Lightwave to make something that would hold up on a national level in the same light as something coming out of Pixar or Dreamworks (I'm talking visually here).

There's some really nice shots throughout. The design, modeling, rendering, and overall treatment on the Earth Force mothership's exterior is very cool and unlike anything I had seen from a ship design point of view. The design and rendering of all the Terrians was really nice. There was a lot of detailed texturing. And it seemed like Stooch pulled off hypervoxel MAGIC over and over again. It seemed like there was a hypervoxel-based effect in every other shot. Based on my experience, it takes A LOT of time to get HV's looking good. And I've heard they're a nightmare to composite correctly. So that was nice.

Most of the film has a somewhat washed-out color scheme but there's a couple interior shots where the lighting really sings and brings out the emotion and story. Again, Lightwave's renderer shows its quality. And I read this was rendered in 8.3. I'm curious how radiosity was handled throughout the film.

The story is beyond what I thought it was going to be. There's plenty of allegories and metaphors for the adult audience and it reminded me somewhat of WALL-E in just that it was trying to go "above" what the typical animated-character film theme is. At times it is predictable and standard, but you can tell the script was really developed and did have some thought put into it.

My criticisms are that the film actually had too much action in it. The story does feel thin at times because the film jumps from action sequence to action sequence very quickly. At times I was wondering how characters got to where they were so quickly. There's definitely a few action/suspense sequences thrown in that were probably used to fill time. When a film progresses like this, I can see where critics complained the story was too thin or had holes or just didn't deliver.

Another criticism was the human rendering quality. I know it was probably intentional but they all felt very cartoony when compared to everything else in the film. Certain shots looked better than others though. The Earth Force captain looked nice but the soldiers all looked neglected. Some of the human animation felt a bit rushed too.

Some of the criticism wasn't deserved though. Overall the visuals look great. The voice acting is great. There are no noticeable, cringe-inducing moments. The final product is very polished. The story is mostly where the film suffers. Overall though, I enjoyed the film and would recommend it to anyone who likes CG films or sci-fi space type films. However, I probably wouldn't recommend it to the average movie-goer.

Amazing job though to all the people on the forum who worked on it. Bravo!

Larry_g1s
05-13-2009, 09:42 AM
Cool evolross, thanks for a thorough impression. From the trailer, the story doesn't quite get me, but visually it looks solid, no Pixar/DreamWorks/Disney, but no slouch either. It looks worth seeing, particularly being more of an indie type film.

cresshead
05-13-2009, 09:59 AM
hope this comes to the u.k. cinemas if not then i'll pick it up on DVD

4dartist
05-13-2009, 10:37 AM
I went and saw Battle for Terra on Sunday because I was uber bored. I never really heard of it, just glanced at the trailer before I left and though it looked cool.

It turned out very entertaining.

Some absolutely breath taking shots. Gave me chills.. I was sitting there like 'holy mother of god that shot rocks' haha. There were quite a few of them. Some real amazing work to show massive scale.

Worth the watch and $$ for sure, for me anyways. Honestly think in some ways raises the bar. Just my thoughts.

BeeVee
05-13-2009, 01:52 PM
There's a mini-Meni interview in this month's newsletter, just posted here: http://www.newtek.com/lightwave/newsletter.php

B

Larry_g1s
05-13-2009, 01:54 PM
Nice Ben, thanks.

adamredwoods
05-13-2009, 03:05 PM
There's a mini-Meni interview in this month's newsletter, just posted here: http://www.newtek.com/lightwave/newsletter.php

B

In the newsletter, Menithings uses the spinning light trick to simulate GI, instead of actually using it.

Are there any developers here that would know how to duplicate that trick but using the new light API? I can't think of a way offhand to do it.

But it seems like that LW has the power to do a nice fake GI simulation, so I'm curious why there isn't a built-in light type for it yet...

wacom
05-13-2009, 04:48 PM
Render engine tech seems to have very little to do with things esp. once you've got people not using ray tracing so much.

For such a small crew, at least from the trailer, I'd say it looked very good. Unfortunately everything is compared to pixar. From what many people who have worked with PR renderman and other render engines have told me...their "tech" on the render side is actually...lacking esp. compared to other renderman compliant render engines. And as to be expected- it sucks when it comes to any form of raytracing.

So, that leaves us at lots of talented people making up the difference vs. a handful of talented people who probably worked their arses off, but still can't match who knows how many people working in the TL department of pixar due to sheer numbers. All those placed lights with animated properties etc. add up quickly and are job security against any "canned" render solution!

Conventional lighting really is an artform- and I think the results can be much more subjective than most "real" solutions that use photons, fg, etc.

Besides- critics only know what their spoon fed. Remember that "mind blowing" hair solution in the Incredibles? Too bad we'd already seen other films with similar tech or demonstrations a few years before...and not from pixar.

Personally I don't go and watch a pixar movie for the render "tech". I'd argue that commercials and music videos and demo reels are often more creative and push the edge a bit more when it comes to rendering techniques since the budgets per hour spent are so different.

I look forward to seeing this movie if for nothing else than to see what a handful of dedicated people can put out!

Scazzino
05-13-2009, 07:36 PM
But it seems like that LW has the power to do a nice fake GI simulation, so I'm curious why there isn't a built-in light type for it yet...

I still use spinning lights too and have often asked for the same thing... built-in spinning lights...

:agree:

shrox
05-13-2009, 07:54 PM
The poster looks nice, before I had only seen the Ebert review handout pics.

digitaldoc
05-13-2009, 07:57 PM
I saw this review on Rotten Tomatoes, thought it pretty well summed it up for me:

A beautiful, thoughtful movie conceived and executed on a budget less than the coffee budget of a Disney/Pixar film. It reaches, it achieves. Hopefully, will do well on DVD as it appears to have disappeared from theaters after the first week.

SBowie
05-13-2009, 08:52 PM
Hopefully, will do well on DVD as it appears to have disappeared from theaters after the first week.[/I][/FONT]I don't know what chance it had in the theatres when released at the same time as several blockbuster movies.

wacom
05-13-2009, 11:00 PM
The spinning light trick works well in many instances, but what would be a better long term solution would be an AO solution that is A: Directional and B: You can set the number of rays by proximity or falloff from start to finish (or a gradient if you want to get really "dandy" with it).

After using something like ctrl.studios ctrl.occlusion I've been sold on such an implementation of AO as it seems to fill a lot of niches that spinning lights and AO alone don't...

http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?t=358296

adamredwoods
05-14-2009, 11:16 AM
The spinning light trick works well in many instances, but what would be a better long term solution would be an AO solution that is A: Directional and B: You can set the number of rays by proximity or falloff from start to finish (or a gradient if you want to get really "dandy" with it).


This AO node is directional:
http://www2.informatik.hu-berlin.de/~goetsch/AmbOccNode/

adamredwoods
05-14-2009, 11:42 AM
In the newsletter, Menithings uses the spinning light trick to simulate GI, instead of actually using it.



I take back my original statement. Menithings used spinning light trick b/c they were using LW 8.3.

Now i wonder how fast that SL trick is versus say the inverted spherical light, which is built in.

evolross
05-15-2009, 06:50 AM
They also used a similar trick for all the clouds. They moved simple geometry between frames to get a softened, alpha'd look using motion blur. And since most of the movie takes place in kind of a "cloud world" that the Terrians inhabit, it is used a lot.

And it's actually a nice treatment and effect. It really holds up well.

Digital Hermit
05-15-2009, 04:45 PM
Stooch (you) had a hand in this, right? Can you or Meni sound off about the movie, now that it has been released?

Thanx

Stooch
05-15-2009, 09:54 PM
what exactly did you want to know?

evolross
06-22-2009, 02:16 PM
Is there anything special about your approach for compositing hypervoxel renders? Or I should say, setting up your renders so a compositing artist could easily work with them? I've heard they're really hard to composite.

Stooch
06-23-2009, 01:28 PM
Most of my voxel renders have no compositing other than plain additive overlay and a little color tweaking. Sometimes i encourage the comper to use bloom or glow but in general i render it premultiplied with the BG and its pretty much what you see = what you get. (so most voxels werent even on black!) lol.

I did render alot of shots half res though. and generally i would render a voxel shot with full visibility but the voxels would be the only alpha source. So the comper has a finished render yet still has control of the voxels.

Still rendered quite fast :) it had to...

I know alot of people belive that compositing is the way for voxels, but i feel that **** in = **** out.

Just alot of viper tweaking and coming up with a library of presets that work. With the rate of production we had, painstaking compositing was out of the question.