Friday, 13 September 2013

Amazing modelling software!

Before you get too excited, yes I'm still on a break from film making. However, I saw this demonstration of software which can create a 3D model from a 2D photograph which I thought you should check out. If this software is anything like as easy to use and powerful as it appears then I am truly astounded!
As a film maker I always need to bring in props for set dressing. It's paying attention to the details which helps give a film it's polished feel. However, I'm not much of a modeller myself, and rely on those who are more talented than I am to come up with complex models. I have had some success making simpler models (e.g. the interior of a railway carriage for Ruth), using Sketchup. That software is reasonably easy to get the basics right, but I'm not prepared to invest the time to become an expert. That said, this 3-Sweep software looks like it has learned from the ease-of-use that we see in Sketchup and applied it in a jaw-droppingly brilliant way.
Of course, there's no word in the video as to how much this software might cost, and I fear that if they are targeting professional users then it will be placed firmly beyond the reach of us amateurs. But I've got my fingers crossed just in case!
(Thanks to Primaveranz for posting the link to this)

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Why so quiet, IceAxe?

As you know I have been tinkering about with iClone, and I started getting quite excited about it's possibilities. However, real-life events have got in the way of my film making as my job was recently made redundant by my employer. For now, movie-making is on hold while I concentrate on finding a new job.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Don't Say I Didn't Tell You So!

Smug. That's me. If you've seen The Chapelside Deception, you'll know that I saw this coming!

Sunday, 3 February 2013

What I've been up to...

Since winning a full copy of Unity at the Machinima Expo I've pretty much had my nose buried in Unity 3.x Game Development Essentials. Obviously, my interest in Unity is not actually game development, but harnessing the engine for film making. I'm about half-way through the book, and I've reached the conclusion that I won't be making any films in Unity just yet. The main reason being that while the platform is really powerful and highly controllable, there are no film making tools as such; I'm talking about basic things like a time line, and camera controls - what to look at, when, and how to focus etc. Perhaps someone will develop some scripts which will give us Moviestorm-like controls within the engine. Also, I've no idea if Unity supports things like lip-synching for the avatars (a ruffle through the book doesn't throw up anything.) Perhaps this is something that Moviestorm themselves could develop? After all, the under-development iPad version has been realised within Unity.
I've also had a quick look at iClone 5 Pro (another prize!) Yes, it looks like it should be up for the job, and after spending time in Unity the notorious iClone UI doesn't look half as daunting as it used to. And iClone has some beautiful water effects, and it is really good for creating natural, organic environments (something that Moviestorm is rather poor at). But there's just something about how things are rendered onscreen which doesn't appeal. Part of me sees it as a challenge - after all I spend a lot of time trying to make my Moviestorm stuff look like it didn't come from Moviestorm, so I guess I could do the same with iClone...

Monday, 31 December 2012

2012 has left the building

As is traditional for the season it's time to reflect on the year that has been, and to look forward to the year ahead. 2012 was a bit of an odd year for me. For me it was not particularly productive, and yet very successful from a machinima point of view (more on that in a bit). However my 2012 was blighted by some health issues which sapped my creativity quite a lot. Fortunately nothing life-threatening, but it was a bit of crap journey this year.
However, on the upside I did manage to get some movies shown on the big screen at several local events, including the Red Carpet Screenings which takes place in my home town of Basingstoke. But the highlight of the year must surely be the Machinima Expo. I had entered the Chapelside Deception for the Expo, which saw a total of 150 films submitted for consideration. Of those, ten were put forward to the independent jury and I was lucky enough to be joint winner of the Open This End award. Then to my amazement I went on to with the Jury Grand Prize! This recognition is a huge honour for me - I never take any of these awards for granted especially considering how strong the other candidate movies were. I think I'm right in saying that I'm the only director to have won the Grand Prize twice - I am humbled!
There were many brilliant films in the Expo, but two that I particularly liked (both were award winners) are Wulf and Eadwacer by Hypathia Pickens, and Unfinished Paintings by Miron Locket. Go ahead and check them out!
So what for 2013? Well, if you were listening to the interview I did on TMOA radio last night you would have heard me announcing my "retirement" from making machinima. By the end of the interview I'd been talked out of it! I still have plenty of ideas, both in terms of stories and visual style. It would be a shame to completely stop now so instead I'll take a little break before coming back to it afresh.
I'll sign off now by wishing you a happy and prosperous 2013!

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

We're there!

Machinima Expo 2012 has officially opened its doors, with the screening reel already playing over on LiveStream. The big event though is this weekend with a packed schedule of discussion topics including demos of the major animation platforms used to make "grown-up" machinima.
It all comes to a crescendo on Sunday with the 5th Annual Expo Awards. As mentioned previously, my little football flick The Chapelside Deception is in with a chance of a gong - let's see how it does...!
The Machinima Expo takes place within Second Life, although you can choose to watch via LiveStream if you prefer. If you've never tried Second Life then I'd recommend you have a bash - it's free to sign up, and you can have a blast creating your online avatar. At some point you'll want to get dressed up, and my advice is make sure you've got a Second Life friend on hand to help you out if you want to get involved in any of that malarkey. Last time I tried to get changed I ended up stark naked with no idea of how to recover my clothes (I'm talking about in Second Life of course). Anyways, you should try it, it's fun!
Looking at the schedule you'll see that it's all very clearly laid out with start times for each session. The times refer to Second Life time, which essentially equates to Los Angeles time. If you're in the UK, we're eight hours ahead of LA, so this means the Second Life shenanigans begins at 5pm on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Hope to see you there at some point, and if it's Sunday I'll either be sipping my virtual champagne, or crying in my virtual soup. Which will it be...?
Some links which you might find useful:
Machinima Expo website
Midnight Manhattan Reverie in Second Life (you'll need to have set up an SL account to get in)
Programme Schedule
List of Screeners

Have fun at the Expo!

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Machinima Expo 2012

I submitted 'Chapelside for the Expo this year (it was the only film I'd made in the past twelve months - each film seems to take longer and longer to finish!) and I was eagerly awaiting news as to whether it was going to be selected for screening.
I heard this week that not only has it been accepted, but it made it onto the shortlist for the Jury prize! In total there were 150 submissions, 10 made it to the shortlist for the Jury to consider. I'm honoured, thrilled, and humbled to say the least! The organisers of the Expo have generously arranged for all 10 shortlisted movies to be submitted to the New Media Film Festival, including the submission fee!
I'm looking forward to the Expo this year, and to get you in the mood, you can see the trailer here.
There's also a great article about the Expo at SingularityHUB
Thanks to the Machinima Expo screening team: Ricky Grove, Kate Fosk, Damien Valentine, thebiz, Sean Heimbuch and Eddie Duggan.