Monday, June 2, 2008

a long-awaited Tower 37 (nee Uprising) update

So the 10-minute CG animated short I've written about here before (Tower 37, formerly called Uprising) is actually nearing completion. Which is a good thing, 'cause it's basically its third anniversary this summer. Three years ago I was working on the story and the reel, now we're down to 44 shots left to finalize.

You might get some kind of perverse enjoyment out of reading prior posts about the film, especially those from late summer 2005 when I thought we could actually finish it in just one term. Ha. Well, over the three years it ballooned to 11 minutes, and now has been trimmed back down to below 10. There are 114 total shots as of this writing. But I do see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Bit Films Intern Will is currently leading the lighting/compositing charge, and I'm doing what I can as my other responsibilities allow. I think we are much more efficient with a small crew than with a large one, and I hope to update with some regularity as our number of remaining shots drops.

If you're interested in reading about how I structured a collaborative animation production class around this project, or if you want to learn more about the film itself, you can download a PDF of my MFA thesis and knock yourself out. Or just watch the movie as it stood a year ago when I got the degree. The site hosting the thesis keeps telling me people are downloading it; I'd be curious to hear from those downloaders what they think about it all.

Here's an image from shot u2_01. It is 1/3 of the final full resolution. I'll start adding more images to my posts if this works and if people seem receptive.

For those interested in the technical specs, this film is being made using Maya 8.5, RenderMan Studio, and Shake. To a lesser extent we also use After Effects, the Maya Software renderer, and hundreds of custom scripts (mainly written in TCL).

Tower 37 is using the HELGA system (developed at Hampshire College) for production management and web-based render/comp spooling, asset management, and job tracking. I will update this post or blog with a HELGA link as soon as one is available.

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