Building anything useful out of NURBS curves in maya is like gouging your eyes out very slowly while doing mathematical calculations. Yes, they’re great to mock up a car very quickly, but you should leave it at that and convert to polys/sub’ds as soon as possible. For one of the projects this quarter, I had to model a medium-res car ENTIRELY out of NURBS surfaces. It was one of the most frustrating things I’ve experienced, and wasn’t helped by the fact that my car isn’t very curvy to begin with. I wasn’t going to post it anywhere because, frankly, it’s not very good, but perhaps there’s some maya users out there who understand.
A frustrated painter/evil-mastermind creates a dark machine to help with his painting. This is one of those films that characterizes “What if” scenarios that you may daydream about when you’re fed up with something, “If only I could…create an evil machine to do my bidding!”, which is exactly what real-life painter Kendric Tonn goes about doing. Rembrandstein was created as the final project for my Compositing class Sophomore year, and features a dozen effects shots that utilize a wide range of effects; digital sets, CG-brush object insertion, tracking, etc. The evil brush itself is a live action prop-on-a-stick in most scenes, but was recreated in Lightwave for the more complex shots.
Like most of the other short films done that year, Rembrandstein was created in about two weeks and represents many all-nighter’s at Montgomery Hall spent toiling away in Shake. There wasn’t much time to plan, but I knew “evil machine” meant Metropolis-like imagery, as well as the cliche art-deco designs of 50’s science fiction programs. I actually gathered most of my reference from Star Trek Voyager’s Captain Proton episodes, whose designers amalgamated everything I was looking for into their sets. It’s unfortunate that there weren’t more shots with the machine, but dealing with black drapes was easier than keying greenscreen.
This was also the first project shot on Oliver’s Canon XHA1, by today’s standards a mediocre device for a mediocre format (HDV) but at the time, and for someone used to keying ntsc footage, this was pretty awesome. Rembrandstein runs for three minutes and stars Kendric Tonn and Oliver Palmer as the Igor character. The effects were rendered in Lightwave and composited in Shake.
Note: It seems that the Flash version, although properly compressed, has trouble playing back unless it’s in full screen, however you can watch the quicktime or right click on either version and save the file to your disk.
My very first visual effects class at SCAD was perhaps my most industrious. I produced four films, each done in about two weeks. This film, Art School and You, was the final project for that quarter, over three years ago. It masquerades as ye olde educational filme from the 50’s or 60’s, using desaturated colors and an overlayed projector effect, courtesy of the SCAD film dept, and warns of the various perils of being an art school student.
The concept formed after I completed a single shot of a student riding on top of a bus for an earlier project – I thought I could make fun of a few more caveats of a certain art school in addition to the over-crowded transportation. Art School and You was shot on a Canon GL2, composited in Adobe After Effects with some 3D work in Lightwave. The visual effects can be classified as cheese-tastic, though to be fair, it was the beginning of sophomore year and the project was produced in two weeks. Oliver Palmer plays the unfortunate student, with Kendric Tonn lending his voice for the excellent educational film narration.