Tag Archive for 'preproduction'

Concepting heads


I’m trying to work out a visual vocabulary for the level of caricature in the film.  This is one of the tests – above is the turn around of the high detail version, and below are some shots of variations.  One of the concepts in the film is that the characters are imprinted with some of their personal histories – kind of like scars.  It’s not clear here, but I’ll keep posting examples of what that means in later posts.  These examples are also a bit conservative – I’ll be trying to push a bit more in the next couple of iterations.

Again, these are done with ZBrush.

Character concepts

Here are some character concepts – these are pretty dated, but still the ones I’m working off of.  The last one is a 3d sketch, trying to work out the look.

Reclining man: ZBrush test


This is a test for some of my process ideas.  I’ve gotten recently back into using ZBrush, and I thought I’d see how far I could get starting from just a polygonal cube – above is the result of about a day and a half of working with the mesh.  In production, I’d expect to have a posed (possibly) higher resolution base mesh, with a nicer topological layout, but this was an exercise in figuring out how much mesh resolution I really needed to start with.

I expect that the majority of secondary characters in the film will have very little movement on a shot by shot basis, and rather than fully rigging/modeling/texturing these characters, I expect to work predominantly from the camera’s perspective.  It’s an idea I tried out on a recent commercial project I directed and supervised (which at some point I’ll put up here).  The storyboards and 2d animatic were locked down (after many revisions) well before production, which allowed us to really economize the production time on only what we would see.

Below are some progression shots.

Realism test


This is simple test with a still image of the miniature shoot from last year.  The idea to to see how much I get from the plate, and how much I need to add in order to hit a high level of detail.  The doll was our character stand-in – the animation is just some image warping.

Most of the work is done in Shake (with a bit of Photoshop).  I’ve added live elements, balanced light, lens flare, defocus, a background replacement (with a simple key), animation, and a bit of paint over to cover up some odd lighting in the original plate.

Below is the original image:

Old storyboards

As I’m updating this blog, I’ll also add some of the early pre-production work.  These are boards from near the beginning of the project.  The story and the boards have changed significantly since, as has my boarding style.


In preparation for the shoot, I’ve installed Earth from Rising Sun Pictures, which keeps track of disk usage.  It’s browser based, and runs off a Postgre database and RubyOnRails.  I think I’ll be expanding the server soon – since the pipeline is based around 16bit float (RAW/EXR), and the motion control shots will likely have more than one pass, our data for the shoot will take at least a terabyte of space.  The production, I’m anticipating, will easily eclipse that number.

Along with showing usage statistics, Earth also has a neat radial display:


Concept Mapping

I’ve recently discovered this open source tool for planning the production:


The below picture is my first try at mapping out some of the general processes in this film.


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