Sep 26, 2008

Zoom-Zoom

Two weeks to go; great...

But all is good! The project is well underway! The current stats are as follows!

20 Seconds Completed!
Total Of Eight Hours Of Work,
35 Shots,
5 Special Effect Shots,
5:10 To Render,
220Mbs Of Data!

And, yes, an actual image taken from production itself. It's the first special effects shot and it has three layers of film to produce the effect. It is also nativily 720p; HD awesome!

For now, that is all!

Sep 15, 2008

... Five Hours Later

video

Right, that took five hours to make... So, if we then apply that ratio of film to time, it will take over 1,000 hours to finish this one film.


Ouch.


But I'm not worried because here's the breakdown.
1 hour bugging. Finally discovered which hack was messing with the game and removed it. But then the program that allows you to make custom floors and wall in the game crashed so there was 30 minutes fixing that one up so I could produce the green screens required for this film.
1 hour building the set, which is still incomplete. Every single box/tile you see in that clip is an individual object that has to be placed in the game. The box towers that make up the wall have to be individually stacked on top of each other. This takes time.


Hour and a half Effect Testing. There was one important effect I had to test before I could even begin to make the film, you'll see this in later releases. The most time consuming thing here was that in order to make the effect, you need to constantly place and removed about 300 of the coloured tiles, one at a time. Since this effect will only last about half a second and I'll be using it about 15 times... Well, you can work out the rest.


And the last hour and a half was spent making the 3 seconds of film above! This was mostly caught up in editing, which is a slow processing since my computer doesn't like having the Sims 2 running in the background while also editing HD footage in Vegas 7. But it will just have to suffer. The updates will become much more frequent in the next few weeks.


Right, back to work!

Sep 14, 2008

nVidia, Hacks, and Librarians


What do the three things have in common?

If you said "Useful?" you're half right. They are all rather useful when they work. The other half of the answer is "They're all incredibly painful and irritating when they don't!"
Now, nVidia brought this upon itself. It started by releasing a buggy driver that from what I can determine had an issue with the Securom that EA Games uses for the Sims 2 Bon Voyage and FreeTime. What did this mean? Well, earlier you may remember a rant of mine where EA Games and nVidia started pointing fingers at each other before both deciding to blame Norton. As usual, everyone else in the world had it right.

It was nVidia's fault.

nVidia recently (or maybe not so recently, I have been boycotting nVidia drivers for some time half expecting the latest release to cause my computer to explode), a new driver set under a new name (GeForce rather than Forceware). After spending about twenty minutes downloading and installing these new drivers every single problem with Bon Voyage and FreeTime vanished. Granted, I had to spend five hours setting up restore points and checking to make sure the game didn't crash from "kernel memory leakage" but my test paid off. With the new drivers the installation of FreeTime and Bon Voyage went ahead fine and both expansions now run happily on my computer.

Right, so that solved one problem, but in turn produced another. During the last few months I decided to dedicate my entire project to Machinima production; however this requires a lot of custom content to get the look and feel in the game you may need for a certain project. So, that's why there weren't many updates, I was busy downloading 3 gigabytes of custom content for the game. As I'm sure you can understand, takes a lot of time on a buggy wireless connection that has an uncanny knack to disconnect second before the download is done.
Now, this brings us to the latest problem I'm now solving. Some of this custom content are hacks that directly edit important base game files. This was fine because I was downloading hacks that were completely compatible with the games I had installed, until nVidia came along and fixed my problem. Upon extensive testing I discovered that the game would crash and stop loading whenever you moved a Sim into their lot for the first time.

This means my latest task is to separate the hacks into little groups and start adding them to the game and checking in between each group whether the game still works. After that's done it will be all flowers and sunshine again and I can finally get to work on my project.

Which has changed once again...

This is where the librarians come in. I was going to be doing some actual film work with a camera and actors ect, but I've since been banned (not kidding) from borrowing anything from the library. This was because due to a misunderstanding (there was no freaking contract!) I borrowed out a camera for too long and due to a complete lack of organization on behalf of the library staff someone missed out filming something. I can't actually remember what the thing was but my mind has kept a vague idea that it was boring and future generations were probably spared some pain by my 'misdoings'. After been hunted down (in the art area of all places) I returned the camera. Then I received my student ID back with two post-it notes still stuck to it. The first said "Never loan another camera." But it was hard to read because it had been scribbled out and the second note had been stuck onto which read "Never loan ANYTHING!"

Beware the wrath of the librarian.

Still, I am now gunning the engines on another project which I am currently writing my proposal for. Teaser? Of course, it wouldn't be one of my posts without one.

Jun 11, 2008

Everything Looks Better In HD

True that.

That is why (after a suprisingly short time) I've managed to confiure the Sims 2 to run in a widescreen mode (that was easy it's a default setting) while also allowing me to record in 720p.
Well, almost.

As usual, the games had decided to remove some pixels from the recorded avi. This is due to my monitors default ratio 4:3. Because of that I have to run the game in windowed mode at 1280x720. This causes the recording software in the game to cut 16 pixels of the edge making the avi's resolution 1264x720.

After clicking one box in Sony Vegas (the editing software) I discovered that it quite happily stretches the footage to 720p without any odd distortion. This means that all my Sims 2 Machinima can be mastered in 720p. However, the final resolution on the DVD will remain at a default PAL 720x576. This is simply to help with compatability since HD content can be recorded to a standard DVD. It also means that any chroma-keying will less obvious due to down-sizing.

Time to move onto stage 3!

May 29, 2008

Oops! I Did It Again!

Oh, bugger!

Once again I've managed to get myself in a mess by not planning ahead (or planing ahead but not coming up with a contingency plan!). In my rush to create the 'Nude' preview I decided I couldn't be bothered callibrating the Sims 2 game to give me a 16:9 ratio (the 1024x576 resolution) and just stayed with the 4:3 (640x480).

I orginally passed on the 16:9 because it is an absolute pain to get the game to record in 16:9 when I'm using a 4:3 monitor, the game just hates it so it usually cuts a few pixel of the specified custom resolution, but only one side so, 1280x720 would become 1268x720 which is not 16:9.

I also passed on the 16:9 because I thought that since this was a tester, I would just come back and film it all again. That was until I discovered how well it works right now. So, my latest challenge is to manipulate the 4:3 footage in 16:9 without anyone noticing. It is at this point I'm glad these shots have a rather large white glow for a special effect 'cos this will help cover up any alising from resizing or stetching or moving the orginal footage.

My other challenge is to try and get the library to let me borrow a camera over the holidays!

May 19, 2008

Evidence Of Work...

Here is my proof that I've been using 43Things. I've highlighted (in green) some of the more obscure things people are doing in the world. I'll leave all moral judgements to you, but if I were an alien apecies looking into our culture before landing on our wonderful green Earth, I'd head straight back on home after viewing this.
Or bring out the nuclear weapons...

May 18, 2008

So, Who Is This Eve Chick?


Eve is the most important character out of all the storylines below. So, in order to get a grasp of how awsome she really is, here are two concept images from her storyline The Chronicles oF Eve. And yes, that lady in the (soon to be) white coat and skirt is Eve; once again doing her damnedness not to die. The image below that is a concept of the first story arc from CoE called Black Sister which explores the idea of what would change if humanity knew it was alone in the universe as the only sentient species. While this will not be made into any form of DP work this year, I posted them just so people could start to get a feel for this character.
And, concept art is important because it shows evidence of work. :P

"It All Begins With The End."


Yes, the above comment does make sense. It's all explained in the picture above. What you have there isn't a project outline, it's an endstory timeflow chart. Confused? I hope not, because it was designed to make things simpler! Mayhaps, it IS better to start at the start.
Once upon a time there was a film idea called Chrono Dash. After about a year, Chrono Dash (CD) got a bit lonely so it decided to have another saga tacked on the end (Terra Artus). Then a new idea came along called Cold World (CW). After seeing how happy CD was CW decided it needed a sequel and along came CW: Beta Attacks. Then Rising Lights and Infinity Remix entered the mix as well. By this time CD had expanded into a five arc storyline. Then The Enigmartist, decided that they could all connect together; somehow...
After several more months The Future Is Us Saga was born with ten different story arcs separated into a serial, a trilogy and a Saga. Rising Lights was feeling very lonely all by itself, so it got it's own sequel and they went off as a couple, away from The Future Is Us Saga.
Then came along a new exciting and separate story; Hunters. From Hunters came the character of Eve and from both these influences Hellsong was born, a continuation of Hunters. By now The Future Is Us was feeling rather un-epic compared to Hunetrs/Hellsong, so it got a new storyline called Omega Frame to wrap the entire Saga up (It also has a half-sister called Origins of the End, but it's easier not to mention her).
Finally, The Enigmartist decided that Eve (from Hunters/Hellsong) was so epic, she had to make an appearance in The Future Is Us Saga. Thus, these two separate universes had a connection. Since Rising/Risen Lights was still all on it's lonesome, Eve was added to that storyline too!
Then, all hell broke lose when Eve got her own storyline The Chronicles oF Eve!
Even more confused? I don't blame you. To put it simply, the entire storyline begins at Cold World, travels through all the other storylines and ends up The Chronicles oF Eve.
But, what does all this have to do with DP? You'll notice that there is a white box around one of the storylines; Hellsong Prologue. This Prologue is my major piece of work for this year. And while I did say it all begins with Cold World, timeline wise it really all begins in that white box. So, in order to make this short film, I need to make sure that the rest of the story works as a whole. This is equally important because the ONE AND ONLY character to appear in EVERY single story also appears in Hellsong Prologue. Therefore, in order to see who this character will act in this prologue I need to know what she'll be doing in the future. And she'll be doing quite a lot in the future.
It all begins, and it all ends, with Eve.

May 7, 2008

Metautomationatics...

Or, thinking about automated processors such as breathing.

Do you think you could document every breath you took? I can tell you now that you can't. The human brain just can't function with that sort of data. Don't believe me? Next time you're walking along the road try counting the amount of steps you take while ALSO counting the number of time your breathe in and out.
Not easy? Now also factor in that you're also trying to find that song you like on your iPod and avoiding all those older drivers who can't actually drive.
Women say they can multitask; try saying that to the lady whose arm was found severed 100 metres away from her crashed car. The important part here is the mobile phone clasped in her hand.
People can't drive and do other things; generally. While some people can drink their coffee, switch into fourth to overtake that P plater while not spilling a single drop on their morning paper, they most certainly would have had several near misses previously. Practice makes perfect.
The overall idea is that once something becomes automated, we generally tend not to think about it. The problem with multitasking is that if you try to do two tasks that you're NOT VERY GOOD AT you are sure to fail at least one. Or in the lady drivers case, both.
However, most people can breathe and walk so long as they don't think about it too much!
The point that I'm slowly getting to is; If your learning and problem solving has gotten to these levels of proficiency, would that make it difficult to monitor there two activities?
YES!
Granted, there will always be massive problems that smack you into the pavement, and that's just natural, but most people get to a point in certain subjects (art, rock-climbing, dodging traffic) that any small problems pretty much go completely unnoticed. One doesn't even pick it up as a problem.
You're rock climbing and the rock your holding onto breaks off, so if you're good enough you grab another one without even thinking and continue on your way. While computer, film and media problems may be more time consuming than 0.5 of a second, the principle remains that same.
Just say the computer crashes, I'm going to spend a while working out what happened and get pretty pissed off by the end of it. Then I will come one here and rant about all the stuff I had to slog through to get the computer to work. However, if I'm going on my movie editing ways and I want to do some chroma-keying (i.e. bluescreen/greenscreen but covers all colours) and I want to know which would be the best for a night scene. I'd either press F1 to get the Vegas help files or zip over to the internet and find the answer in about two minutes. That's not even going to register as a problem (BTW: Pure green is pretty good at night).
So, what's the problem? I can't help but feel as though this course EXPECTS you to detail all these problems. But by now, solving most of my digital problems is automatic. So, if it doesn't register as a problem it ain't going to get a mention. So if all runs smoothly, we lose an entire criterion JUST BECAUSE WE ARE USED TO TEACHING OURSELVES.
We don't have to think about what we don't know, we just autonomously have that running in the background. I'm not going to sit there at the start of a project and list all the stuff I have to learn or might have to learn. I won't do it during the learning process either. Gathering knowledge in this area (film/media) is automatic now. I do it constantly in little bursts.
It's like all those soccer mums. They've gotten so good at checking out the saturated fat content of their food they probably don't even though they do it anymore. Working in a supermarket, I've seen this first hand.
My point here is that there is no point to the mums thinking about their dietary habits, just like there is no point me thinking about my breathing. If something goes wrong, I'll notice, but until then we'll all just go on out knowledge harvesting ways.
Oh, and don't be a soccor mum, their cars are massive!

Apr 27, 2008

[Curtain Opens]

video

WARNING! CONTAINS MILD NUDITY!

Well, here it is! My first video preview! As usual, a few things...

1. This is a previously unknown project.

2. Has been in production for about two days.

This all came about from me stumbling along a competition for Radiohead's new album. It's simple, you enter an idea for a music video and then 11 ideas are chosen. After that, those 11 finalists get to present a 1 minute preview to Radiohead themselves. Finally, Radiohead pick the one they like the most and the winner walks off with $10,000 and the comission to make the final version of their idea.

So, after waiting about 18 hours for an idea to form, it finally arrived with a music video for their song 'Nude', where a woman wakes up in a bizarre world. Now, judging is starting in about 24 hours, so this is pretty much all I had time to do. However, it is possible to upload a longer version in a few days or so!

Also, enjoy my first piece (or part of) of work!

Apr 26, 2008

... And We Have Digital Lift-Off!

Okay, I did it! I've managed to install a Sims 2 game that won't crash in under an hour! Proof, I left the original game (no expansion packs) running all night long and it was all still there in the morning. Seems wiping the entire computer is the solution to the nvidia crashes, better go tell Ea Games so they can inform everyone!
That aise, this post is also here to show the amazing powers of custom content. The top image is a default sim, however, if we take that default sim and dress them up in lots of sexy custom content, you get the result below.
Now, I ask the simple question; which looks better?



Apr 15, 2008

Epic Re-write!

Guess what I just spend the last four hours doing?

If you said "Re-installing Windows XP," you're a bit too much of a good guesser. Yes, I finally decided to bite the bullet and do a complete re-write of everything on the computer. So far, everything looks shiny and new again, and the only stuff missing is my favorited websites (I overlooked that aspect of backing up, whoops), and some random program I never used.
I'm currently allowing XP and my firewall/virus scanner to update, and I've already re-installed several programs, but there is so much I still need to update (most stuff is pre-2003) but I'll slowly work my way through.

The reasons I did were; 1) Sims 2 was really NOT working and since EA Games is quite happy to ignore the screaming and kicking of many of their fans I decided to test their thoery that they couldn't EVER find a PC that crash as everyone elses was, and also because the computer randomly crashed each time I attempted to transfer some footage from the video camera to the computer.

So far, everything seems happy, but only time, and many programs later, will tell.

Apr 13, 2008

A Hidden Project!?



No way! I was actually doing things in the background!?

Well, yes! But not completely. I did mention in my first post that I'd written an overview of 'The Modselectors'; a DIY show based on the customisation of objects. What I didn't mention was that I was doing three practice objects first.

Painting
In order to practice painting I resprayed the handles of a pair of scissors black. This one is finished and the mentioned scissors now occupy my pencil case.

Upholstery (Pictured)
To practice my vinyl skills, I 'borrowed' a chair from the art room to restore/customise. So far, I have deconstructed the chair, reconstructed the chair with nuts and bolts rather than rivets, and upholstered one of the panels. The next few steps are to see if I can get the frame electroplated with chrome again and to upholster the seat. And respray the feet of the chair since they were really worn down and scrappy.

The final project is a desk that will be used on the actually Modselectors show. It's a combination of sanding and painting. Currently sitting at the 'restored' phase, it's now time to customise it.

The Carpet Is Closer Then Ever Before!


It's apple time!

Everyone’s favourite apple is back for a super-massive update to the project. Now; not only will you have a fantastic short French film (one minute or so) about the latest craze (lesbian apples), but you'll also get the following features!

Three Alternate Endings!
That's right, not one or two, but three completely original and amusing endings!

A Making Off!
Find out all that there possibly is about the pre/post production of the film!

English Subtitles!
No longer will you have to sit there with a French to English dictionary to understand; the movie spells it all out to you in fabulous English!

Yes, there has been progress. The overview is almost complete and the script has been translated into French. The pre-production stage of this film is almost over! The image here is a representation of the feel I want the film to have. A dark, reddish glow about the whole film which, hopefully, I can pull it off!

Detour!



This has nothing to do with actual DP work, that's coming in the next post! I've decided that since I'm working on so many things at once, it would just be simpler to focus one post on each subject. This is also partially to do with adding several images to each post which never seems to work for me.
Okay, on to the subject! Well, as usual, I had an idea: to make a techno based mixed disk for a friend for their birthday. Then I thought it would be fun to do several CDs based on sub-genres of techno, so in the end there were seven different CD. The above five were the ones that made it to completion. Each one also has a custom CD print, but they don't look very good unless they're actually printed on the CD.
I mostly just felt like posting this as an excuse to the absence of actually work since it was taking up most of my study time last week. Safe to say, never again...

Apr 7, 2008

A Rating of 1 to 10, How Politically Incorrect Is This?

*FLASHDANCE*

Whoooo! It appears that ideas love to be smacking me in the face recently. So not only do I have updated information about "The Life Of A Trendy New-Age Female In A Cosmopolitan Apartment" (see title), but I also have breaking new of an idea I had about 30 seconds ago.

We shall begin with the new idea. In another state of randomly visualised worlds, thanks to the magic of techno, I have birthed a new music video idea. Granted, I have a lot of music video ideas, but they're really simple, fun, and can be completely random!

This particular idea was born from the rather spectacular Emerge by Fischerspooner. This this case, the random dance beats produced a world born of robots. Ah, yes, robots. Done do death, but have you ever seen a robot do the Thiller dance? I think not. More on this later.

Now for the bulk of this post. Last time I posted a rather ambigous statement about my new short film idea. Now, there are many assumptions that could be gathered from the title. None of which a right I suspect. Why? Because this film isn't about a hip and trendy chick, chillaxing around her cosmopolition apartment. It's about a...

Lesbian apple.

Yes, an entire film about a lesbian apple.

Now I've cleared that out of the way, future details shall appear in it's overview which is currently been written.

All for now? Yes, I think so.

Apr 1, 2008

HUZZUH! Yes, that *was* me been estactic at 10:30 at night; very rare occastion. However, I believe this requires it. The reason my project is a showcase of films is so that if I ever get an idea I can just add it to my project.
This has just occured. The circumsatnces were odd, but now I have birthed a new *very* short film idea. It will be "The Life Of A Trendy New-Age Female In A Cosmopolitan Apartment" but in french.
Why? Because the entire film will be in french! The irony is that although it has a rather long title, the film itself will only be about 1 minute long! The whole idea behind it was to produce a film in the style of one of those odd surreal french films you see on SBS late at night.
I'll save the actually 'storyline' until later.
The thing I'm most excited about is the time frame. If all goes to plan, I could have this done in three weeks! Maybe... I just have to make sure I get up and make it happen!

Mar 20, 2008

Concept Zero

Yes, here is some evidence of ACTUAL work. Granted, it is only two concept images, but we all gotta start somewhere. It also doesn't help that my Sims 2 game is still with out a Nightlife and continually requires more testing to make sure it's stable enough to work with. I've gotten the crashes down to about one every two hours or so.
The first image is a overall concept for The BB, my take on a teenage suburbian drama/comedy; perhaps sans the supernova in the background.
The second image is a line-up of some of the characters from my Chrono Dash series. While most will look like their counterparts in this

image, the final looks of the characters WILL change since these are the only exampl

es left after the Sims 2 died. Damn you Ea Games, and Nvidia, over and over again.


Mar 13, 2008

Yes, Words Can Be Sexy!

Yes, that's right! Thanks to some help form Dirk and a PDF creator, my overall project proposal is now sexy. That's right, actually sexy. It's so hot that I can't actually post a picture (or my 'printscreen' button isn't working for whatever reason).
I'd also like to mention that there is nothing more enteratining than to have the computer read the whole proposal back to you!
Oh, yes.

Mar 3, 2008

EA Games Says No!

Now that I've made a decision to create Ripper as my first film (a machinima which takes a modern look at the Jack the Ripper legend, set to the awesome song of 'Horny As A Dandy' by Mousse T. vs The Dandy Warhols). However, since my usual machinima game engine, The Sims 2, was on the fritz, I decided to re-install all the games. Bad, bad; very, very, bad idea.
It was all going well until it came to install the first expansion.
Upon trying to install the game, it decides it doesn't want to read the second disk. Giving up on that, I deleted every Sims 2 file on the computer, including the regeristry and tried again. I even tried other expansions, but any that had two disks refused to read the second one.

Finally, after admitting defeat and heading to the internet, I instantly found a post explaining how to manuallly install the game. Twenty minutes later, University is running.

It was at this point that I discover that the next expansion has a physical defect on the disk and now I must find a replacement version to continue the installation chain.

Feb 26, 2008

Pop Art Mania!

Hello All,

This is my first blog and in order to show that I am in fact doing *something* I've decided to add a pretty picture of my latest piece of art work! It's called 'Enjoy The Rest Of Your Day!' and it's main focus is consumerism! It also makes a pretty awesome base image for a Pop Art piece!
In actual DP news, I spent today not only recovering from yet another virus/flu/fever/result of Tasmanaian weather, but I've also completed my overview of one of my projects! This one is particluar is called 'The Modselectors' and is based around the customisation of a fairly random collection of objects with increasing difficulty as the series progresses.
Until I get around to doing some more work, that is all.