Re: "Foundation of Water" Production Thread

This looks really good. I was so up for Enterprise when it first aired and sadly it did not live up to expectations. But this film and what I have seen read about it looks excellent. Any idea when to expect to see it? Always available as well if you ever need any voicing for any future projects.

Re: "Foundation of Water" Production Thread

Yeah...Enterprise is a mixed bag. However, I LOVE the designs and characters, even if the writers let them down.

Umm...As to a release date...I have no idea.
My life is pretty crazy and it's impossible to predict when/if I'll have time to work on the film any given week. Progress has been slow, but steady. I've got about a sixth of the script filmed now (Yippee!) with some of the bigger, more complex set pieces still to go. But that's just the stop-motion side.

While I know what I want with the CG effects and sequences, actually pulling them off will take a LOT more work and time. Especially since my computer simply cannot handle things now and crashes Blender just trying to open up some of the models. With a better computer completely out of my budget, I'm honestly not sure how that part will come together right now.

Below is another look at the bridge set, this time with my phone serving as the viewscreen. (An idea I borrowed from Squid's Batman film.)

Viewscreen Test footage

Once I refilm a few scenes with the new viewscreen effect, I'll move on to the other spaceship interiors. I've got the color scheme chosen and can't wait to get started on that.

Re: "Foundation of Water" Production Thread

Just wanted to say I'm impressed with the high production values you're shooting for. Both sets look very alive because of them. Building the alien ship set on a clear baseplate and lighting it with a monitor is hilarious but smart. If it works, it works.

My one critique would be that while the set pieces look real and tangible, the CGI shots do not. I've seen other brickfilms switch between the LEGO and CGI mediums and IMO it makes them feel disjointed. There's probably nothing to be done about it unless you can somehow texture the CGI models. Just my opinion though; maybe you and others feel differently.

Re: "Foundation of Water" Production Thread

Thanks for the compliment! I'm doing all I can to make it a top-notch film and it's nice to see that getting noticed!

Yeah...The CG has been a bit of a problem from the very beginning. Initially, I was thinking about using physical models but my green-screening skills were not up to par. Bouncing over to some Blender tests, I loved the results, basic and poor as they were. Thanks to The Director, the latest materials look really good. Nailing a good lighting setup will help push things even better. As to your concerns, I have two thoughts.

First, you're right, often stop-motion and CG don't mix well. In fact, that was one of my initial concerns with doing the effects in CG. Sure, The Lego Movie could pull off photo-realistic renders, but I don't have supercomputers or full-time VFX artists either. While tools like Mecabricks and can get nice still renders, the same processes won't work as well on moving animations. All that being said, as I mentioned previously, CG work has currently stalled. Who knows, by the time I return to that, somebody may have found a way to push the detail even further and you won't be able to tell the difference.

Secondly, beyond the technical limitations and lack of other options, I'm draw towards slightly non-realistic renders for another reason. I'm trying to echo Enterprise, not only in script, style, and feel, but also in another way. The CG scenes in the show were good for the time, and still look mostly decent...though obviously CG. There was never mistaking a CG establishing shot from a real one, just like will be true on this film. If anything, imperfect CG then becomes a bit endearing, hearkening back to the era of hokey effects and obvious CG that Trek (and even classic Doctor Who) is kinda known for.

I dunno...maybe that last paragraph is me just trying to justify the CG, but it's been something bouncing in my head for months. Yes, The CG should be the very best possible, but when/of it isn't, I'm totally fine with that.

It's nice to hear feedback about it. If you have any suggestions on how to get better CG, I'm open to them.
In the meantime, work is continuing on storyboards for the VFX sequences, though my drawing skills may not be much help if somebody else ends up putting those together.

Re: "Foundation of Water" Production Thread

I think it just comes down to which method is the "active". Is it real life filming or is it the CGI?

If both are evenly mixed throughout then the end result might look consistent, rather than a blotchy mix.

If you pick CGI to only hold the spotlight on a few scenes then perhaps it will appear like how Star Trek, where you look at a monitor and the CGI is clearly overlayed on a greenscreen "TV", which might be a good result.

*cough* love your work *cough*


Re: "Foundation of Water" Production Thread

Gotcha. If the imperfect CGI fits your film's style, go for it! mini/smile Unfortunately my CGI skills are non-existent so I can be of no help there. Good luck figuring all that out, especially making more CGI progress in the first place...

Re: "Foundation of Water" Production Thread

Production continues. (Albeit slowly)
This newest set looks decent enough now, but I can't help wondering how it would look under a blacklight.

Re: "Foundation of Water" Production Thread

NX-01 (Test render on new PC) by SteampunkDoc, on Flickr

So, as you may have known, my old laptop simply couldn't handle the CG work required by Foundation of Water.
For a while, it looked like those shots would have to be set up and completely handled by others. Well, things have changed!
Last Friday I was blessed with a brand-new custom built PC.

Needless to say, it'll be much simpler to achieve high quality CG shots now. I mean, just look at that 1440p goodness!

However, a slight problem has arisen that may take some time away...

...I can now play Sonic Generations on my PC.
And boy howdy is that an awesome game!

Re: "Foundation of Water" Production Thread

Wow that looks awesome! Been looking forward to this for a while

Re: "Foundation of Water" Production Thread

Pritchard Studios wrote:

...I can now play Sonic Generations on my PC.
And boy howdy is that an awesome game!

Sonic Generations? What a great game! I thought I was the only brickfilming Sonic fan. mini/wink

Really neat frame. I am looking forward to seeing the completed project!

Re: "Foundation of Water" Production Thread

After countless delays, unending procrastination, and numerous distractions, I finally got around to finishing this scene.
Church camp is next week, but progress should resume steadily after that. Here's a raw frame, so expect some minor tweaking in the final shot. In case you were wondering, it's only lit by half a dozen Lifelites and a phone screen.

I've been doing quite a bit of CG work lately, so hopefully the effects shots for scene #1 won't be too long in coming.
My next goals are designing several more CG models, including an NX-01 shuttlepod. That one will be a chore, as they have fairly complex angles and are (frankly) unsightly blobs at best. Oh well...

@Raptor, Yep!  I just beat Generations a few days ago and have been going back to get some more S ranks and red stars. Probably won't 100% it, but replaying it as well as some mods has been a delight. Over the past few months I've certainly rekindled my love for Sonic the Hedgehog. I grew up on the Genesis games, though hadn't played much since until recently. Maybe some day I can even get one of those Sonic minifigures and make a quick film with it.

Re: "Foundation of Water" Production Thread


Got all of Scene #4 filmed today! I'm not exactly filming in order, more like getting all the smaller, easier scenes out of the way first, but that still brings me up to around 1/3 of the script complete.

I'm incredibly proud of the set for this scene, though sadly the lighting hides many of the finer details in the background.

Re: "Foundation of Water" Production Thread

Did some more filming today.

I've got to do something to build up more motivation for this. Honestly, I have been in the bad habit of only filming on my days off and doing even that halfheartedly, but that's simply not going to cut it. There are some major scenes coming up that will need a lot more dedication and effort than that. I've done a bit of CG work lately, but seriously need to buckle down on building the extra models I need and then figuring out exactly how I want the water to look. Basically, it's just a matter of making this a much higher priority than I have before.

Anywho, enough about Lazik!
Foundation of Water Frame #2 by SteampunkDoc, on Flickr

Re: "Foundation of Water" Production Thread

Pritchard Studios wrote:

I've got to do something to build up more motivation for this.

I'm sure most of us can empathize with you on that. Stop motion is an insanely lengthy art form and it's easy to lose motivation partway through projects. Maybe it'll help if you focus on why you began this film in the first place? Whatever drove you to put in so much work already may yet provide more fuel.

At the same time, don't swing too far the other way (like I sometimes do) and put in so much time that you burn yourself out for a few weeks. mini/tongue Enjoy other things and don't feel bad about not spending every waking moment on your film. At least in my experience, feeling guilty about being "behind" only demotivates one further.

Good luck!

Re: "Foundation of Water" Production Thread

Finished up Scene #3 late last night, which brings me to roughly half of the script. (Counting by pages.)

I've got two major sets left to build, then quite a few minor ones that only feature in a couple of shots.

Problem is, I'll have to rebuild the NX-01 bridge set. I had it sitting on a shelf and a few days ago it got knocked off and exploded everywhere. (It was terribly fragile even on it's best days) That's what I get for not finishing up all of those scenes at once.

Re: "Foundation of Water" Production Thread


Progress is...erm...progressing! Just, slowly.

I got some significant dialog scenes filmed, as well as some more CG models done.
After some experimentation (and utter failure) with the CG water, I was about to transition int intense filming mode when a couple things came up.

#1 - The brickfilm Christmas collaboration. I'm entering and focusing my time towards that film at the moment.

#2 - I'm moving! My wife and I were asked to be the youth leaders at a different church, so we're packing up, buying a house over there, and making the move soon. So, once we get there, I'll have way more room for animation, allowing me to keep sets built and ready for animation, as well as more space to do it. Problem is, that and the holidays will keep me busy until mid-January.

So don't worry, the best is yet to come. And it's coming...just, slowly.

Re: "Foundation of Water" Production Thread

Good things come to those who wait.

Re: "Foundation of Water" Production Thread

Thanks for the kind words!

Since it'll be a while until the next update, here's something to tide you guys over.
It's a test of the phaser effect. Not quite a final frame, and still a bit rough, but here it is.

Phaser Test - Foundation of Water by SteampunkDoc, on Flickr

Re: "Foundation of Water" Production Thread

I’m super excited for this! It looks awesome!

Re: "Foundation of Water" Production Thread

Yikes! Has it really been this long?
Last I remember, I was taking a quick break for the Christmas holidays, then extended it a touch while moving.
(Well, then I rediscovered Sonic the Hedgehog video games...)

Fear not, faithful fans!
I've begun work on a new set for the film that will be featured in many scenes, which will allow for (hopefully) speedy production once it is complete.

Thanks for your patience.