Marvin has the most boring job - ever. But all is not as it seems...
At last, the circle is complete!
This has been the most ambitious project we have ever embarked on. After releasing All Things Trash at Scene Event 2004, Trenox came up with the idea for at short film based around a simple but elegant twist at the end. We all liked the idea and it seemed rather painless in terms of models to be built and a seated
character with only limited animation needed throughout the film.
Trenox and DFeKT did the initial storyboards which HEiNRiCH cut into animatics dialing in at a little more than one minute each. Trenox began modelling the spaceship which would be the stage for the entire film, while DFeKT started doing concepts for the main character. After a while it became obvious that the story needed a different pacing if it should gain any chance of creating a suspenseful atmosphere. Therefore HEiNRiCH took the work-in-progress models Trenox and DFeKT had made, and set them up for quick dummy animation to create a more accurate previz of the film, with added camera moves and animation timing for the characters. Shots were added, removed, or changed altogether ending up, at some point, with a film almost six times the original length. This took place over the better part of a year, and with Scene Event drawing near again, the decision to take a break from the film to do Godmorgen Sol was made. This provided a creative burst of energy, but also set the bar for the quality of the images, from where it was to be raised even further, including the decision to do the film in a 720p HD abbreviation.
Moving forward, several character designs for Marvin (the pilot) had been made and later discarded, causing quite a bit of remodelling during the course of the production for him alone. An entire set piece, the inside of the cargo bay, was also abandoned partly finished because it did not fit with the cut of the film and was left out. This was one of the things you're supposed to avoid by doing the previz and proper planning, but spanning the production over a large amount of time, makes it prone to revisions, both in design, editing and look. Which brings us to our next creative crisis during the fall of 2005.
The temperature is declining, and so is our stamina for keeping up the pace of the production. Abandoning the film is not an option - too much time has been spent on it already to not see it through, but we desperately need a kicker to get back on track. So during a production meeting for E.T.A. DFeKT and HEiNRiCH discuss the possibility to do a small project, to finish something and feel the cretive juices flowing again. And so, production on Mice & Monsters began, propelling us into a storm of missed deadlines and obstructing commercial projects taking focus right up till the easter premiere at BreakPoint 2006.
So, once again we raised the bar for the look of the film, but now we are compelled to get it done or die trying. After a slight break following the release of Mice, HEiNRiCH is beginning to output final composites of most scenes not requiring character animation. The shot with the floating coffeecup spilling liquid through the air is the first to be completed, and sets the tone for the film in terms of detail. Meanwhile the majority of modelling is done, leaving only the pitfall of animation missing as well as various matte paintings. During the fall of 2006, contact is made with british radio freelancer Patrick Charlton, who gathers friends and colleagues to do readings of the dialogue Tytte and HEiNRiCH has written for the various tv-channels audible in the film. Shots are beginning to roll out at a more steady pace, with only the occasional odd commercial job settings us back a month or two - or three. This is repeated throughout most of 2007 aswell, ending up with an extensive pullthrough during the crossover between 2007/2008. Most of the films shots are completed in this period, leaving only finalized sounddesign to be done by Tytte while facing exams at his university. Sound was delivered and finally mastered two days before leaving for Bingen. The only thing left was to make a satisfactory encoding of the film and enter it in the competition.
In retrospect, there's a lot of things which could/should have been done differently, but then again that's part of the process; learning from our mistakes and forever trying to improve our skills.
In any case, we have finally finished out first animated short film - which turned out to be the third. So here's to the next life-sucking production of 3-4 years... (or less).
Of Mice & Monsters Michael la-Cour BREAKPOINT 2006, Germany 2nd 2006.04.15 2 minutes, 0 seconds 137mb, MPEG2, Anamorphic PAL
A short adventure film telling the tale of an unfortunate girl in an enchanted forest.
Fall 2005. We are still in production of our yet to be named animated short, but feel exhausted by the extensive amount of time and effort gone into the project. We flirt with the idea of doing another mini short film, just to boost our creative energy and get something else finished as it was such a rouse doing Godmorgen
Sol and seeing it through completion in such a short amount of time during the summer.
During a production meeting for the aforementioned short, DFeKT brings up one of his own short film stories, which he never got to complete in his own spare time. We decide to roll with the project, in a greatly reduced version, cutting the length (and production time) in less than half of the original. This time Trenox is available and the character work is divided between him, DFeKT and HEiNRiCH doing one character + animation each, with the exception of textures done by DFeKT for all characters. A pipeline is set up in which Trenox and DFeKT delivers finished animation for HEiNRiCH to light and render out and composite. Tytte went to great lengths for the score and sound effects which turned out even greater than anticipated.
However, the project got delayed two times due to commercial projects intervening with the available spare time given to us, causing us to miss the initial deadline for TRSAC 2005 and later the Annecy admission deadline in february 2006. We eventually planned on releasing the film at Breakpoint 2006 in Bingen, Germany, giving us plenty of time after missing the february deadline. However, having the production span this long (starting early november, 2005) backfired at the initial idea of making this a quick production, just as Godmorgen Sol had been, to revive energy for our original film project.
In the final weeks before going to Germany, Mice & Monsters had grown into a much bigger project than intended, we kept adding details, tweaking stuff and making major enhancements in the compositing process, bordering on overzealousness. For a period of time, it didn't look like we would make it. Eventually we drove to Bingen with the majority of scenes rendered out, only lacking some generic compositing on most of the shots. Tytte did the mastering and mixing on the spot during a degree of distress as there were constantly noise from the bigscreen and PA system. Finally, after numerous export problems and audio sync problems to be solved, we released our second animated short at Breakpoint. It ended up doing very well in the competition granting us an unexpected, yet greatly appreciated, second prize.
Looking back, we are glad we did the film, but it took nearly 6 months of production time out of the schedule of the other, much delayed, short film project. Now we will commit ourselves to scoop up production on that again, and slate it for a 2007 release, hoping to submit it to both Breakpoint and Annecy in 2007. Time will tell what will finally come of our (perhaps too) ambitious project.
Godmorgen Sol Henrik B. Clausen Scene Event 2005, Denmark 1st 2005.08.06 1 minute, 10 seconds 54mb, MPEG2, Anamorphic PAL
A short film based on a childrens book about two boys getting it on with an unsuspecting ant.
A year gone by since we started production of our (now huge) short film project and it is not even near completion. It has however at this point gone through several drafts and numerous storyboard versions and changes, not to mention character changes and volumes of modelling completed. But the final product is
down a long road ahead, meaning we have nothing to present at this years Scene Event. Having discussed the idea of doing a quick short film (with our new goals in mind) with the rest of the JUNK crew, HEiNRiCH got the idea for a story from his brother on a canoeing trip in Denmark. The idea was to turn an old danish kids song into an animated short.
When he got back from the wet trip on the stream, he quickly sketched out a simple storyboard and began production using his last week of vacation (two weeks prior to Scene Event). To shake things up, Trenox was working on a game project in Austria and DFeKT likewise busy with commercial projects. It was clear from the beginning the there could be no fallpits of trying to make things too pretty, if this was to be completed it had to be done efficiently and relentlessly. The guitar, borrowed from Jesper Fleng, was played and recorded by HEiN's brother Peter Vahlstrup and the singing was done by Magnus Porse. Tytte got the seperate recordings and did the mixing + additional sounds effects.
In the final days up to SE, DFeKT worked tirelessly to complete backgrounds for all the shots in the film. Having made no camera moves in the 3d scenes proved valuable for more reasons than having the ability to do the tightening of shots in post production. It also enabled DFeKT to do great work on the initial 3d plates improving the final look of the film considerably.
The production was finalized at Scene Event with nightly rendering of both 3d scenes and compositing jobs - as always. In the end is was a great experience for us, to finally have a product with story (even if it was a simple one) and coherency completed.
Obey The Meltdown 2004, Denmark 1st 2004.xx.xx 2 minutes, 31 seconds 100mb, MPEG2, Anamorphic PAL
Another collaboration with TBC. Obey our trashy collaborations!
Well.. only months after internally proclaiming never to do traditional incoherent wilddemos again, we were lured into the trap again by TBC who were frantically collecting material for a short wild production at The Meltdown. They asked if we had time to prepare a few shots to fill into their video. We initially declined to do
more than a few small shots, but got swept away in the time pressure and ended up spending the entire weekend delivering shots for their production, making it more of a 50/50 effort than just the initial helping out that we planned.
Thus we hardly got anything done on the production of our own short film project which was the reason we came to TMD - apart from the social aspects ofcourse. A slight blow in the face of our newly found production values, but we did have loads of fun doing the shots for the TBC production.
All Things Trash Scene Event 2004, Denmark 1st 2004.07.23 2 minutes, 15 seconds 102mb, MPEG2, Letterbox PAL
Themed on trash and garbage, which is surprisingly fitting.
This is where things start to change - almost. At Scene Event 2004, we decided on pursuing a more professional production pipeline where we would collaborate more on each piece. Thus the opening sequence consists of models by Trenox, textures by DFeKT and particles/lighting by HEiNRiCH. This worked out great to our
benefit because we could turn a shot around in much less time with respect to our individual key areas of expertise. Of course for this approach to work, we needed to have scenes where team effort could apply. Most of the others shots was not made in this fashion, which may be evident primarily visible through the less complex nature of the remaining scenes. In the end the video ended up feeling a bit long, mainly due to shots extended through editing to fit the acid sounds of Budda-X's (already) short soundtrack.
By the end of this Scene Event, we vowed to only release films with atleast the simplest of storyline and pre-planned continuity. In the weeks after, we created an internal forum on our domain and began production of a yet to be named short film based on an initial draft and storyboard presented by Trenox. We planned to have this film ready by next years Scene Event. This later turned out to be wishful and thinking based on our ambitions for the project.
RAW The Meltdown 2004, Denmark 1st 2004.xx.xx 1 minute, 17 seconds 61mb, MPEG2, Letterbox PAL
Filmed on location!
This time we had even less (!) prepared when attending The Meltdown, so in a bid to speed things up, we got the idea of filming the production off a monitor with a DV camera to cut post production time and give it a truly trashy look. Hence RAW was born. HEiNRiCH provided the Sennheiser model and some fluid
dynamics tests he had lying around that made it to several shots in the video. Trenox did the Sony monitor and credits scenes on the spot, and DFeKT made a nice intestine tunnel filled with particles. Budda-X finished the RAW soundtrack based on and old track he had lying around. Thanks to whoever let us use his camera for the true telesync that this production is!
Another showreel of test renders and psychedelic CG.
Back in Skive, we once again threw ourselves into the glamorous world of on-the-spot wilddemo creation. Trenox, however, had prepared a little something beforehand. He did the entire brutal intro by himself in one of his modelling frenzies, only leaving some forward post processing of it to the rest of the crew.
The rest was made our old fashion way; non-sequential graphics and effects that, hopefully, looks cool enough to be entertaining throughout the quick pace of the video. Featuring hard pumped goatrance by Tytte, which was, sadly, faded out in the end again due to lack of footage. Will we ever learn?
Theme is held loosely around robotics and moving mechanical parts.
This time we actually did have a theme, and even a progression laid out for the video. But old habbits die hard, and we were once again running short on time, so we only ended up having the robotics theme fairly coined. This was further helped out by Orange's (Ostebulen/TBC) hand in editing the video on top of his
superbly smashy drum'n'bass track cutting everything together nicely. Also, it helps continuity along when everything is graded.. well.. green!
The video features some nice cybernetic modelling by Trenox and boasts some fancy frame-by-frame Photoshop lightning animation by DFeKT. Orange also did the scene with the glowing cylinders and HEiNRiCH did the wired intro sequence and the displaced JUNK logo in the end.
Another weekend production. Includes a nice fly-by landscape and falling spheres.
Once again at The Meltown in Skive. Trenox and DFeKT had no initial plans to release an animation, but would not just sit back and watch people play games either. So, as they began cranking out shots, they got in touch with HEiNRiCH who was, for some reason, not attending the party. He had spent the past week
spitting out test renders of glass, chrome and experimenting with the, then, all new skylight lighting methods. So in a bid to participate in the production he would finish out his sequences at home, being in contact with the onsite crew through ICQ and an FTP server for uploading zipped JPEG frames (for efficient upload times). Tytte, who neither present at TMD, was engaged to do a quick goa track to accompany the graphics, and prevailed efficiently, only to find his music faded out in the actual release due to lack of footage. He was not pleased.
Nonetheless, the animation ended up winning the 1st prize, gaining JUNK two much needed GeForce3 gfx cards.
First collaborated wilddemo with TBC. Theme is ..submarines.
DFeKT found his way to TRSAC 2002 and not having the rest of the JUNK gang to swing into production, he decided to join forces and collaborate on a 24hr production with the nutty TBC people. Apparently they like submarines a lot.
Sequel (if you will) to the first Gust demo. Includes our acclaimed Warcraft cinematic rip-off sequence - with smurfs.
Two years since Gust was released, we yet again found ourselves at Scene Event in Harridslev with nothing to enter in the competition. So, without further ado, we began cranking out shot after shot of seemingly random effects, but!, this time we had plans for a little something extra. That year, Blizzard Entertainment's
Warcraft III was enjoying ever increasing popularity, and we, having no inclination to play this game, decided to spoof it's highly acclaimed (and cool) animated intro sequence instead. Only with smurfs instead of orcs. This required teamwork, not only on our part but also on the rendering support of Thomas Suurland and Anders Stensgaard, without whom it would probably never have been finished in time (which it wasn't, we rarely deliver anything before the actual deadline for entering the competition has long passed). Again, we got a helping hand from Orange with the sound fx for the smurf sequence. In the end, it was finally delivered and shown on the bigscreen to cheers from the crowd when they saw our crowd-pleasing spoof finale. It seems running smurfs and a grain harvester is a good mix after all.
Funny note; This is the 4th most downloaded wilddemo on scene.org (nearly 60.000 and it's 34mb). However, upon contacting the scene.org crew to verify if this could really be true, we were told that they had been the victims of a server crash, rendering their database stats a bit fubar, and had no way (or will) to change the counter back to whatever it originally was. This has probably caused a lot of extra hits on our release from people thinking it's better than it is. However, we cannot be held liable, sorry. :)
This ambitious piece was made as a solo project by Trenox but also had some involvement by Orange (Ostebulen/TBC) who did the music and Cheesy (TBC) who was in charge of the editing. DFeKT was also briefly employed for some last minute help.
The storyline revolves around a person who sees this weird trip of a
demo in a Virtual Reality machine and ends up seeing himself seeing the demo.
So in a way its a mix of a story driven demo and our more traditional effects driven demos (in reality it's just a big showcase for the huge spaceship model in the demo).
The story of how the swedish Easter Bunny vainly tries to retrieve his eggs which Santa Claus has stolen from him.
In a bid to escape the route of conventional Wild! demos (read the Gust summary), we sprang into 48-hour action at The Meltdown with this crazy and, unfortunately, very internal story of the Easter Bunny on a quest to destroy Santa Claus and retrieve the eggs which Santa had stolen from him! We divided the
shots and tasks between us with little effort, and got a helping hand from Orange (Ostebulen/TBC), to do the sound recording of the Bunny's voice, in his car. DFeKT got some nice Bunny quickie animation/setup going and Trenox got to polish on his spaceship modelling and texturing skills, while HEiNRiCH was mostly just trying to get the volumetric particles to work while his computer was still capable. ZwartZ did the still image breakers amongst other things. In the end, however, due to time constraints and endless software crashes caused by heat in the hall, we ended up with a product with no Santa, no explanation for the Easter Bunny's link to santa, nor any explanation as to why the Easter Bunny speaks swedish. Note the amazing earth destroying effects cooked up by HEiNRiCH in the last minute before the productions was to be submitted - way past the deadline. Never before has gaussian blur been put to such dreadful use, and it never should again.
In conclusion: We tried to make a coherent storyline, yet failed to a certain extent at achieving that goal. Rest assured though, this will not be our last attempt at the effort.
Contains silly breakers with vague references to a Mallorcan vacation and the fact that we did not care much for the opening hours of the SE2K cafeteria. As with most of our productions, it is made up of various effects shots created on the spot at the event, with the exception of whatever HEiNRiCH spent his past friday
nights testing. As a result of this, the end result is somewhat incoherent and lacks theme and continuity throughout the video, only being knit together by the hitting thuds of Budda's acid techno. Amongst other shots, Trenox did a nice toon rendered rollercoaster and DFeKT got to exploit the 3d Studio Max 2.x Combustion (later renamed Fire Effect) plugin in a period of time where it was still cool. Also featured is some rare seen ground hitting fluid dynamics - courtesy of Budda-X, and some interlaced stills by ZwartZ.
Also, on a historical note, this was the first production to showcase what has since become the landmark for many a JUNK production - the male phallus urinating.
Working Out The Party 1999, Denmark N/A 1999.28.12 3 minutes, 10 seconds 42mb, MPEG1, 512x192
Something about a compact disc and a sewer... and a castle.
This old gem never made it to the actual Wild! Compo at TP99 due to a failure in the file upload system. Let this be a lesson for us to always take things into our own hands. - Or atleast check with an organizer that the damn silly file has arrived at it's destination!