Excalibur Entertainment's Projects - Name/Logo Change - 12/15/18



  • CleverTaglineCleverTagline Moderator Las Vegas, NVModerator, Website User, Ambassador Posts: 3,013 Ambassador

    I like it!  Really nice movement on everything.  Feels very professional.  About the only thing that bugs me is the texture on the title.  It feels too much like standard fractal noise as the source. Perhaps layer different kinds of noise to break it up a bit, or use an image instead.

    Another way to solve the double-Excalibur thing would be to use a different character for the other cross of the X.  Not sure if the angle would work for that typeface, but a simple forward slash might do the trick.

  • unknown_001unknown_001 Website User Posts: 149

    Thanks all! I don't think I'm going to change the two Excaliburs. The sword coming down to meet it was supposed to just be a different sword, but then I forgot and used the same 3d model. It took a really long time to render, though, so I think I'll leave it like this.

    I've been experimenting more with the Kylo Ren lightsaber effect, and I think I've pretty much got it down now. Using the lightsword ultra effect, you can get some really nice distortion. I am also using a particle system for the sparks, that is parented to the hilt point, and set up to point at the tip point (that way it moves correctly when I'm rotoscoping). Here's an image of how it looks right now:

    I think I might use this effect to do my first ever tutorial. Any thoughts?

  • CleverTaglineCleverTagline Moderator Las Vegas, NVModerator, Website User, Ambassador Posts: 3,013 Ambassador

    I'm far from a lightsaber expert, but it looks pretty cool to me!

  • unknown_001unknown_001 Website User Posts: 149
    edited August 2018

    Since my last post, so many projects have been started (too many for one post on the forum). To start off the list, I'll talk about a 3d animation I recently did for a school project. Here it is:


    The animation was done through Mixamo, and the scene, simulations, models and environment were done in Maya. Additional things, like the sun, were added in Hitfilm after the render was complete. The title seen at the end was done with Boris FX.

    I'll be trying to update this thread much more frequently now that school is almost out. I have plenty of other projects very, very close to being done (like the one mentioned at the end of this video).

    What do you guys think of this animation?

  • tddavistddavis Moderator, Website User Posts: 4,045 Moderator

    @DIY_Film_Guy   I think you did a really awesome job animating Quixote running up the field and under the gate to attack the windmill.  The motion was very life-like and fluid.  Hands down far over my level...  Kudos! 

  • unknown_001unknown_001 Website User Posts: 149
    edited December 2018

    @tddavis - No, the animation files were from Mixamo, as I said earlier. You can then apply those animations to character rigs. I didn't do the actual keyframe animation. I did compose the scene, and set up the render with mental ray, and composite the scene in Hitfilm, which for me are the hard parts.

    (Obviously animation is extremely difficult - I just have no idea how to even approach it.)

  • CleverTaglineCleverTagline Moderator Las Vegas, NVModerator, Website User, Ambassador Posts: 3,013 Ambassador

    The lighting, render, and effects all look good.  The animation has a few issues, but I'm pretty picky about that stuff because it used to be my bread and butter for years.  Overall, well done!  If I were able to do work of this quality for school projects when I was a kid, I'd be pretty pleased.

  • tddavistddavis Moderator, Website User Posts: 4,045 Moderator
    edited June 2018

    @DIY_Film_Guy Oh,  I realized the animations were FBX type files downloaded but I consider applying them with accuracy to be a level of animating and not one I am willing to try...  Heck, just rigging a character is above my level.  

  • unknown_001unknown_001 Website User Posts: 149
    edited June 2018

    Thanks guys! @jsbarret - I'd like to hear what you thought was off about the animation - I definitely noticed that the windmill falling looks weird.

  • CleverTaglineCleverTagline Moderator Las Vegas, NVModerator, Website User, Ambassador Posts: 3,013 Ambassador

    @DIY_Film_GuySome of the things that I feel could be improved are out of your control (or perhaps things that you didn't feel comfortable tweaking), like the run cycle.  It's okay, but could use some finesse to give it a touch more weight, and to break up the cycle a little so that its cyclic nature doesn't stand out so much.

    The point where he pushes aside that cloth and runs under the first windmill is where the cycle stars to work against you.  Someone actually doing that wouldn't just continue running at a constant speed with the exact same body motion.  The run motion would start to turn into unique actions as he's pushing that cloth aside, preparing to chop through the windmill support, etc.

    The chop through the windmill support is a big issue for a couple of reasons.  All the guy currently does is turn his wrist (at a really awkward and painful angle) as he passes under the windmill so that his sword casually slices through that post as he runs by.  Mechanically, that's not possible.  From a staging standpoint, the fact that the support is cut by his sword isn't clear because all we see is the guy running.  Only after he gets out of the shadow of the platform and we can see the sword angle as he's running over the camera do we kind of understand why the tower is starting to fall.  A more believable approach that fixes both mechanics and staging is for him to stop running, wind up into an obvious swing through that post, then duck out and keep running as the windmill begins to fall.  And that's assuming that we believe that a guy with a sword can actually slice cleanly through a post that thick.  ;)

    You've got a good start on the falling windmill.  Overall it needs to be just a hair slower so that the weight of the thing feels more believable, the falling bits need some tweaking so that gravity feels more appropriate, and it needs some more detail in the animation; i.e. more jostling of pieces against each other.  The windmill blades also mysteriously hover in place for a while while the tower supporting them begins to slide, and then they fall. ;) Frankly, I'd be tempted to run the whole thing through a sim so that I wouldn't have to keyframe all of that stuff, but what you've got is a nice start.

    In the closing shot of the guy hacking at the windmill blades, the guy's motion feels a little slow, almost like the original motion was keyframed at 30fps, but then applied to a scene that's running at 24fps.  It also feels a bit theatrical the way he does that spin slash.  If I were you, I would've chosen an animation clip where the guy was just hacking away, not trying to do fancy acrobatics.  The mechanics of the chopped-off windmill bits also need some work.  The pieces feel like they're just floating into place as they come off.  The first one feels like it might have some bounce off of the windmill base, but even that could use some tweaking so it feels more solid.

  • unknown_001unknown_001 Website User Posts: 149
    edited September 2018

    @jsbarret - Thanks for the response - I really appreciate detailed feedback like this.

    A lot of this I would fix, except I was on a tight deadline for the project. Some of the animation on the knight, like the slice through the pole, couldn't have been fixed - Mixamo keyframed every frame for every joint, including each joint of each finger. It would have taken too long to go through all that. I did try to do a simulation for the windmill collapsing, except Maya kept glitching out and everything fell through the ground plane. For the last shot, I'm not sure why it was so slow. I think what you described is probably what happened. Animation is not my forte, but I'm trying to improve - the bouncing of the chopped pieces would have been a great addition. I would have liked to add small flying woodchips for each slice with a particle simulator, but didn't have time.

    Another project has also just been finished - an Iron Man suit up effect. This was filmed aver a year ago, and I only just got around to working on it, so the actual footage resolution is not great. Here it is:


    On this one, I did do all the animation. I think you can imagine what a pain it was to keyframe each part of the suit - there was one shot that had 9 parts of the suit each moving for 107 frames - that was a nightmare! Fortunately, after a few hours of hard work, I was able to finish it off surprisingly quickly.

    One thing I would like to fix is the last shot, where the head comes on. When the frame flies in, his head and hair are still visible on the edge (outside of the frame). We should have shot this on a tripod and gotten a clean plate, so as to remove that.

    The basic workflow for the video was to export the shot as an image sequence from Hitfilm, and when necessary (only for a few shots) track it in Matchmover. Then I brought that into Maya. I did all the 3d animation in Maya, matching it up to the image sequence of the shot. Then, I rendered each piece as their own layer, so I could have pieces change order in z space in Hitfilm - for example, sometimes in a single shot the arm would have to go in front of then behind the leg, so I rendered them as separate layers so I could do that. I finished compositing in Hitfilm with color correction and light wrap. The sparks and smoke trail were done with the particle simulator and the missile smoke effect.

    Anyone have any thoughts on the video?

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,034 Ambassador
    edited June 2018

    Too much cast shadow when the armor is lying on the ground, and there's tracking drift there, but the actual suit up looks really fantastic. You did a great job on the animation! 

    Yeah, I see some issues with the helmet like you mentioned. You're in Express, right? There are ways to create clean plates when you forgot to film one, but most methods probably require an external photo editor, although Josh goes over some clean plate tips in the Iron Man takeoff video on the Hitfilm YouTube channel. 

    Hand animation is often still the best.  VFX artist Mojo Lebowitz (Babylon 5,Star Trek: Voyager, BSG, Serenity, others - incidentally the first guy to do a shot with Light Wrap) to this day hand animates debris from ship explosions... The only other option would have been to reverse the footage to start with armor ON then used a physics sim to blow the armor off, then reverse THAT!

    Nice work. Impressive. :)

    Tip for lights/shadows. Shadows aren't usually black. Take an eyedropper/color picker tool and sample a deep shadow from the source plate. Then the colors match. Same with light. It's never "pure" white. If there's something "white" in frame (not blown out), sample that for the light color. So, sampling the sidewalk, which is gray, then turning up the brightness in the color picker to 250 will do it.

    Assuming you saw my dissolve tutorial on the Hitfilm YouTube channel a small detail is the cast shadow of Javert (and dust) on the couch. The shadow color is sampled off a shadow area on the back wall. No one really notices the cast shadow, but the shot doesn't look right without it! 

  • CleverTaglineCleverTagline Moderator Las Vegas, NVModerator, Website User, Ambassador Posts: 3,013 Ambassador

    +1 to what @Triem23 said. Nice work overall! 

  • unknown_001unknown_001 Website User Posts: 149
    edited June 2018

    @Triem23 and @jsbarret - thanks for the feedback and comments!

    I am no longer in Express - I was upgraded a few months ago.  I did create a still clean plate for the last shot. If you go frame by frame, when the faceplate comes down you can see the background cut to a clean plate I made. It wasn't quite clean enough for me to use for the beginning of the shot though. (For proof of this, see the car that mysteriously stops in the background on the left!)

    Nice tip for the shadows - I'll try that out. I noticed the tracking drift as well, but at that point I was too far in to the shot that I couldn't fix it.

     Also, I have been working on a poster for my upcoming  shortfilm that I'll post this afternoon.

  • unknown_001unknown_001 Website User Posts: 149
    edited June 2018

    Sorry, never got around to posting the posters - you can see one of the versions on the thumbnail of the short.                  Edit: Never mind, the forum makes the thumbnail look weird.

    Finally, I've finished the short. Here it is:

    This was made during part of an after-school  camp. We had access to much higher quality equipment than we were used to, so it was a ton of fun to film this. The effects were done entirely in Hitfilm Pro (besides one shot where I had to motion track the camera, which was done with matchmover, and the final shot with the hospital.) I used the caustics effect to create the glass wall with a glass texture as the height map. The ground was a plane with fractal noise, and the rising fog was a particle simulation. The crumbling ground utilized the shatter effect - it looked kind of jittery, and I can't figure out why. The key was a 3d model, with auto volumetrics, glow and light rays. 

    For the last shot, I had to fix a big problem - in camera, we did a zoom that was very jittery, and not as smooth as I wanted. So, I tracked it, stabilized it and did a keyframed zoom in and out. I think it looks much better.

    Also for the last shot, I spent hours trying to find a hospital ward 3d model - it was surprisingly difficult. Finally, I found one. I animated it in Maya, and rendered an animation of zooming out . I tracked the footage into that rendered shot, added a heart rate monitor, and it looks pretty good!

    The entire thing took a little less than 2 days to render in Hitfilm, but that's nothing - I've had shots that have taken 11 days!

    Any thoughts on the film?

  • JMcAllisterJMcAllister Website User Posts: 599 Just Starting Out


    I like it.

    to me it kinda feels like it could work as the start of a longer story, but obviously it works on its own as well

  • BobDiMarzioBobDiMarzio Website User Posts: 632 Just Starting Out
  • unknown_001unknown_001 Website User Posts: 149
    edited June 2018

    @JMcAllister and BobDiMarzio - Interesting you guys mentioned that. This was originally (in the script) about three or four times as long, but we had to cut it down since we only had four hours total to film it in.

  • tddavistddavis Moderator, Website User Posts: 4,045 Moderator

    @DIY_Film_Guy Very well done!  I think your falling floor turned out quite nice.  Never would have noticed anything if you hadn't pointed me to watch for it.

  • unknown_001unknown_001 Website User Posts: 149

    @tddavis - Thanks a lot! I'm not sure why this always happens with the shatter effect. Whenever I use it, it ends up looking jittery and shaky... does anyone know why? Has this happened to anyone else?

  • Stargazer54Stargazer54 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador Posts: 2,655 Ambassador
    edited June 2018

    @DIY_Film_Guy Hmmm..... wow.  That's some heavy sh#t.  Good job with working through your challenges.

    Whoever said "youth is wasted on the young"  had no idea what they were talking about.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,034 Ambassador

    Damn, dude, nicr wirk! That's utterly gripping. 

    The Shatter effect, I didn't notice jitter, but I did notice a couple of fragments having a bit of flickering interacting with the light. Try shifting your light between directional and point, see if that helps. 

    If the original script was longer, you chose a good stopping point. You have a self-contained beginning/middle/end that could absolutely continue, but as a stand-alone it works. 

    It's a petty nit but the reuse of the same blood element twice was more noticeable to me than anything with the floor. 

    Nice makeup on the hand. That looked painful. 

    Nice reflection on the glass wall. Subtle, but it really helps. 

    Nice matchmove on the end--great way to transition out of "headspace." Your cleanup made that a super-smooth mood. 

    This is just excellent work. You'll notice your minor glitches because its your film, we'll notice cuz we're VFX geeks and you mentioned the issue. I think anyone else who watches this will just be sucked into the story and enjoy the short. 

    Another great project. Be proud of this one. +1 to @Stargazer54's comments. 

  • CleverTaglineCleverTagline Moderator Las Vegas, NVModerator, Website User, Ambassador Posts: 3,013 Ambassador

    +1 to everything above. That glass wall really looks sweet. One thing that would have amped it up for me would be to have the kid actually hitting a solid surface, rather than pantomiming the hits. Not sure what you used for keying, but if it was a green fabric background, perhaps you could've put some of that fabric over a firm foam pad and hit that.  It might've made the key a little trickier, but it would help to sell the weight and pain of the punches.

  • unknown_001unknown_001 Website User Posts: 149

    @Stargazer, @Triem23 and @jsbarret - Thank you all! 

    I'll try that trick with the light that you suggested, Triem23, but I'm going to leave the short as it is.

     jsbarret - I agree with what you said about having something physical to interact with. We were going to try and do something like that, but forgot during the planning. Having the punches seem forceful against the air was difficult. 


  • CleverTaglineCleverTagline Moderator Las Vegas, NVModerator, Website User, Ambassador Posts: 3,013 Ambassador

    Something else I forgot to mention: his footsteps. He's wearing sneakers, but the foley you used makes it sound like he's wearing something with a really hard sole, like dress shoes.  It's a small thing, but to me it stood out as being a mismatch against the visuals.

  • unknown_001unknown_001 Website User Posts: 149
    edited July 2018

    @jdbarret - That's a good point. We liked the sharp sound of those footsteps, bet I guess we should focus on matching the audio with the visuals.

    Working on scene 2 of Fall of the Resistance, my Star Wars film - progress has slowed quite a bit, but here's what I've done so far:

    I've finished scenes 1, 4, and 5. I'm halfway done with scenes 2 and 3, and I have the basic setup done for scenes 13 and 11. There are 13 scenes total... I'm not even halfway there, and have been working on this for years already.

    I plan on finishing scenes 2 and 3 this summer, which means I will be able to release scenes 2, 3, 4 and 5 on my youtube channel (I've decided to release it kind of like a tv show, with each scene being a short episode.

    Scene two involves a forest battle. I'm working on the stormtroopers - it's taking a while, since they are digital characters. I've finished a pretty VFX intensive shot that took a really long time:

    Animation was done through Mixamo. I arranged, textured and rendered the scene in Maya. The compositing was done in Hitfilm . The background was originally a still photo. I separated it into foreground, middleground and background, and arranged them in 3d space to get a realistic camera movement (not that you can really tell in the shot). The lasers borrowed techniques from Axel's tutorial, and I added red flashes as they passed by the camera. 

    Any thoughts on how to improve the shot?

  • CleverTaglineCleverTagline Moderator Las Vegas, NVModerator, Website User, Ambassador Posts: 3,013 Ambassador

    The shot looks really good as-is.  If there are any improvements to be made, they're going to be tiny.  One thing to consider would be to change up some of the cycles on the troopers. I like that you have a couple guys getting hit. Think of more things that could be done to break them up, like maybe...

    • Have one guy shift his weight a little after a couple shots.
    • One has a brief weapon malfunction, and he messes with it a bit to fix it before continuing to fire.
    • One drops to one knee to fire from that position.
    • One shifts his aim to fire in a different direction (I can't recall if they're firing at a single target or multiple)

    These are just a few ideas.  I don't know what kind of time you've got, but even just one of these would help to make the shot feel that much more natural.

  • unknown_001unknown_001 Website User Posts: 149
    edited December 2018

    @jsbarret - thanks for the feedback, I'll try some of those ideas out.

    Wow.... you know it's been a while when your thread is on the fourth page.

    Starting back in July, I tried to enter a ProductionCrate competition, but was too late. Here's that 'entry':

    That was completely done in Hitfilm Pro, and utilized a lot of productioncrate stock.

    I then entered another ProductionCrate competition, and won:

    Done in Hitfilm, with Maya for the parachute.

    In the summer, I filmed and edited a short entitled 'Forever Ago', that I never got around to sharing.

    The story for this film was really fun to work out - I remember a night where my friend and I talked for two hours straight, only confusing ourselves more. This one was also really fun to edit. There weren't too many VFX - The time-travelling was done in Hitfilm with liberal amounts of displacement, and the knife throw was done in Maya.

    I'm sure almost everyone on the forum has heard about the one minute film challenge from filmriot. My entry for it was overly ambitious, but I surprisingly finished:

    This one was extremely vfx intensive - I was working on it until about 15 minutes before the deadline. A lot of it was fully 3d, which was done in Maya. I then composited the shots in Hitfilm. For the interior scenes, a ridiculous amount of glows and rays were added. I also did a quick breakdown of this:

    I also have filmed multiple other things that are still being worked on, and have a really cool project that I will hopefully be able to reveal soon.

    It's a lot, but I still love feedback! If anyone has any thoughts, please share them.

  • unknown_001unknown_001 Website User Posts: 149

    Also, I've been working on a new set of branding images for the channel after I changed the name from the DIY Film Guy to Excalibur Entertainment. I made a logo with the text effect and some geometry effects, along with the neon path and some texture overlays.

    I'm thinking about redoing it with surface studio - any thoughts on how to improve the design or look of it?

  • CleverTaglineCleverTagline Moderator Las Vegas, NVModerator, Website User, Ambassador Posts: 3,013 Ambassador

    I kind of like it as-is, though the crossed swords almost make it feel like you're spelling EXE. Maybe move the Es side by side, and have the swords larger, sitting behind the Es, and textured differently than the text.

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