March 5 2013

After going back and forth with Rabby Teng about music and sfx, the film is completed. There were some rendering problems with After Effects and some banding static on the bottom of some videos but it seemed to be solved when Maya wasn't opened during rendering. H264 was washing out the colors so I went with MPEG2 as the preferred codec. Time to see how TouchFree does on the film circuit!


Feb 21 2013

It only seems fitting to end the film on a good note, rather than more bad luck for our hero. The presentation was well received at the University of Iowa.


Jan 25 2013

The soundtrack is still being worked and it is coming together.


Dec 5 2012

Rendering is in full swing with the 16 computer renderfarm being very stable. The frames are being output at various times and it's difficult to predict the timing. The depth pass is the fastest, sometimes only 1 second while glow and beauty being second at 2-5 minutes per frame. AO seems to take the longest, sometimes 30 minutes per frame. However, it too varies and it doesn't seem to dependent on the complexity of the scene. The film is passed on to Rabby Teng, the musical composer.


Nov 11 2012

After taking a month long break from nparticles, I was at it again. This time I recorded all the settings for the water and the results were a lot better.

The water was very unpredictable but trying a different software package to simulate water seems too much. I wasn't able to secure a water specialist to help on the project. Some hacks had to be used to be able for Maya to handle all the polygons

Oct 25 2012

Found that the lights in the original bathroom were too much since one of the students who helped model, created an area light for each ceiling light, totaling about 16. This is how it looks

Removed the area lights and tested with an ambiet light to try and create a similar effect but it's dark

A directional light

A point light gives the closest comparison to the 16 area lights while keeping the rendering down to almost half

Started to think about the lighting inside one of the stalls, and blue seemed fitting.


Oct 7 2012

Working in the details in the lighting to create a separation between the bathroom and outside airport. To make the bathroom seem more sterile, I opted to go with a blue tint while keeping the outside warmer, with pinks and yellows.

Sept 28 2012

AO now being rendered. It took me a while to figure out why it wasn't rendering. The renders were also too even contrast, making the footage very dark, so I went in and changed the AO shader options so I can just get the darks. All the passes take very long to render, so I can imagine the entire film will take about a full 24 hours to render on a 56 core renderfarm. It would render a lot faster on SW, which I might consider again but with lighting basically taken out of the pipeline, it's hard to leave it.

The depth pass was also very grainy, which is fine at the first render @ 16. This took 17 seconds to render on my dual Xeon.

32 sample renders at 23 seconds

64 is the smoothest and renders at 34 seconds.


Sept 25 2012

The new washroom with shorter sinks and less bulky power outlets and faucets. The bigger faucets were covering the hands, making it harder to read the animation.

The bathroom walls were updated to have MR materials, giving it a lustre, more sophisticated look.


Sept 24 2012

More rendering and with 30 seconds to render in MR without FG, it was time to move on to that since I was getting very big differences in brightness without it. .

The odd shadows being created by the ceiling lights.

And turning off the shadows fixedt that while relying on only 1 key light to generate the sharp shadow (which I will change later)

The outside terminal will have a warmer color to suggest a better environment.

The differences between the blue and red

The bleed from the washroom (bathroom for Americans) shows a subtle but effective approach.


Sept 21 2012

Really starting to move with rendering, with the renderfarm at almost 100%, it's fast and very efficient. This is the MR render without glow.

And here it is with glow. I'm going to put the glow on its own pass but it looks great.
The different light colors shown below.
White light

Blue light


Sept 17 2012

The different water effects. Luckily it's all pretty self explanatory with the fields being in english. Made in particles ... not the effect I was going for.

nDynamics - omni emitter ... not so good

Volume emitter with polygon conversion. Looks ok, but the MR water shader isn't working right.

Water with lower transparency. Looks better.

The water with rigid bodies. Looks very thick ... I'm taking a break.


Sept 15 2012

The hand dryer gets a remix to look more sleek to match the overall design of the bathroom. This is the 4th version of the prop. Makes you wonder how I can get this version from the first go around. Currently fixing lighting and reflection issues as I wait for the female rig. The first pass of animation is complete and it helps clean up the editing as I continue to cut frames from the animation.

Sept 14 2012

Fur is hanging in MR so I went in to see what was going wrong. I ended up making some change to the lion, the hair is more reminiscent of a scruffy dude and I gave him a fur moustache. Rendering is about 8 seconds in low res/quality.


Sept 13 2012

Even lighting in the bathroom but I noticed it was missing the bounce. In SW the renders need it, but maybe in MR, it won't matter. Had to think about the light color now, with giving the concourse a warmer color, seem more inviting than the stale and prison-like bathroom. SW rendering of the film at 360p is a little over 2 hours for 7000 frames, which is insanely fast on a 48 core Xeon renderfarm. Sure beats Junkboxx, which took over 24 hours @ 1080p on a 120 i7 renderfarm. That film was twice as long though.


Sept 10 2012

Had to do a little research to find a Summer outfit color and design for the wife. I felt I was playing the Sims or something ...


Sept 7 2012

Did some more tests with SW and MR and MR with FG. The render times are about double + for MR with FG but the results look great. SW renders give almost the same light readings as with MR in the church, but that's not the case in the airport concourse

SW render ... 12 seconds

MR render ... 25+ seconds ...

MR with FG ... 26 seconds. Worth it!

SW render ...

MR but the lights are blown out ...

Fixed the MR

FG lightens up the dark spots.. Still debating how the MR pipeline will speed up the process. It seems there a lot more steps but it allows lighting to be more forgiving and it def looks great.

Sept 3 2012

I had the choice to buy stock footage of confetti but after some research, I ended up making it in 3D using nCloth.


Sept 2 2012

Rendering this week and getting the passes set up! That's right! I'm rendering in Mental Ray with some help (Thanks AJ)

Sept 1 2012

Test renders with an ambient lighting set up

Then with a key, still in software rendering - render taking 14 seconds

Then in mental ray (final gather - basic) - rendering taking 41 secs but looks the best

Aug 27 2012

First pass of animation is almost complete. The animation of the film is straight forward so I was able to pull off the first pass in about 9 days, which is a lot faster than it was with Junkboxx. I'm trying some new animation techniques with overlapping animation and followthrough and the animation is coming out very smooth. Pass 2 will involve spacing and tweaking any unclear poses.


July 16 2012

It's been a very busy Summer and the time away from the film the last month really helped me with getting fresh eyes. The film is being cut further and I got more feedback by showing it to a couple of highschool groups in Philadelphia. Their feedback was also very encouraging.


June 3 2012

Editing the film like a villian, cutting about 1 minute from the previous edit.

May 27 2012

The new church environment after removing the stock image and putting my photograph from a visit to Albi in France, the home of Toulouse Latrec.


May 20 2012

After posting on some forums for help, I didn't get any for the environment so I went in and did what I could. I'll add more as the shots get laid out.


May 14 2012

We're still modeling some last final props, by Travis D.


May 2 2012

AJ's current lighting and rendering progress. Nice work! Frames ar rendering at 1 min per frame.


Apr 25 2012

The dinosaur robot after getting a makeover on the car and some insight on the rigging. Since he's sitting during his appearance, it made things faster.


Apr 24 2012

Tyler Fermelis came through and gave me a base model to work from. I really had to think about how cartoon characters are proportionately different from 'realistic' models. Chris' model was a great start.

The model Chris was working on.

Tyler's original model

My edit


Apr 16 2012

Rerigging some of the characters and building 'blendshapes' from visbility of facial features is working very well. The issue is trying to focus on some of the cute characters and some of the irony of situations. Blocking the animation and timing is moving very well, at frame 4600. Hiroshi sent me a cupcake character, so why bother reinventing the wheel?


Apr 12 2012

The evolution of the bubble tea character. I took the character Ross built and made some changes. The big thing improvement over last projects is that student work is easier to edit than before. I spent time trying to remember how to use Illustrator and the path tool.


Apr 9 2012

This is a great example of reusing models. The dinosaur was meant to cover 'skinny' from Junkboxx but I ended up keeping the robot with the afro the same. This left this base mesh to be used for another film, like this one. Travis has been working on this and his latest version is perfect for the film. With wheels, the animation of this character will be low.


Apr 8 2012

The evolution of the cupcake character. Since Hiroshi already has something like this, I may go to him to finish this character off. Texturing still needs work but still a good base mesh from Ross.


Apr 1 2012

I needed more characters so I went through Hiroshi's database and picked these out. What was my reasoning? The uniqueness, cuteness factor and appeal. These characters are just dying to be animated! Having access to such amazing talent has made me reconsider how much time I want to invest in students to develop for future works.


Mar 27 2012

The creation of my favorite animal in the world: a dolphin. The one on the left Travis built with my modifications on the right. The one on letf seems abit like a penguin.

Super cute now, with paint done in Mudbox ... a major achievement in speeding up UV layout and texturing ...



Mar 27 2012

The only character I have modeled myself, taking 2 hours to model, texture and rig. Trying to match up with the designs of the other characters was the most difficult part of the process.

Mar 26 2012

The airport waiting area ... where the wife is waiting ...

To pay homage to the midwest, I designed this character. It is still a major work in progress, and may not make the cut into the final film.


Mar 19 2012

The bomb girl is transformed to girl with front pack since the film is a mild dose of reality. I can't decide, but the girl will probably give water to her pack.

The initial design of the wife character. The one on the left Chris built and the right is what I did afterwards. With the 'fix' taking over 3 hrs, it has raised some issues. Organic modeling is still the most difficult task for students. I am currently in talks with Tyler Fermelis, Senior Modeler from Secret Identity studios to model a female character.


Mar 5 2012

The first initial designs of the aircrafts seen at the airport.


Feb 29 2012

The last piece of the main washroom. Set driven key was created for creating the bathroom doors to slide and be 'occupied.'

Feb 24 2012

With Junkboxx out of the way, I have more time to be in the 'trenches' so to speak, creating this church for the opening sequence in under 2 hours. The environments are now texture based rather than extensive modeling, a major change from previous films. This has sped up workflow and will speed up rendering.


Feb 22 2012

Most of the characters are now rigged but it's difficult to determine their method of walking since some have such short limbs. I'll be doing some tests to see the amount of controll needed for these characters. Skinning has been a problem and I've been looking at different plug-ins to help.


Feb 20 2012

The redesign of the hand dryer, which is still a WIP.


Feb 9 2012

The bathroom is really starting to come together.


Feb 16 2012

One of the last characters to be designed. Who doesn't like the commercialization of Christmas?


Feb 13 2012

This character was heavily influenced from a trip to Japan. I love pizza ... This is the before:

and after:


Feb 6 2012

The additional props are coming well along. The GUI needs to be redesigned.

Jan 30 2012

The bathroom elements are being modeled and it's hard to predict what the future would have but this is a start.

I think it would be a cool concept to have a billboard walking into the bathroom, suggesting the realism of advertising nin the future. But the bulk of this character doesn't seem to be working right now.

The irony of this character adds to the silliness of the film's main storyline.

Each character is designed to have a back story or life.

Dec 9 2011

By this point, almost 13 models are finalized and the team is asked to come up with some bathroom designs. The session lasts about 45 minutes and we come up with drawings that I pass to Jeremy to have him implement the designs. Rigging is the next step and while some characters will be rigged, most won't to keep a cartoony and random effect that the film is stylized after.

Dec 6 2011

The current design of the football robot. Still needs some eyes but a fun design for now.

Dec 1 2011

So the lion dog now has a role in the society.

The final design of the astronaut, a character which will be window washing the outside of the bathroom.

Nov 29 2011

Faysal moves to the hard surface modeling and creates a football robot. Again, a pretty random design but it works well with his strengths.

Chap continues where Jeremy left off. It's interesting to think of the design of a character when it's built by two totally different people.

The lion dog gets a change in proportions to make him more appealing and cute. He doesn't have a role in the film though.

The almost final design of the 'mind sweeper.' The colors seem to work a lot better too.

Nov 27 2011

Another update on the business alien and the added props.

I ask Travis to give an attempt at creating a dog lion. The first go by Faysal doesn't work out but this one does.

Nov 22 2011

Sometimes, you hire someone not thinking too much into it and they surprise you with their skills, like Ross had done. Other times, a student doesn't match the skillset of the rest of the team or the chemistry. It's hard to let people go like that.

This model is the first from another student, Chap. It originally was to be 4 arms but has changed a bit.

Nov 16 2011

After playing some email tag with Hiroshi, he sends the models over. I really think the film could be built around all of his characters but it would be too easy.

Nov 15 2011

It's always hit and miss when you ask a student to help on a huge project like this. It's also the job of the director to use each person's strength. After seeing Faysal's modeling, it's apparent that his skillset is in hard surface designs.

The other character designs as it wouldn't be an intergalatic airport washroom without some weird alien type characteers.

Nov 14 2011

The characters in the film can be totally random, but their role in this 'society' must mirror that in your typical airport.

Oct 28 2011

The team meets every week and it takes about 2-3 weeks to get a model created and textured.

Oct 20 2011

The initial design of the bathroom ... It doesn't have to be fancy but the idea of getting inspiration from Japan with all their advancement in technology seems fitting.

Oct 19 2011

The character again ... but with color changes.

Oct 6 2011

Another design, by student Jeremy Griffin. This character is inspired by Hiroshi.

Sept 28 2011

I often wonder when students graduate, if I'll get any new ones that blow me out of the water. Travis Drilingas is one of those guys. He is able to produce work without a sweat. This first series of characters.

Sept 20 2011

In my search for references, I come across the work of Hiroshi Yoshi. His body of work is so impressive, I decide to email him, just for kicks, since I know he's living in Japan and maybe doesn't know English. I propose the idea of working together, using some of his character designs and my passion for creating short films. He emails me back in a day ....

Sept 1 2011

After a long summer of going to different film festivals around the world, I realize that a short film should be brief and have the marketability to become a full length feature. I am pretty bored so I assemble a team of students to produce a new short film. These students are from a basic 3D modeling class. They only have 4-8 weeks of experience but their drive is contagious.