Tuesday, 31 December 2013

2013: A Year's Worth of Tests

Happy New Year everyone!

I've been saving these clips up over the course of the last year, although many of these are from October onwards.

This is the start of my new drive to create more brickfilms. In the coming month alone I should have at least two short videos for you, with The Ice Vampire coming hopefully by the end of January.

Sorry about the framing - I thought I'd been editing in widescreen, but alas nay.

And yes, I already have a couple of the new Chima sets - those Legend Beasts are surprisingly good sets, especially with the new ball-and-socket joint pieces, which are going to be really useful for stop-motion.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Who ever said dwarves aren't strong?

Dwarves are strong, right? Surely one boulder wouldn't be a problem? You thought wrong, my friend.

I animated this in July and, after remaking my studio, forgot I'd ever done it. Here it is in it's full, mishmashed glory! Half the editing was done in Premiere Elements, and half in Premiere Pro, and half the effects were done in VisionLab, the other half done in After Effects. Thought I'd edit it and upload since I didn't end up doing THAC this year (that's the Twenty-four Hour Animation Contest, over on BricksInMotion.com).

I know - light flicker. It's not something I can solve very easily right now, so we'll all have to learn to get along with it. If I fuss about it too much, I won't get any videos made, and we don't want that now do we?

At the time, I was just about to move my studio setup from one side of my room to the other, because of space issues (which I still suffer from), and this was the last thing I ever animated in that old setup. Believe it or not, this was right in front of a window; thin blinds and a layer of black [insert name of mysterious fabric here] were all that stood between my animations and sunlight. Probably the worst idea for a studio location ever.

You'll notice the minifigs are all flesh-tone - I hadn't used any of those faces for anything other than the sets they came from (e.g. the wizard's face is from a Pirates of the Carribean set) so I wanted to see how they looked used for my own made-up characters. They work well, although the nostalgic voice in the back of my head says yellow will always be the colour of LEGO. Sorry, Jack Sparrow.

Nerd note: the face for the dwarf is the LEGO General Zod face, hence the heat vision. It's a really nerdy joke. Sometimes I just start drowning in my own geekery.

On January 1st (or thereabouts) I'll be uploading a 2013 Test Compilation, and then in 2014 I'll be uploading videos more regularly (I promise, this time!). I've already started working on a whole bunch of things (some scripted, some partially animated) and I'm still trying to re-edit Istari Halloween so that it's vaguely viewable. This video here, this dwarfy thing, is just to wet your appetite in the meantime.

Monday, 16 December 2013

The Desolation of Smaug

So it had its faults, and there were lots of unnecessary add-ons courtesy of "Middle-Earth According To Peter Jackson", and it suffered from a severe case of middle-movie-syndrome, but The Desolation of Smaug was a hell of ride.

It was an improvement on the last one, for sure, sorting out most of its pacing issues and ditching unnecessary cutesy moments (Sebastian the hedgehog is nowhere in sight, deep breath out). Though the add-ons made a few of the characters - both those from the book and those invented for the film (cough cough, Tauriel) fall-flat, it was still as engaging and investing as I thought it would be.

Oh, and there's Smaug. Now THAT'S a dragon. Sorry, Hungarian Horntail, but Smaug really sets the bar in terms of reptilian, fire-breathing epicosity.
Benedict Cumberbatch's voice-over is also incredible, though I wouldn't expect anything voiced by him not to sound incredible. His first scene, with Bilbo, was incredibly tense and well-framed.

Wow. Much Smaug. So desolate.

All in all, this was a pleasure to watch. Still not as good as The Lord of the Rings, but getting there.

A word of warning, though, which is that New Line are clearly trying to subtly set up a Silmarillion movie. Make of that what you will, but I'm not convinced that doing so would be a good idea...