Friday, October 16, 2015

Pirates and Hunters...

Couple of updates from recent work.

First up is a model for the opening episode of 'Starship Challenger' - the Orion Pirate vessel first seen in the animated Star Trek series from Filmation. There were only a couple of views from the episode which gave a vague idea of the shape.

There are a couple of models out there on the interwebs, but I wanted to try and create my own take on the design. There were a couple of iterations, but this is the version that was finally approved.

The emblems on the wings and nose are the Orion emblem from the FASA role playing game - just to add another geeky reference into the mix.

Second up is a model that was meant to be for the new SyFy channel show, 'Hunters'. Unfortunately, the VFX work was given to another vendor in the end, so my work was nixed before I had a chance to finish it. The Hunter Pod was a very organic shape - something a little out of my hard surface comfort zone. I modeled out the general shape as a subdivision surface in Modo and was then planning add the organic surface detail using Cinema 4D's sculpting tools. I had got the model to a fully UV'ed stage ready to transfer to Cinema when the plug was pulled.

Sadly, that's life in the commercial world. I might go back at some point and finish off the sculpt as a personal project.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Moving Pictures, Moving Music ...

Last few months have been pretty busy, so time for an update or two. Had a chance to help out Michael Struck at Neo F/X with some modeling work for the upcoming Starship Farragut episode.
The brief was for a space station with a combination of TOS and ring elements.

A combination of elements that came together quite well. Look forward to seeing it in the episode.

Work on Starship Challenger has also been moving forward. I was asked to come up with some shots to use in a launch trailer and have used these shots to try out some new techniques and develop a look for the Challenger VFX. Cinema 4D allows the export of multipass renders with an ease that I could only have dreamed of in my Lightwave days - this in turn gives a lot of leeway to further develop the looks of shots in After Effects. I've aimed for more of a studio lighting setup rather than real world lighting to try and give a slighter older style VFX look rather than a crisp physically accurate real world approach. With the mutipass approach I'm able to go in and tweak the individual lights pass elements - diffuse, specular and shadow, as well as have access to the window illumination passes, navigation lights, illuminated textures and other elements which allows a lot of flexibility in post. Trying to build on the lessons I learned while working with Chris Dawson, Roland Baron, Wil Jaspers and Bill Thomas while working on Star Trek: Of Gods and Men.
I'm also making a lot of use of Video Copilot's Element 3D and Optical Flares plug-ins. All the planets are done in After Effects with E3D - I've dissected a couple of other people's approach to planets to see how they have produced the individual surface, cloud and atmosphere elements, and I'm hoping to add auroras and cloud lightening to future versions once I work them out. Not entirely nailed the use of Optical Flares - as well as sun flares, I'm trying to use it to accentuate the navigation lights - results are not as consistent as I would like as yet.

Last weekend, I had the distinct pleasure of watching the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra play Michael Giacchino's score for Star Trek, live with a screening of the film. It was a fantastic way to introduce my teenage son to the wonders of a live orchestra.

However, the clincher for me was the encore - Jerry Goldsmith's closing theme for Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Hearing this piece of music, which has been on my playlist from the days of vinyl to the advent of CDs and now to ITunes, played live was beyond description - brought a tear to my eye in the nicest way. Looking forward to the MSO's next live score project - Alan Silvestri's Back To The Future which is coming our way in November.