Ego Central to Machinima Filmmaker Ken Thain

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Morning Review

A few things I came across before I head out to get our mortgage finalized. Part of my original intent when starting the 3DF site was to 'document for archiving' things I saw around the net in case I wanted to come back to it later. This way I could just search my site rather than the whole net for that tidbit I came across days/months/years before (although it doesn't help if I redesign from scratch about once a year). So along those lines bauhaus software is releasing version 2 of their digital storyboarding system. This looks like a serious time saver for a very time consuming part of pre-production.
Boardomatic v2 is a new fully digital, powerful storyboarding system for Bauhaus Mirage, the company's award-winning 2D Animation product. Designed for 2D animators and storyboard artists accustomed to working on paper, Boardomatic v2 combines a customizable template system, automatic pan generation, automatic print formatting and much more.
Another cool thing was Avimator. From the site:
Avimator is a simple tool for creating and editing avatar animations for Second Life, an amazing virtual world created by Linden Lab. See the original post I made in the Second Life forums for more details on the early stages of this project.
A great free tool for creating Second Life machinima. Definately worth keeping an eye on to see where it goes (i.e. maybe for more than just Second Life).

Finally, two articles over at Animation World worth noting on the administration side of film production which are great for the independent. They are also based on two things that I suck at which are soooo important, film festivals and PR.
Film Festival Submissions: Part 1 — The Agony and the Ecstasy. Sharon Katz talks with independent animators Patrick Smith and Signe Baumane about the agony and the ecstasy of entering one’s film into festivals.
Promoting Animation: The Dos & Don’ts of PR.
AWN editor in chief Sarah Baisley lays out the dos and don’ts of pubic relations so that animation companies and indies can promote themselves better and get more bang for their pr buck.
Woof, that update took longer than expected. I'm late!

Monday, February 27, 2006

This Spartan Life Interview

Found this quick two page 'rough' interview with Chris Burke of This Spartan Life fame. (Link - in PDF/Acrobat format) I keep checking SpikeTV for the Korn interview episode with great anticipation but it seems like they will never get it up. This Spartan Life is definately one of machinima's greater success stories. It is a very intellectual production and I enjoy that.

Confessions of a Bedroom 'Machinima' Filmmaker

Things are coming together here in Edmonton. T-1 DAY until my first day at BioWare. Just bought a house an hour ago! Like mentioned below the market is crazy and we actually had to park outside the house that just went on the market earlier today while multiple real estate agents presented their buyers offers. We 'won' in the end. One step closer to getting established here... my poor wife is a wreck.

Anyways, still picking up on things on the machinima front. Came across this article from last Tuesday over at Slate on Machinima. Its basically a first hand account on an editor's machinima filmmaking experience mainly focused on The Sims and The Movies.
Sundance, IFC, and MTV2 have all dabbled in machinima. Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson, and George Lucas have supposedly experimented with it, too. If it's good enough for them, I thought, it's good enough for an easily discouraged DIY visionary like me.
After checking that out make sure to check out Episode 4 of Gaming News With Lady Mainframe.

Friday, February 24, 2006

VirtualStage Version 3.1 released

Nikki over at Dakine Wave let me know of an update to its machinima toolkit,
VirtualStage includes a tool that enables users with no previous animation experience to create their own actions and gestures for the virtual actors to perform. Nevertheless, we have had a lot of requests from users wanting to import either motion capture data or predefined animations in BVH format. We've responded to that user feedback with this new version.
You can download a free copy of VirtualStage Lite to check it out.

Back on the Machinima saddle!

Aite! So we've successfully made it into Edmonton and are starting to get our ducks in a row. A lot of house searching going on. The market here is insane! We will line up like 8 houses at night to view the next day and 7 of them are sold by the next day! Its crazy! I don't know why the boom here but it doesn't help.

I went out and bought a laptop last night because we were feeling too cut off from things. Its amazing how much regular internet access has become a dependancy. So at least now I'm back online. I look forward to getting started at BioWare next Wednesday.

News-wise I still need to catch up on whats happened over the last week. The first thing I did was checked out Fiezi's video of his new machinima tool for UT2004, found here. I am simply blown away. This looks to be the Machinimation of UT on steroids. Mr. fiezi sir, I bow to you!!

Good for now. Just a quick posting to say things should be picking up around here again now. Professional Machinimator Ken Thain out! :)

Monday, February 13, 2006

Machinima News or News Machinima?

Two interesting clips to check out today. The first is the 3rd release of "News with Lady Mainframe" by machinimaking machine BinaryPictureShow. This is a concept of serious quality for quick news delivery with EP3 hitting a maturity in production. I'd expect many me too!' s to pop up as gaming content publishers/sites see big value with such productions.
This is the THIRD issue of our news show (who knew thered be a third??), 'Gaming News with Lady Mainframe' This issue reports on 'Battle for Middle Earth 2', and 'Blazing Angels' among other cool games. This episode is especially hot for 2 reasons. One because it's nicely longer than issue 2, the other is there is a very pretty hi res version available.
On a similar stream the ILL CLAN has released the first episode of Tra5hTa1k, a Conan O'Brian meets ... the Ill Clan on... heavy doses of.. I don't know :) but its unique... in the Ill Clan type of way. From Machinima.com:
The ILL Clan's latest series has begun. TrashTalk with ILL Will is a gaming news and comedy talk show that pokes fun of gaming and internet culture from the inside. Created using our Torque Game Engine mod, ILLTorque.
Very entertaining and heavy on the gamer influence.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Missing Stages of Machinima Success?

Its a little quiet on the news front the last few days. I'm also getting down to business regarding my move to Edmonton and BioWare. I'll be off-line for a bit as of Wednesday next week when we move so things may get a bit sporadic around here, until I have a solid Internet connection anyways. There should be Internet at the corporate housing I'm staying at until we find a new house so maybe it won't be that bad.

In the meantime its worth popping over to Mu Productions and reading his latest article "The stage before success that I think Machinima is missing"
The "indie" or "garage band" level of production will always be a large part of the machinima world. Some in the community now do not even wish to advance beyond it and enjoy the niche they are currently in. More power to them. I am not one of them, though, and there are very many others in machinima that want to make a career out of producing machinima. Even further, many of us would like for machinima to become its own industry; a real career path option that is not just an obscure relative of its big brother and sister, film and pre-rendered computer animation.
Stop by, giver a read, leave a comment.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Holy Grail of Previs: Gaming Technology

Interesting article over at VFXWorld.com. Some of my more serious attempts previously at making a business out of machinima all pointed to previs as a growing potential market, usually most prevalent when dealing with a digital animation studios. I think this is still an area for aspiring professional machinima filmmakers to take their skills on the path to making 'the big film'.
Previs has come a long way as a collaborative tool for directors and their production teams. However, with so much money at stake, the search continues for faster, more precise and more intuitive previs tools. Many believe that the holy grail of previs lies in the use of videogame production technology, especially that of the game engine, the core of a game that allows the movement and manipulation of modeled people and creatures within 3D sets, together with lighting and camera moves — a process essentially the same as what previs supervisors do before a major movie starts production.
Check it out.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Machinima LIVE! Episode 6 Out!

The listening pleasure of every machinima fan is out with a new release.
We are excited and pleased to present Machinima LIVE! Episode 6 to the Machinima Community, available for download at MachinimaLIVE.com. Machinima LIVE! is written and produced by digital-Phil, Dr. Nemesis and Overman. Starring Claire Fitch, from www.fitchsounds.com as the featured guest. News segment produced by Lady Mainframe from Binary Picture Show.
This episode comes in at a shockly short 33 minutes. Looking forward to checking it out.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Viral Machinima: The Picard Song

Ok, apparently this one has been around a while but I just came across it yesterday. I categorized it as viral over a pick because its more funny to watch and share over a high end quality machinima production. ;) Its a Music Video of "The Picard Song" By Darkmateria and was created with a combination of clips from the Sims 2 and Star Trek: Bridge Commander.

If looking for something a little different, maybe the Lord of Halo machinima flick is for you. A spoof, mixing scenes of Halo 2 with a Lord of the Rings Trailer. It was well done.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The Movies Demo Coming Friday

Announced over at Yahoo Games, a demo version of 'The Movies' will be released Friday Feb 3rd.
The upcoming demo for The Movies includes the first five years of gameplay in Story Mode. Players are briefed on how to take command of their inner movie mogul and manage all aspects of a studio from talent and resources to research and development.
I wouldn't go out and by the game but I'll definately try the demo.

Return of 'The Return'

Came across an interesting posting over at the WoW forums by one of the Rufus Cubed guys.
Due to some amazing circumstances, not all of which we can disclose, Rufus Cubed Productions is no longer a namesake but a legitimate production company. While the details of this step forward could have delayed the series even longer, the good news is that all the time spent preparing has enabled us to deliver upcoming episodes over the Internet at an extremely high quality and even sooner than hoped. Rufus Cubed has acquired some lucrative sponsorships and relationships that have given us the ability to deliver the Return series in stunning Widescreen High Definition format.
This looks pretty exciting. I think the key thing being the words 'lucrative sponsorships' and further down in the posting 'television possibilities'. The success of these guys is another flagship that gives every machinima filmmaker hope in making it at a professional level.