Wednesday, January 2, 2013

THOUGHTS - 1/2/13

Hello everyone!  Hope you're all doing well.  Let's make 2013 a good year!

So I've been talking and thinking and I'm going to jot down some ideas I've been having.  These are not FINALIZED ideas, so feel free to comment and voice your thoughts as well.  I welcome all input from everyone.


In terms of a back story, I never thought we'd need one for Jeff.  I thought that"nerd" was enough of a character development for what we needed in the film, but I've realized that there are many different "sub-nerds" within the nerd are my thoughts on Jeff:
  • Jeff is very bright, very entitled, very lazy, and of course...very spoiled.  He fails his classes not because he doesn't know or understand material, but because he doesn't see the point.  He suffers from the "I'm smarter than the teacher" mentality.
  • Jeff's identity is pop culture.  He's seen every movie, played every game, seen every tv show and has a bazillion songs on his iPod.  He prides himself on it.  He'll rub it in your face
  • Jeff's age is 21-27.  He graduated from high school (barely) but hasn't gone to college.  He's tired of school and doesn't see the point.  He sees it as a waste of money.  He wants to get into web or graphic design, but lacks the motivation and the drive.  He'd rather tell everyone he's always right about everything, do nothing, and play videogames.
  • Jeff was kicked out of his parents house, most likely by his father.  His mother spoils him.  He's landed a dead-end minimum wage job so he can afford his cheap crappy apartment which his parents found for him, but his whole identity continues to revolve around videogames and pop culture.  When our story takes place, he's basically lost interest in his job.  He's bleeding money, but figures he can just go back to his parents house.  NO motivation for any aspect of his life...except the videogame.  He's an addict.
  • Jeff has won videogame competitions all over and even won the world championship in Japan.  (We need to have a photo of him shaking hands with Japanese businessmen and them handing him a trophy)  It's made him incredibly confident in his ability to pwn noobs.  He's looking for the next challenge.
  • His boss at work will be less hostile than when I pitched the story ("JEFF, IF YOU DON'T SHOW UP YOU'RE FIRED!!")  Now he'll have more pity.  Something like, "Jeff...I know you're really into that game of yours, but sometimes you gotta turn it off.  Sometimes you gotta come to work."  Jeff blows him off, seeing working as lame.
  • Jeff is fat.  I've been jumbling with the idea of making him tall and gangly, but I think he needs to be overweight. If someone has a strong argument as to why his being skinny would be better for the story, I'd love to hear it!

(title is work in progress) 

Not much has been openly discussed about this videogame. 
 I'd love to hear your comments/thoughts/ideas!
When I pitched this story, I saw the game being a side to side, 2D brawler like this:

Street Fighter is the most recognizable fighter game that's out there.  To pull off this look, we'd have "sprites" which I understand are simple looped animations for attacks and a pixelated look. This would create a stark visual contrast from the regular CG world of Jeff and the baby versus the videogame.

Another good example is Marvel vs Capcom:

As an animation program, we want to push ourselves to improve and learn new things.  With that in mind, some have mentioned how doing the videogame old-school pixel style wouldn't be impressive enough on a technical scale.  If we were to make the game in 3D, this is the style and look I'd like to shoot for:


The nice thing about Marvel vs Capcom 3 is that it's 3D, but cell-shaded and very stylized.  This will also create a stark visual contrast between the CG world of the Jeff and the baby and the videogame.  This will be VERY challenging to create this level of speed and frantic all-out craziness.  This will allow effects people to do awesome things.  I chose these screenshots because of the environments.  The environments are 3D, layered, and have cool things going on as well.  Lots to do here.  

One of the major thing we should consider is rigging.  From what I've been told, rigging is always the bottleneck in the production pipeline.  Animators can't animate if the characters can't move.  With that in mind, we might want to re-consider 2D.  Those in our class that want to be 3D character animators will be able to hone their 3D skills on character performances from Jeff, the boy, and the baby.  I realize that "Bothered" will be done in 2D, but if we choose to do 2D animation for the videogame, it certainly won't be the same quality as Bothered.  These would be sprites, simple attacks and quick crazy movements.  It (hopefully) wouldn't detract too much from the Bothered animation team.

This is a videogame called Skullgirl.  It's 2D, but with a cleaner more modern look than the ol' pixel-flavored Street Fighter.  The environments are also layered for added depth.  An idea that comes to my mind is doing the fighting and characters in 2D, effects in 3D, environments in 3D.  Thoughts?


I was walking my aunt's dog and started thinking about what kind of fighter Jeff would play in the videogame.  Here's my idea:


  • His name is "Hal Caliber".  (Maybe Caliber Commando, Capt. Caliber....Fitty Cal?)
    • He's equal parts Solid Snake, Dr. Octopus, and Gun Jack.
  •  Every attack or punch he unleashes fires a gun of some kind (caliber of the rounds...his name is Caliber...get it? *nudge*)He's got BAZILLIONS of guns. Shotguns, rockets, handguns, cannons, name it.
  • It's possible he's got robot arms that have guns on them
  • A good reference for this is the film Equilibrium and Gun Kata (see video)
  • AND OF COURSE...there's the classic:  GUNS, LEATHER, AND SUNGLASSES
  •  When Jeff fights the baby's cute fighter, she'll dodge every shot he makes.  The following clip comes to mind.  Just focus on the beginning part of the video (first 5 or 6 seconds).  The way she dodges is something we could go for.

That's all I've got for now.  Keep working hard, don't be afraid to share any thoughts you have and know that...


  1. I totally thought of Jeff as a "Hipster" Nerd.

    1. What do you mean? (pulls up a chair)

    2. Actually now that i think about it...he could totally be hipster...

    3. He's just super elitest when it comes to pop culture, and especially his video games.

  2. Also, Jeff's character might interesting if we picked one that contrasted him completely like a ninja girl. Usually the "fighting game champions" go for speed. I think it would be a funny contrast if he had the fast ninja type girl and the baby had the "zangief" esque character

  3. I have a few ideas. These are just my opinions so take them as you will. No big deal.

    The beauty of knowing a character's backstory is that it affects everything -- the character design, environment, color, you name it. That's why I love it because it helps dictate what the film will be. I feel that, when you have a clear idea of what the story is, both in what we see and what we don't see, the film has a better chance to feel believable and will resonate more with the viewer. This is just a long way of saying thanks for putting together Jeff's backstory. A brief story behind the baby and her brother/family would be great, too.

    Given what his backstory is, it makes perfect sense for Jeff to be fat. I can't speak for everyone, but I say we should just run with that. I also think if Jeff is so pop culture driven and wants to get into graphic design, he should probably have a few Mondo, or Mondo-like, posters on his wall. If you're unfamiliar with Mondo, here's their site:

    Mondo Posters

    And here's their archive so you can see the posters they've created in the past:

    Mondo Poster Archive

    Jeff strikes me as the kind of guy who approaches money with foolish abandon. And getting a Mondo poster is the epitome of foolish abandon (trust me, I know).

    Regarding the game, I have a few thoughts...

    Something that might be interesting to explore is having two crews -- one to work on the actual film portion with Jeff and the baby, and the other to work on the logistics and creation of the game. Since the game plays such an integral role in the film and in our main character's life, I think we have an obligation to make it believable for not only everyday viewers but gamers as well. This is definitely going to be a challenge -- a fun one, but still a challenge.

    I know I probably sound like a broken record, but what if we collaborated with the film department and went more in the direction of Mortal Kombat? The environment would still need to be designed, but the characters could be live-action actors in costumes and make-up shot against a green screen. They could then be made into digitized sprites based on the footage, as opposed to animated cartoon graphics. The only reason to go that route, however, is if it saves time. If the majority feel that it wouldn't save us any time, then we can go a different way. I will say, however, that I know the film department would love to be more involved with what we do and would probably help us out a great deal if we incorporated live-action. Lots of amazing, talented people in that department. Just something to consider.

    Again, just my two cents. I'm really enjoying the designs that have been posted so far. Keep up the good work!

    1. Good thoughts Herzog! I'd never heard of Mondo posters...but he'd definitely have 'em on his wall. As for Mortal Combat, I'd never even considered doing that. It's definitely sounds way cool. I know we've got some people in the program that do martial arts and could fight for us. That's something to think about for sure!

    2. Excuse me...Mortal *Kombat. My heinous mistake.

    3. I feel that the use live action actors for the video game would be more time consuming than if we actually animated it. We would be requiring additional work just to work in the live action. I also know of a few of us who are looking forward to animating that sequence. I've been asked as to when the video game characters would be designed so they can do test animations. They want this for their portfolio, and we need to give the animators as many chances to animate in different mediums and styles. Going to live action is taking opportunities away from the animators. We may be able to involve them by having them shoot us some nice quality martial arts reference for our animators.

  4. In addition, given the style we are currently working toward, the live action sprites would feel extremely out of place. This is just a thought regarding production design.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Thanks for your thoughts, Kiersten. Again, just throwing it out there to see what sticks. Does anyone else have an opinion?

    3. I understand. Just wanted to give my opinion on the matter. Sorry if I came off a little harsh John, didn't mean to be a total jackweed.

    4. Let's stick to animated, either 2D or 3D and use live action reference. People have already been asking me if they could be filmed for reference and fight choreography.

  5. So I know i'm not like concepty or anything, but as an observer of this blog, I'd like to throw out there... In the very "white" community of BYU and in a caucasian dominated Hollywood it is very easy to draw and think of all concept as white characters... but what if they weren't all white? I think Jeff is a classical stereotype white geek, but how about the baby and boy? Where are they from, do they have to be white? ... just trying to throw that out there. ;) love yah

  6. Naruto Ninja Storm Generations( another super fun fighting game and the art style is simple cell shading. I love the effects in the game as well. The camera is behind the characters in this fighting game, but I think we should stick to a side view fighter in terms of clarity and readability.
    Another alternative to 3d backgrounds in the video game is a background painting split up in layers (Foreground, ground, background, clouds, sky, etc...). Then we could put a parallax effect on the layers to simulate depth as the characters moved across the screen. Anyways, those are just my thoughts.