MAX, Photoshop, Darktree, Shag Hair
Based on the book "Fellowship Of The Ring", not the New Line film of the same name, this was a game cinematic for Sierra that ended up being passed on to Universal. The project was supervised by David Stinnett and Tim Wallace. This first image was of an orc shooting an arrow at the fellowship. The orc was modeled and textured by Bill Zahn, I did the scene. This was a tough scene to do, I was unprepared for the level of detail that I was going to have to achieve doing a forest, in the end, I made the original water and forest, then Tim painted overtop of that in photoshop, then I went into 3d and tried to match his painting as close as possible, then David painted more revisions overtop, and again I tried to match those in 3d. The process was actually quite helpful, frequently when doing 3d you can forget about your original goals, and painting revisions as a guide became a fast way to communicate ideas between the art directors and the animator. Next is the door in Moria that the orcs are about to break down. The design was by Feng Zhu, I then made the scene and animated the shot, the doors shuddering as orcs smash at it from the other side. Another example of a paint over, Stinnett wanted more gunk on the door, like bits of black slime dripping from cracks in the door, so he added those ontop of a still frame from my work, then I replicated the changes in 3d. All great details that helped the piece in the end. A closer view of the door. I also animated some particle dust falling from above the door as the orcs got more violent and the ceiling started to cave in a bit. The crebin searching for the fellowship in a dark forest. It was supposed to be a cloudy, dark day, so I used a skydome script to make an array of lights surrounding the scene giving everything a pretty evenly lit look (I would now do this with skylight in Brazil). A british friend saw the scene and told me "Wow, that's exactly what it looks like in britain", so I feel I achieved the goal. Some trees were hand modeled, some were procedurally grown using Sisyphus' Druid plugin, the sky was a photomanip of a storm cloud that Stinnett took a photo of, the crows were added as a particle system by Brandon Davis. The dark tower, which contained the eye of sauron. The tower design was by Feng Zhu, one of the toughest organic modeling jobs I ever did, what with all the twisted shapes, although with lighting in the scene you lose a lot of that detail. The sky is various kinds of noise, and heavily post processed in fusion. The Dell where the dark riders attack Frodo. The model was originally started by Tim Wallace, then got handed to me when his schedule got too crazy, I think the only thing I kept was the general cliff shape. The grass is shag hair, the fire is a modification of a campfire from a previous project (I believe made by Aaron Powell), it's basically real fire mapped to cards. Lots of photo textures and procedurals on the rocks, including a lot of Darktree stuff. Another view of the Dell. Made extensive use of darktree on this one, using a procedural bump map for the rock. The hammer that forges the one ring. Procedural and photo textures. Gimli's axe, design by Ed Lee, had some trouble getting the metal to look right, but I learned a lot from these models material wise. 2 days to build this environment, showing the battlefield. The first half of day 1 was me making a quick painted piece of concept work, basically I took various photos, cut them toegther, painted a bit on top, did color correction, what I got was a terribly rough idea of what the overall feel for the final scene would be. But I knew if I got approval on that look, it would mean less tweaking later on, and that was vital if I was going to stay on schedule. The bodies were from the wolfenstien cinematic that blur had worked on, I piled the bodies in the right spots and modified their materials. Placing lights to catch the edge (known as rim lighting) of all the armor was quite an ordeal. I grabbed the swords and banners from other projects as well, and built a few spears to even out the scene. Lots of fog with noise for the atmosphere. Another 2 day environment, I was concerned because of the number of small details I had to add. Did the modeling in a day based off several pieces of concept work by the client and Feng and Ed. I made sure to bevel all the geometry so I would get lots of nice highlights during the lighting stage. Did all the texuring and lighting day 2. Another material tour de force, this project really helped me learn a lot about materials. While good painted maps add to the detail of a surface, without good knowledge about the way a material looks (ie, how to put the maps together and modify the light bouncing off the surface), everything will look like some sort of plastic variant. Lit with about 10 lights, 2-3 main ones, and the rest are small spots to accentuate parts of the scene in an artistic fashion. Probably my favorite environment, the bridge at Khazadum. The final piece came out very painterly, and I still to this day am not 100% sure how I achieved the look, I guess a bit of blind luck was involved. Maybe detail in the shadow areas? Everything in the scene is 3d with the exception of the torch flames, the env was not used in the final cinematic however, so here it is. Based on concept by Ed Lee, I think the balrog would have looked so cool walking down that corridor. Ah well. All work above done at Blur Studio.