Our first Production Log for 2016! As we usher in February, we wanted to give you an update on how the film’s progress is coming along. Since there isn’t a huge reveal like we’ve had in the past like our movie poster or our preview trailer, we thought it be cool to do snippets of the many facets that are still in production. Whenever when we had the chance to work on the film, these are the four things that we’ve been plugging away at and have achieved great results.
Since we began splicing our shots together, we’ve always thought about how the film should “look”. We’ve tested this multiple times throughout the years but one thing that we needed to complete was basic color correcting. We’ve always color corrected our work in the past, but we wanted to take it to the next level by focusing on vector scopes to get the balance that we wanted. Once that was completed, then we went into Magic Bullet Looks to play around with some finishing touches. We’ve successfully done this to all of our scenes that have been completed!
Pixel Art Game Creation
In our script, we have a battle that takes place between one of our hero characters in a “game of purpose”. The original idea was to have the two characters duke it out in a complex CGI fight sequence that consisted in fighting on top of a rooftop with a massive thunderstorm also taking place. Even though this would have been amazingly cool to see, we thought this sequence could be a tremendous opportunity to reiterate the time frame of when our story takes place (’87-’95). To achieve that was to create the fight sequence as an 8-bit arcade game.
We immediately began studying on how to do pixel art successfully. We’ve found some amazing techniques online and jumped into Photoshop to begin drawing. We just finished the designing phase which took over a span of four months. It’s incredibly time consuming to do pixel art correctly and the time invested is worth it. Now we’ll be able to animate the entire fight sequence in After Effects which will be very reminiscent to classic arcade games we grew up playing like Final Fight and Street Fighter. Stay tuned on this one for we’ll definitely feature this on our site when we have more to show.
We told ourselves not to do this when we began this project for we knew that the more we learned VFX techniques going forward, that we would feel inclined to go back and redo some of our previous shots. Yes you learn by doing and we’re cool with that, but we can’t and shouldn’t do it EVERY time or else the film will never get finished.
Alas we couldn’t help ourselves so we decided to take a look at some of our early passes of doing VFX work and chose a few to “update”. The one we have displayed is ironically our first VFX session we did for the film; a villain teleporting into the scene. You can see in the example that at first, we attempted in created a TV distortion and glitching effect to signify that something was coming. We felt that we could have done a better job in creating what would eventually be the portal starting to form. That’s what you see in the second still frame, which is a much improved shot to convey what we wanted in the first place.
Another perk in taking our time in creating this film is that more software becomes available that helps us to not only achieve our vision, but also become more tangible for us to complete that said vision. When we began back in 2012, we didn’t have the tools or the know-how to complete some of our VFX shots. Now thanks to the progressing of technology, we’re becoming more successful in achieving our vision with the use of VFX.
3D Modeling and Compositing
As you’ve seen in our recent blogs, we’ve been going strong at 3D modeling in Maya. We’re still learning the best practices in creating these assets and by learning, we mean doing. We’ve embarked on two out of the five 3D sets back in 2015 and we’ve begun to composite shot footage with our 3D sets! We’re by no means close to completing this task because we want it to be believable and great to the best of our ability. The hurdles that we’re currently facing are the best practices of creating 3D environments, linear workflow which deals with color management and finally delivering our work to compositing software programs like Photoshop and After Effects. It’s always healthy to get your feet wet to see what you have to work on to improve and that’s just what we’ve been doing these past nine months. We’re hoping by summer to complete our deep studying phase and move forward to just creating and compositing our shots.
In closing, you can see we’ve been diligently working away since our last Production Log post. On top of all the things we mentioned above, you can see that in our featured and background picture that we’ve been also doing some new VFX shots to our scenes. We’re hoping that we can continue to do more VFX shots before summer so that we can get most of the scenes mixed with audio. As we usher into yet another year of working on our film, we’re really excited to see what we can accomplish in these next twelve months. As always, stay tuned!
“I think audiences get too comfortable and familiar in today’s movies. They believe everything and they’re hearing and seeing. I like to shake that up.”
– Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight Rises, Momento, Inception)