‘Time to Fly’ was our third and final Bath and Forck Production project together as a team. It is a story of a flock of New Zealand native Tui, in which they set out a great journery across the land as they set their tree free from the danger of human destruction. Through the film, we wanted to display our team’s belonging to New Zealand as well as adding a subtle environmental message to give audience something to ponder about.

The project heavily involved live-action integration, thus we have incorporated our previous research’s spherical HDR robot into pipeline to take HDRI for any on-site location we filmed. We also incorporated HD pipeline into our project, and we opted for 32bit EXR output render from Maya to contain its maximum information, which then led our compositors to switch to Nuke, a far superior compositing sofware than After Effects.

As for myself, I was responsible in co-leading Animation of the project as well as extending my assistance to help the Modelling Lead. To model and animate the Tui as realistically as possible, we met up with bird curator of Auckland Museum to take closer reference on anatomy and feathers of Tui bird. As well as the physical reference, we also built up our own video archive of Tui and other birds with similar flying pattern from online science community. Some of the footage among the archive were of my own recordings, as I was fortunate enough to have two Tui lingering at the backyard of my own home.

With enough reference on feathers, we’ve also built archives of different body feather alphas, which in Tui’s case was 13 types. On top of that there were over 20 addition of wing and tail feather alphas to add onto archive. So with enough information, our TD was able to carefully recreate the feather distribution of Tui using particle feathers generation as well as simple transparent maps on wing / tail feathers.

As a result we have successfully created digital version of Tui as realistically as we hoped for in our given time of 7 weeks production schedule.

Another thing to note for in this final project, was the fact that we’ve actually incorporated several footage of miniature tree roots and earth that we have manually built and filmed in a controlled studio environment. It was simply great, since we were actually utelizing similar method as what Weta Digital and Weta Workshop have been doing with their film production in the last decade.

Without a doubt, this final graduate project marked as a stepping stone for all of us as we soon embarked our individual unique journey into the real world of visual effects wizardry.

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For the second team project, our Bath and Forck Production team tackled research in designing our own affordable spherical HDR (High Dynamic Range) robot. The main purpose of the research was to come up with a design and construct a fully-functional robot that takes spherical view of any environment to produce HDRI for IBL (Image Based Lighting) in Maya.

Each of us was given a specific field to research, and  for my part, I did extensive research on Hardware and Structure needed in manufacturing the robot. After carefully examining pros and cons of different commercial designs and DIY designs available online, I designed our own spherical HDR robot that not only is it affordable but accurate to work with.

Below is the final team presentation we did to better explain the construction of spherical HDR robot as well as the theory behind HDR and its use in Maya for IBL to produce realistic mental ray render.

To download our presentation, click here

incipiēns

Making of

incipiēns was first of three team projects we made under Bath and Forck Production at Media Design School, Auckland in New Zealand.

For this project I took up the role of Art Director, thus together with the Director, I was heavily involved in coming up with the conceptual design and abstract theme of incipiēns. Right from the beginning of the 8 week production, we’ve all agreed to set out in creating not only a visually creative piece, but also a film with a story that the audience can relate to. Hence we have given ourselves over 3 weeks of  intense pre-production to come up with the unique abstract theme, and a powerful storyline.

The story depicts a man’s struggle to overcome his depression over his life time in reverse chronological order, however he fails tragically. Especially in the world we live in today where there is constant conflict and economic recession, depression could easily succumb and devour our lives to the extent where some of us may lose the sense of direction and purpose in our lives.

So we dedicate this film to those of us, who have lost direction and purpose in their lives through depression, and to let them know that this is a universal struggle that all of us face at certain chapter in our lives.