Videocopilot gave away some 3D Halloween models this week as part of their promotion for their new After Effects plugin Element, so I couldn’t help myself.
Happy Halloween from Mutant Worm everyone!
As you all know – no doubt about it – Mutant Worm has been working on an open source crowd sourced Star Wars spoof with lots of filmbuddies.
Last Tuesday we shot the openings-scene to our movie using a miniature “Star-destroyer”. It’s great to do some practical shots next to the 3D. Adam Medic, director Giso’s young Padawan, made this short “behind the scenes” video.
Check out more details at:
I’m sure you’d like to see more cool and funny Mutant Worm explanimations, but instead I’ll share with you some work of a select group of After Effects people/animators that I admire, and who’s style of work I’d love to match at some point if only I had the time or the budget – brazenly assuming I have the talent.
Each of these videos could lead you to more details on the production process, if you’re interested.
Now, bear in mind, I come from a story background so you don’t have to worry I’m sharing these just for the animating style or visual effects. You’ll enjoy them. If not, feel free to chastise me below. At least someone would finally use the comment option :—)
I’ll also add some random animations at the end that do not involve After Effects. Little productional info can be found on those, except for Thought of You.
First off, there’s Carlos Lascano, who combines gorgeous illustrations with stop motion miniatures, 3D and After Effects. You can immerse yourself in his work and there’s also quite a bit of information about the production process on his site.
A Short Love Story in Stop Motion
Amnesty International – 50 years
The Legend of the Scarecrow
Yes, brilliant name. Max Porter and Ru Kuwahata currently have a residency at the Netherlands Institute of Animation. Basically, they mostly create their props from waste material and animate them in After Effects. Their website has a wealth of information about the production process.
Something Left, Something Taken
They Might Be Giants – Electric Car (music video)
Where did I first come across this guy? I think it was a clever and truly funny tutorial on the Red Giant website spoofing Lost. Yeah, that was it. Besides being a master at motion graphics and visual effect, he has a great sense of humor and his fictional work’s right up my alley. I’ll give you a few samples but you’re gonna have to check out his webseries, like The Time Closet – http://www.thetimecloset.com/. If this guy’s willing, he could be big in Hollywood. He is now one of the preset guru’s at Red Giant, with whom he also created Plot Device. This first one he made with his little kid.
The Three Little Pigs
RANDOM COOL ANIMATIONS
I hope you enjoyed some of that. You may have noticed that I didn’t tap into commercial stuff. There are brilliant examples out there, but I chose to stick to fiction to keep it manageable.
Now, there must be huge amounts of brilliant animations out there that I haven’t seen or plain forgot. I have more in my likes on Vimeo should you be interested. Other than that, got any brilliant tips?
Should you be interested in the technical details for character animation within After Effects, I highly recommend this link which references many amazing animation tutorials.
In the past few years a number of international and English oriented (ex)students, along with several of my filmbuddies, made a local TV-series that is right up my alley: it’s in English, it’s populated by character types and it is drenched in humor. Being what it is, it has international potential, which is why I’m blogging about it. What’s it called?
The television series “North” follows a group of international students in the city of Groningen as they struggle against the half Irish, half Scottish mob boss McSeamus, all the while trying to survive university, make friends, and experience all that student life has to offer. There’s laughter, there’s tears, there’s bad mustaches and Spanish lovers, there’s three-leaved clovers and two-faced liars. But most of all, there’s friendship and a shared international grudge against living in a city where no one can pronounce its name.
The story comes from mastermind and director Thomas Mook and was produced by Henriëtte Poelman against all odds – of which there were many. The main cast consists of members of Stranger Things Have Happened, an English-speaking comedy and theatre group that Thomas is also part of. Unfortunately he doesn’t feature in the series himself – I didn’t even spot a cameo – but I dare say you’ll find your favorites among that cast. Kudos go to Jeroen Meijer who took it upon himself to film the series. I don’t believe anyone I know could have done the job but him. Together with a dedicated cast an crew they came up with practical and exciting ways to capture the drama of the story as well as the scenery of Groningen in this, the most northern part of The Netherlands. Well … not quite the most northern part, but then, if there is one main theme in the series, it’s stereotypes.
Being a family man these days and starting my own business didn’t give me room to actively participate. Indeed, when the plan was proposed and filmmakers were sought to help out, it deemed it quite daunting for anyone involved: producing 6 episodes of 20 minute tv in two weeks time! With little to no budget! Admittedly, it took a bit longer. Come to think of it, we might have a production baby since my girl Zoe turns 2 next Friday In any case, I had to let it slide, leaving it all to the more time-endowed people.
As time went by, however, the moment arrived when I was able to chip in, when it was my turn to shine, I suppose. I am after all a Golden God (megalomanic quote alert). This moment was when things went – how shall I put it – awry: boom microphone in the shot, in fact, entire soundperson reflected in window! More booms! A dolly! Shadows of booms! … each and every one of them had to be made invisible. So now, after much ado about nothing, I’m known amongst cast and crew as a verb: ‘to frank a shot’ mainly means to fix something in a shot that wasn’t supposed to be there.
Eventually, as postproduction moved along, the time came for visible shots. This meant I didn’t have to erase but add elements. Elements that were actually wanted on the screen: bulletholes, fire, 24 clocks, and deadly action. Plot essential stuff, then. So all in all I did get to work on something that all the cast and crew must be very proud of. For my part, I’m proud of them. Sure, you can bitch and moan about some of the things that don’t quite work, but this is such a feat with a whopping €5000,- budget, such a joy to behold, such lovable or memorable characters, that I can fairly say I love the series and can’t wait for it to go to DVD or Blu Ray! Thanks for letting me play along, and I’m looking forward to watching the next project.
Oh, and maybe I’ll add a bit on VFX for the bonus features, maybe I won’t. I already spent part of an effects reel on it. My current ode to the series consists of the following GoAnimate version of an already wacked out scene. Boy, is it hard to get the diction remotely similar. But that’s the fun, really. The free GoAnimate version has the following options: pick a setting (one of two), pick two characters, and fill in 10 lines of dialogue.
I dare you to make more! Find the North clips and GoAnimate: http://strangerthings.nl/north/
As some of you may know, I’ve been working on a Star Wars fanfilm with several other filmmakers, and lots of other invaluable assistance! It is to be a short film, about 13 minutes long. You can find more on it at www.dubsteptrooper.com
The shoot for the live action was last December. Most of the collaborators were there, either on set or visiting. Two weeks ago, we shot all the motion capture element for the film with just the core crew — i.e the instigators — and our DP.
After a few initial tests earlier on, last week we had a lot of fun shooting the motion capture scenes, guerilla style! This is where director Giso Spijkerman opened his latest magic box.
He ordered a couple of playstation cameras and bought great software from Ipisoft. We then created a small capture area in our own greenscreen studio and mocapped the shots that we knew were impossible to shoot live because of the immense sets and impossible camera movements in the film.
So check out director Giso dressed up in a stylishly simple mocap suit. This video gives a short impression in 55 seconds, to be exact. No final renders yet, but stay tuned! The magic will happen ;—)
I stumbled upon my camcorder during the shoot and thought I’d just capture a few shots. Of course the battery quickly ran empty so I resorted to the webcam on my MacBook, which I was using to preview live footage for continuity. Edited together this is the quick and dirty making of. To give it a bit more pep, I finally got to use the Magic Bullet Suite which I bought from Red Giant software last December. I also created an After Effects intro and outro somewhat based on a tutorial at AEtuts+ by guru … Giso Spijkerman ;—).
Funny facts: we used an iMac + Windows XP (which kept crashing without restraint) + iPisoft + 4 playstation eyes to mocap the movements.
If you’re interested in the process you should definitely check out the guys from the software : ipisoft.com
And don’t forget to follow Dubstep Trooper!