Year 4

Year 1      
Year 2      
Year 3      
Year 4     
Year 5      
Year 6      
Year 7      
Year 8      
How To Make A Seven Minute Film In Only Eight Years

That's my desk on the left...

Year 4
Mount Waverley, 2001-02

My PC chugged away, feebly coping with my excessive demands by day, and rendering by night. The film was taking shape now, and I had accumulated enough assets to piece together some final shots.

I had chosen the opening shot as the first to be completed since it was low on character animation and I hadn't managed to develop a tolerable character rig yet.  It was also one of the most complex shots of the film and would lay the groundwork for later shots, and I had all the elements I needed to complete it, most notably animated clouds and foliage. This shot set the standard for the rest of the film.

Early assembly of exterior components, November 2000.  I wanted near-monochrome environments, but gave them a bit of colour so I still had room to move in post production.

I've always preferred to render as much "in camera" as possible, rather than splitting a shot into various passes for later compositing.  This allows things like shadow and reflection interactivity without the need for manual post trickery and reassembly, thereby shifting a lot of the grunt work onto the computer so I can get on with the things that humans are better at.  It also consumes a lot less disk space, which was an important consideration since 90GB was my limit.

Nonetheless, many of the shots needed to be broken into smaller parts anyway, either to facilitate certain effects or simply because my computer couldn't fit the whole scene in its 384MB of memory.  The opening shot was no exception, and constituted nineteen separate scene files.

Many of the other shots were progressing well, and it was looking feasible to make it in time for Christmas this year. I was desperate to make it this time – I couldn't let this thing just go on indefinitely.

I began to be plagued by periods of stifled creativity. My productivity ranged from zero to sixteen hours per day, and at one time I endured a whole month of creative block. Every few days of high productivity were followed by at least as many days of low productivity.  My waking hours frequently strayed into the 12:00pm - 4:00am zone, and I constantly struggled to pull myself back into "normal" time.    I pressed on, pondering whether three years of my life dedicated to a few minutes of mindless entertainment was time well spent.

This retouched render from April 2001 served as a blueprint for the "look and feel" of the final interior shots.

A 2003 recreation for use as a marketing still, with final models, lights and grading.

Alas, I missed Christmas again. The project had grown too big and I couldn't have maintained the quality established in the opening shot.  I pressed on defiantly, confident that it would be worth the effort in the end - whenever that would be.

Useless Information
Press Kit