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Thread: The Magic Dust

  1. #1

    The Magic Dust

    This is a project that I started working on in 2005. It is why I started learning LightWave again after about 10 years in 2005. It was a second choice project to a bigger more epic idea I had after leaving LA in 2004. It was supposed to be simpler and um.... faster.

    Now... 8 years later....

    Here is where I was by 2008.

    This is the logo I made then.
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    And here was a poster I made in 2008
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    Notice the prophetic tag line "Upside Down"
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    Very odd and uncanny to see the trailer for this in December 2012 here where I am:

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    And of course I had to see the movie.

    There were so many similarities that I was almost sick.

    My movie is not about being upside down exactly but is of course inspired by this:

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    The brief on my story is that it did involve a boy and a girl - of course. And the boy needed to be with girl who is on another dimension. Of course. And this meant that he would have to control gravity - of course. To see girl. Of course. And in my story, this is where the Magic Dust comes in and so on. I am over-simplifying. But you get the idea.

    The similarities are more uncanny but I don't want to spoil the movie that should be coming out soon if you have not already seen it.

    I recommend it by the way. I thought it was clever. Of course.

    Now that that is all out of the way.

    The brief history is that I have been in rewrite after rewrite over the years. Learning 3D, testing, and building props and sets and so on and more testing and building and rewriting. Between normal living.

    I have not really had too much to show in the way of the essence of the look I wanted since 2008 as in images above there. I was not at all satisfied with that look. All modeled and rendered in LW by the way. Not because of LightWave but because I was trying to get a certain look I just was unable to achieve and it was frustrating. So I have scrapped it and moved on. Just thought I'd post some LW stuff here.

    As to the story, I had just finished my a screenplay had just finished building my main set, was all set to start in on my animatic, and then I saw that trailer above. And then the movie. And it was undeniable. I had to make some changes. I don't want my film to be associated with that in any way. And that is not going to be easy if impossible now, but I will do what I can.

    The good thing is that I have had lots of various revisions over the years. I had dumbed it down to make it much simpler. I had taken my idea which was (and is) quite complex - actually 6 different dimensions that are spit into two - and make it real obvious by putting two planet masses next to each other each with 3 dimensions (90 degree planes). There is a lot that goes behind this which I am not going to go into here. Basically I set up a whole set of rules for this universe I was building and it is based on two parallel universes of 3 dimensions each. The story uses these rules.

    And so this other film comes out and it is two planet masses next to each other the boy the girl and so on and.... you get the idea. It happens.

    So digging up some of my early designs, by around 2008 I had constructed this prototype:

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    A mess really...

    From which this finalized test render came:

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    Again I was not at all satisfied with the look of it. And since then I have been working on many aspects of the production pipeline. Just thought I'd share what I have been doing all these years behind the scenes with LightWave. I have never really shared any of this online before in this much detail as far as the idea goes because I wanted to keep it under wraps. And as you can see a lot of good that did!

    So now I am kicking up the creative juices to distance my story from the other film that cam out and it is been very interesting. Maybe a blessing in disguise. I am reaching back into some older versions and adding a bunch of new ideas. The Magic Dust 2.0 should be much better.

    So here it is. Hope you find it interesting. I'll try and dig up some other images from LightWave renders and so on that I had been working on.

  2. #2
    Here are some more shots of locations in that maze:

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    An earlier progression of the design process:

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    A modular design approach:

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    Basically reusing parts over and over.

    These were all done around 2008 in Lightwave. I have since this time completely reworked the look of it. But it is interesting to look back at it now.
    Last edited by Surrealist.; 03-11-2013 at 05:26 PM.

  3. #3
    Robert Ireland bobakabob's Avatar
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    Great work, I really like the character design in the early poster and the Escher inspired set design. Impressive modelling there... it would be interesting to see what you could achieve with instancing. A very ambitious project... you probably need a team to complete this.
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  4. #4
    Thanks for the comments. Ambitious indeed. True. For now it is very much in development - still. A team is off a ways yet.

    But instancing would have saved me years ago. My computer crapped out and I could not render the set. I had to composite parts of it together. Would not have worked for animation because of overlapping and thus I went into a redesign phase at that point.

  5. #5


    This is the last set I built. And this shot illustrates some difficulty with the concept I am now going to change. Over the last 8 years I have been developing this concept, I have been simplifying it as best as I could to make things more obvious.

    The idea was to simplify it to the point that people could see two separate parallel universes that are floating next to each other as in Roger Dean's Yes paintings. There is an interlocking stairway that connects them.

    This concept illustrates one of the key geometric rules to this universe which is revealed in the film. The rotation in the middle of the shot I feel is awkward cinematically. But it illustrates that a particular rotation gives you a view from the other side that is exactly the same, and that there are 2 exact duplicates connected by a mutual stairway. Each duplicate has 3 planes of existence as in Escher's relativity.

    The set itself is just a simple block proxy to map out the geometry, that I would later go in and replace with more a detailed version.

    It is actually split up into small segments that are duplicated then rotated and mirrored as instances. Something like 1 24th of the entire scene. That applies to the lower half. The larger building of course is just mirrored and rotated from one piece.

    However, there are many things that bothered me about this shot and the set up itself. So I have decided to scrap this, and am in the process of a complete redesign.

    It just confirms for me that the idea tries to be too simplistic and also could get confused with another film that has recently been released (mentioned above) where there are two planets next to each other.

    That said, there is a lot more going on here than meets the eye at first look. There is quite a bit or research regarding this geometry and the rules that come out of it. These rules are interwoven into the storyline. So I don't want to get to far into it here at this time. But it is the result of 8 years of development, research and writing. I have made a veritable sideline career out of writing this story and extrapolating the rules for it!

    This image from the shot goes by too fast to make any sense of it but it is a clue as to how these two places interconnect.

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    The music is just a filler track from Bartok.

  6. #6
    Robert Ireland bobakabob's Avatar
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    Great concept work, love the bridge image especially and the renders of the main protagonist are atmospheric and haunting. Hope you get this project going again now that technology has developed, it would be awesome to see animated scenes or a walkthrough of that mindbending set design.
    Art and photography Flickr site
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  7. #7
    Indeed. Yes, thanks for the complement and encouragement. Instancing is something I have enjoyed coming to LightWave finally. Definitely opens it up for a rendering solution even though I use other apps for animation and effects now. I am going to dig up some of the props and things that I modeled in LightWave and post them here.

    And a walk through. Actually I do have something like that from my original LightWave set. Let me see if I can find it. But I agree, it is something I look forward to as well. There is so much work just to get to that point on the new set I will design. I'll post some WIP here as I get there.

  8. #8
    I have to admit this looks pretty complicated! All in all a great idea, but really a lot of work. Somehow, the thought of such space and a different dimension where reality is twisted upside is pretty impressive ... I hope that now, with the development of technology and programs , this will be somewhat achievable. Good luck with this
    " ...we are so close, yet so far away... "

  9. #9
    What a special style,and the story sounds really interesting.Hope it'll excellent after 8 years hard work.
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  10. #10
    Thanks nemofish...and skype06.

    Been swamped with work and no time to update this.... hopefully soon.

  11. #11
    Newbie Member DesertRat's Avatar
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    Surrealist,

    Thanks for posting your artwork. I especially like the "noir" look in some of those pictures - very cool. The wireframe is inspirational. Good luck with writing the updated version, that's got to be frustrating.
    Mac OSX 10.10.2, 2.8 GHz Intel Core i5, 4 GB RAM

  12. #12
    lol yeah. Frustration alright.

    Thanks for the compliments on the Noir look. Very intentional.

    But frustration aside it has actually been quite a ride. Because when I got down to rewriting this last time, suddenly an entire new set of ideas I had never considered before emerged. I mean ideas that were fundamentally different than earlier tries. So I am actually kind of exited about it. The new treatment is going to be a challenge to write but it takes it to a level I would have never done, had it not been for some outside influence to force me to rethink it to be different. So it is a bit of a blessing in disguise.

  13. #13
    Something strange going on with the Forums. My Thread disappeared and I had to Google it to find it.

    Here are some old LightWave renders of some stuff I designed back.... I think around 2005-2007.

    Some furniture:

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    The Knife:

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    Clock:

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    And finally, something I will update and publish again at some point. This is the cover to a PDF where I used some images and so on to describe the various rules I had developed for this fantasy world.

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  14. #14
    Hey I have something more to post on this for a change.

    Break between jobs. This was modeled in Modeler way back when and I have been messing around with Renderman again.









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  15. #15
    Axes grinder- Dongle #99
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