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Hash, Inc. Forums > Featured > Special Topics > Subject 99
ernesttx
Good afternoon, Hashers.

I'd like to introduce you to a new webisode animation series that I am working on. It's made completely with Hash A:M. This series started out as a full movie that I was wanting to create. However, as I watched the market place, I felt that it would be a long time before I was able to bring the complete movie to market as a DVD. In rethinking the time I would have to work on it and the production value, I felt that short, web released episodes would be a better way to generate interest and foster a fan base. I also wanted to create a website, much like a televison station, where people could 'tune' into on a regular basis to watch the next show. I have completed 3 episodes so far of this series; and will be introducing a couple of other series in the coming months. I am also working on providing a forum for fans to socialize about the series.

My website is: http://www.animace.biz

So, please enjoy and I hope you will be entertained.
KenH
Hey, that's pretty good. There are a few forgiveable rough edges (walk cycles for one). But over all it's a very good effort. Not a bad story either.
Rodney
Thats pretty impressive as it stands right now.
If you've done this all yourself... even more impressive.
You've obviously put a lot of thought and work into this.

What I noticed above and beyond a very interesting story is that you didn't shy away from some difficult animation.
Each 'actor' has its own unique character too.

You have a lot of little details in there that I would have cringed and tried to work around.
Having the Detective eating ramen noodles for instance.

Personally I'd like to see the shots recut to pick up the pace a little but as a webisode the pace may be just right.

I'm hooked! I want to see what happens next! smile.gif


Added: I see from your blog you are planning to use Luuk's Zign Track. It'll be great to see it in action in a production like yours.

Edited as Ernest clarified that he isn't using Zign Track yet. Which makes these webisodes even more impressive a feat says I!!!
martin
I've seen Episode One before but Episode Three is new!

I'm interested in the story and I think the pacing is fine. Be proud - it's great. More, please.

You might consider carrying a "Special Topic" in the A:M Forum around this production rather than a separate blog on your own site.
ernesttx
Thank you KenH, Rodney and you, Martin, who made it all possible.

Martin: I would love to have a "Special Topic", I'm not sure how to go about it. It'd be nice to have production notes, animation tips, and the like for people to talk about.

Rodney: Yes, I believe walk cycles are my achilles heel right now. I want to spend more time developing them; so, that each character has his/her own style.

KenH: Yes, it is all me. Story, animating, editing, compositing, music, dialogue, etc. Like Martin's dream, one man, one computer. Thank you, also, for noticing what I hoped would be individual character traits of each person. I tried to make sure that each one had at least some individuality. Hehe, actually, the ramen noodle scene was easier than some. Constraints can be your friends. smile.gif I'll be working on the pacing a bit more. I know that some scenes are a bit long in the tooth. I'll pay attention to that as I progress. Also, all of the facial animation is done manually. One of my next steps is to get Luuk's program and put it in the pipeline. A:M does a nice, quick job of lip-sync, but I feel I want my characters to emote more, and I feel that Luuk's program will help accomplish that. I rigged all of the characters to take advantage of it when I do purchase it. Also, if no one has noticed, in the new 3D World magazine, Luuk's program gets a good review.

And thank you everyone else who has viewed the episodes, as well. As I progress in the story, as well as my own skills, I hope to bring more excitement with each episode.
case
Hmm rough around the edges...BUT i'm very interested in this web series!

Nice storyline!!!

Keep us updated!

Case
Bugle
Pretty neat! Are the voices computer generated? Some sounded a bit peculiar in their cadence.
jzawacki
I agree.. (to both statements).. I assumed the voices were all recorded by the same person, and then computer "enhanced" giving the results we hear.
MMZ_TimeLord
Good story so far... I like the style too... Great job!
ernesttx
Thanks to all the above comments. Sorry to get back with you so late. I just arrived back home from a trip to Las Vegas.

Case: It is a bit rough at the moment. All lot of that has to do with the amount of time I am able to dedicate to making it and the deadline I've committed myself to. Now that I have a few things out of the way, I will be able to soften up the rough spots.

Bugle and jzawacki: I was able to listen to the series on a friend's computer with really nice speakers. I was embarrassed by the sound quality in alot of the dialogue. I've only been using the speakers on my laptop for production. Truth be told, it's only my voice, no audio alterations.

I feel that alot of the bad quality has to do with the way I recorded some of the dialogue. I've learned more about recording by picking up pieces here and there. The clearer dialogue comes from using a better microphone and a software compressor. Before, I had a M-Audio MicroTrack 24/96 with a 1/8" stereo mic to record all the dialogue from the first series (i.e., the interrogator parts). For the detective interludes, I am now using a 1/4" pro mic, piped into Ableton Lite and using a basic compressor to record my audio files. In addition, I tried using a compressor effect on some of the older audio files, and I'm not sure it helped.

I also had to learn about Flash and how to create video files that I could import and compress in Flash and then export to .swf files and still have viewable files. The very first episode, I exported from my editing program in Sorenson 3. But, as you can see, the first episode has weird flashing dark and light frames. I've learned that exporting without any compression for VIDEO and audio helps dramatically. As an aside, a 1.6 GB uncompressed file imported into Flash and then exported as .swf, only weighs in at about 16 MB. I'm currently going back and should have a newer Episode 1 out that will correct that.

MMZ Timelord: Thanks for your comment. I spent a good deal of time on the story before heading into production. It's got a deep plot to it. smile.gif

In conjunction with re-editing Episode 1, I've started etching out Episode 4.
ernesttx
I've re-edited Episode 1 to fix the flickering issue and put it up on my site. smile.gif I'll carry a discussion about Episode 4 in a new thread. Also, I'll be discussing the issue of asset management for large projects such as this.
Rodney
QUOTE
I'll be discussing the issue of asset management for large projects such as this.


I'm really looking forward to that!

QUOTE
Truth be told, it's only my voice, no audio alterations


Thats pretty amazing. I might have considered that it was all you at the very beginning but as the webisode went on I settled in with the idea that you had brought in other voice talent.

QUOTE
I spent a good deal of time on the story before heading into production.


I've read various thoughts on the time to be allotted to various stages of filmmaking and it seems most fall in favor of 80/20 ratio with 80 percent of the effort going into preproduction and 20 percent production. Most of us get that backwards and try to jump right into production. That is likely why we fail to produce anything. I'm not sure how the time stacked up for you but there you are... three episodes into your production.

A nice thing about your webisode format/schedule, which you've commented on already, is that you get to refresh the whole process with each episode. What a wonderful way to stay motivated too.

While very different in content your effort reminds me of Tony Lower Basch's 'Nosferatu'.
It was really a treat to see his story come together little by little back in 2000-2002.
Tony has moved on from 'Nosferatu' but you can tell he learned a lot from the experience.
It was a wonderful 'little story' which I think should be made into a film we could see in our local theaters.

http://www.museoffire.com/Nosferatu/index.html

While very different in many ways from Tony's effort... 'Subject 99' has the same feel of substance and underlying quality.
New Quest
Ernest,

Looks good. Would you be interested in an Apprentice?
Jeetman
WOW!! That's really good. Yeah the walk cycles need to be polished a bit but the camera work, your voice acting is really quite good. I really feel that it's definitely good enough for TV. (maybe cartoon network).

Knowing the amount of work it requires to put out a production like this, I'm very impressed with your work. The story drew me in completely.

A VERY good job IMO!!!

George
ernesttx
thank you jeetman for your truly appreciated words. i was feeling a bit down today, but, after reading your comment, i started working diligently. hehe it was enough to motivate me to completing the recording of all the dialog and all the lip sync actions. have you thought about being a motivational speaker hehe
Rodney
QUOTE
i was feeling a bit down today


Hey Ernest,
Don't we all get that way from time to time?
We all go from strength to strength... day by day.

Hang in there.
You've got a built in support group here... more than a few fans of 'Subject 99' too! smile.gif

As you get more and more episodes put together I hope you'll consider extracting shots out of each episode to form something of a trailer...teaser... something for fans new or old. I don't want to distract you from your mission of putting out new episodes but sometime you have to look back and enjoy the progress already made. ...and I say.. so far... so good!


ernesttx
Thanks Rodney. smile.gif
Actually I do have some trailers. I'll see what I can do to get them on the site in the next day or two.
Gerry
Wow, all nice work and very inspiring! I really like the deliberateness of the pacing. It's almost dreamlike.
ernesttx
Just to let everyone know, production is still ongoing. I'll have a some new pictures to show soon. Life has a nasty habit of getting in the way sometimes. smile.gif I should have the episode uploaded in about 5 days. Here's hoping.
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