Monday, 5 March 2012

Assassin's Creed 3 - reveal trailer

Since this is a great expectation I decided to write about this trailer. However it is really short and somewhat mysterious and foggy. In concise: we leave Ezio back and join to Conor, a halfblood Native American-British assassin and participate in the War of Independence of the XVIII. century colonial America.

The choice of the character is a nice one, he is half British and half Native American. This symbolizes the change itself between the two worlds. The change which carries both but neither but the essence of them both making the two identical. This is not only derived from the character and background only. The tomahawk and the bow clearly represents his Native American roots while his coat resembles to European uniforms. Actually I think his blue collar is closer to the French than to the English army. Or maybe he already has the connection to the revolutionary army. 
The land of America is represented as a cruel and dangerous place where only the strongest survives. The wolves at 0.30 indicate that this is the only law here. The switch between the night scenes and the daylight scene with the wolves is a nice idea to emphasize the metaphor. In the one hand, we see how the wolves tear apart slowly a dead body while in the night we see how only one assassin kills all of the soldiers. First this is a nice full contrast: for the daylight it seems that a pack of wolves tear apart one body while we see in the night scenes that its only one assassin (wolf) who kills the many soldiers.
On an other level it shows that history happens on various layers or reality. The facts on the surface do not always explain everything that happens. Since the switching makes a psychological parallel between night and day, surface and reality, it has a major significance that the revolution takes place at daylight.
This indicates that the revolution is just the surface as many other things in history, and underneath a lot of hidden or forgotten individual effort made these things possible. 

Now some words on its look. Well this is a release trailer but apparently the basis of the later marketing project, not just some slideshow or some an ingame footage. 
At the beginning there are some nice lightnings indicating that the picture is computer-generated (1.18 on the big branch lying on the ground). This is a nice little detail. The dust-snow particle systems are very nice, this is a huge snow, and it is very cold. The continuous snowing lets the author not to bother with the traces. However if you watch closely at 0.31 they do not really want to do that anyway. This is clear from the fact that the arriving wolf almost does not leave any traces in the snow. I am not a ranger but I am sure that one can follow much deeper traces in the snow. And since you can see that it is moving under its feet, it should not be frozen yet. I think the general problem with snow here is that it has a little bit confused behavior. At 0.38 we see that there is some snow leaving the rock with the assassin. But such a little amount entails that the snowing is just started. Now this is a very difficult issue. Because it needed to start for a while to cover everything. Let suppose that it is very cold there. Then the redcoats should be semi-frozen out there as well as our assassin. No matter why they do not have proper winter clothes or at least blankets with them by the beginning of the scene they should have been covered by snow (when they meet Connor). At 0.33 you clearly see that there is no such thing as snow on their clothes. Not even on the one who is surprised on the back of his horse (this rules out the possibility that they just took off their blankets). 
Now for the tarzan-parkour scene. The trees could have had a little bit more movement but never mind let assume that they are frozen. Well I think they should have moved at least that amount to be released the supposedly just fallen snow. I mean Connor has the weight of an adult man. This is a great disturbance in the balance of any tree. But it is clearly enough to get some snow to fall. And remember at least some of the snow just has fallen. 
This makes it look like as if the trees were purely painted white. And this is supported at 0.58 where we have this side-cover for the trees. If the snow is just that deep, there cannot be such a big storm (especially not in a forest) just before the snowfall during the night.
But enough of snow. In general there is a beautiful forest shown in the trailer. Forests are very hard to make because their organic system is difficult to mimic. You cannot just throw some logs onto each other. And here we have this. This is covered by beautiful northern dawn lighting which makes it very realistic. The parkour scene has great animation. I feel the flow of the movement a little bit hooked up sometimes but this gives the impression as if in the air he could change direction by muscle movement. You can change your movement in the air if you are trained enough so maybe it is just too strong to see from the outside because you do not often see it done.
I think one point could have been considered for correction at 1.02. The bow on the back is ready for shoot. If you check the string on his chest it is not that stiff. It should cut into his coat with much more tension in this state. However if they have moved the end of the strings a little bit towards the middle of the bow it would not be prepared for shooting. This would let them to have the somewhat loose string.
Now the face of the army leader was a real surprise. It lacks most of the details as if it was burnt. His mouth synchronization is perfect though.

I really liked the overall idea of this trailer however I miss some minor details and consistency from the final product. The concept I think is very nice. This time we need to ask the director about the snow for example. 
Story: 10/10 (I think the story for a launch trailer has a lot in it. Not too intense but still quite complex to let us feel the character of the situation. It opens up a nice perspective.)
Director: 9/10 (This snow thing is a really hard task. It is only important because unconsciously it builds up or decreases our feeling of reality).
Modelling: 7/10 (That face at the end is really disturbing.)
Animation: 7/10 (Few movements I did not understand, like the one when he pulls the tomahawk out of the officers head. Or the wolf stepping onto the snow. Or the arm movement of the general.)
Render and lights: 8/10 (Nice dawn-lights. However the night scene is a little bit too bright. It makes some cartoonish effect. Very classic in from the '60 to the '90 but not realistic. A forest when it is snowing is really dark. After the snowing it becomes lighter when the clouds are gone.)
Material/textures: 8/10 (Again I miss some dirt from the clothes and some blood. Blood on the red coat is not just additional red dye. And if you face-shoot someone with an old gun, the head is covered with black gunpowder. I miss that too.)
Photography: 10/10 (Nice compositions. Smooth ambiance for the colonial forest.)
Editing/effects: 10/10 (Intensive switching between very different scenes without the feel of disturbance. Classic idea delivered perfectly.)
Music: 10/10 (Classic Assassin's creed soundtrack. Nice and smooth adaptation for the revolution.)
Visual concept: 10/10 (Great concept concerning all of the little details about clothes, scenes, the forest. Well done.)


Mass Effect Take Earth Back - extended trailer

This trailer from Bioware and DigicPictures appears to be very intense both intellectually and emotionally. The story is somewhat simple: aliens attack the earth and destroy everything. Even an innocent little girl. Now its humanities turn to strike back and it is apparently going well or at least has good odds.
On a second thought the trailer is somehow playing around games and reality, humanity and inhuman aggression. I think it suggests that the conflict is about regaining our innocence in gaming.

Let see how far this reading can go. The initial twist from the patrolling fighters and the toy plane connects games with war. There is a trick of illusion as well when we listen to the patrol's radio while we see the toy plane. Some may notice that the illusion is cheated since the toy plane has automatic pads. But I think this level of automation for toys is perfectly conceivable in the near future. Therefore according to the first few seconds it is hard to distinguish between game and reality. But reality is cruel and aggressive while games are peaceful and quite. For the next few seconds we see what does reality do with people. Since it is an aggressive struggle for survival like in a war, it transforms humans to aggressive aliens. Sometimes we do not recognize the people around us when they meet the job market or found their own company, they just become merciless predators.
The emphasis on the transition is clear at 0.54 where a human being transforms to the alien life form. Until this point we have the following narrative. There is an innocent human girl in her natural environment. This scene is bound to playing, suggesting that playing is the natural human behavior. The game is flying a fighter jet. To fly is the archetype of freedom (even in the standard interpretation of dreams). This freedom is bound to playing by following the same type of jets from the game to reality. And there they come, the aliens who destroy this freedom, our toys. And when the transition at 0.54 happens we realize that these aliens are former human beings. 
And now we arrive to the classical crisis of growing up. But these grown-ups who come to destroy our playground (basically our innocence and freedom) are savage predators. This is supported by the next picture (1.03) when the sniper kills one of them who is chasing a child who is defended by her mother. Note that here we have a small family picture: the child and her mother running and the man who is defending them (the father-like person in this picture). Then we see some war scenes before we get a full view on the destroyed city first then the whole globe.
The second part starts very slowly giving us time to think about the scene. For now it should be clear that children are very important in this piece of video. Actually if you watch closely we have four occasions when aliens attack humans (1.03, 1.14, 1.23, 2.00) and two of them (the first and the last) are moments when they attack children (not counting the one when they shoot the jet). I think this ratio speaks loudly for children and innocence. In this part we see that this monstrous alien machine enters to the most natural environment for humans, the natural playground of a child. This moment has a very sensitive sense of violence. This machine breaks into this very intimate dreamy place which represents (according to our initial interpretation) the beauty of the innocent human nature. 
At 2.11 we see a very strong picture a man and a woman in arms find the little toy jet in the dust. Behind them there is a real working jet and the little girl is missing, the whole environment is ruined.
This conclusion can be understood as another family picture but without a child. In this interpretation daddy and mommy arrives to look for their daughter and they are prepared to save her. The jet behind them means that they still can fly, they are still free. However they are armed which means that they are strong and they fight. This together suggests that our heroes are those adults who preserved their freedom and fought for their survival without becoming similar to those alien predators.

Considering the look of the video primarily note the mimic of the girl. I am not sure whether it is captured with motion/face cap or made manually. I think it is more likely to be made manually and it works really well. You see on her face that she feels enthusiastic for playing with the little ladybird. I like the animation of the ladybird as it lands onto the sunflower then flies away. And that sunflower, that is really realistic. I freeze it after the ladybird left and it could be on a postcard anytime. The changing focus between the girl and the bug gives a great deal of dynamism to the scene. This correlates nicely with the music. 
The human-alien transition is not that smooth, but it is really fast. This flashlight method for transition is risky since it can look very odd, however here you only notice it when you watch closely. We see some very beautiful collapses and explosions in the devastation view. However I don't understand how with so much explosion can some soldiers just wonder around with no fire in the background. Of course one could say that this is just "anywhere" but from the wide perspective shots you see that literally everything is on fire in that city. Another thing: the street lights are on. But this is still daytime. And they are on while the whole city is in fire, so I suppose there is no electricity in the city. 
But the particle systems are great there. They elevate smoothly and they are very logically follow the environment. Flying blood, emerging dust, smoke of various kinds they are all in their proper place. Really nice variation of such things. 
On the next scene the switch from sunshine to shade is a nice example of lighting. The change is so sensitive you cannot really name the shadows or the colors. But they together do the job. You almost feel how much colder the air became. And the best thing it it I think that it does not follow the camera conventions. I am not sure one could make such pictures with a real camera but it illustrates how do we feel ourselves in such sun-shade transitions. You cannot do them because light measurement cannot let you do them. For such effects you would have some highlights or deep shades for sure. At least for the transition time while the light-measure system adapts to the new environment. 
I was thinking a lot on the images when we see the little girl's eye reflecting the space ship. Somehow I feel that her skin is too sterile at that moment. I know nowadays I arrived to this but here as well I see it unnaturally clean. She is playing on the ground at a farmland maybe, there should be some dirt on her face and clothes as well. But nothing. I think some dust could fly off the ground for the beginning as well. The anatomy is very nice, but somehow the skin does not fit well. It still has some rubbery feeling. 
The eye on the other hand is beautiful. I think the reflection in it is great as well, maybe a little bit too strong but I think it is hard to decide. Look at the corner of her eye, it even has some redness from maybe the dust which drys it out. 
Now again something which is beautiful but totally unrealistic. We see the stars on blue sky. Now from the sunflowers it should be late summer and the sun is setting down, but still is very high. I think it is very hard to see the stars on the sky in such a sunshine. No matter how big the shadow of the spaceship is. Assume it is a very big spaceship. Still even when you see a total eclipse you only start to see the stars when the moon shades the full circle of the sun. And with so much clouds on the sky humidity should be very high. So visual range is decreased as well. 
But anyway if it could happen it would look like this I am sure. And it looks nice.
For the next scene we have great motion capture for the soldiers. Somehow the faces are too dry they have no shine on them at all. I think this could have been avoided with some dust on them, or at least on the hair of the characters. I like that the guy has some stubble on his jaw.
Look when the vehicles launch their offence how they create a mist of ash by the turbulence. This is a great detail.
A nice little detail when one sunflower falls in the turbulence. Its nicely done, and strongly supports our general psychology to create what happens.
For the action part at the end we have a lot of blurs, actually we have more blurred pictures then normal ones. But since they are too fast for human eye we only notice the the sharp ones. This makes the whole action very intense and very realistic.

Story: 10/10 (The background idea of the whole is very nice. It fits well with the invasion concept of the whole project.)
Director: 9/10 (Great transition of the scenes and great dynamism for the whole. The ratio of motion and rest or action and stills is a very delicate matter and it is handled well in this video. However there are some major mistakes but they are not that important like wet ash - dry ash at the end scene, working street lights in an invasion, clean clothes on a playing girl in the countryside. These mistakes are somewhat shared with other members of the team)
Modelling: 10/10 (Perfect details of anatomy and nice overall modelling.)
Animation: 10/10 (Some minor strangeness in very uncommon scenes, but great sensitive details elsewhere)
Render and lights: 9/10 (Beautiful and brave lighting I miss some reflection on the skyscrapers though when the laser beams cut the buildings into pieces. This buildings should affect as giant mirrors.)
Material/textures: 9/10 (Skin is still a hard issue to handle. I really miss some dirt from the faces, hairs and clothes somewhere)
Photography: 10/10 (Very good compositions. I love the UV effect in the transition from the sunflower scene to the city scene. The change of focus is brilliant as well.)
Editing/effects: 10/10 (Really properly done. A great repertoire of different types of switches from slow transition to fast chopping.)
Music: 10/10 (It is a really nice track. The great thing about this trailer is that it uses the track and classic movie soundtrack as well. In such a short video I think it is very hard to include all this. And they all fit together and with the images well)
Visual concept: 9/10 (It is really hard to judge here. Some of the mistakes however minor they are, are shared with the mistakes of the direction, like wet ash - dry ash, working street lights in an invasion, clean clothes on a playing girl in the countryside.)
Still very great job with an
Overall: 9.6

Copyright Notice: The video is made available by youtube channel by leaving the embed option open for everyone. All intellectual rights for the video are reserved for Bioware and DigicPictures. I only claim the copyright for its interpretation and evaluation.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Breakdown of the Witcher2 trailer

Great video from Platige Image the makers of the intro to Witcher 2.
This is a breakdown of the video which lets you see the different layers of the video.

I guess you love this.

If you do check out the following interview at CG society with Maciej Jackiewicz (CG Supervisor Platige Image) by Paul Hellard

Rest in Peace - Ralph McQuarrie

Ralph McQuarrie: June 13, 1929 - March 3, 2012


Great lines from the memorial page:
"His influence on design will be felt forever. There's no doubt in our hearts that centuries from now amazing spaceships will soar, future cities will rise and someone, somewhere will say... "that looks like something Ralph McQuarrie painted.""

Ralph McQuarrie was a technical illustrator at Boeing in his early 30s while he was part of the company Reel Three. During the 60s he had made some illustration for movies when he met George Lucas who several years later (1975) asked him to illustrate the first Star Wars script. He enjoyed the work very much saying that he has got the best job for an artist. However he refused the offer from Rick McCallum to design the prequel trilogies saying he has "run out of steam". He dies in his 82nd in Berkeley, California. 

To honor his memory I present here some of his works. Please spend a few minutes and visit his page and if you feel that you share the sad feeling of loss please comment on his facebook page as well.
Just for those who do not know him some pictures to remember and estimate the loss:

Some inspirational remembrance from George Lucas

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Siggraph 2012 - Call for submissions

I announce here the Submission advertisement of the 2012 Siggraph

Submit all you have. Follow the link under the image for details.

Submission Deadline

Monday, 9 April 2012
22:00 UTC/GMT

Submission Categories
The festival accepts submissions in 10 distinct categories:
1. Computer Animation Shorts
All forms of animated short pieces that contain a significant percentage of computer-generated imagery and/or digital production and are not specifically suited to one of the other nine submission categories. This includes independent shorts, character animation, sponsored creative explorations, narrative and experimental works, opening sequences, game cinematics, selections and/or montages of animated television series, machinima, and new-media formats. Shorts of any length may be submitted, but the Computer Animation Festival reserves the right to show only excerpts of selected works at the jury's discretion.
2. Music Videos
Commissioned and/or independent works that use any combination of computer animation, digital effects, and live action to illustrate, enhance, and/or complement a musical creation.
3. TV and Web Commercials
Advertisements created entirely or partially with computer animation and/or digital effects. Also promotional spots, broadcast bumpers and graphics, and public service announcements.
4. Visualizations and Simulations
Computer animations created to explain, analyze, or visualize information for applications including scientific research, architecture, engineering, systems simulations, education, and documentary projects.
5. Student Projects
Computer-animated works of all kinds produced to satisfy a school, coursework, and/or graduation requirement. Entries in this category qualify for Best Student Project Award consideration. The Computer Animation Festival requests that all student works be submitted under this category, regardless of genre.
6. Animated Feature Films
Selections and/or montages of computer animation created for animated feature films.
7. Visual Effects for Short Films and TV Programs
Selections and/or montages of visual effects created for short live-action films and/or for television programs.
8. Visual Effects for Live-Action Feature Films
Selections and/or montages of visual effects created for live-action feature films.
9. Real-Time Animation
Game, web, and mobile animations that are rendered in the same amount of time that it takes to play them back. Real-time technology demos are also encouraged! Real-time technology demos should be submitted to Real-Time Live!
10. Miscellaneous
Computer animations that do not fit in any of the above categories, including technology showcases, previz, and other cool stuff that hasn't been invented yet.
The Computer Animation Festival reserves the right to place entries in the category that is most appropriate. Stereo 3D work will be considered and can be entered in any of the above categories.

See you there!!!

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Human Head: Prey 2 - Bounty trailer

Human Head created a world by mixing the best of sci-fi western so far (most people identify the genre with Star Wars and Blade Runner which is a good guess but it still oversimplifies the issue). Primarily I would distinguish sci-fi western from the genre of Cowboys and Aliens. This is not the type of world where cowboys wear hats and ride horses. It is the future of that world where people and culture are the same but adopted to  a more advanced technical level.

They begin with a 20th century airplane scene, we do not know why we are there but clearly we are on a journey. Airplanes are the symbols of many things and I think it is a very strong thing for an overture. In one hand the airplane is the symbol of safe travel. This aspect is very strong in the trailer. In the other hand airplanes are the tools for conquering the world and make it similar to the wild west globally. This is less important here. And thirdly airplanes and the ability to fly altogether is the symbol of human capability to face and overcome any (sometimes impossible) challenges. This can be read into this but not a necessary part of the thing. 
However strong the different aspects are I believe that all are present among these cuts. 
On the airplane, we are safe and calm, this is emphasized by showing the air-marshal on the first shoot walking between the line of seats. We watch people looking out of the window. There are empty seats so we know that there is no emergency, just an ordinary Sunday flight from LA to New York (or whatever). By having the air-marshal on board we see that it is (still) the wild west where they had Marshals to accompany and defend the property of the state on travel (mainly cargo owned by the treasury or criminals as he does here). Just to clarify some confusions about this concept let me give a short historical summary of these services. United States Marshal Service was founded in 1789 while Federal Air Marshal services started by Kennedy (1963) to secure important or high risk flights. An air marshal in this sense is not to be confused with an air marshal in the military ranking system which is a high responsibility rank.  
The wild west aspect is emphasized by a historical confusion in the trailer. Our hero has the Federal Marshal Service badge instead of the Air Marshal Service badge. This can be considered as a mistake but since we are in the future the two services could have been merged by that time so this is not necessarily a mistake. I would understand this as being the artistic expression of the above detailed complex symbolism and therefore an alteration by intention. 
The two different badges
Of course suddenly something terrible happens and our Deputy U.S. Marshal crashes with his plane to somewhere out of Earth. Now this part is a little bit confusing. It looks great when earth is way behind the horizon but the audience just needs to make an intellectual jump about where we are at the moment.
This intellectual jump creates the atmosphere of being lost. We feel exactly the same as one would after such a crash. The only possible crash site seems to be the Moon. But wait a minute. On the moon our hero could not really survive. So where we are? And how a plane crashes to the moon. That thing cannot be that simple. Then comes the relief: "ah the aliens... that explains everything". 
Now if we stop for a minute. The highest expectations from the human capability to fly was to reach the stars or at least the moon. This was at the top of the twentieth century's technical advancement. We could say that we almost crashed into the moon (metaphorically speaking) by the speed of the technical development of the last few decades. There are people out there in their 40s who just could not catch up and are still shocked by the new world just have been built. A great number of people could not adapt to this new world and they feel like our hero in the trailer. They remember where they came from (Earth in the trailer, wild west of the '60s-'80s in their minds). If one thinks that this is an old generation one should think about the origin of the education and cultural heritage of our generation. Kids born around 1990 still played more cowboy games back in the garden then WOW. Now these kids face those aliens who were raised on e-mail, facebook, x-box. What can a wannabe cowboy guy do on this new planet? I think this is the question through which this genre should be understood. I know its sounds oldish but hello (!!!) its a PG18 game. 

So we are crashed into the future, where there are only aliens... and Johny Cash so the wild west survives as it always does. By the opening shot on this new world our deputy marshal jumps into this messy jungle and starts to kick ass. I think, but this is not the strongest claim about the trailer, that there is something supporting my interpretation in the appearance of the aliens he hunts down. Both suffer from the stereotypical physical symptoms of being an info-mage.
Our old-fashioned marshal arrives to a city merged from classic sci-fi visions like Blade Runner, Judge Dredd, Star Wars (Coruscant), Fifth Element. The interesting thing is that not much transport is present in the city so its a perfect site for freerun or parkour. 
This feature of the set is fully exploited later. The streets have several levels and they are more like little islands to gather on not real routes for handling everyday business or sell or serve any functions. It is true that at the beginning (at 1:36) there is a spot in yellow light what can be a bar or a small shop but it is clearly empty and nobody is there making it completely dead. Of course on could say that after a shootout its normal for the staff to hide but the rest of the civilians seem to be quite ignorant to the gunfire. If this is so then I would assume some of them would continue shopping as well not just standing around the gunfight. This calmness is a little strange though and its only function could be to make the criminal push them out of his way. Since there is even a pause of shock after the murder of the bodyguards one cannot say that they just have no time to react. So either the shop should function as well (even a shocked shopkeeper would be satisfactory) or everybody should break into panic. This all matters because despite the walls and some big functionless boxes I cannot pick any life on the street. Even if it is a getto there should be some citylife. The only people we cross are thugs. But thugs standing around does not make profit without the civilians being terrorized. This is like a bad video game. You reach a point, kill the thugs who just stand there without doing nothing and move on to the next stage. Of course this is a video game trailer but even if the game itself does not create a living city just a jungle of thugs to shoot at, the trailer as a short movie should be more realistic. 
The run through the city is really mad (in a good sense) and clearly shows a great deal of obsession. We don't even think about how this guy is going to get back where he started. That seems to be an other matter.
Thanks to the graduation of introducing new features of the world we are touched with the obsession of the bounty hunter all along the pursuit. First we see that electric bola then suddenly we see the target to teleport forward then a little shootout and the slow-motion/anti-gravity grenade. Then the railway system and finally the capturing device. This all happens under approximately one minute. This much information makes people tired and we feel that after the successful catch we had enough of action. We have that "oh not again" feeling when we see more thugs approaching. Fortunately our hero has additional new devastating weapons so our attention is at the top level again: "now he will blow them!". This is required for the final joke to hit. When we see the big monstrous alien approaching we think we are screwed, this is too much. But then the computer tells us that this is a target and from that time on its just an other job to do and it should be a piece of cake. And this is the point where we are bought completely.
The best novelty is the use of the camera and the cuts. The airplane scene is live action. The crash site is blurred out but its clearly CGI we just do not care because we cannot even see what is on the picture. At the opening pictures of the animation we have unusual lights so we cannot compare it to our everyday experiences. Actually they have a pretty nice leather texture there. At 1.10 when we look down before the jump the interaction of the different lights is just amazing. That richness of lights is taken back when we face the first target. I think that is the point when they switch back to the ordinary CGI visuality. Fortunately we have the helmet-camera to distract this experience.
At the closeup of the alien (1.25) they show its beautiful anatomy but what I miss is some imperfection. Not necessarily on the face but at least some on the clothes. However I love the blood spill onto the camera at 1.31. But if you check 2.36 you clearly see that the clothes of the villain are still sterilized after such a chase. I think this hangs out of the script. He was running, jumping, falling crashing in a getto. He cannot be so clean no matter what they made his clothes of.
About the lights I already mentioned that at 1.10 they are really pretty. Not just pretty but very realistic. But that ends when the villains get some focus. At 1.33 if you freeze its clearly the lighting of a video game. Whites spots are overemphasized and burnt out. This is clearly a conceptual problem since if they put lower lights onto the street this does not happen. If you check how realistic his cap is at 2.08 with only a little shine on it you know what I mean. That much of light intensity could have been enough (for shades not for the whole run).
On the final pictures (at 3.00) we see a very difficult task to accomplish. If you see the big monster's stomach there are smooth shadows while on its head there is a shining burnout surface. It is very difficult to make such a scene to be realistic and I think they did a very good job. But I am still puzzled why did they put so much light around and why are those so strong. I think they still did a nice job at 3.04 on the marshal's shading. But that is clearly not the artificial lighting we saw before. It is more like sunshine (since its completely white).
I think the render is almost perfect, no big mistakes, no messy parts. For the anatomy its funny that they have cut out almost the full brain of the aliens. People usually put more brain to aliens to explain why they are smarter than us. I agree with the creators that this is a stupid assumption. They might have been around for only a thousand years longer and then they could have built up a more advanced culture than we have. Its a good point. And emphasizes the brainless criminal metaphor as well. The design for all the aliens are very original which is a hard work nowadays. I am not  really convinced about the flat-head ones at the beginning though but anyway you never know what nature can produce (I think star wars legalized this type of biology).
The lights (despite the concept) are very consistent and the particle systems are very nice. The background is all deeply detailed even when you see a great landscape or a long tunnel in the background. A lot of leading companies don't do that, they cover up complex details with 2D visuals. 
The only mistake I have discovered in animation is at 2:32 when the marshal jumps onto his target from the train and they both fall back. I think this is not proper physics there. If the target falls into the wall (several meters forward) the marshal should have landed there as well. It is conceivable but I think people notice that it is at least rare to happen. Actually on this part, I just have to note that I love that the villain has some accent. This is a great detail however unlikely it is for an alien to have a Russian-like English accent. (Maybe when they first arrived to earth they considered Russia as the main market?)

Story: 9/10 (Not too much happening there but it still has a lot to tell in metaphors, definitely more than a simple shootout but we barely know anything about the people or the world or even what is happening there)
Director: 9/10 (Great smooth symbolism, nice gradual storytelling, its a shame that the city is that empty of real life)
Modelling: 10/10 (Great, creative anatomy, perfect details)
Animation: 9/10 (One minor mistake with the jumping capture, otherwise perfect)
Render and lights: 10/10 (I have not found any mistake, still looking. Great job)
Material/textures: 10/10 (Same thing for the materials and textures but hey its easy for a sci-fi)
Photography: 10/10 (Dynamic camera movement. I love the switches between first person and ordinary cameras. And it is used creatively.)
Editing/effects: 10/10 (I think the switching between the different types of cameras is very demanding for the editor. More would have been too much since the action is already very exhausting to watch.)
Music: 7/10 (Not the greatest toon, but perfectly fits to the rest of the movie. However it gives too much resemblance to chasing scene from Public Enemies. The reference is very nice, its the too much part only which could have been avoided.)
Visual concept: 8/10 (The overall visual concept is not that original however it uses great reference and I love it. The anatomy is super-original but the city itself does not really show anything new. Its really similar to Star Wars and especially the video games. This is supported by the lack of real life of civilians. I cannot even see real doors on the street. How these people get there where they are? The embarrassing thing is that a few more detail would have been completely enough. But our job here is to push these things not to overlook them. And I still insist that they should have lower the lights of the city a little bit.)
Overall: 9.2

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Recharging Batteries

After a first short but successful initial period we started to develop a new design as I wrote. In the meanwhile words have been shared, hands been shaken and we have ended up with some new supporters. So I would like to thank them their generous support here. While they are various and we have not consulted the publicity of their support I only thank the sorts of goods we are provided with. We have new hardware now, better domain provider than we initially planned our page to host with and plenty of high end copyrighted materials to show you and analyse for you (this means the permission to distribute them here without further provider). While we are grateful for all of these we especially thank for the permissions and provided materials since we really appreciate the rights of the authors who contribute to the wonderful community of 3d animation.

Now the the program will be the following for the near future: while our new head of web-development team's mage is meditating on the deeper secrets of the digital world and merges together all our visual dreams about the new homepage we put further analysis on here so those who were kind enough to follow us so far can enjoy the 3dcinematic phenomenon again.

We will let you know when any major change happens.
Thank you all for your constant interest for the site and the project.
See you soon.