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Rman Virgil
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Re: ManGodAi4x / AquaCoop In Machinima / FMV Project

Post by Rman Virgil » 18 Jun 2012, 16:48

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"Triumph In The Balance" - What's It About‥?

It is a cinematic that mingles WZ machinima with 3D CGI anim. This much I've already divulged.

But what's it about‥?

It is my latest yarn in the Scav mythos I began all the way back in the Pumpkin bbs with "Mastar of the Scar" and I have continued to add to this canon in the years since when fresh narrative ideas struck me as worth pursueing.

It takes place sometime in the CAM 4 era.

While I have created female Scav characters in several of my past tales, "Triumph In The Balance" is different in that the MAIN character is female.

My principle inspiration for her is from a little know episode in the history of the Great Isle during Roman occupation, AD 60 approx..

I thought of creating a different name for her but decided in the end to go with the same one as in the historical figure.

So the final title reads:

"Triumph In The Balance: The Story of Boudicca"

Boudica ~ is her common name in history but for this fiction I've gone with the alternative spelling of "Boudicca"..

If you would learn a bit about the history of Boudica, here's a good place to start:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boudica

I'm working out sketches of her in old-school Conti' now and will settle on her "look" for the cinematic by the time I get back from my upcoming Cali trip. After which I'll do the 3D model and post some screen caps of her in action here.

I also have to come up with a musical "Boudicca Theme" for the cinematic soundtrack and when I do I'll post it here too.


"Triumph In The Balance: The Story of Boudicca" will also be an all the way live demonstration of walking my talk when I posted the following suggestions yesterday:

Anything is possibly if through narrative prowess you can create a compelling fiction backstory utilizing a believable premise derived from science and follow it through with internally consistent storytelling logic.

By building such a framework, Scavs can factor in a whole host of ways heretofore never discussed that would be sharply compelling, fresh, and still NOT contradict the Pumpkin canon or anything presented in this thread to date (a ref to Goth's CAM 0 thread).

But you need a powerful narrative hook to pull it off. Such a one exists. ;)

The Scav gene pool would be the hook. :hmm:

========>

WZ Creators looked to movies like the "Terminator" and "Road Warrior" series for inspiration.

I expanded my sources of inspiration to include the science behind "Punctuated Equilibria" & "Epigenetics" as well such movies (both based on terrific Sci Fi post-apocalyptic novels) "The Postman" and "The Road" (by David Brin &, multiple literary award winner, Cormac McCarthy)..... to name but a couple. :3
==========>

On a side note:After today, for the duration, I am making a deliberate point of confining my BB postings to this thread and the one on the "Pre-Liberation Honor Roll". I may make an exception if Mero starts up his original story thread. :)


============>

Boudicca, how shall I make her look...? Haven't made a final choice but I have some ideas and will illustrate by pointing to some of my previous scav art assets.

She's gonna be an older woman, about twice the age of the 2 younger scav characters below.

Image

She will have some grey hair, wrinkles, and weather beaten skin but not nearly as much as I gave my Scav Seer character below... plus she won't be ugly like him but I may give her some scarification.

As befitting her namesake, this Scav Boudicca will have had Pre-Collapse, high-ranking, military command experience.

Image

A Scav Graffiti Doodle: Precursor to a Scav Faction Emblem

I got to thinking about something Aubergine mentioned about the need for a Scav Faction Emblem.

So, about a week ago, during a lunch break of just ice tea (cause I had no appetite, I had the time to pass), I did several doodles on my Samsung Droid Phone - quick, rough, scruffy, concept sketches using Jorzi's Lo-Res screen cap of his Scav Soldier posted in his AR thread (hey, gotta be able to improvise on the move with whatever is at hand - there's even an art term for this, it's called Briccolage).

I'll do finer all around - crafting & aesthetics - but here is one of the least scruffy ones.

Will have another go soon but I'll make my own male scav model from scratch as the basis and do it proper on my work station with real muscle progs instead of my phone with its inherent limits... Something I have to do anyway for the 1st person POV segments of the WZ cinematic project that call for a male Scav Character subordinate to Boudicca - then I'll base the Scav Faction Emblem on that as well.

Of course you can see I was subconciously influenced by Leonardo da Vinci's drawing of the Vitruvian Man (aka, Universal Man)...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitruvian_Man


Image

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Re: ManGodAi4x / AquaCoop In Machinima / FMV Project

Post by Jorzi » 26 Jun 2012, 16:26

I approve of this 8)
Fun fact: I actually used the vitruvian man as anatomy reference when modeling this particular character.
Seriously, It was the clearest reference I could find.
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Re: ManGodAi4x / AquaCoop In Machinima / FMV Project

Post by Rman Virgil » 03 Jul 2012, 16:02

Jorzi wrote:I approve of this 8)
Fun fact: I actually used the vitruvian man as anatomy reference when modeling this particular character.
Seriously, It was the clearest reference I could find.


Interesting. :3 I was introduced to all things Leonardo by my Grams as a child. He personified the possibilities of just doing it with a passion throughout my formative years. He's still in my personal pantheon of heroes. :)

I'm gonna start modeling Boudica and Chandar this weekend after I get back home. I wanna combine both, female & male scav characters, for the faction emblem so Vitruvian man won't fit that bill.

While I've been traveling the last couple weeks I started thinking of a Janus inspired motif (the Roman god) using the character profiles and something symbolizing unity achieved through a crucible of conflict.

We'll soon see how that works out. ;)

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Re: ManGodAi4x / AquaCoop In Machinima / FMV Project

Post by Rman Virgil » 08 Jul 2012, 09:34

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Will have some new still art to post this week and some early footage in the coming weeks.

In the meanwhile I would share a new key resource for my deeper understanding of how to portray the Post Apocalyptic world of WZ and Scav Faction in particular.

We know some of WZ Creators sources of inspiration: the "Road Warrior" and "Terminator" movies and the Orson Scott Card "Ender's Game" novel.

As I mentioned earlier, to these sources I've added David Brin's "The Postman" (novel & movie) and Cormac McCarthy's "The Road" (novel & movie) over the last couple years.

And most recently I accidently stumbled upon this gem of inspiration:

"The Colony": A RL Simulation Experiment of How Life in a Post Apocalytic World could unfold.

http://dsc.discovery.com/tv/colony/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Colony ... TV_series)

Well worth checking out if you have an active stake in CAM 0 development.

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Re: ManGodAi4x / AquaCoop In Machinima / FMV Project

Post by Rman Virgil » 15 Jul 2012, 12:11

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I'm shifting development of "Triumph in the Balance" (alongside an other ongoing project called "Godiva's Masquerade" - Sci Fi thriller taking place in the year 2022) to Amazon Studios. For now I'm leaving it open as to wheather I'll continue the connection. Only so much time to work with. :3 In any case, I'll take this opportunity to give a shout out to those folks here whose efforts and input have been inspirational and supportive. Thanks fellow WZ afficionados. :D

Yebo, sanibonani & arrivederci, RV. :hmm:
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Re: ManGodAi4x / AquaCoop In Machinima / FMV Project

Post by Rman Virgil » 23 Jul 2012, 00:37

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To the above mentioned source of inspiration produced by the Discovery Channel, The Colony series, I now the add the awesome series produced by the History Channel - Life After People:

http://www.history.com/shows/life-after-people

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_After_People

While the premise of the series is zero population many of the scenarios so stunningly depicted and explained would still apply in the post holocaust world of WZ.

Inspiration for fresh details in story / campaign missions, new art assets for map features and, of course, never before done map designs.

Both these series have already shaped Boudica's tale in Triumph In The Balance. And I've barely scratched the surface. There are literally years and mountains worth of inspiration. For all practical purposes, these series in tandem may as well be inexhaustible when it comes to fresh, original, takes in the WZ game world.

Even if you are not working on new WZ stuff, I think The Colony and Life After People series are worth your time as the combo of entertainment and learning is high caliber indeed. :3

And for those of you getting into Machinima who read non-fiction books for your personal edification MIT University Press published in 2011 the one of a kind, The Machinima Reader - a tremendous resource in all aspects of this emerging art form.

About the book:

http://gtmachinimablog.lcc.gatech.edu/?p=456

Read a chapter here: Creative Cognition In Digital Filmmaking...

https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=ca ... WmuA&pli=1

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Re: ManGodAi4x / AquaCoop In Machinima / FMV Project

Post by Rman Virgil » 20 Aug 2012, 07:12

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Alas, the beginning of some visuals (with narrative context) from my hybrid FMV "Triumph In The Balance" WIP. :3

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Within 18 months of the climactic Nexus battle that wrapped up the 2100 CAM, Project Intel had cobbled bits & pieces of evidence that all told strongly suggested Dr. Reed had contrived the entire Nexus conflict as a False Flag Op. A grand diversion thrown the Project's way to buy time and thoroughly mask his true strategic goals. The Project had swallowed the "good" doctor's gambit hook, line and sinker. Being duped on such a scale, with all its loss of lives and resources, was a bitter pill to digest for the Protectorate leadership.

What was the real plan? What was Reed's true agenda?

Actionable intelligence for the Project Protectorate would come during a seemingly unrelated operation in the Yucatan Peninsula which is the opening sequence of the hybrid FMV, "Triumph In The Balance".

This unrelated Op begins with Boudica, Project High Commander of the Yucatan Expeditionary foray, and Chandar of the Scar, leader of the Crimson Mane Scav Clan, entering into a trade agreement which would evolve by happenstance into a critical alliance uncovering (and lastly attempting to thwart) Reed's 2-pronged grand strategy for domination of the human species - wherever they survived (not just on terra firma). The Project, focused as they were on their straight ahead vision of resurrecting the best of Pre-Collapse civilization, were ill prepared to even conceive the diabolical precision of the real plan behind the culminating False Flag of the 2100 campaign.

I already mentioned my inspiration for the Boudica character and from that earlier description to what I've now revealed, you can infer a major transformation she will undergo as events unfold in "Triumph In The Balance".

Now I will tell you briefly about my inspiration for the Scav leader, Chandar of the Scar and the Crimson Mane Scav Clan.

The clan is modeled after the Oglala Lakota of 1876-77 and Chandar of the scar after the Oglala chief, Crazy Horse.

This would be the era of Custer's defeat at the battle of the Little Bighorn. Will there be an analogue to the Little Bighorn in "Triumph In The Balance"? Maybe. ;) Surely there will be an analogue to the Battle at Thermopylae ? Yea, how could there not. :) (I have already designed terrain on this ManGodAi 4X map to accommodate both battles, but the staging and controlling of the action to get the kind of camera footage I want is painstakingly time-consuming and I may run outta gas to accomplish both Machinima battle depictions.)

===============>


The screen caps that follow are scenes straight outta the cinematic "Triumph In The Balance" (pre-render) that depict select key sequences of the story. (To reiterate, some sequences are done as WZ Machinima, some as traditional cinematics as in the frames that follow, and, finally, both sources are melded in the cutting room as one FMV.)

In these first set of screens I'm posting, I illustrate the second meeting between the Project Protectorate's Boudica and the scav leader Chandar at the Inter-Clan Yucatan Enclave.

What happens in the first meeting (which is not depicted) is where the factions hammer-out the terms of the trade.

And the basis of this negotiation?

A Crimson Mane scouting party had, purely by accident, stumbled upon an underground, Pre-Collapse facility (along the lines of AREA 51) with advanced technology they did not have the capacity to make use of but figured they could barter for stuff they needed. (Such a transaction they would only risk with the Project faction because of past events covered in another of my WZ stories called - "Crude In Sur Amerika".)

In exchange for divulging the location of this facility, the Project would provide equipment the Yucatan Clans could add to their resources against an unidentified, local, non-scav, predatory force that had appeared just six months earlier. Later in the story this force would be linked to Dr. Reed's true agenda. What these forces were doing was culling certain segments of the Scav Clan population but, oddly, with an obvious effort to minimize collateral damage. (Such a strange offensive left room to mount an effective resistance if...well, details will come to the fore in due course.)

In the trade negotiations, these culling details were not revealed to the Project. The clans were a proud people. They sought no sympathy for their plight and would fight their own battles. Over the course of unforeseen events this trade agreement would evolve into a genuine alliance.

(I already gave a clue in an earlier post for this culling. In part, the scav epigentics. This would factor into one of the prongs of the Dr. Reed grand strategy. I won' t be exposing the other prong in these posts or preview screens...... at least not in any obvious way. ;) )

Continuing with the narrative context for these posted screens....

As a down payment of the trade agreement, a bonafide act of good faith by the Project Protectorate, Boudica is delivering some of the Pre-Collapse, antiquated, military vehicles the Project has no pressing use for: jeeps, trucks, some armor and choppers. Much needed resources the Yuccatan clans would use in a resistance operation that involved a natural fortress called Jian's Hilt, a caldera bounded by inhospitable jungle on three sides and craggy precipice on the remaining side that over-looked the more often than not, turbulent waters of the Sea of Saggoth.

==============>

In the second set of screens (which I'll post in a few days), what is portrayed is Chander leading Boudica to the mountain region, directly to the cave entrance and actually through it into the AREA 51-like underground facility wherein some of the advanced technology is displayed without my commenting on any of its potential use by the Project Protectorate.

==============>

I'm currently in the midst of taking a break from the visuals of this project to focus on the SFX & original music of the non-dialogue parts of the soundtrack.

But in a week or so, I look to post a 3rd set of screens from the Dr. Reed side of the story cinematic. These will not be accompanied by narrative context - for good reasons. ;)

Each set of screens will be in entirely different terrain locations: today the obvious desert location, next the mountain underground cave location and last, the Dr. Reed urban research facility location.

Ultimately I'll post a FMV sample trailer that melds my WZ 2100 Machinima with segments of my cinematic footage. When? Don't know. How well will I manage the chroma keying between the 2 very different pipelines? We'll see. ;)

Generally, these days, my "Godiva's Masquerade" film short project eats up most of my spare time as its potential has crossed over into RL. In any case you can perhaps imagine that slow going is the nature of these beasts under any circumstance really, tackling all the compositional elements single-handedly, soup to nuts. :hmm:

But that said, when I think of my all time favorite animation short, "The Man Who Planted Trees" (a work based on a fable by the great 20th century French author, Jean Giono) created by master Canadian artist / animator Frédéric Back, and the years he spent doing, literally, tens of thousands of drawings by hand, I think to myself - "Buddy, what your doin' don't amount to hill of beans in comparison." With that perspective in place, and properly humbled, I am oddly enough, energized to carry on this journey. :3
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EDIT: Just straightened-out some of my gnarly syntax.
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Attachments
Bodica 3 UL Post.jpg
Boudica, Project Commander of the Yucatan Expeditionary Foray
Chandar 1 UL Post.jpg
Chandar of the Scar, Scav leader of the Crimson Mane Clan
Enclave 4 UL Post.jpg
Master Shot of the Scav Yucatan Enclave
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Re: ManGodAi4x / AquaCoop In Machinima / FMV Project

Post by Rman Virgil » 20 Aug 2012, 07:16

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Couple bonus caps of the Scav Yucatan Enclave... :3
Attachments
Enclave 5 UL Post.jpg
Enclave 6 UL Post.jpg

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Re: ManGodAi4x / AquaCoop In Machinima / FMV Project

Post by Rman Virgil » 23 Aug 2012, 02:01

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...In the second set of screens (which I'll post in a few days), what is portrayed is Chander leading Boudica to the mountain region, directly to the cave entrance and actually through it into the AREA 51-like underground facility wherein some of the advanced technology is displayed without my commenting on any of its potential use by the Project Protectorate.
... 8 meters in, around the first bend of the cave entrance, Boudica moves ahead of Chandar.


More to follow, natch. Just gotta make up my mind which.
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8 meters in around the bend.jpg

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Re: ManGodAi4x / AquaCoop In Machinima / FMV Project

Post by Jorzi » 23 Aug 2012, 10:28

Your charachter art is excellent, but the landscape detail and lighting falls short imo.
Some practical tips:
Since the direct light in the desert is so strong, shadows will look very dark. I would suggest making the ambient a dark purple/blue.
Reference:http://www.saharamet.com/desert/photos/dune01.jpg
Also, A wall of HESCO bastions would probably would probably look appropriate.
For the cave, I'd also suggest making it overall darker, with some dramatic light rigth on the charachters, casting specular highlights on the walls
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Re: ManGodAi4x / AquaCoop In Machinima / FMV Project

Post by Rman Virgil » 23 Aug 2012, 12:12

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Thank you for the insightful tips and excellent reference shots. I like. :)

I'll give it a go over the weekend and see what I can come up with to improve in those areas. :3

I'll post the results Sunday.

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Re: ManGodAi4x / AquaCoop In Machinima / FMV Project

Post by Rman Virgil » 25 Aug 2012, 12:56

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Changes from already posted:

1.) Desert Scape... still experimenting but here is it so far.

2.) 8 meters in, around the first bend of the cave.


New and first in the next series - the secret underground facility with advanced tech.

1.) Outta the cave and into the first facility corridor.

...more in this series in a day or so.
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Attachments
Red Sand Light Changes.jpg
Desert Scape changes... so far.
Cave 1st Bend ver 2.jpg
8 meters in, around the first bend of the cave.
Cave to Corridor 1.jpg
Outta the cave and into the first facility corridor with Chandar of the Scar back in the lead.

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Re: ManGodAi4x / AquaCoop In Machinima / FMV Project

Post by Rman Virgil » 26 Aug 2012, 18:20

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Through the corridors and finally crossing the threshold into the facility's main chamber...

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Attachments
Chandar Entering Chamber.jpg
"This is the main chamber..."
Boudica Entering Chamber.jpg
Boudica looks upon the trove amazed..

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Re: ManGodAi4x / AquaCoop In Machinima / FMV Project

Post by Jorzi » 26 Aug 2012, 20:50

Gotta ask, what do you use for rendering? Also, is this how the finished result will look, or just a realtime preview?
I am asking because these scenes could really use some proper lights, shadows and ambient occlusion.

Note that this is not artistic critique, just a matter of getting the most out of your hardware :wink: .
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Re: ManGodAi4x / AquaCoop In Machinima / FMV Project

Post by Rman Virgil » 26 Aug 2012, 21:40

Jorzi wrote:Gotta ask, what do you use for rendering? Also, is this how the finished result will look, or just a realtime preview?
I am asking because these scenes could really use some proper lights, shadows and ambient occlusion.

Note that this is not artistic critique, just a matter of getting the most out of your hardware :wink: .
Preview - posted snaps also scaled to 65% of the original.

I honestly haven't fine-tuned any of my hardware for final render. Been procrastinating, truth be told. :oops: Any suggestions would be appreciated. :)

Hardware: ASUS P5N-E SLI MOBO w/Intel 2 Quad CPU, supporting NVIDIA nForce 650i SLI/430i series with 2 installed GeForce 9600 GTs running parallel. All drivers current.

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