Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Light at the End

I have just finished rendering a sequence that takes place in a bar called The Scabbard Inn, where our diminutive heroes go to investigate a possible wolfman suspect. With this sequence in place, we're now looking at a full narrative run of 16 minutes and 22 seconds. The only thing left is the "Final Battle" sequence between Frankenstein and the Wolfman. I actually started working on this project starting animation on that sequence first way back in December of 2004, so it's kind of fitting that this will be where it wraps up.

This final battle will be more complicated than those in either of the two Raven movies, involving more characters and more action beats. One of the glaring drawbacks I see when I look back at the Raven movies is how hurried their climaxes are. Even though they took forever to work on, when played back in realtime they go by in a flash. I'm hoping that I'll be able to correct that error with Frankenstein vs the Wolfman and actually deliver something that has a little more payoff.

I am starting to think about the audio end of the movie and am trying to gather sound effect libraries together and have preliminary dialogues about the direction of the music.
Today I came across a couple of items that may interest you that were buried deep within my computer - test renders from the proposed Raven 3-D project. Before I settled on doing Frankenstein vs the Wolfman, I initially was planning to do a third Raven movie - one that would wrap up all the loose plotlines from the first two shorts. In the end, those dangling plotlines dictated the story and I ended up not having enough interest in it to see it through. And, because it was the third movie in the series, I was planning to do it in 3-D. So, get out your 3-D specs, because here are a couple of test renders that I did to see what Raven 3-D might've looked like.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Passing the Fifteen Minute Mark

Today, the running time on Frankenstein vs the Wolfman in 3-D is fifteen minutes, fifteen seconds. There are two major sequences left to do that will connect the first section of the movie to the second, leading right up to the still-unfinished final battle. I can begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel. With any luck, the movie might be finished this year. I expect it's running time will be about 25 minutes.

One of the things that I've discovered in the production process is how to correct mismatched footage that is produced when a Poser camera move produces a lens distortion in one of the left or right eye views. The scene I'm working on now had one such error in a shot where the camera dollys in on the Frankenstein monster; as we push in, the right eye view was distorted so that instead of the 3-D pair of images falling side by side, they were misregistered up and down.

I came up with a solution in After Effects that involved adjusting the scale of the right image so that it would match and overlay the left. This approach left a blank space in the top and bottom of the frame which shouldn't be noticable once viewed through 3-D glasses.

There was an earlier shot I had to correct as well, when our three heroes are talking with an inquisitive policeman; in this case, I had positioned the 3-D "window" incorrectly and had to slide the images together for better positioning within the 3-D frame. This resulted in some "windowboxing" on the sides of the shot, but it happens so fast you won't even see it--unless you're looking for it now that I've told you about it!

One of the next scenes I'll be doing invovles the inkeeper Mr. Talbot. Of course, his name is another nod to The Wolf Man. Initially, there was a scene that took place in a pawnbroker's shop, run by a man named William Henry Pratt - which is Boris Karloff's birth name. That scene (at this point in time, anyway) has unfortunately been dropped.