Wednesday, August 23, 2006

It's Always Gypsies to Blame for These Sorts of Things

I've started work on the Gypsy Flashback Sequence, which was one of those eye-opening moments back during the conception of FRANKENSTEIN VS THE WOLFMAN that got me fired up about doing the movie in the first place.

I don't want you to go thinking that the whole movie is a homage to the Universal Monster movies - our Frankenstein and Wolfman characters share names with their more famous forefathers, but their origins and character are much different - but I did want to acknowledge a link. I wrote a short flashback sequence where we see the future Wolfman's fateful encounter with a band of gypsies and I thought, wouldn't this be a perfect place in the movie to do a short sequence in a style as close to the Universal classics as I can? The computer has finally finished rendering out the first 8 minute shot of this scene, a nice, atmospheric angle on a small gypsy caravan camped out in the foggy woods, and it looks pretty much like what I imagined it to be - in black and white, and 3-D to boot!

It's not all I wanted (nothing ever is) due to the limits of my poor, overworked PC's computing power. The resultant file had so many highly detailed character and object files loaded that it would lock up during the render. I finally had to forego shadows, then even bump maps (thankfully, the characters are seen from a distance)! To compensate for the lack of detail, I used only one global light dialed way down low to simulate moonlight. It doesn't look half bad to my eye - not feature quality, by any means, but decent enough for my purposes here. I don't have a screen capture for you yet, but will post something from this sequence soon.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Voice Recordings Complete; Revisions Made to Footage

The final voice recordings have been delivered, so now we have the dialogue for the full movie in house. I've been taking the last couple of weeks to go back and fix some niggling visual errors that have been bugging me in the initial batch of footage.

The scene in question takes place out in front of an inn at dusk, with the inn's windows lit from inside by lamplight. In the original footage, it appears as if each pane of the window had been painted bright yellow. The fixed footage makes it appear as if the entire window is lit from within by a warm glow. In order to acheive the effect I wasted time with another screwup; I painted all the windows green in order to greenscreen them out and lay the glow effect behind them; this produced very ragged jags around the figures that passed in front of the windows and had to be re-done. The second attempt involved removing the back of the model so I would have a nice alpha channel to work with. Needless to say, that method produced the best result.

I'm anxious to get back to work on animation but work and other domestic issues are taking center stage; in September, my sister is getting married. In addition, a number of family members are flying in from over seas, so it's sure to be a month full of activity.

Once I do get back to FRANKENSTEIN VS THE WOLFMAN, I'm thinking of working on a scene from late in the movie that I've been looking forward to since I conceived of the project - a black and white origin-of-the-Wolfman sequence that's been planned to be done in black and white.