Sunday, 29 March 2009

Demade with 8-bit graphics

I've read an interesting topic about modern games been demakes into 8-bit games.

Healthy Wave:
Check out the video below, they used Anamanaguichi music:

Silent Hill: GTA IV:
Team Fortress 2:
I think with these visual, I think it fixes the issue of adding 3d animation in my 8-bit animation. I just like the contrast of the differences in the two style.

I think it would work because my character in the fim would be more self-aware when he journeys and progresses within the story.

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Work Check in week 7

I had my work check yesterday with my tutor Kelvin and I have to say it went OK besides from the lack of visual development of my storyboard.

One of the concern was adding the 3d animaton, what purpose does it give? Does it represent the game character self-aware.
I've also shown my mood board samples and the reaction was pretty good, people said they liked "Quirky style", "The old television scanline."

I've shown people my opening credits.
The reaction was very surprising, people actually wanted to watch it more than once! I mean it only shows the uni logo and my name and people liked it.
My theory is that the sound and image right at the beginning created an emotional response, it created a nostalgic response.

So overall I need to finish the concept such as the storyboard and animatic asap so I can get started on the production side.
My main concern whether people would get my story but I need get it sorted.

Friday, 27 March 2009

More Storyboard

I've done alot more compared to my previous post process.
I'm still drawing it up at the moment.

Anyway what happens in the story is that a normal 8-bit game plays out but a glitch/bug occurs. The screen freeze until the game character starts to move on it's own and becomes more self-aware. He journeys to a way out away from the player's clutch, the visual will be transition from 2d to 3d. So you'll see game mechanic such as loading screen, change disc etc.

Check out the post-its on the wall:
Expect an animatic by the end of the week and the production will commence next week.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

MGS4 - Revived Trailer

First of all, I didn't post anything yesterday because of a certain party I had to attend. So I pretty much broke the cycle...

Hideo Kojima is a genius when it comes to making video game. He is well known for his creation Metal Gear Solid series. I remember when I first watched this trailer, they first shown the history of Metal Gear Solid from the playstation era to the newest form in Smash Bros: Brawl.

And yes Kojima, I did like it.

Watch it below:

It created an emotional response when I watched it, I remembered when I first played the playstation game and the Gamecube Version until they shown the new videos of the PS3 MGS4. I was amazed and speechless and so many memories resurfaced.

I really liked the transition of the Playstation Snake to the old Snake near the end. I looked framed by framed to see how they done it and I've found out that it was a quick fade away so the transition looks natural.

And yes Hideo Kojima knows how to tease the fans.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Moodboard Sheet

I've made a quick moodboard on my short film:
Let me confirm that this screenshot is not the final thing but the feel of how the aesthetic feels.

I've used Old television scanline and TV border to have an old TV feel.

The pause screen.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Player P.O.V

One of the main issue I had in my storyboard is whether to include the scenes of the player point of view.
I like the scene where the player would blow out the dust of the cartridge because this is what everybody would do in the past and would bring an emotional response of nostalgic.
Chris said to me that he doesn't think it's necessary to put them in.
I think he has a point because a) I think filming this in live action will be time consuming. B) I don't think it would make any difference if I put it in as the plot would be the same.
But Who knows I'll probably need to play about with it when I have time this week.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Week 6 update

It's the end of week 6 and how scary is it. First of all I finalized the story, Chris really helped me to pushed this idea to it's simplest form and I'm grateful.

Short Summary:
"An old 8-Bit game is played out but while it plays, a glitch/bug occurs and the game character is aware of the situation so he decides to journey to found a way to stop being manipulated."

The Short film will be shown in the early 8-bit era to the current generation. My only concern is that because I have about 6 weeks in production, will I'll be able to make it? This is a big issue but I would like to include it or perhaps I can add something like these:
Something that looks 2d but is actually 3d?

At the moment, I'm still drawing out the storyboard in it's roughest form.
I've contacted Tao (the creative sound designer), he said he's interested and wants to be involve in it but because of his job, the time might be an issue... So I told him I send an animatic by next week and the production should start by then.

My Updated Schedule:

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Resident Evil 5 - Chris Redfield Character Evolution

I've found an interesting video of Resident Evil. It a compliation of the series of the character Chris Redfield.

What I found interesting is that there is a highly difference in each generation. For example the first game, the character animation is really stiff and the voice acting for the character is really bad and unconvincing.

So the point is that I might include a 3d character in my short film and this would be a good visual reference on the style.

Friday, 20 March 2009

Project 8-bit Title Sequence

I've made this some time ago but you get a feel of how the short films starts in the beginning.

Anyway I've added a static noise because it has the old televison feel which I intended because I want to bring in nostalgic feeling when they see an 8-bit pixel.

But from what I've shown to people, they said they do sense a old gam intro which I was intended to do.

I will improve when I finalized everything.

Thursday, 19 March 2009


I'm about to start on drawing after realizing vocational studies is going to eat my time on my Major Negotiated Project.

Here is a preview of the Storyboarding/preproduction stage, I've been using Post-its because it seems alot more convinent to use when I post them on wall and the colour is alot more cheerful and happier:
Here are the title sequence and the credits sequence:
So it's a working in progress but it's better than nothing.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

The final week with Chris Shepherd

I have the Flu at the moment so I couldn't do much work so I might blog some crazy stuff because because I'm very dizzy and headache.

Anyway back to the main point, I had a tutorial with Chris Shepherd today.

Basically I've told him about my story and planning, he said that I've done enough research and need to move on to the preproduction.

He shown me two animation and told me that if I can figure out the structure/logic, I will have a solid film.

Right now I guess the theme will be the interaction between the Player and the Game character. Even though it's not what I had in mind but I guess it's simplistic enough for a short film.


Director - Daniel Greaves

Manipulation is an animation about a animator drawing a character who tries to get away from the animator. The character interacts with it's environment such as the red paint and the cartoon character think of uses on how to use it.

The main obstacle for the cartoon character is the main animator who often stops the cartoon character from escaping till the end. I liked the way, the 2d character turns into a 3d to escape into the real world.

What makes the film funny is the anticipation and the sense of the unexpected, and the way in which it playfully comments on the animation process.

What I can apply to my film is the structure such as the character introduction (how it is made, it's personality), it encounters the animator, several attempts, it was thought it was destoryed when it was crumbled, form into the real world and finally escaping.

Looney Tunes - Duck Amuck

Director - Chuck Jones

What I liked about Looney Tunes Duck Amuck, it was surreal and was fun to watch because of it's dramatic irony.

At first it shows the Daffy being tricked by the animator because he keeps changing the environment when Daffy is about to adapt to it's environment therefore we know whats happening before the character and that makes us feel absorb into it.

The unexpecting funny part was when Daffy plays the guitar but it makes an unexpecting sound, this leads Daffy building up anger and constant struggle between the animator and Daffy.
In the end it revealed Bugs Bunny who was the animator which makes it even funny because these characters has been constantly arguing.

To conclude:
So in the end I have to add a series of challenge for the game character who wants to stops the manipulation.

Cheers for Chris who has been coming into our university and giving us guidance.

Need to do storyboard/animatic asap.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Retro Game Challenge

I've looked at sample of classic 8-Bit games and I've found this game for the Nintendo DS where it has most of the old forgotten game all in one. Check it out:

I've just watched the sequel trailer for the next game "Retro Game Challenge 2":

I really liked the short scene where it shows two player in the living room playing the Famicon (NES), it really does make me feel very nostalgic.

But I think it's very useful for getting the 8-bit feel as a visual reference.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Camera Test

Hello my blog readers, I've done something productive for a change. Week 5 wasn't the best productive week I have because of the flatpack festival.

Anyway after looking at David O'Reilly, I thought I should try out some stuff out.

Here is something I've made quickly and tested:

I have to stay I'm pretty happy with the results but one of the concerns I have is the rendering took some time so I'll probably need to think more about getting good speed rendering and lighting/shader.

I've also looked at a tutorial on how to make a 3/4 perspective camera in Maya:

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Flatpack Festival 09 - Unpacked with David O'Reilly

I'm finished going to the Flatpack Festivals and it is amazing. The last event I went was Shorts of Wall because I worked on a film Momster which was shown and it's great because alot of people said it was good and the good news is that it was nominated in the BAFTA Awards, how cool is that!!

Anyway back to the main topic, in the Unpacked event. The first and best talk featured with David O'Reilly. I've seen his feature short film in Futureshorts and I liked it for it's unique style. Once I've heard the person himself is coming, I've decided to go even when I'm not a morning person.

Please say Something is his film which won a Berlinale award:

"Set in the distant future, this is the story of a troubled relationship between an abusive Mouse and his wife, an intensely emotional cat. "

I didn't know the animator was 23 and he already archeived a film award. Also he already contributed to films Son of Rambow and Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, films I've already seen. It was an honour to meet the person himself and what surprised me is that he is actually a college drop-out and look at his success.

His presentation talk was very interesting and I couldn't help myself writing notes. He was very passionate with film/animation theory and gave some of his thoughts within the industry.
I think one of the messages he made was very useful and that is "Authenticity".
Oh yeah the time lapse print screening seems really cool when he showed the process of Please Say Something.

I've spoke to him after his talk and man was it cool. I've asked whether the 3/4 perspective camera was inspired by video games but he replied saying that Jason (John Arne Sæterøy) and Chris Ware known for their comic book are the inspiration.

Some of the things he made me thought about is the rendering for the film in 3d application. For example, Aliased Pixel is where it has no smooth mesh, no motion blur, no raytracing or complex shading.

You can read his interview from the Berlinale Awards:


Saturday, 14 March 2009

Vocational Studies - week 1

Vocational Studies just started this week, the live brief is basically animating Birmingham City University Employer Engagement.

Apparently the script isn't ready but the second year of Viscom are working on it with the professional Script writer.

They're expecting a motion graphics video to promote our university, but I reckon I can make something more to their expectation.
The good thing is that, we're be in groups and I'll be working in the CGI group.

One of our task is to think of making visuals of the work Creative Community.
And We've have to come up with 15 frames for the visual animation.
My concept:

And here are stuff I've made in Maya for the last couple of days:

I've made the mind bubble from Illustrator and imported it into Maya. The background is a nurb plane with paper texture.
Raytracing shadows are amazing but takes ages to render. The idea comes from the art direction of paper mesh or traditional materials and Little Big planet.

Cavell Ord Shrimpton (one of the new motion graphics tutor) suggested me to change the mind bubble texture into more cardboard based so I later did and it looks sweet. She also suggest the background have some creative stuff in it such as finger painting or face paint.

At the moment, my ideas are little black stickmans all gather (therefore community) would all mind bubble of the same thing and a lightbulb appears (An idea/creativity) and it rotates revealing the text Creative community.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Dookie Poo - What You've Become

I've came back from Flatpack Festival Unpacked, which I will eventually write about.
While I was looking at Kings of Power 4 Billion %, I've encounter this music video and I thought it was neat:

An independent music video featuring DOOKIE-POO and CHOROCCO TOFU with music by THE MONTAUK PROJECT. Watch as Dookie travels through some of the greatest, classic arcade games of all time to save the girl.

What I like about is that it uses so many classic old 8-bit video game references especially it used Super Mario like saving the girl and the level set up. It really does bring nostalgic when I watch Dookie-Poo travels throughout the classic game.

The introduction was really fun with the arcade leading into the game with it's statistics.
And the credits of the film with the high score is ingenius but who made what?

Check out the website at:

Thursday, 12 March 2009

We are the strange

You can watch the whole film on youtube:

Directed by M. dot Strange

"We Are the Strange focuses on "two diametrically opposed outcasts" as they "fight for survival in a sinister fantasy world." These two outcasts are an abused woman named Blue who has a mysterious degenerative disease and a living doll named eMMM.
The two meet in the Forest of Still Life, where Blue follows eMMM to Stopmo City on a search for his ideal ice cream parlor. Upon arriving in Stopmo City, they are caught in the middle of a fierce battle between bizarre monsters, making their progress difficult. Thankfully, a hero named Rain appears and easily destroys every monster that faces him. Blue meets Rain before he partakes in an "impossible battle against the source of all that is evil in Stopmo City." During the battle, Rain, along with Ori are crushed by Him after Rain states he wants to avenge his son. When the outlook seems grim, a fist made of aluminum foil breaks through the ground and starts the final showdown between good and evil.

Six alternate soundtracks and author's commentary, including soundtrack by Noise Inc. are available on the DVD. The music used in We Are the Strange Trailer has been made by chiptune artist YERZMYEY/AY-RIDERS (a cover of t.A.T.u.'s "30 minut") using ZX Spectrum computer."

Apparently it took 3 years to complete this film all made my M. dot Strange himself besides from the music. personally it Very inspirational when it was shown first on youtube then got enlisted in festivals.
It uses a combination of Stop motion, CGI and green screen effect to create this film.

Probably the most weirdest abstract film I've ever seen, I'm not sure whether Kings of Power 4 Billion % or We are the strange is weirder but they're pretty much at the same wavelength.

But in narrative, it's so hard to absorb the story and reaction. I really tried watching the whole film but ended up skipping alot and in the end I really tried to like it but...

I'm starting to lose the point it gets to be too much and is weak in the area of getting the viewer involved with the characters and story. Very little of the story is explained, so you can get lost in a hurry and never recover. After a while, I found myself not caring what was happening and just attempted to enjoy the strange visuals and sound- effects.

I really like the intro of the film, introducing all the cast of the character defining who is evil or good and the cameraman is defined as netural representing us.


Wednesday, 11 March 2009


Original Author - Renjuro Kindaichi
Do not be decieved by the drawing style animation. You may think it aims for kids but trust me it's not!
Haré+Guu is basically like a japanese version of Family Guy but more stranger.There is an episode that was so funny with all the RPG (Role Playing Game) references.

You can watch the full episode below:
Haré+Guu Final - illusion: IX RPG Test Version & illusion: x RPG Pirate Version:

I laughed when Haré said narrates the opening title for the game "why does it have number3." Haré is the Straightman comedian with his normal view of the unrealistic situation.

The idea is simply entering a video game world in order to save your baby brother but heres a little twist Haré is the villian.
The glitch idea was fantastic, switching into different games. I might include it to my film...
It's a great animation because the audiences gets so much involved watching the episode.


Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Trapped in an environment

So far I'm not progressing as well as I thought. I seriously need to concentrate with the pen & paper!!
Anyway I've looked at some of the animation that was recommended to me.

Knick Knack
Directed by John Lasseter

Knick Knack is one of Pixar's earlier short animation piece.
What makes this a great animation is that it has simplicity in it. The character snowman has an objective to be set free (Sounds familiar to my idea) from the globe so he can reach to the babes.

Along the way there is obstacles, his method of escape is unsuccessully such as a blowtorch and high explosives.
He almost succeeds in the end until the globe falls on top of him which caused a dramatic emotional response.

Animator vs. Animation
Directed and Animated - Alan Becker

Animator vs. Animation is an animation made entirely out of Flash. It uses basic stickman, it struggles with its surrounding and creator. I like how the ending ended, with the creator ended the application.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Paul Robertson

I've promise to write about Paul Robertson who I've wrote about briefly.
Paul Robertson is an animator who works in 16 bit video game style.
From what I can tell, I think he animated his work in flash but I'm not exactly sure on how he got the pixelated look. Probably something like mosaic effect but I'll look into it later.
You know what, I'm not sure whether I should call Paul a genius or an idiot. I mean he made a great publicity by putting his work online but you can download the actual clip is something I wouldn't do.

Kings of Power 4 Billion %

It's quite hard to tell what exactly is going with this animation because there is so much going on and very fast pace.
But from what I understood, there are a few good characters who tried to stop a strong enemy/boss and thats it!
Something like a typical game where they would try to triumph evil.
But I read that "Kings of Power 4 Billion %, a 16-bit animated reflection on the struggle between life and death in a world war between a strobing pantheon of gods, whipping ribbons of motile flesh, and ultra-kawaii heroes."

It's very hard to understand the characters when there are so many of them but I did understand what they're doing. The only interesting characters are the evil bosses.

The aesthetic of the animation is a hybrid between anime and 8 bit animation.
It uses video game reference such as RPG, side scrolling platforming, reviving and boss battle.

My only concern is that the animation has so many bright colour especially the combination of red & blue flashes that I feel that people might get seizures after watching this.
My eyes were straining after watching the whole film, I think I'll end up like those poor children who ended up watching the banned Pokemon episode.

Other than that, it was some crazy sh*t (in a good way) experience with it's Confusing, graphical, and loud that you don't get in Hollywood film.

Here are some of his other works:
Architecture in Helsinki - Do the Whirlwind:
Architecture in Helsinki's animated video for Do the Whirlwind

The Magic Touch:

Go another cadbury commercial:

Pirate Baby's Cabana Street Fight - pt.1:

Pirate Baby's Cabana Street Fight - pt.2:


Sunday, 8 March 2009

Week 5 starting & progress

Well to start off with, I've haven't done much for my storyboard but will do it after this post.
My second current Schedule:

At the moment I'm trying to at least get a rough storyboard by today and improve it by the end of Week 5. So my intentions is to end the preproduction stage by week 5 and start the production of animation at week 6 but I have a feeling that the preproduction will go longer...

Basically what happened in week 4 is that I've been playing around with my idea of my film.
I need to clarify this information: " I am making a short film told in a video game style."

Chris Shepherd has been coming in and helping out the 3rd Year Animation & Live Action people. He reviewed my work and said that he likes the idea but he said I need to establish my character's psychology/personality and recommended me watching Pixar's short film Knick Knack and the flash Animator vs Animation. Also the character needs to be at odds of the landscape.

I have several ideas of my story:

  • Addiction to gaming. (The irony is that it's told in 8 bit style)
  • Game character desires to be free from manipulation from the player. (Sounds abit like the Matrix...)

One of the things we discussed was how I can have a muscular character who was designed as a war machine game character but he prefers to be a gentler person like flowering and this would be a "Dramatic Irony." One of the visual we said was how the bullets could be seed and it grows out of the level bring the character to a different world.

I've also researched Digital cinematography/layout based on video game so I can get the best results in portraying the film. I looked at side view camera, 3/4 perspective, overhead view, top perspective and 1st person view.

I'll keep you guys posted.

181 stuff

Hi guys, here is some update on the 181 stuff I'm doing:

181 promo:

I've played around with after effects to create it, I really liked the stencil alpha effects but the animation of the stripes needs to be better.

The 181 awards ident:

I've animated it and the feedback I've got from people were positive. People thought the glow of the golden trophy was a pretty touch-up.
I've talked to people and they said that if I use the 3d file such as object file, I'll be able to make a replicate trophy from the product design group.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Gametrailers Review

The good people of Gametrailer made review videos of recent new games.
I've edited out the game review so you get to see the actual footage, you can view it here:

I like the visual transition of the 8 bit generation blowing out towards the screen in 3d cel-shaded style. I think I might use this as a visual reference for my short film.

It communicates very well in each chapter covering the Story, Design, gameplay and presentation.

Friday, 6 March 2009

Retro 3D

I was looking at some work and I found this amazing 3d artist:
dotter_dotter is the username and his real name is Tibori who makes old video games into retro 3d style.

For example, here we have a LCD handheld "FIREMAN FIREMAN" with Mr Game & Watch as the main mascot:
Closeup view of the gameplay.
And here is the sample of Game & Watch in 3D. This is one of my favourite images he done. Here's my guess on how he made it:
  • The character is created in Adobe Illustrator and was imported in 3d applications as a polygon or curve.

  • The buildings obviously modelled from scratched from reference from the old game.

  • He also used depth of field trick on the camera so that we're focusing on Mr Game & Watch while the character below are blurred.

  • He also used Mental Ray render with setting of ray tracing.
Here's another favourite image I like, he made a retro version of Donkey Kong. If you don't know the history behind of Donkey Kong I highly recommend you looking at this: A little history behind videogame.

I really liked the way how the camera view of it. It really does make Mario look small and vunerable.

Here is a character I've looked through Flicker, quite cute I say.

If you remember my previous work in testing 3D pseudo-8-BIT Test.

Anyway I was playing around in Maya and created my 8-Bit character in retro 3d style. I played around with the lighting I only used a Directional Light, Mental Ray and Raytraced options. The lighting is amazing with it's soft shadow touch, however it took me about 5 minutes to render a single frame in HD size even though the polygons are just single face cube. I'm still not sure on how I got the results but hopefully I'll found the reason.

Now I need to concentrate on my storyboard and preproduction for now...

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Renew Aims, Learning Outcome & Video Pitch

I know this should of been done ages ago but I finally got it sorted:

My Aims:
I aim is to create a short animation film. In the end I want the film to be used for my portfolio/show reel and hopefully would be shown in film festivals.
My primary objective is to show my visual narrative skills in story telling because I’ve feel that a lot of student work tend to focus more about the visual rather than the narration.
My secondary objective is to make the finish piece look professionally made. I want show my technical skills in applications such as Flash and 3d applications so I can show my abilities in animating, modelling and visual effects.

Quick concept:
My inspiration comes from early video game culture such as the 8 bit era because I’ve grew up playing game and it’s a world I know and became a crucial part of my childhood.
To explore the relationship between the gamer and the game character.

  • The world is seen through as a video game, from the 8bit to the current generation of gaming.
  • My target audience would be mature teenager to adult because I feel that people who grew up playing video game would feel nostalgic and reminisce the past.

Learning Outcome:
Here are some of my learning outcome:

  • My principle is keep things simple so that my narrative/storytelling skills will be well received, in other words to successfully communicate to the audiences.
  • I hope to achieve to a simple story that is told in a unique way that can entertain and possibly.
  • To show my 3 years worth of study in Visual Communication.

Here's my finalized Video pitch:

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Your Friend the Rat and Alberta

I was watching "Your Friend the Rat and Alberta" DVD special edition of Ratatouille. Pixar has done an outstanding job on telling the facts of a brown rat in a fun way with it's many style it uses. Here's the short clip that I feel quite inspirational:

It used a 8-bit style game to visually portray the story behind the competition between Canada and the Rats. I mean it is very clear that it was able to communcate the idea of challenging and competition and I think using an 8-bit visual is perhaps the most amusing way of telling the story.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

8 Bit Music

If you recall back in one of my topic about the documentary about 8 bit culture. Anyway as I watched 8 Bit: A Documentary About Art And Videogames, there is a topic on how artist would use 8 bit game to create music.
How it works?
Well they connect an old 8 bit console such as the gameboy to recreate the midi file sound.

The band I would like to say is a UK band called Anamanaguchi.


I heard their mini album called Power Supply and it doesn't sound as annoying as I thought. It was actually quite cool to listen, basically they plug their instruments to an 8 bit console and program them to sound like a midi sound.

Check out their live:

So hopefully my film have that kind of sound. I will be working with Tao Lin who I worked with before in my Rehash - ReSketch video:

Monday, 2 March 2009

3D pseudo-8-BIT Test

Holy crap, we're already at week 4. It's insane how time goes by so quickly when things just started to pick up the pace. Oh how I am alreadydreading this.
I've been inspired by the game Fez by the developer Polytron, Fez won the "Excellence in Visual Art" award at the Independent Games Festival in 2008heres a trailer:

What I liked about it is the way it used optical illusions to create a Escher effect.
Check out the website in:
I've made my character in flash and exported it as a png file.
Here I've started to place some 3d stuff like floor and buildings in Maya. I used Maya because it is more animation friendly compared it 3d studio max. The reason I used png file to export because Maya can detect the transparent background automatically.
Why is alpha mapping such a pain in the ass in Maya!? I have no idea to solve the whole lighting ray tracing issue here.

And finally I've tested in 3d studio max, here is the side view camera. I think it captured the right view of a side platformer game.
And finally I've done a perspective view of the above image.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Random Idea 3

One of my crazy ideas was to explore the relationship between the different generation of gaming. For example, the 8 bit generation is 2d flat and isn't capable of speaking but it speaks as a dialogue box. The genre would be comedy.
A quick drawing:
Gates vs Jobs vs C64:

My idea would be something like this, the relationship between two different people and how it used computer reference from Mac and Window to make some jokes.
Eat Lead - Hazard vs. JRPG Hero Gameplay

Eat Lead is an upcoming current generation game that is still under development but it is another example of how the joke works.