the process of texturing is not an easy one, making detailed textures
for hundreds of pieces takes a lot of time, since our production doesnt
have a los of artist we had to figure out a way to automatically add
scratches, dirt and dents to the metal surfaces of the robots, without
increasing the memory used in the renderer.
using procedural masks blended with traditional tileable textures of 512x512 we solve the problem, the animation is rendered in 2 passes, and using the masks we add the scratches details to the metallic surfaces.
with this procedure we can control the details of the scratched textures in postproduction, saving render times and memory.
First Teaser Online
After two months of intense post production we’re proud to release the first official teaser of the project!
I got the first final renders last week. I was so blown away by the shots that I decided to make a small preview for the project. The idea of a teaser was born. I worked on the concept of the storytelling within just a few minutes.
We started with finalizing the shots.
The 3D was astonishing, it was now up to me to create a dark atmosphere with dark color grading and editing.
I finished the trailer within 3 days. The mistake was to upload it before showing it to people for constructive critic.
It’s a mistake a lot of filmmakers do. Someone who’s fully into the materia usually gets lost in it and can’t take a step back to see how the full picture looks.
After a sleepless night, and rewatching the first version of the teaser over 100 times I deleted it again (even though it got over 600 hits in the first day). I started re-editing and even added a new vfx shot in it. I think the final teaser is pretty decent looking, but judge yourself!
It is time for another update. I’m currently working on the model of Megatron. The textures are almost done. I’m aware that the model has some stretched textures in some points but this will be fixed soon.
I want to take the opportunity to thank my Friend and great modeler Edgaus for making such a wonderful work on the cannon.
Here is a high res render of the model we’ll use as Megatron for our short:
Check out a 360° video here:
Upgrading the 3D models
My initial Optimus Prime model from last year was “too old”. After the 3rd movie came out we decided to match the style of Optimus Prime to it. We added more details to the model and refreshed the rig. Here’s the outcome:
For the rendered images we are using fryrender’s Arion (Arion is the hybrid-accelerated and physically-based light simulator developed by RandomControl) to achieve photorealistic images, working with Arion is exactly like working with a physical camera inside the computer, you can adjust the shutter speed, iso, lens etc. and see the result in real-time on your screen. It saves a lot of time when setting up materials and lights.
I also started working on a “Megatron” Model! As you can see I’m trying to achieve the style of the 3rd movie. Here are some sneak peeks:
(Materials on this character are for test/reference only) the goal is to finish the modeling and materials in the next 4 days, and then start working on the animation.
Various Stages of Production
A few weeks back I was searching a CG Artist for another project. I found a very talented and aspiring artist called Luima.
As I looked at his website and his references I noticed this tremendous CG Model of Optimus Prime. I found out that he did this just for fun. I was amazed by the detail of the model.
I came up with the idea to create a Transformer short film in order to show our skills. A reference project.
I contacted Luima, and he was pleasantly surprised that I wanted to do a short based on his model. It turned out that Luima was a pretty big Transformers fan himself. He told me that he made another model, a model of Megatron.
I couldn’t believe it, we had two amazing models. Now it was up to me to create a pretty decent storyline. That was when I started writing the script.
Writing the Script
The final script was only 3 pages long. We wanted to make the short only around 3-5 Minutes because we wanted to publish this on video platforms such as Youtube & Vimeo. I discussed the basic storyline with Luima and showed him my Script. He was very confident that this project will “kick ass”.
The short has a pretty complex fight scene. I tried to explain the fight scene to Luima. He understood, but it took 2 hours for me to explain it. That was the point I started drawing storyboards.
Drawing Storyboards / Bringing my vision on paper
I realized soon that I couldn’t draw a transformer due to it’s complexivity. The first drawings looked horrible. I discussed that issue with Luima and he came up with the idea to buy toys and then picture them in the right angle. That way I would have perfect reference pictures.
So I took the pictures with the Toys and it looked pretty decent. Now I had the perfect reference for my storyboard.
(Notice: It’s not Megatron I know. Megatron was sold out.)
Later I went to the location we wanted to shoot and I took pictures of the angles I wanted to shoot. Now I had everything I needed for the Storyboard.
We shot everything in one day. It was an extraordinary experience for the whole team.
I’ve never shot a movie where the CG & VFX elements are the most important part and the physical actor is just a small part of it.
Especially for actor Kevin it was new to act in front of nothing where later giant robots will fight for their lives. It was funny to see the face of him when I first told him how giant the robots will be.
However it was very cool to shoot with such a great team and we shot awesome footage!
The post production process could start.
After two days I had a rough edit I could show the team and especially Luima. He was amazed by it and I was now confident too that this project will blow our minds.
Right now I’m finishing up the harddrive which I’ll send to Luima. From there it’s up to him to make this awesome. I have full trust in him, he’ll make something awesome!
So that were the stages we went through during Pre-Production/Production and currently Post-Production. From now on Luima will update the blog with his amazing renders!
First Entry: Introduction
Welcome to the official blog for Robert Kouba’s short film “Transformers: The Last Energon Crystal”!
In this blog we’ll keep you up to date about the process of making this short as well as some cool behind the scenes footage.
Why a “Transformers” short film?
The idea came across several weeks ago when I met my new CG Artist Luima. I looked at his previous work and I saw an amazing model of Optimus Prime. I was blown away.
I realized that he was very skilled and I offered him to make a fan shortfilm of the Transformers. He agreed and now we’re working on a cool fan made shortfilm to demonstrate our skills!
Who’ll post in this blog?
Luima himself will mainly blog here and keep you up to date about the visual effects. However I’ll post some stuff too.
How far are we?
We shot this short last Sunday in one day. I’ve already done a rough cut and soon Luima will receive all the files and then he’ll keep you up to date about the post production process.
This is it from my part. Here are some set pictures for you!
Me “directing” actor Kevin Klöpfer.
Our talented Director of Photography Sebastian Cepeda doing his thing.
Me and my D.o.P Sebastian Cepeda working on a shot with my dad (who’s acting here).
One of our cool visual effects supervisors Roger Tanner!
A reflector was used in order to hide all the shadows.
This short was shot on a RED ONE MX Camera.
Keep you posted