Virtual Team Project to Craft the Milestone of iClone Video Quality
Interview with Gabe Achanzar (2009.03.25)
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Q: What is the movie “Strife” about? How did you come up with this idea at first?
Strife is about the struggle to survive and maintain man¡¦s ¡¥humanity¡¦ in a world where the struggle to survive dictate that humans must give in to their basest instinct. It is set in a world trying to recover from a breakdown in the society. The idea to do a collaboration was first put forth by Damian (wolfzone) last fall. The group then brainstormed what genre is best to showcase the capabilities of iclone. From the beginning, we made a conscious decision to film everything in iClone with as few post production as possible. What ever genre we aimed for, it should be able to utilize a number of iClone¡¦s features. From lighting to material design to atmospheric effects, we decided that a science fiction theme would be the most flexible. But we also wanted to avoid the cliche with robots, space ships etc. So a touch of drama was needed.
Q: Who are involved in this movie production? How is the arrangement of the team work?
This is a complete team project. The whole CoolCreators team are involved in the project. I wrote the trailer storyline with the goal that it would be a means to set the stage for the movie. Damian (Wolfzone), Mike (Warlord), and Linda (Duchess) worked on set design, converting a lot of game assets from Fallout to something usable in iClone. Alley and Linda (Duchess) designed the costumes for the trailer and a number of characters for the upcoming movie as well as voice acting for the trailer and the upcoming movie. Mark (Rainman) designed the web interface, the facial expressions of the old lady in the trailer and finally Alley also composed the dramatic music used in the trailer. And Alley’s daughter Danielle took on the role of the little girl in the trailer. Gabe (animatechnica) wrote the script for the trailer, with the team pitching in to fine tune it and directed the movie.
Q: To coordinate such a virtual team (different people from different countries), what is the most difficult part to you? And what is the best benefit?
The first challenge we faced was how to maintain continuity. We recognized that if rendered in different machines by different people, the look and feel, lights and shadow placement may not be consistent. So we decided that I would render all the pieces and do the final edit. The members then worked on setting up various scenes and sent me the project file where I ensured the lighting and look fit the overall visual style of the movie. Low resolution renders were created so we can view and critique as a team. From these periodic rushes we came up with the sound track and edits to the scenes.
Q: Any interest experience or memory you can share when you were doing the team work?
An interesting experience for me was how the trailer evolved – when I first envisioned it, I was thinking of a fast paced trailer with techno like music. Alley then recorded the narration and set it to dramatic music. When I first heard the music I realized it introduced a different angle to the movie- something more dramatic so by changing just this piece in the movie it took on a different theme.
Q: In this movie, we see many astonishing beautiful scenes. How do you set up them? And what’s the difference between 2.0 & 3.0?
The set design was done collectively by Damian, Mike and Linda. While some were converted using 3D Xchange, others were done with iClone 3D blocks. Key to a number of scenes was the use of lighting. With iClone 3, use of local lights allowed to create a dramatic look to the scene, something you really couldn’t do as effectively with 2.0. In addition the atmospheric effects with iClone 3 lent itself well when I created the burning city scene.
Q: This movie reaches a revolutionary level of visual quality in iClone. Which feature or function in iClone3 do you think plays the major role?
For the visual quality, this is due to a large part to hi resolution/realistic textures used in the set design. RL’s texture packs were well utilized here. The old woman in the trailer used a high res face texture created by Damian. This worked very well in the close up scene especially when coupled with the facial animation. Finally the movie was rendered in high definition - 720p.
Packs used in this movie
Total Materials vol.1
Low-poly Characters - Citizen Extra