In 2006 I started developing a short computer generated film called 'Devils, Angels and Dating'. This film was made with the internet in mind, fully aware of modern trends. I was inspired by modern dating trends and let those themes influence the core ideas behind the film.
I put in a few months of work on this short film. I was largely involved in the 3D filmmaking side of things, creating rough versions of shots, editing it together and figuring out what works to tell the story.
During the development of 'Devils, Angels & Dating' I knew it was going to be very important to create a strong trailer to attract talent to work on the project. So the trailer was planned out early in the process. Storyboards from the film were cut together and a score was created so that we could plan around those shots getting done first. It was updated almost as often as the main film itself so that the team could see how it was coming along. It was completed about six months ahead of the completion of the final film.
There were plenty of animatics created that dug into the story elements of the game with characters that actually needed to have performances, but this was probably the first one that I made with full animation. Previous to this all the FMV work had been cheated comic book style (semi-animated) scenes or the evolve scenes that were more spectacle than performance...
The magnum-opus of the entire game. This huge sequence had to top everything you'd seen, push the capabilities of Kameo beyond what you'd previously experienced, draw together numerous story threads, introduce a twist in the plot and give the player a satisfactory ending. It was developed towards the end of the game's development so was under pressure to be completed fast and there were other...
All the Evolve scenes were very complex pieces that required a lot of R&D, but they presented fantastic opportunities to do something imaginative. The only rules were that it had to start with the baby monster and it had to transform into the adult monster, ideally through a method that reflected their elemental theme. I've included an earlier version of this Evolve cinematic developed for the original Xbox. I later decided to upgrade all the FMVs to HD resolution at the same time as changing the characters to match their new Xbox 360 designs.
Panda Pander gathered a few million hits at Crackle before they changed their format. After Two Face Tabby I didn't want to spend so long on my next project so I did some one off exercises to flesh out my showreel while I spent a few months developing the pre-production material for Panda Pander (working title "Shelf Life").
Like all the evolve scenes Flex was a unique problem. He had to look like water and be completely malleable. So this required looking into water and water shaders, and some hand painted frames to blend between elements. There was another water themed scene, but I've not included it here because I only did a polish job on the effects and final look of it and the animation was done by Neil. Both scenes turned out pretty well though and I was lucky that they didn't change too much when the rest of the characters were being updated (spikes wouldn't have looked good on water!). Here's the animatic for the Flex scene.
This was one of the more imaginative characters in the game. Unfortunately after this cut-scene was finished the character proved too hard technically to implement in the game and we were beginning to realize we didn't need so many characters so he got the chop. But this scene was made available to view as an unlock-able extra (along with the animatic below) and featured in some of the early trailers for the game.
I spent a couple of months working on an early version of Bank Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts. I did a number of pre-production related tasks on this one including idea development, concept artwork, character designs, storyboards, pre-visualization and editing an animatic to showcase what the game might look like.
Not actually a scene itself, this video just shows you some of the cloth and hair solutions we developed to make some of the characters more convincing. All of the characters used joints to control their hair and clothes, but in order to make them flow naturally I looked into using Maya cloth with buttons mounted on it that drove the joints. This worked very well in most places. The result was baked to the joints and any glitches were fixed by hand. Amazingly the programmers managed to create something similar in game... in real time.
I originally created the Snowman Evolve scene with a more snowball like theme but as the character designs all changed this scene had to be updated as well. All the characters were generally made to look more detailed and aggressive, mostly through the addition of bumpy surfaces and spikes. In this particular case I actually preferred the original 'Snowman' design and I think he lost his snowball qualities in the update. So you can see both the final and the original versions here, along with the animatic I originally story-boarded below.
This started with a mythical legend I researched that I have completely forgotten now. My old friend Scott helped me find it, he's good with things like that. The legend formed the basis for the story and provided the name of the beast: Fenrir. The I didn't make any attempt to retell the legend, I just borrowed the idea for the characters and formed my own story from them in a similar setting. My plan for this was ambitious so I never actually managed to completely finish it. Some of the scenes are lacking ...