Thursday, 6 May 2010


After all that, there isn't much more to say, the textures, lighting and camera positions were - after the animation itself - the main body of the work, all that's left is to set the computer up to render and then spend the rest of the time anxiously biting your fingernails to the quick.

And praying.

The End.

Eggs and Their Textures

The textures for the eggs were my next point of attack.

The dark blue egg we have seen before but I was able to very slightly improve even that texture with the use of BodyPaint, by which means you can paint directly on the model as if it was a real egg sitting in your hand, well... almost.

The white eggs themselves have a very simple colour - white - and the rest is achieved using displacement:

Of course the use of lights helps a lot too.

A light set inside one of these, produced a really beautiful effect:

Like Ice:

Or these that look like they've been drenched in powdered icing sugar.

Or with slightly different lighting, they look like soot has fallen over them.

And finally the pale blue egg.


I began asking in various forums how to make this sort of coruscating light effect over a sphere, and although a few people knew how to do it and showed the end result - no one, absolutely no one would explain how to do it.  I was getting desperate at the end of 2 months of asking around and no solution in sight.

Then Stan, our technician at the uni came up with a similar effect - in just 2 days.

This then enabled me to produce something close to the effect I was looking for if not the exact effect.

Thus I got this:

Which is nice, if not quite what was required.

I particularly liked the way the blood corpuscles obscure the plasma glow when they pass in front of the nucleus.

I'm also quite pleased with the effect of the electrons, I was able to use a material - with only a little adjustment - that I used for my last 3D film made to the specifications for an exhibition - although not entered for it, the exercise was done simply for the interesting outlined requirements.

The original material was used as a glass, this only needed some few changes to give it this effect of a burned, or crunchy surfaced texture.

A previous attempt resulted in this:

Which in my opinion is so far removed from the desired effect as to be laughable.  But don't throw anything away, I might need weird ribbons one day.... possibly.

Saturday, 1 May 2010


Testing the multi sourced rusts.

I used photos of rust and rusty metal from various places around the country.

This multi sourced rust image came from various individual rusts:
I really liked this multitudinous rust image but it just didn't suit the situation, it looked too confusing when animated as a boiling rust sea...

So that in the end I used just a small part of the images that went to make up that multi complex rust, I used this one that I called Complex Iron Pits, since the original metal looked pitted with rust.

This rust came from the Reading industrial area, the industrial companies were very kind in allowing me access to their grounds.

This is just from a small iron sheet used to cover a tiny pipe outlet - it was just about 4 inches by 4 and as you can see a gorgeous colour and texture.

At Mersea - lost of rust there helped along by the salty sea air.

In particular a fantastic anchor that was almost completely rust, unfortunately removed last year, beasts - I was getting some great textures from that.

This image was from the anchor:

and here's the anchor before it was removed.

And from our own home, Mill House, - I got a great texture just off an old rusty shovel,

and the oil tank for the heating has some great rust on it.

And after a bit of adjustment that rather dull original became this:

Like a smattering of blue stars, lovely!

Raw Egg Experiments

This texture experiment in C4D followed from previous experiments on raw egg textures in Bryce.

However with the addition of the violet mist....The nice colours and transluscency change completely.... Um... I need to think about that.

You can also see the experiments on getting rust to creap up the sides of the buildings and thus leave rust stains.

The raw egg in Bryce turned out just fine, and this second attempt in C4D is looking better.

But I don't like the texture on the eggshell pile.

I also looked at how this raw egg would look when seen through the rust mists:

This was a very render intensive image however so I usually just tested a small area.

But you do sometimes need to see the whole thing and it's only when I saw it like this that I realised that seen through the rust mist the raw egg actually looked like dried egg - well dried and cracked.

It looks very nice, but it's just not what I was going for. Even though it is showing up the nice cracking in the rust texture... oh well...

Egg Film Storyboard

No 1:

No 2:

No 3:

No 4:

No 5:

No 6:

No 7:

No 8:

Boxes with Egg

I then began trying out boxes with the egg, at this stage I was still using textures that I had not created myself.

Before using the rust sea idea I was still hankering after the use of a water material on the sea.

And I didn't like the alignment of these boxes.

Here I was beginning to see what Leonie meant about the mist/sea going right up to the egg with no change in the texture, that was something I would have to attend to out of Bryce and into C4D.

So this was about the time I moved over to Cinema to work.

Textures on the Star Egg

At this point (January 2010) I was testing the amount of light in the scene, and textures on both eggs and buildings. I didn't do much to the main egg (Closest to camera) but worked on the other two - which were at that stage the only two Elitist eggs.

Later in January I then began addressing the issue of the texture for the main egg and here in testing mode in Bryce I was able to create a sky to match the mood.

I also managed to get a really nice glow to the egg and the use of metaballs also was an intriguing route to go down especially with the ability to make the metaballs cling to the surface of any object.

However I knew I would not be rendering or animating from Bryce and as I knew a lot less about how metaballs work in Cinema4D or in Maya, and although nice I could not sufficiently relate these metaballs to my overall ideas about the egg film which involved rust and decay and our lack of appreciation of its beauty and the need for an individual to interact through a deliberate choice with such things, rather than by falling into the morass by mistake and expecting to survive it.

So I tried out some other ideas for things to attack the eggs:

I was still clinging to the metaballs idea at this stage but adding other things, like the boxes, and I dallied for a while with the idea of bugs.

However this was not my model and I did not see that I could take sufficient time out to model a bug myself and I wanted all the models to be mine. (thinking of possible copyright issues)

There followed a bit of experimentation with the arrangement of boxes on the egg.

And at this stage I was also trying different things with the rust mists or rust sea.

At this stage I was going towards the rust mists idea but although having gaps in the planes with the rust textures on them and using multiple numbers of mist planes, animating them I could not get a satisfactory movement going.

So although in a still image this sort of thing looks really great I found that the gaps weren't working.

So I began looking more towards the rust sea idea, but I was still liking the multiple rusts.

Egg Lights in a Tree

It was also at about this time that I had the idea for the egg light tree - as you can see from an earlier post back in October below.

It seems odd that this idea should have survived the process where so many others didn't.

However the shape of the tree has changed. The tree on the left here is a Bryce tree turned upside down with its roots uppermost, the new version is a little different:

And although the texture looks much the same, the shape is quite different, it... er, relates to the 'life' theme much more closely now.


First egg test - here the idea of a single chip of eggshell that had become almost completely detached, but was still sitting there - like a single curl on a cartoon boy's head - which I later animated to bounce up and down in time to the egg's movements.

I liked the brown, it looked very egglike, but I also liked the idea of a simple outline to the egg and the chip didn't fit with this, so it went, I also went away from the idea of a brown eggshell at about this point too. I wanted to keep with the idea of simplicity, and white fitted with that, so the egg changed to a white one at this point.

Here the design of both the world and the buildings begins:

Initially they were simple tall straight shapes, in varying sizes.

Then I felt that the simple whiteness of both buildings and of egg and the world's whiteness was just too much,

so I began experimenting with colours for the egg, here some touches of pale blue colour have been put in the egg and the whiteness of the world is toned down to a more grey look.

I also did some experimenting with the infinite plane, here it's a fairly simple grey with just a touch of reflection and a little bit of texture, but still mostly plain.

Then I thought why not use water?

I liked this quite a bit, it broke up the reflections of the buildings and blended the haze better.

But the lack of a ground surface did kind of limit the logic of where the eggs could go, so that I had to add barely submerged areas of buildings for the further egg to stand on, and movement became a matter of hoping from building to building.

That I didn't like so much. So despite the possibilities of some quite nice camera angles, I abandoned this idea fairly early on.

Early Egg Film Developments

Early designs for the egg film, no set name for the film either yet, are:

This shot: I wanted to keep the sky as simple as possible so here I'm going for greys with just a touch of colour in the blue haze on the horizon - this shot is an experimental one where I was working in Bryce6.3 - you can also see the initial simply designed buildings plus two more complex buildings. I really like the complex ones but they don't go with the simple ones - I'm thinking of using the complex ones for the more exciting part where the eggs go to investigate the lure.

This shot above is now using the complex buildings down below the simple buildings - which are raised up on a hill, to separate them from the grime, dirt and alure down below. This shot is also experimenting with lights and shadows, Film Noir type, but with colour.