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January 27, 2009
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Devils, Angels & Dating - CG Short

:iconmichaelcawood:
michaelcawood Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2009
Wanted: Concept Artists, Storyboard Artists and general collaborators.

What is this all about?
I’m making a CG Short Film for the love of it as a hobby on the side of my day job. But it’s much more fun and creative if I can find some talented collaborators. So I’m posting this to see if there are any talented souls out there looking to get involved. Ideally I’m looking for people with some experience already, perhaps looking to diversify their skill set and portfolio. Or simply to act as a showcase for talents they know they have but have yet to have the opportunity to do working in a professional environment. You can see how the project is shaping up at my website MichaelCawood.com [link] . The target audience is the web surfer, it will look striking enough on almost every frame for most people to want to click on an image of it, while intriguing enough in its subject matter to keep people watching. Obviously it will be fired off to the festival circuit and I’ll knock on any other doors that are relevant (TV, Cinema, DVD, etc...) but the internet is our only guaranteed venue.

Here’s the current WIP Animatic (storyboard):
[link]

Who am I?
My name is Michael Cawood. I’ve been an Animated Filmmaker since 1994, having worked on Animated Films, VFX Films, Commercials, Games and made numerous personal short films in my student days. You can check out my LinkedIn profile [link] and my Filmography [link] to get a flavour of my work. My last student film, Panda Pander picked up a few million viewings on one of the video portals. But having started as a 2D Animator, I’ve yet to make my own short film in full CG, and my film making skills have moved on a lot since then. I love making these things and I’ve done more than my fair share in the past but, for the last nine years I’ve been focused on making other people’s projects. I enjoy the process in any capacity whoever it’s for, but I felt it was time to get back to making something for myself. I’ve never stopped writing stories or creating characters over that time but this project is compact enough to actually get made. I have most of the skills necessary myself to make this thing so I have no fear that it can be done.

What do you get?
Not paid: Don’t be fooled. There is almost no market for making money out of this. It’s too easy to watch a CG Short on a video portal for free, so why should anyone pay for it? So I’m not offering money. I could tell you that I’ll divvy up any proceeds should that happen (and I would), but you really shouldn’t be doing this for the cash. Personally I’m quite sure I’ll spend more on this than I’ll ever get back financially.

Credit: I have no particular need to sit back and say I did all of this, so I’m very happy to share the credit, where credit is due. I’ll deploy a similar system to the BBC, anyone that contributes over 10% in any given specialist area will be credited, most likely in order of contribution. I’ll also try to maintain a list of contributors on my website during production, once they start having something to show.

Portfolio Material: This isn’t a secret project, as it unfolds you are welcome to use whatever you are contributing in your own portfolio to sell yourself to employers, as long as you are specific about what you’ve done. I’m relying on this to ensure a high quality of product.

Reference: I’m more than happy to write worthy contributors a good reference. For professionals, I’d heartily recommend adding this project to your LinkedIn profile (only once you actually start working on it) where I can recommend you and employers can verify the legitimacy of it. You can also seek recommendations from other people you’ve worked with on this project.

Promotion: I’ll happily cross link with strong contributors if they have websites they want people to see.

Contacts: Anything you do like this is a good way to make contacts in the business. You never know who you’ll be working with in the future.

How much of a commitment?
Since I’m assuming people are doing this for their own portfolio, I would expect that most people will want to do a small number of images or sequences.

What’s the film about?
Synopsis:
Mr. Cupid, Master Devil and a rather sexy young judge, jury and executioner in the form of Miss Death gather in the ‘After Life’ War Room to attend to their daily routine of manipulating our lives down on Earth with modern techniques that would put our iPod generation to shame. Each of them reluctantly compelled to play out their role in the game of life in order to maintain the balance. There's an unspoken attraction in the room as their true personalities are revealed to each other. Then someone gets a bright idea and re-purposes their high tech tools in a way that turns the tide of war and flips everything on its head.

At the moment I’m not posting the full script/treatment to avoid direct copy cats, but that may change. I’ll reveal it to people that get in touch with me when it’s suitable. It’s still open to change at this time but it has settled into a decent story already, and it just needs a few talented eyeballs on it to really make it shine. But the goal is to keep it short and manageable.

What do you need to do?
I want to make one thing clear. My standards are quite high, and although I hate to exclude anyone, I’d rather work with people that can prove in some way that they are up to the job so that we don’t end up wasting each other’s time. So get in touch through my website’s contact page [link] and send me a link to your work (no attachments please, unless they’re only a few KB). Make sure you’ve thought through what talents you want to offer and prove to me you’re capable.

You can also join in at the 11 Second Club, where other artists and animators are posting our progress.
[link]

What does the project need?
Initially I’m looking for:

Concept Artists (Enviroments, Props, Colour work, promotional artwork, set pieces)

Storyboard Artist

I’ll post other specialist skills as and when it’s most appropriate, but at some stage in the project you can expect most animated film making skills to be of use. If you are interested and just want to discuss it please get in touch here [link] .
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Devious Comments

:iconmichaelcawood:
michaelcawood Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2011
With me back in the saddle full time I should be able to pick up the slack in a few areas and pick up the pace of production across the board. I have to say a huge thank you to the team members that stuck with us through the last couple of months while things have gotten a bit quieter than usual. It's a sign of the dedication on show here that we're still going strong. But a project like this lives on the support of it's members and supporters so take a moment to 'Like' our Facebook page:
[url][link][/url]
... and then invite your friends.
[IMG][link][/IMG]
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:iconmichaelcawood:
michaelcawood Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2011
64% Complete!
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:iconmichaelcawood:
michaelcawood Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2010
Seasons greetings! It's been an exciting year for us, as we've transitioned into full animation and started putting a lot more colour into the film. I anticipate us completing the animation within the next six months and putting out a polished looking trailer.

YouAnimator.com did a feature on the film here:
[link]

We put out a new animatic a few days ago and it's exciting to see we're starting to get more and more renders into the timeline. If you haven't seen the film for a while you'll notice a lot of changes to the edit, shortening the overall screen length and a new ending.
[link]

I've also taken the plunge to work on the film full time. You can read more about it here:
[link]

Rendered shots:
[link]
[link]
[link]
[link]
[link]

We're on the look out for a talented Lighting TD to help us get the teaser trailer rendered. We can also do with a 2D After Effects artist to help us with the special effects.

Have a great holiday period, take it easy, and have enjoy the New Year!
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:iconmichaelcawood:
michaelcawood Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2010
We've had a lot of different types of activity over the last month surrounding Siggraph including getting the first few decent rendered shots out, and they look great... even without being quite finished. Check out the shots in the teaser trailer:
[link]

We have a new Animatic with lots of new content:
[link]

I'll be working on the remaining 31% of the Layout that needs to be done soon in order to prepare for a push in the animation department. Part of that push is to re-assign some flagging shots and we've already been contacting animators to check on their progress.

The color panels have really been making progress and we have samples of the color palettes for most of the time-line now. A big thanks to Danielle and Alex for their hard work on those. We'll try to bring them into a consistent colour script soon.

I'll try to make some sort of lighting guide, either written or possibly a video tutorial. We are close to being able to distribute lighting tasks to other team mates but there's a lot of notes to communicate in order to make the process easy and consistent for everyone. This may not happen until I'm done with Layout though, and...

... we have a number of remaining assets that need their final shaders refined. It's become a bit of a bottleneck so we need Shader Artists with experience that can help us out. Let us know you know anyone that would be interested. The list of assets is at the bottom of this tracker table:
[link]

If anyone is looking for a task to work on we maintain a list of available tasks here:
[link]
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:iconmichaelcawood:
michaelcawood Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2010
Just a quick update. We're in pretty good shape for animation with over 20% in the can.

We're on the lookout for strong animators to join the team. Check out the Animator's Handbook for a guide to what you need, and come prepared with some idea of what types of shots you'd like.
[link]

Shane Davis has recently started as a Production Coordinator. He'll be helping me to sort through the progress of all the tasks and keeping everything moving forward.

If you're interested in doing any shader or rigging work please get in touch as we've got a couple of assets to finish off and any help would be greatly appreciated. We have some colour script images done, as you can see by the edit, but if anyone else would like to lend a hand and do some I'd really love to get some more done to flesh out the timeline.

I'd just like to say the team is doing amazing things and it's incredible to see it coming together like this. I think we're well on track for completing the teaser trailer animation in the next few months and the rest of the film by early 2011, if not sooner.
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:iconmichaelcawood:
michaelcawood Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2010
Here's our plan for the teaser trailer. Thanks to Stoyan for the Music.
[link]

Here's our new Video intro that tells you almost everything you need to know about the project to get you started:
[link]
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:iconmichaelcawood:
michaelcawood Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2009
We've had an exciting year with most of the asset creation out of the way we're currently in the early stages of animation, debugging rigs and looking for any other issues that we might trip us up going forward. I'm currently planning to roll out Animation on a larger scale early in 2010, so that we can have our 30 second teaser trailer ready in the first few months. I'm going to start working on a poster which should also be a good test case to get a 'close to final' look for our characters.

While Devil and Death are having some more advanced functionality added to their rigs, Cupid is nearing an animation ready state. Devil and Death are already being animated in their first shots with only a few challenges, that our team members have gallantly concurred.

We've had some support from Keith Lango, and Digicel's Flipbook which has been a nice touch. We have over 240 videos and 540 images to look through, with over 140 members on the website. All very exciting but I just want to say a huge thank you to our regulars who have made the project what it is today. Have a wonderful holiday period.

In the mean time here's a few recent highlights:
Render tests:
[link]
Holograms and Peeps:
[link]
Animation in progress:
[link]
Colour Script in progress:
[link]
Animatic:
[link]

Don't forget you can follow our progress on Facebook:
[link]
And you can subscribe to most of our videos on YouTube as well:
[link]

Merry Christmas!
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:iconmichaelcawood:
michaelcawood Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2009
Keith Lango is now a Supporter of our film production. He'll be donating training videos to our strongest contributors as we go along. Check this out for details: [link]
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:iconmichaelcawood:
michaelcawood Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2009
I just did this cloud flyby render... what do you think?
[link]

We're looking for concept art for the effects scenes and texture artists for two of our characters if anyone is interested in getting involved.
[link]
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:icondestriarch:
Destriarch Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2009
It's ok as a testbed, but you've too much bobbing and weaving going on with camera movement. My advice would be to keep it simple. Complex motions of the camera are rarely worth it. You're usually best off sticking to simple panning and zooming, then cutting to a new angle if you need a drammatic change of viewpoint.

Also it's kinda obvious where the blobs (particles / volumetrics) for the cloud are situated in some parts. Are you using all the same size of particle there? You might to better to vary it up a bit, and perhaps introduce a very slow wind component and/or animated texture to make it stir and boil like the vapours in a real cloud.

I'm not really loving the characters you're using either to be honest either. They're pretty enough but they've no real... well, character to them. It's hard to associate with abstracted beings that portray no anthropomorphic expressions of emotion. This can to some extent be done using only gesture and body language, but even then you're starting at a loss since they don't really have what we'd call arms or legs.
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:iconmichaelcawood:
michaelcawood Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2010
Thanks for your comments. Things have moved on quite a bit since you last looked I'm sure.
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:icondestriarch:
Destriarch Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2010
Yes indeed, much more like it. Good to see you've not been idle.

-Ash
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:iconmichaelcawood:
michaelcawood Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2009
Here's a video introduction for all the newbies out there that want to know more.
[link]
It's also available in larger HD here:
[link]
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:iconmichaelcawood:
michaelcawood Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2009
Another animatic update. This time most of the essentials are present and there’s a temporary audio track in place. I probably shouldn’t have done the audio yet but it was an interesting experiment. Unfortunately I had some technical issues that really made it rather painful to get done (Premiere didn’t seem to like speeded up mp3 files with fade offs). It also gives you the illusion that the action scene has finished before it actually has, since the music isn’t a perfect fit. But I figured one version of the animatic with sound would give a few people a taste of the mood... although I have to admit, this music is probably a little too big too soon!

Anyway there’s more to refine yet, not least the added twist at the end. I’ve actually managed to skip about 30% of the script overall and keep it relatively logical, but it’s suffering from a lack of depth and character setup time that the script has. It’s always possible to add this stuff later, but I’m going to try and see how much I can get away without at first to keep the film short. I’ll layer in what I need in other passes until it feels right.

The same link applies, as before.
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:iconmichaelcawood:
michaelcawood Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2009
On today’s animatic update I’ve reworked the intro for Devil and done Death’s mysterious reveal. It also establishes the character personalities and the dynamic of how the characters interact. Some of the drawings are a little bit rough to really tell what their expressions are, but it will be refined later.

[link]
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