@FilmSensei @tddavis Then I retract my fist shaking at Phil over deleted threads but shake my fist in that browsing my profile to find them I couldn't! (I also deleted a whole slew of my own threads I know don't need to exist anymore.) Then I continue to eagerly await my new glasses!
@FilmSensei @tddavis then I merge the two threads. Hah!
@Triem23 shouldn't there have been 3 threads to merge. Jay found one that was a motherlode of posts. The one I found only had 9 pages the last being 2018. Then there's the one you created today, or was the 9 page I found one of chopping block threads?
First, a bit of obligatory info about the game. "A Company of Delvers" is high-concept of "Unionized Dungeon Crawling." The traditional D&D run of 4-to-6 PC's clearing an entire underworld, slaughtering hundreds and taking a literal ton of loot home is fun, but ridiculously unrealistic - even in a fantasy game. Delvers is a game that's gone through various revisions for literal decades before the current edition got playability right. In Delvers the players represent gang-bosses and Commander/Satrap of a small army. 100 Delvers enter... Fewer leave.
The play style is a bit of board game with a focus on character actions. It will be available on DriveThruRPG under the "Better Games" company name.
Delvers is two volumes "The Company of Delvers" contains the player generation, skills, magic and combat rules, while "Designing Underworlds" is the Ref/GM/DM volume with the world-building and encounters rules.
Another artist did the "Delvers" cover, but I did the logo designs for both.
A hallmark of Better Games' philosophy is pick-up-and-play. All the action in the game is generated via Tarot deck card flips and tables. The Ref can also play a character without being overly burdened by "feigning ignorance," as even the Ref doesn't know what's going to happen next. Playtests if the current version have been a blast. Earlier versions didn't have the balance right.
(side note: Better Games' masterpiece remains "Crimson Cutlass." Pirate gaming in an Age of Exploration)
Before I get into the Delvers cover, let me toss up the last cover I did for the company.
Ok, that's for the (as yet unreleased) Era Ten (sci-fi armored troopers, duh) Ref book. Obviously it's pure 2D and was done mostly in Krita - except the planets in the BG, which are Hitfilm renders (using the techniques in my own planets tutorial), and the final comp - the atmosphere haze.
For "Designing Underworlds" I knew I was going to take a 3D approach - which meant Affinity Photo, Krita, and One1 Photo Raw weren't going to be my main tools. I considered using PD Howler or Blender to generate land forms, but a browse through my existing library showed I had suitable landscapes already.
Now, the publisher had a painting he wanted to use, but the artist wanted more than the budget allowed. For the record, this was the original art intended:
That's almost nothing like the final. What happened? Well I already had that awesome skull cave model. I sent off a picture of the model but Red (designer, publisher and friend) liked it. He felt the model alone looked wrong. so I did a quick test render (In Hitfilm) with the model over a pic of Nevada desert (taken while heading to Vegas to try and catch @IamJoshuaDavies at NAB - which didn't happen) to see if Red would go for it. Put in a couple of figures to also establish scale.
Red approved the model, asked for the mouth to face right and to leave blue sky top-right for the title.
Ok, so I already had the skull cave in Hitfilm. Stick with HF, or try something else?
I've never used Unity. I'm sure it would do a great job, but a paid gig isn't the time to use totally new software, right? Yet I'd make that very mistake... Read on...
Blender... Blender and I don't get along. I just find it unintuitive, and I get grumpy when using it. I know Hitfilm very well - it's probably not an exaggeration to say I'm one of the top ten Hitfilm experts in the world outside of FXHOME Staff - and I'm very comfortable in it. Yet...
...that was right when @Andy001z started showing off his Flowscape work. I've used Blender and Vue before, but Flowscape looked intuitive. I bought it and gave it a try.
Flowscape is pretty flipping awesome and I built a new base environment quickly - at this point I was going for more of a forest look like the original painting. Problem came when trying to bring in other models - too shiny and plasticy.
There's previously stated wisdom of "don't learn the new software on a paying gig..." I'd already broken that rule with Flowscape (sunce Flowscape is literally drag and drop of built in assets I took the chance), but, when I hit the wall I figured my choices were fight Blender or do it in Hitfilm. I already had the Skull Cave set up in Hitfilm and other figures ready, so... Hitfim it was.
Andy did give me the information I needed to make Flowscape work, but, by then, I was committed to Hitfilm.
Placing a hundred or so figures in Blender can be done, but I was using figures built by different artists in different scales. Normalizing in Hitfilm brought everything to mostly the same size.
In Hitfilm it was easy to set up multiple cameras in my scene (to close up varied places), and, by dropping a few points around I could quickly parent a figure to a point, snap it to location, then slide it around the shadow catcher/ground plane. I could auto align the camera to follow the current figure as I skid it, and 3D Unrolled comp mode let me see if things intersected and overlapped. I'm sure I could switch multiple cameras in Blender and PoI track, but I don't have that memorized. Additionally, in Hitfilm I could drop texture map size to 256x256 for speed. Some of the figures are low-res for games (a couple thousand polys and 1024x1024 maps), others were a couple hundred thousand polys with 8k maps. Again, I'm sure Blender can lower map res, but I don't know how to, offhand.
I also note I'm doing some contract testing for FXHOME and some of the workflow for this cover overlapped with certain test items. Rather than test (REDACTED) with generic cubes and such, I could check a couple of things in this project. Also, new features in testing made some of the steps in this project easier and faster. Do NOT ask for details, you won't get them.
Place a figure, right click, duplicate, slide to a new position. Fast and easy.
Side note: all my comps were two-frame duration.
So, figures all had FBX animations. Sliding the model in the layer stack quickly got to different frames so I had variety of poses. Again, I don't know an easy way to do this in Blender.
As I completed sections I could split them into embedded comps to pre-render for speed. For example, all the BG layers - sky, BG models. Once that was rendered I could just move figures around on the shadow catcher and skull cave.
When it came time to do foreground renders, I could turn off everything but the shadow catcher, put that on a white BG, crank the Shadow Map to 8192 and render that. Turn on my foreground figures and render them (256x256 textures were fine for such small figures), then turn my texture maps back uo to 4k to render foreground terrain.
At this point I had my render passes as transparent PNGs (except shadows which were on white). I could have gone to Krita, Affinity or On1, but...
Logo time. White text on a transparent background. A few masks to cut off letter forms I didn't want and a masked white plane to extend and embellish. A Grade Layer with Surface Studio gave me the textured look I wanted. Being a grade layer, I just built both logos in the same comp and saved them out as PNGs.
Those runes in the back of the cave are a text layer wrapped on a sphere filter then duplicated to punch the inside of the Sphere to white. Drag that into position in the cabe mouth, mask in the foreground jaw and a little Auto Volumetrics and glow. Auto Volumetrics is faster/easier than any method I know for light ray effects in Affinity/Krita/etc.
So, the pieces assembled, time for final grading. A touch of Cine Style with S-Curve and Color shift at 25%, add some grain and a vignette. Fast. Easy. One filter, not multiple steps in Affinity. A little Diffuse...
Final step I took from an old @philipwesson HF2 tutorial... I created a plane and added a 4-point gradient (do THAT in Affinity!) with blue in the tip right, orange in the center, yellow at the bottom and gray/green far left. Set the blend to Color, dial the opacity down to 15-20%. Gave a bit of a unifying "wash" over the image and restored some of the colors leeched by Cine Style.
I'm happy with the final. Incidentally, the cover depicts LEAVING the underworld. Several of the carts on the right are loaded with corpses. Others still lie on the ground. The cart with the metal siding at the bottom right is the "Armored Cart" carrying the loot. The cart next to THAT is the transport of the Commander/Satrap. The Satrap doesn't have to walk to her ride. Hell, she's standing next to it giving orders to the guards who will ride the armored cart.
Anyways, that's a lot of my reasoning and approach. I just find I use Hitfilm for more and more things. It's a great tool for stills as well as video.
@tddavis I merged the two "Working on THIS" threads. That's personal/random stuff. The Hit-U thread should stay separate because I'm tooling up new tutorials, no fooling. Different subject, though!
Ah! Gotcha. That makes obvious sense which is why it didn't dawn on me.😄
Pretty dam impressive. I've been playing with Blender (need to learn more) and recently made my own moon object that I exported for Flowscape. Found the same issue with shiny, went back altered the settings and bingo, all good.
Wow they are so cool. Just starting with Blender... I’m interested in it from a VFX side but I’m already losing my patience 5 eps in to the donut build 😂
@Marshall2000_uk 😁That darn donut! I got to the icing part and failed miserably and this is after 8 or so years messing with Blender. Making donut's is harder then people think.
@Triem23 That is awesome! Many times (try all the times) I make something and it doesn't even come close to what I imagined, but that goes waaay beyond what I was imagining to make.
@tddavis l was just gonna do a flyby. Then I saw the turrets and thought I'd animate them (Had to go into Blender to separate the turrets into animation groups), and have them fire. Showed @FilmSensei the first rough... HE split the turrets off and had them fire.
So I had to up my game.
It got a little ridiculous. A simple flyby turned into a four evening animation. Heh.
Well....that''s pretty darn cool Mike! 👍
Pretty good. :)
Very cool! 👍
@Triem23 Pretty sweet, has a kind of Expanse feel to it, minus the ship designs. Love the gun fire tracking that curves with the motion of the ship movement. Great work as usual. Only thing I noticed was what looks like a seam on the first planet , but looking at it closer I'm not sure if it is a seam or just a hard shading separation as the texture lines up but has a different shade running through it.
@Triem23 Perfect Motion Blur and Shading!
I make no apologies.
Man where were you on St david's day here in Wales. Nice 👍
@Andy001z sorry. If I'd had the idea a couple of days ago it would have worked out.
Theorizing it was possible to create the Quantum Leap effect in Hitfilm Express with no add-ons, Mike Miller opened the Hitfilm Express software... And vanished.
Oh, BOY, it's the first Hit-U tutorial in over three years!
And, it's got a downloadable template.
Had me going there for a second. Thought you recruited Jay into your channel. Awesome stuff as expected.
@Triem23 Thankee-Sai! Another fine, fine project to squirrel away into my every expanding archive.
@FlyingBanana78 @FilmSensei was nice enough to play along. 😉 He gave me a great reading.
Title card tutorial and template. @DafterThings sorry for the delay!
Excellent stuff. Something to do at the weekend :-)
@DafterThings although if you wanted to update your scene's YouTube thumb, that will take under 5 minutes. 4 of those will be loading the template and your original still and uploading the new still to YouTube. 😂
It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!