The (More Than Just A) Car Project

I just resumed taking classes at SCAD a week ago. One of them consists of a production simulation mentored by the people from The Mill NYC. This whole trimester I’ll be working on a car sequence with 3 more classmates, focusing on 2 aspects: look development (which is gonna be primarily handled by 2 of my teammates) and effects (which is what I’ll be working on with my other teammate).

After brainstorming with my teammates, for this project we came up with an idea where a UFO chases tries to pull a car with its tractor beam. I volunteered to do an animatic, and ended up doing 3 different rough versions of the sequence in Maya, a program I haven’t used in a while; and for good reason! It ended up slowing me down a lot (I use Houdini mainly nowadays, by the way). I decided to use Maya because I am pretty comfortable in it putting models together quickly and creating basic rigs with ease. But now that I use Houdini more than anything else, going back to a piece of software like Maya feels sluggish and troublesome (Sorry Autodesk!).

Anyway, so, the first version of my vision for our project included the car going at around 110 km/h with the UFO chasing after it, and with the camera tracking along with the car. Since our project will feature integrating our CG stuff with live action plates, and since we don’t have the gear to actually record a live action road at that speed. This was scrapped.

This is the first version I did for the car sequence.

If you took a look at the video, you noticed the reason the car is released from the tractor beam is because it hits a rock accidentally. Yeah, you saw that? Great. It was kind of hard to make it noticeable. Oh you didn’t? Oh, well… this version wont be used anyway.

For the second version I thought about the real-life limitation we are gonna have once we go and record our live action plates. So I designed two shots: One static 3/4 view of the road with the car speeding towards the camera with the UFO chasing it. Another static 3/4 of the road with the car speeding away from this second camera with the UFO chasing and ultimately releasing it from its tractor beam. Repurposed animation from the first sequence I made. Here’s that version:

“Who put that stupid rock in my flight-path?”

Yesterday I had a very long and productive meeting with my teammates and we were able to discuss and refine our ideas, tasks and overall project. So, guess what? There’s a third (and hopefully final) version of the car sequence. This one we’ll be presenting to The Mill next Monday and if they have no objection, this is the project we’ll be developing for this class. We decided to have a less action-packed sequence to be able to achieve one thing: focus on our strengths. We are doing look development and effects for this, not animation. Animating is ridiculously time consuming and pedantic, if we try to pull this (in a very well made way), we are going to take away time from R&D’ing our effects and making it look good. 

I really liked how the vibrating pebbles and dust came out for an animatic

Well, this is what we are gonna be presenting to The Mill mentors on Monday (along with a more in-depth presentation with details about the project).

I am looking forward to developing this fully! Also, a shoutout to my awesome teammates SarahBradley and Elyssa. We were paired by our professors, but I think we were a good match. Anyway, that’s all for now. Thanks for reading!

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