Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Night in the kitchen

We are testing out the interior under different lighting conditions. We posted a test earlier of it in a daytime setting.

... now here is the same scene at night.

We've also done a small test render to see how it might look. (The orginal render was done at full HD size but youtube tends to mush it all up!)

Monday, March 26, 2007

Over the edge!

Gordon came over last week for a catch-up and a story meeting. He loved what we had done with the farmhouse on the hill. Then he said "wouldn't it be cool if it was almost falling off!" Everyone liked the concept so we went to work on a revised version which tiltled the house almost over the edge.

The theory is that the house was built at least 100 years ago when the hill top was probably much bigger and safer. Since then the cliff edge has eroded away making the hilltop much more of a dangerous place to be. Rather than move house Tom and his family have used wooden props to support the Farms receeding base.

Friday, March 16, 2007

The Farm on the hill

Remember the farmhouse we were building? Well it's grown a hill now.

It's based in no small part on a local landmark called Roseberry Topping which has a very distinctive sharks fin shape. This is the highest point locally and can be seen from alomst anywhere in the area. It's also where I proposed to my wife so it's a special place as well as being a distinctive shape. I'm hoping we can all go over there for a field trip some time soon, with sandwiches and everything!

We've also been doing some work on the farmhouse interior. Like all good shows it's a lot bigger on the inside! The doors and windows are in roughly the same place as the outside but we've been creative with the rest of the dimentions. The lighting hits us hard on the render times but we think we have a cunning plan to make this workable.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Title sequence

We had a meeting a couple of weeks ago, myself, Gordon and Clive Tonge. Clive is going to be supplying musical wonderment to our little trailer, he has already come up with a potential title piece. As well as being a musical sort Clive is an award winning animation director in his own right.

It was a really good meeting and we threw around lots of ideas, we focused on our musical influences that we wanted to capture.

I spent a hour one night fueled with inspiration (or red wine) and jotted down these proposed lyrics for the title sequence:

Rufus was a lonely boy
Without a proper home
One night a scary cosmic storm
Caused his little bed to roam

It took him far far far away
To a strange and funny farm
Where animals can walk and talk
And dinosaurs are calm

Tom and Bernie love him so
Like he was their very own
But Flossie doesn't like this much
It makes her plot and moan

His best friends now a two rabbits
Dalton and Cool Bob
He learns at school with Dr Odd
Which is not an easy job

Madeline and Moonstar
Round off our friendly band
But Auntie and her evil schemes
Are always close at hand

Welcome to Geddon Farm
It's a crazy land of mud
You wouldn't want to ever leave
Even if you could!

It will need some work and is probably too long right now but the process getting here has been a lot of fun so far. We are having another story meeting on Monday and we will be starting to storyboard next week too.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Cell render tests

We don't think this is the way to go but we tried anyway.

Head test

This is a head model built by Chris. He's used a basic bone setup for this test, no mesh morphing yet. The results are very nice already, it has a 'muppet' quality about it which I really like.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Render tests part 1

Taking 2D artwork and translating it into 3D throws up a lot of
questions. Much has to change in translation but what is kept should
still hold the essence of the source material. Chris has started
working on a model of Tom based on this fairly loose model sheet.
Once he has something to show I'll post it here.
In the meantime we are using two older models to test out our render setup, surface detail and animation. They are both 'Tom' models, one is a head built by me about 4 years ago, the other is a full body mesh built by Ged about 2 years ago. This was one of Ged's very first models in 3D, the proportions are not quite right but its good enough for our tests.

I think I mentioned before about trying to get some surface detail into the models to take the edge off the 3D look. 3D is great but it can often look clinical and cold, we are trying out various methods to avoid killing off our characters before they have really come to life! This is one of those tests, the surface has a bump map made up of marks and finger prints to emulate claymation's unique look. (Ged has brought in a large slap of Sculpy clay for us to hammer away at and use for reference.)

It's hard to make out on this clip so I've enlarged part of the image. The full resolution version shows the surface detail nicely.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Chilling developments

We are in the middle of lots of separate strands of development, eventually they will all come together into a coherent whole, hopefully! This is one of those strands, continuing development of the world the characters inhabit. This test uses Ged's fridge as it was the more finished between Geds and Glazys, but thanks anyway Mr G! (See old posts.)

Ged's sick brand of humour is fairly evident in this clip!

As always please let us know what you think so far!

Friday, March 02, 2007


Ged has been building a 3D model based upon Gordon's concept sketch we posted a while ago.
This is the original drawing:

These two test renders show our ideas for the final look and feel. We are still not sure if we should go down the route of stylised flat colours or give the objects more detail in the textures. Have a look at the two images and tell us what you think!