Thursday, April 17, 2014

Have You Been There?


Just up  a couple of minutes ago, the current version of the LEA7 trailer.

Now this photo doesn't appear in the 2:30 overview. Honestly I had plans to show ALL the places you can film and photograph. I even took most of the shots.

In the end brevity appeared a better plan. For you old timers, see if you recognize everything. There are couple of new this last couple of weeks areas that I haven't told you about yet. One is getting some finishing touches today.

Of course nothing is ever really finished at MOSP; that is the nature of the exercise.

You can find the video here:
 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pl_DA0a1ecY

And while you are there -- if you are a romantic at heart -- you might want scroll back one icon to watch my latest film. Grab a hanky though; I needed quite a few while editing *wink*.   Depth of Field is the real star but "Max" does a good job as the lead.  

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Let's Talk Materials


The list of improvements this last week is long; exploration is called for *wink*. I will be highlighting some of them in upcoming posts so be sure and check back, but let's talk about ground level -- where most wander when they first find MOSP.

Among the new changes are the disappearance of the gray beach house. Don't be sad, it had a good run and was indeed one of my favorites. In its place -- or lack thereof -- is a new navigable water area. So when you need a boat, windsurfer or another type of watery scene, help yourself. If someone stays sitting on the prop it will not disappear in that 20 minute window.

There is a new rustic pavilion at the end of the train tracks now. About half of LEA7's ground level is now themed in vintage farm and ranch. So movement from one area to another can be more contiguous and natural.  I will be improving some of the interior props and replace some sculpted items with mesh -- soon I hope.

If you noticed the title of my post you know there is some techie stuff coming. I spent a couple of days rebuilding the Bayou Shack. Megaprims disappeared, sculpts disappeared, textures were enhanced and MATERIALS were added.

Now I am not firmly seated in the materials camp. Sometimes they look glorious and sometimes not. It can have a bit to do with the making of the normal and specular maps (see? told ya - techie) but more often it has something to do with viewer side choices. If you have tried to photograph or film in a materials enhanced area, you have likely discovered that the Windlight setting makes all the difference.

I don't have a grand answer yet, but I do have a few settings that let materials enhance rather than overpower. They aren't what I would consider ready for prime time yet, but finding some good material Windlight settings IS on my list. When I get some, I will zip them up and link to them, so those of you that know how to add settings to your Windlight folder will have a starting place.

Meanwhile, remember that you can have shadows without materials and materials without shadows. You can also have both -- and don't forget Depth of Field (such a cornucopia of goodness lately). You do need a materials viewer to see the changes; you also need to have "advanced lighting" turned on.

If you can't find lighting that suits the mood of the shoot AND let's the material layers do their job, turning off advanced lighting works too.



Thursday, April 10, 2014

Changing Lives


We each
have a tale to tell. We might not be aware of that.

Heartbreak, longing, disappointment -- joy; all are obvious.
But what of the quiet moments in life?

A gentle touch, a warm embrace, a child's first steps; they are all part of our story.

Great shots, beautiful windlight settings and amazing locales can only take us so far.


There are newcomers in the machinima world. An ever-changing roll of directors venturing into the spotlight. They wonder about capturing software and how to get those pesky pans to stop their jerky dance. Most haven't thought about locales, actors or publishing parameters. They are intent on learning, and most feel that the basics need to be conquered before they move on to the details.

But let's back up a minute.

Some journey into machinima for the beauty of the shots, some to share their music, some simply because they love gazing at their avatar bodies. They join the community of makers with dreams of fame, but would likely be happy with a simple thumbs up now and again. These promising producers take their first steps sometimes tenuously, often with abandon. Either way a cardinal rule is sometimes overlooked as they strive to master the craft.

As an artist, FIRST you need something to say.

It is a teeter-totter; message versus skills. One without the other breaks the flow of the viewer's experience. So for the new kids on the block -- and as a reminder to those of us who have put in hundreds of hours -- don't forget the story. It doesn't need to be a three act play. It can be as simple as the feeling of sunlight on your face after a long winter of rain.

Share it; offering part of yourself. Even if wrapped in wispy poetry, be brave. You can touch others; you can change lives.