BBC playblasts

Here are a few tests for cameras, lighting and animating and the two animatics. I will also upload the final animatic before we began rendering in a second post.

Sneeze test – John

Flickering Light Test – John

Sign Test – Jonny

Virus Animation – Jonny

BBC animatic 1 – John, Jonny, Phillip

BBC animatic 2 – John, Jonny, Phillip



BBC Models

This post is solely for the models in the scene. Here are some renders of the models, lighting and characters and virus.

BBC references

For the scene we had to get the look right, our environment is heavily based off of 60s sci fi and classic sci fi movies like alien, blade runner, star trek and star wars. We also took inspiration from game environments like dead space, alien isolation and portal.

We wanted to have a classic sci fi corridor, with with the classic beam lights on the ceiling, some floor lights for atmosphere and the clean hard edged surface that is so commonly featured in sci fi media. Here are some images to more clearly show what we wanted to achieve.

One thing that was very important for our environment and story telling was the lighting. We wanted to have the lighting reflect the mood of the environment. We chose to go with a few main colours that are heavily associated with science fiction, danger and sickness. Green for sickness, red for danger and blue and orange (seen heavily in the above references).

We decided to make this project a homage to science fiction due to the fact that during the time of the radio broadcast that we are creating visuals for the whole idea of secret agencies and testing facilities were controversial and heavily associated with strange activity. It is a goldmine for the science fiction and since our segment is about a testing facility, looking for volunteers to help cure the common cold we thought we would turn it into a play on a contagion. Since it is about vitamin C having no effect on the common cold we wanted to show this through the common colds virus growing in size and becoming more volatile (seen in the animation by it growing larger and changing).

For the characters in the animation we wanted to pay homage to robots seen in science fiction movies and tv shows of that era like Doctor who or star wars. Since this whole project is about bringing new to the old by adding new visuals to an older radio broadcast we also wanted to push that feeling of space age technology that was beginning to evolve at the time of this broadcast. In the animation the volunteers have a more robotic anatomy. For the volunteers we took a lot of inspiration from I robot and crash test dummies (if you want to read into you could say that the volunteers are crash test dummies for the supposed cures).

Here are a few references for the robots.


The Sword

The sword was possibly my favourite part of the modelling and sculpting. I based it of a concept for a sword in world of warcraft. Initially it was modelled in maya and then sculpted in zbrush to be baked down. I had to split it down into separate parts so each of them could be baked down one at a time.

Here is a few renders of the sword in each of its stages with the original concept.

I have also uploaded the sword and the stone model to sketchfab so you can look at the model closer. Enjoy!

UV mapping the assets

This was a huge problem for me in this project, i worked on the uv maps for the assets for ages trying to perfect the seams getting them all sewn together neatly so they would look very clean but every time i tried to bake the models details the models always came out with the hard edges looking weirdly shaded and the model coming out with various shading errors.

I had been stuck on this error up until 2 days before hand in but it turns out my issue was extremely simple and that just made it even more frustrating when i figured it out.

My set up for baking was to soften the edges of the model in maya then harden the uv edges, after that i would export the lp mesh and its cage. Then i would export the hp mesh from zbrush and bring it into xnormal for baking.

The majority of these came out clean but i did run into an issue where there would be small black triangles on the models. However these were easily corrected by bringing the normals into photoshop and paint over them. This happened on my sword here is how it looks before and after, you can see the small triangles on the handguard of the sword.

Here are a few of the normal maps and the models with them.

Building in Maya

So the first step was to block out a scene in maya, this was easy enough to do using cubes and making basic shapes. The scene isnt too heavy content wise so it wasn’t that hard to block it out, this didnt take too long it was mainly to get something to work from for scale.

After this i began to build other models, the models weren’t too hard to build as the detail would be added in later with the normal map. I tried to keep the poly count to a minimum and only add in extra faces if it was vital. I had a list of models i had to do and a few extra ones that would be available for sculpting if  i had time. Initially i had built a creature called a mimic in maya, its based on a dungeons and dragons monster. Essentially its a chest that comes to life if you try to open it. I also had some barrels in the corner but i decided to take them out as they weren’t adding anything to the feel of the room being a Dungeon.

I also wanted the room to have some sort of centre piece so I played around with a few different ideas like a coffin/sarcophagus or a podium like the sword in the stone being in the centre. In the end I found that the sword in the stone idea worked well since it was meant to be a dungeon in a fantasy game.

Once it was all built in maya and i had decided on the placements it was rime to bring it into zbrush to begin sculpting details.

Here are a few renders of the Dungeon and how its developed.

The Cold – Graphics

Our group wants to go down a graphics route for our BBC project. One recurring cut scene that I love are the opening cut scenes to virus/zombie movies where it has a back track of music and a narrator speaking and it cuts between a virus affecting the cells of a body and real life footage of what the reaction is to the virus eg. death, destruction, medical imagery and stuff like that. So i’m looking into some of these opening sequences for references to bring to the table.

A moving opening title sequence for a zombie virus.

World War Z Opening Credits. These credits don’t actually show a virus spreading but more the effects of it. The virus in the movie affects the behaviour of the humans making them angry and bloodthirsty almost primal. So through the opening credits it goes from normal human life showing tranquillity and a normal day with the background narration eluding to this, with the music being slow and as it builds to the climax the music becomes faster like a chase sequence showing animals hunting each other. The narration in the background talks about environmental changes as well as showing human natures ignorance to viruses and the world around us. It seems to say that we think we are safe and secure,  almost saying that we believe we are invincible and the idea of global warming and that a killer virus could wipe us out is unbelievable.

An opening sequence for a virus movie

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – This is a really awesome opening sequence, it shows the fast paced spread of the virus in the movie as well as having a great graphic overlay showing the spread across the world and showing live footage as it spreads as well as having narration about the virus and its origin.

Resident Evil – This one is a bit cheesy but it still has a clear cut message with the combined use of visuals and narration to show what happened with the virus.