Saturday, December 22, 2007

I think i'm going to do all my 'bloggy' stuff on Facebook from now on. Mostly because it's a pain in the ass to use blogger, and to log in. I made myself a little facebook group:

Anybody can join if they wish. You can even give me advice and/or talk shit to me if you wanna. I'm pretty sure i'm done with the blogspot blog. We'll see.
Well, it looks like i'm not doing jack shit on the film until Christmas is over; too much wine-drinking and face-stuffing going on to be productive.

Should be back from Victoria on the 26th. Will start rocking in the new year.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

I'm itching to get started again; i've been such a lazy worthless bastard. Just lying around reading books, like a turd. A stinky, stinky turd. Makes me feel guilty. Hopefully i'll have some neat-o shit pictures to put up soon. I've been making 'hell' using Vue 5; a sort of layman's landscape rendering program. It looks like ass so far. A big bag of ass.

I put a picture of a yam in, because posts look more interesting with pictures. And yams are tasty.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

'The Hell Painting' Narration

Some time in the future, i'm going to have to redo some parts of the narration - most of it is good, but there's some small bit-parts which leave things to be desired. They're just tiny parts though, so they can wait - the principals did a good job.

I'll be finally working on the ol' film again; it's about time. I'm currently working on setting up my little workspace in my small room. Step one will be painting the walls a neutral charcoal grey. When i'm lighting my 1:12 film sets in there, I don't need white walls bouncing light off every which way - no control. I'll also be hanging a canvas green screen in there. Fun.

The sets, which are going to be built on a much smaller scale than the armatures, are going to be made of 'light' materials, such as foam-core, balsa wood, etc. I want to be able to work quickly with hand tools - no more 3 ton monster sets built with table saws.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

The above youtube video is a revised version of the 'animatic', (wrong term), or rough version of the film made with random music and sound effects. There's lots of crappiness in there - it's just for the purpose of examining story flow. I'm aware that there are cheesy bits.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Here's the film 'The Third Night'. It looks and sounds a lot better at full resolution and with uncompressed audio. Turned out pretty good though, I think, considering how ghetto the animation is (just used Adobe After Effects, which i'm not overly skilled at).

Thursday, June 28, 2007


'The Third Night' is done, finally. Here's a low-res version that I just posted on The real thing looks nice and sharp and the sound is alot better. So you'll have to use your imagination. But it turned out alright, I think. It's not very action packed, but it suits the dreamy tone of the thing, I think.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


It's been gathering dust for a few months. but 'The Third Night' is almost finished. Mike is a pretty busy guy, so i've taken over the editing. I'm doing it all in Adobe After Effects, which is not a good program for editing. However, it's all pretty organized and there's not that many shots, so it's doable. And my new computer has enough RAM to handle it; I just lower the resolution and frame rate settings, and then can preview 30 seconds or so at a time. I also don't have to worry about a program like Adobe Premiere destroying my image quality in the final rendering. I spent hours toying with the settings on that thing trying to get a decent final product. I decided to say to hell with it, and use good ol' AE, which is nice and reliable and easy.

The thing should be done by next week, at which point i'll make some DVD's of the thing.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

What's this peice of crap? This scratchy little sketch is the result of about 5 days of looking through stacks of books at the library, mostly on Dutch painting, and theatre set design. Doesn't look like much, but it represents how i've finally decided to approach the sets/camera framing for this project. The lighting is going to look like Vermeer and Caravaggio; both these painters' lighting resembles theatre lighting. I.e., i'm going to make my frames look painterly and staged, like you're watching a play. This is going to mean that i'm going to be favouring the flat front-view shots, and designing my sets (more like backgrounds) in such a way that I can zoom in to many different parts and find good compositions therein. Less of the 180 degree back and forth cuts.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Not alot going on these days; pretty bored. Not sure what i'm waiting for - looking to rent a little space I guess. But I could be doing other stuff.

We're recording the narrator tomorrow, so hopefully that'll get things rolling. I'll be able to get started on the 'animatic' version of the film - actual audio with storyboards filling in for scenes. Then i'll see what kind of a movie I have.

Progress on 'The Third Night' has stalled, which is pretty frustrating. Mike is a busy guy these days, so we haven't got in any editing time in a while. So far, it's been about a month and we've done about 5-6 hours editing total. Not very fast-moving.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


After extensive dicking-about, I aquired some recording gear; one kick-ass microphone so we can rock it like Jurgen Gothe. And a digital-interface-recording-mixer-thingy-mcbastard. Together, we'll be able to record some very nice sounding audio.

We'll be recording our narrator Friday evening.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Our First Two Films

Here's where to find our first two films on line; on the old Zedtv website. Don't hold your breath though, they're not the greatest films made. I'm proud of what I did, and that I actually managed to complete something, but they're a bit 'rustic'.

Paste all this together into your web browser:

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Here's the old crew, back in Jim's studio in Edmonton - Jim is the hair farmer on the right. That's Dave wearing a trucker hat with the top cut off (with a bread knife).

And here's a couple screen shots from 'The Masque of the Red Death'. I had to animate all those armatures at once. They we're all doing the same motion at the same time. Otherwise I wouldn't have been able to pull it off.

I found some old shots us of working on 'The Masque of the Red Death'; a real golden oldie. Those were the days. We look so pink and fresh-faced. Now we're old, haggard and drawn looking.

That set was a pain to build. I really enjoyed smashing it after we were done.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

I've been throwing various bits and pieces together, trying to get a feel for how i'm going to approach the background composites for 'The Hell Painting'. It's going to be a lot harder to mesh green-screened armatures with small-scale photoshopped/painted images/sets with one another than it was for 'The Third Night'. I think i'm going to have to do alot more hands-on building that i'd originally hoped. As soon as I have a place to do it, i'm just going to dive into the 'Interior studio' set pieces and see what I get. There's a good chance that i'll end up throwing out the digital work from my early attempts anyways, until I establish an aesthetic and way of working.
Not much to talk about these days, or no pretty pictures to show anyways.

We'll be booking some studio time in about a week or so, at which point we'll record the narrator's parts for 'The Hell Painting'. We'll rehearse our actor for that on one occasion before recording.

Mike and I are slowly plugging away on the editing of 'The Third Night'. He's a busy dude, so we're only having weekly sessions. Pretty slow going. The narration I gave to Mike is glitchy, so's I got to chop it up and process it again.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

My title background, and end credits background. Whoop er doo.

Monday, April 02, 2007


We auditioned four actors last night, reading for the male parts. I wasn't expecting much, considering the low pay, but some quite talented people showed up - was quite impressed. It turns out it was a good idea to do the voices before the production - they'll be setting the bar quite high for quality.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Background Composite Tests

The big question for 'The Hell Painting' is, howmy gonna make the backgrounds, and to what degree will they be sets verses photographs or real objects, paintings, etc. So i've been doing a few tests. I grabbed a photo of our 'Red Death' character from 'The Masque of the Red Death' for reference. I then slapped him into a cartoon background. Looks like crap. Then I slapped him into a photoshopped Dutch painting. Definately some possibilities. The less set building I get away with, the better.
Alright; 'The Third Night' is in post-production, so there's not much to show for that one. So, from now on, this blog is back to being officially the 'The Hell Painting' blog, which now has funding.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

That's it, i've given all the .avi files and sound clips to Mike Addison; we'll see what he can whip up with them. There's a few odds and ends that I might add in, but that's about it - it's done from my end.

Friday, March 16, 2007


My grant application to the Canada Council for the Arts was successful - so the ol' 'Hell Screen' project is back on track. However, the old 'tons of gigantic sets' plan is out. The current project has paid off - it's given me an education on the possibilities of digital compositing. So, here's the new plan:

The original plan, of 3 years + of toil and set building is out. So I ain't gonna do that - not interested in spending that much time.

I'll still be using armatures for the actual characters, as my 'The Third Night' cutout technique isn't very satisfactory for expressive movement. All animation will be done against a greenscreen. I'll be finding a way to do onion-skinning with live action footage, and so will be just 'tracing' movement. I'm pretty confident that this will work well, and will be super fast to do.

Big, full-scale sets are out - that was the major time and money snag with the original plan. Instead, I plan to make extensive composites with 'table top' sets - not even sets really. For example, i'll take a photo of some sticks against a green or white background, cut it up in photoshop, and then build up the image via extensive copying and pasting. Any actual 'sets' will be very basic, plain, and in a very small scale - basically raw material for photoshopping. I'll even do alot of the 'lighting' and texturing in photoshop.

Everything will be composited in AE - no actual camera tracking will take place. Moving flat layers around worked quite well for 'The Third Night'.

The original vision of the 3d Hell set is out; it'll be just photoshop layers in AE, and won't have such crazy tracking.

These revisions mean that the completion time frame for the project will be more in the neighborhood of a year and half, maybe even less considering how fast I did 'The Third Night'.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

I've been hacking away on a final 'helicopter shot' of the clearing and abandoned buildings. It's sucking pretty hard so far. The perspective is wrong, and the grass/field/trees aren't integrated very well. We'll see if it's going to be possible to save it.
Top panels: I added the dude to the intial clearing shot.

Middle left panel; the brick wall, the end of the movie. I thought i'd make it mundane looking. Hopefully it works.

Middle right/bottom panels: A track out, fade to black shot. For the end.

I've finished messing around with the music. It's pretty simple - no big, dramatic Hollywood stuff. I managed to make something with an electronic music program that doesn't sound too fake. It's a bit cheesy, but what can you do. It should work nicely.

I also made a little drum track for the opening credits. It's immediately apparent watching the opening credits with the music that I have a Kurosawa problem.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

I haven't been slacking off - i've been hacking away on the 'music' for the film. I've been using some software that's intended for making cheesy dance music - a little hard to produce something 'organic' sounding. But I think it won't suck too bad.

And i've got the last few composites together.

So, almost there - and then all the clips will go to Mike Addison for editing.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

I'm entering the hardest part of the project; the last 5-10%. The thrill of seeing everything come together is dead, and its just tedious work to finish it - no more 'magic' left. I'm not working with nearly the same enthusiasm as when I started.

Currently, i'm going through all my finished spots and looking for glitches, fixing them, and rerendering them. No fun at all.

Monday, March 05, 2007

That's the title sequence all done. Some Japanese-ish bars and a nice big branch that I didn't end up otherwise using.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Well, I did yet another one. I really have to quit for today; after a certain point you lose your sense of critital judgement, and your ability to talk to people.

But i'm almost done making the shots; there's a few little filler ones yet to be done, and a couple more for this last scene.

Here's the composite itself. Things are getting dark now. (Cause it's like, nighttime).
I reworked the opening shot a bit (the 3 screenshots on the left) - the elements weren't quite in the right place. I knocked off a new one too - the the dude walking amongst the ruins, sideview.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

That shots' all done - just needs the dude added.

Now i'm working on the opening shots of the final scene; the non-specific abandoned-ruinsy type place.

Here's where you can see most of the shots tacked together. No sound, looks grainy, etc.

Monday, February 19, 2007

I've been knocking off the 'Sideview Trail' shots today - did a whole bunch. This is the most 'climax' of the film, with the camera moving quite quickly, and everything quite dark.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

These are all the finished shots so far (though a couple need fine tuning). Look, look, look at all my neato shots.

I've put in only 5 hours so far today, and I gots an assload of shots done; these are all new, or revised enough to be called new. All involving the dude. You sure can do alot of emoting with just some eyeballs and eyebrows. Look how mad the dude looks in the bottom right panel.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

And here's the dude.
I did the 'sideview dude' animation composite, and then slapped it into the intended shots. Here they are with the dude added.

These are the good 'ol storyboards for the final scene from 'The Hell Painting', our old, now dead, project. Look how much work I did - panels that took about 20 minutes each. This represents about 20 hours of work right here.

But i'm getting the hang of this computer stuff; maybe 'The Hell Painting' will rise again, in digital form.

Cornelisz's Hilltop Studio, Exterior Set: 2006-2007 R.I.P.

Its the end of an era - I finally had to smash my big, beautiful set today. It cost me a lot of money, and took hundreds of hours to build. Its final value was about zero. When I was tearing the thing apart, that jerk Eric Friesen was playing some mournful Russian music on CBC radio two - felt like a funeral. Seeing the thing again in a photograph with a sky photoshopped in makes me sad too.

It serves me right for persisting in the medium of Stop Motion animation for so long - its an expensive, thankless, and soul-sucking hobby. I could have made something of a much more feasible 'table top with clay' stlye, but that's not how I roll.

I think i've got some pretty good reasons why stop motion is such an elevated form of animation, elevated as compared to crap done on computers. First and foremost, you're working with actual materials that suggest things to you, and provide an unknown element - responsive, living, interactive materials. On a computer, things turn out pretty much exactly how you picture them in your head initially. This is unhealthy creatively, as all ideas must come from within your own head - no outside source to suggest things, and hence come out mentally incestuous-looking.

On the other hand, i've been able to make a short, quite detailed animated film working on my own, for almost zero dollars. I.e., its possible.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

These are some of the original scans i'm working from.

And another; the close-up view of the evil brat.
Another one; a top-down view of the dude walking. This one actuallt looks a bit too real; might have to do a little more work on it.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

That's another shot done - the 'Intro Panorama' shot. It dissolves from a washed-out sepia image to the actual shot, then tracks in.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

I finally get to work on the old intro panorama shot; the bottom panel is what I originally thought a finished shot would look like - the aesthetic has come a ways since then. I'm hanging on to the tree though; I still dig it.
Finished another one - the 'Sideview Field' composite. I've got it all set up in After Effects; just needs the character added to it.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

I'm working in the 'Sideview Field' composite now - should be pretty quick and easy. I also reworked the dudes face a little to highten the detail level.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

I realized today that only started working on this project (minus the storyboarding, preproduction, etc.) little over two months ago. Course, I just put in another 12 hour day, which helps.

It is fantastic to be able to make real progress so quickly, after years of fighting with slow, expensive, group-participation-requiring stop motion animation. And, i'm learning some skills which might actually make me quite employable.
Well, i've figured out how i'm going to animate the dude. Seems glaringly obvious in retrospect - animate still layers 'Southpark style, i.e. just move a flat image around. I figured out a simple technique of matching the movement up to live reference footage - it took about 10 minutes to make 10 seconds worth of walking movement, which is real real fast for animation. I also figured out some very handy After Effects functions (quite basic stuff, but i'm a novice), such as tying my eyebrows, eyeballs etc, which are separate layers to the face - they then stay in their assigned spots in relation to the man, and can be animated separately. In this, very first shot, the dude looks down and furrows his brows.

That's a relief - no drawing individual frames.
Sometimes i'll put all my backgrounds together to check continuity, whether they relate to one another properly, etc.
I've also been working on the 'POV Shot Field 1st Part' composite today. I'm digging how its working out so far. I did the sky the same way I use to do them with watercolour paints, only with 1's and 0's this time. The grass is all done with a Photoshop brush. Must be the first purely digital element i've used so far.

I'm trying to turn my pencil drawing/tracing into an image that meshes with my backgrounds. Its hasn't been too easy - a bit of a struggle. I really, really, really look like a criminal here.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Did another short one - the camera quickly pans up and left (hence the motion blur) and spots a crow, which flies away (crow is circled, 'cause its hard to find when its in a still).
I'm working pretty quickly these days - i've got my routine down. I made the 'POV shot, field, part 2' composite today. In this one, we move towards the woods, and the camera looks around a bit. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out, and i've finally found a decent way to animate the ground coming at you with flat layers and have it be believable.

This here is the 'Sideview Woods' composite, version 2, the old one having been scrapped. Looks much more moody and quite a bit less shitty than the old one.

I done joined two composites together, and used them for one big After Effects 'point of view shot'.

I made a fun little animation of a crow flying away - just photoshopped live action footage.

I think i've struck a pretty good balance here. A tracing of a photograph with pencil shading, colours photoshopped in, and the whole works run through a photoshop filter to remove the overly-hand drawn quality. It souldn't take more that half an hour to produce a frame when I get the routine down. So, that's a full day to do a 12-15 frame walk cycle. Not too bad.
html hit counter
Locations of visitors to this page