Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Gears of War 2: The Last Day

The Last Day is an experiential website that takes you through a destroyed city on the day that humanity burrows underground to fight The Locust. Viewed from the point of view of JACK, Marcus Fenix's companion robot, who awakens to find himself in the midst of destruction.

This project probably pushed me farther out on a limb than I've ever been before. Reason being that we were tasked with creating the entire experience with in game graphics, and that we were going to have to build all of our assets with the Unreal 3 development engine. As the only member of my team with any real experience doing any kind of 3d production I was picked to receive training.

I spent a week training Alex Okita at Black Point Studios in SOMA. After 5 days of intense learning I came back to my office and over the next month built all the navigational assets for the site and provided assets to several other artists to be assembled into various content pieces for the site.

The environment in the site is a manipulated version of a previously assembled level. The bulk of my time was spent rearranging and retexturing objects, re-lighting the scene, and animating the camera. Another mandate was that we never show a "still frame", meaning that every time the camera stopped on an object there had to be a looping background video available. All in all there are 26 stopping points.

My two favorite shots from this project are the final lockup of the sunset and the reflection of JACK in the side of the van in a pile of rubble. The sunset was a favorite because It involved a fair amount of polishing after we got a render out of the unreal engine. The reflection is a favorite because in involved a fair amount of roto and matchmoving to get it to look right. Below I've posted a video of the complete fly through without any of the programatic distortion that was done in flash.

There's more content pieces and shot breakdowns to come, but for now I'd recommend that everyone should get the full experience and check out the site.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Gears of War 2

So a few weeks ago the site I've been working on for the last few months went live. I've held off until now because when it first launched there wasn't much to look at other than to scroll through the navigation.

now, a few weeks later, about half of the content is unlocked. Give it a look and check back after the game comes out on November 7th to see a full post (with video) of everything I worked on for this project.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Gears of War: Emergence Day

My work here was part of the experiential site for the first Gears of War game. In this site you're looking through the eyes of Marcus Fenix who's in jail remembering the events that led him to being incarcerated through a series of cryptic flashbacks.

This was my first project where I was leading the video production. This could have something to do with the fact that I was the only guy doing any of the video production work, but I like to think that's cuz they wanted to give me a trial by fire.

My task was to create videos for the 4 different flashbacks. This was very much a precursor project to the Iris work I did for Halo 3, in that I was given a selection of stock footage, game footage, and a dev kit to capture more game footage from. What I couldn't get from that wound up either being quickly made in Maya or got composited together from high res concept art.

One of the cool things about this project is that Epic Games gave us the entire sound library from the game. So when you're hearing the sound effects and the Locust are screaming at you, you're actually hearing what you would hear in the game. The VO is mostly made up of talent we pulled from our office, with a few choice tracks of Marcus and Dom scattered throughout.

I spent 2 weeks on this project. The last 4 days were spent working without sleep, at the end of which my body just about gave up on me and I came down with what is to date the worst cold/flu/debilitating sick feeling I've ever had. I actually tried to come in and keep working but was turned away with the same kind of regard people used to give to leper. I took the hint and ended up relinquishing the last few corrections of work to my good friend Caio who added the finishing touches to the gritty masking effect and handed off final assets to the developers.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

AKQA: Woof

These are a selection of clips from the 2006 AKQA holiday card that I worked on. This was a very short project, but was a lot of fun.

We shot the various office dogs against a white background and then got to come up with a number of ways to kill them. the hardest part of all of this actually turned out to be finding a loop-able chunk of footage for each of the dogs we worked with(except for Chad, he's a consummate professional).

I was responsible for doing everything for the various 3d elements in the shots, and once that was done I got to do full assembly for the Anvil shot (which has been my favorite shot since the initial concept).

The rest of the shots were assembled by Caio Lazzuri.





One last note: I strongly recommend checking out the site  the clips I have don't have the final audio and the Anvil shot comes alive when the sound is on.