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Pre-visualisation: preview of the next FXhome tutorial DVD!

Posted: Thu, 11th Jun 2009, 1:04pm

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Simon K Jones

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Using Pre-vis in Post-Production

This article will take a brief, introductory look at using some basic pre-visualisation techniques to aid the post-production phase of intensive visual effects projects.

Post-production on visual effects movies can be extremely intensive and time consuming, with shots requiring a complex interaction of different elements from several sources. With some elements dependent on others, the trick is in avoiding bottlenecks that will hold up the entire production.

A basic, traditional post-production workflow looks more-or-less like this:

1. Capture your footage.
2. Create a rough cut of your project in your NLE, so you know which shots you’re using and don’t waste time adding effects to stuff that will get cut out later.
3. Export the effects shots to whichever programs you’re using and generate your effects.
4. Render out the completed effects and slot them into place on your NLE timeline.

This workflow is fine if you have a handful of localised effects shots but can quickly become rather convoluted if you’re dealing extensively with greenscreen sequences or composited characters, whereby crucial parts of shots might be ‘missing’. How do you create even a rough edit when most of your shots don’t yet contain the correct timing and framing?

I’ve recently been dealing with these exact problems during the creation of the next FXhome ‘Learn’ DVD, which is tentatively titled Learn: Sci-fi Adventure. Following in the footsteps of the Learn: Beach Landing & Superheroes DVD, the new one focuses specifically on the sci-fi genre, taking its cues from all your favourite space operas and guiding you through the creation of some classic visual effects.

My god, it’s full of green

Assault on Igneos, the short film that accompanies the tutorial, is a 2m30s actionfest set on an alien planet populated by evil cloned soldiers (played by Chris Puttock of Beach Landing fame) and follows an unsubtle infiltration by a highly skilled, monk-like character (played by stuntman Adam Kirley, who you may have seen in such films as Casino Royale, Indy 4, Terminator: Salvation and, er, FXhome’s Superheroes).



Although we’d initially intended to shoot on a real location, access issues resulted in us filming the entire short in a makeshift greenscreen studio. While I’ve obviously shot a large amount of greenscreen over the years, it was the first time I’d had an all-greenscreen project. In the end it was quite appropriate as it largely mirrors the way the Star Wars prequels were shot, but it has led to some challenges in post.

Guesswork editing

Every project I’ve ever worked on, I’ve followed the workflow mentioned above. Once I embarked on compiling a rough edit of Assault on Igneos, however, it quickly became apparent that it wasn’t going to be so easy.

Some shots that would eventually contain three characters only featured a single actor, making it largely impossible to time the editing of the shot before completing some of the compositing. A lightsword fight halfway through had no sense of geometry, every angle cutting to a near identical green room, with the actors seeming to shift positions in a disjointed manner. Shooting greenscreen also tends to result in a lack of good coverage, reducing the amount of improvisation that can occur on a real set or location.



A very, very rough edit was assembled, partly through guesswork. It made for surreal viewing, everything lacking context and any sense of pacing or excitement. It was impossible to judge whether the edit was successful.

The conundrum is that the finished backgrounds won’t be ready for a considerable time, as work on them could only start once the rough edit was available. Working with just the green background wasn’t a viable option – from effects, sound, music and editing standpoints it’s too vague.

World placeholders

Keying out the green wasn’t the solution either – in that case the short became even more abstract, with character floating in a black void. Some kind of background was needed, which is why I turned to the idea of pre-visualisation for the first time.



Pre-vis uses rough, temporary elements to depict the framing and atmosphere of a shot, in the absence of the final pieces. It’s normally used in pre-production to outline a scene prior to filming, which can be useful if lots of visual effects are involved, or if timing is crucial. The pre-vis can show actors and crew exactly what is supposed to happen in the scene far more effectively than the bare script. In this case it would help all those working on the film get a better idea of the finished product, and would provide valuable reference to the artists creating the final backgrounds.

Although I originally intended to sketch the backgrounds by hand, I realised early on that even this would be too time consuming and inaccurate, given the number of different angles involved. While the hand-drawn approach might have been useful to give the short some context, it wouldn’t be of any use to the background artists.

Google Sketchup

If you’ve never used Google’s free 3D software Sketchup, now’s the time. Even if you’re already familiar with more fully featured 3D software, Sketchup still provides an incredibly quick and efficient workflow for creating quick mock-ups. Meanwhile, if you’ve never touched 3D before, Sketchup provides an extremely easy interface that works off intuitive architectural design concepts rather than standard 3D modelling techniques.



Using Sketchup’s tools I was able to create a low detail, 3D versions of the film’s locations. Once the basic geometry was created I could then move and rotate the camera to any position, allowing for all the different angles to be created easily and vastly faster than having to draw each one from scratch.



The Sketchup renders were then imported into VisionLab along with the greenscreen video and composited together. Additional elements of photographic reference were used to complete the shots, resulting in a rough cut that finally made sense to a viewer.

All the other effects in the shots can be worked on to their final detail level, while the pre-vis is handed over to the artists responsible for the final, full quality backgrounds. Once the finished backgrounds are ready they can simply be dropped in to replace the pre-vis versions.



Conclusions

I’ve definitely found this to be a very efficient way to work with extensive greenscreen projects, providing the level of detail you need to complete your rough cut and to give context to shots, without having to wait for the final versions of background elements.

When we were at NAB last month several filmmakers were singing the praises of Sketchup for use as a set and lighting guide. The DP on the television show 24 frequently uses it to test out lighting setups, for example.

We’ll have more about Assault on Igneos and the Learn: Sci-Fi Adventure DVD in the near future!
Posted: Thu, 11th Jun 2009, 2:10pm

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Axeman

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Good stuff, Tarn. Looking forward to the finished product.
Posted: Thu, 11th Jun 2009, 3:40pm

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Terminal Velocity

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This is some nice stuff.
Posted: Thu, 11th Jun 2009, 5:13pm

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Biblmac

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Wow this is really cool! Looking forward to this!
Posted: Thu, 11th Jun 2009, 5:31pm

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spydurhank

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Holy crap. I drooled on my keyboard. eek
Great job! Can't wait.
Posted: Thu, 11th Jun 2009, 5:36pm

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DVStudio

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Damn! That looks amazing! Can hardly wait!! smile
Posted: Thu, 11th Jun 2009, 9:33pm

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Mike Q

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DAMN THESE CAPITALS. There's another item going on the wish list; looking good.
Posted: Thu, 11th Jun 2009, 10:15pm

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TheOutlawAmbulance

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Can you get the Training video up before July 9th? Thanks FXhome! This is gonna be good!!!
Posted: Fri, 12th Jun 2009, 1:54am

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AwesomeFist

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lol i use google sketchup alot good to hear that it can be used in good films and it could also work better if you drop it in a render which some realistic renders have been made for skectup
Posted: Fri, 12th Jun 2009, 6:55am

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Redhawksrymmer

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Looking really really good biggrin Can't wait to see how the final product turns out - will be buying a copy of it, that's for sure.
Posted: Fri, 12th Jun 2009, 7:10am

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rogolo

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Storm Grenade wrote:

Can you get the Training video up before July 9th? Thanks FXhome! This is gonna be good!!!
Posted: Fri, 12th Jun 2009, 7:56am

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Simon K Jones

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awesome fist productions wrote:

lol i use google sketchup alot good to hear that it can be used in good films and it could also work better if you drop it in a render which some realistic renders have been made for skectup
Yeah, we're not using Sketchup for the final renders of the backdrops, it's just being used for this previs stage. So realistic rendering isn't required at this point.
Posted: Fri, 12th Jun 2009, 8:05am

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spydurhank

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Dude! I haven't messed with the lighting engine all that much but I've gotta say... that lighting looks pretty damned bad-ass!!! eek
Posted: Fri, 12th Jun 2009, 8:21am

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Simon K Jones

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Yeah, it's the first time I've fiddled extensively with the lightning engine, and it's been fun! The version you see in the previs is actually an old version and it's since been tweaked a bit to be more 'authentic' and a bit subtler. Well, as subtle as lightning emerging from a man's fingers can be, at least.

Thanks for all the comments guys! I really hope you like the short film when it's finished, as well as the tutorial DVD. I think it's going to be bigger and better than the Beach/Superheroes one.
Posted: Fri, 12th Jun 2009, 10:20am

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spydurhank

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Any idea on the price and will it be available from Tubetape?
Waiting 2 weeks for shipping is worse than torture.
Posted: Fri, 12th Jun 2009, 10:31am

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Simon K Jones

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We haven't confirmed a price yet, but it'll probably be similar to the Beach Landing/Superheroes DVD - so around $29.99. It might vary from that, though, depending what ends up on the final DVD.

We certainly hope Tubetape will sell it, although again I can't confirm that at this point. It depends if they like the finished product or not. smile
Posted: Fri, 12th Jun 2009, 1:39pm

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spydurhank

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I'm 100% positive that I'm gonna like it. biggrin
Posted: Fri, 12th Jun 2009, 3:50pm

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TubeTape

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We WILL have it available in alignment with FXhome's release & are also very excited for its arrival!! The preview's making us drool over here in the US as well:) Keep checking in - we'll have it listed under "Video-Instructional".
Tarn - we are opting to wait until it's finished before selling it wink
Posted: Mon, 15th Jun 2009, 6:06pm

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GriegroStudios

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Looks really good there! Can't wait! I think I'll stick to blender though because I find it really easy to use! smile
Posted: Mon, 15th Jun 2009, 6:45pm

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spydurhank

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GriegroStudios wrote:

Looks really good there! Can't wait! I think I'll stick to blender though because I find it really easy to use! smile
I think their just using that other program for a quick mock up of how they want the cgi to look. They don't actually use it in the final render.
Posted: Tue, 16th Jun 2009, 8:21am

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Simon K Jones

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Yeah, we'll most likely be using a combination of Photoshop and Cinema4D for the final backgrounds, all composited inside VisionLab.
Posted: Tue, 16th Jun 2009, 6:27pm

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djswallow

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How do you 'Background Artists' actually make the backgrounds?

Can't wait for it to come out!
Posted: Tue, 16th Jun 2009, 6:30pm

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djswallow

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Sorry, I didn't read Tarn's previous entry - I thought there was only 1 page

silenced
Posted: Tue, 16th Jun 2009, 6:44pm

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spydurhank

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1. In a photo editor... Matte paintings such as stitching photos together in a panorama type thing for set extensions, overlay elements from different photos on top of each other to change a background or scene, paint one from scratch. Use a lot of textures... it helps.

2. You can apply all of the above to a 3d app, to add depth and realism by adding matte paintings to a plane or surface for camera projection.

3. Oh and you can use miniatures as well. Buildings and vehicles.

I use the first one, Not so good at the 3d app one yet but I'm getting there. Have yet to try and make a miniature yet but I want to.
Posted: Tue, 16th Jun 2009, 6:50pm

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Sollthar

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How do you 'Background Artists' actually make the backgrounds?
I model everything in Cinema4D, apply textures, materials and light to it and deliver a 3D background plate.

Here's a WIP, with photoshopped lights which won't make the final version. And the textures and colors aren't quite final yet either.

Posted: Tue, 16th Jun 2009, 7:07pm

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spydurhank

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Wow Solthar! eek
That's beyond bad-ass man! biggrin
Very awesome and impressive work you've got there.
One day I hope to be that good.
Posted: Tue, 16th Jun 2009, 9:05pm

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Terminal Velocity

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That is beyond awesome! Makes me even more excited about learning Blender. How long did it take you to get that good?
Posted: Tue, 16th Jun 2009, 9:36pm

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rogolo

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Richard III wrote:

Makes me even more excited about learning Blender.
Hmmm.....

Sollthar wrote:

I model everything in Cinema4D
Though you can get great results with Blender, the general consensus is that it's pretty tough to pick up. However, there are loads of tutorials if you are vigilant. C4D is more user friendly, but costs a few hundred dollars more than Blender.

Last edited Tue, 16th Jun 2009, 9:40pm; edited 1 times in total.

Posted: Tue, 16th Jun 2009, 9:38pm

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Atom

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I have to say, while this is cool and all, I can't help but be a little........I guess the word is.........underwhelmed.

Lightsaber duel, guys? I just feel like that's such an immensely tired idea, you know, and not the best way to show off the products. But hey, maybe that's just me. It is really cool you're modeling these landscapes and shooting on greenscreen- I'd just like to see something more (or at least different) than a lightsaber fight come out of it all.
Posted: Tue, 16th Jun 2009, 10:56pm

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ben3308

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Please............we've all been waiting for the 'official' FXhome lightsaber battle for years - I'm just glad we're finally going to be able see it! biggrin
Posted: Tue, 16th Jun 2009, 11:08pm

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Axeman

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Based on what was included in the Beach Landing & Superheroes DVD, Atom, I'm sure there will be more than just a lightsaber fight. Plus, its a lightsaber fight with Adam Kirley, not just a couple crazy kids waving sticks in the backyard.
Posted: Wed, 17th Jun 2009, 3:34am

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Atom

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Mmmmm, this doesn't really sell it for me either, though.

We've heard time and time again, from the FXHome guys, Sollthar, many others, myself even- that lightsaber duels are tired and lame these days to do- even when done well (RvD2 was even a 'meh' reaction due to this, and it was quite expertly orchestrated). You can't really make the 'yeah, well this isn't little kids' argument, because we've/they've all been saying none of this matters- it's just a tired idea- for a year or two now.

Which perplexed me when I saw the content of this previs work. The question used to be asked 'why not do something different? creative? original?' Nowadays those quesions are a given and the real one is 'why do something so overdone and forgotten/on-the-decline?

I tend to extend that question to the FXHome guys- why the choice to stage a lightsaber scene, among all the choices and possibilities you have? I'm not trying to dis it, really, it all looks quite excellent and has great- from what I've seen-production values and visual effects. So why limit yourselves to something that's obviously going to pigeonhole you into the 'Star Wars fanfilm' niche once again? Even on a tutorial- why not cover something more inventive or different like, say, some of the Bladerunner or Minority Reports effects? Or perhaps something more in-line with the superhero genre again, like Iron Man blasts or rocketboots flying? You know, with wider use or more relevance?

Just curious, don't mean to offend.
Posted: Wed, 17th Jun 2009, 4:56am

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Sollthar

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Though I just make the backgrounds and have nothing to do with the decision what the video's about, the answer to "why a lightsaber duel" is simple: It's what a lot of users still make with the software. And since this is supposed to be a tutorial DVD covering what many users will want to make and not an original shortfilm - it's going to be a lightsaber duel.

If that doesn't sell for you, that's fine - don't get it. I'm sure it doesn't sell for others either (Including me). But that's why there's several of the tutorial DVD's with several focuses. So everyone has at least something to chose from.

There's nothing more to it then that really. At least as far I'm concerned. Though maybe Tarn can go into more detail with the answer, if there actually is more detail.
Posted: Wed, 17th Jun 2009, 5:51am

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Axeman

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I return to my original point, which was that I'm sure there will be other types of effects represented in the tutorial.
Posted: Wed, 17th Jun 2009, 8:20am

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Simon K Jones

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First off, I'd like to thank Sollthar for coming onto the project at the last minute to help out with the backgrounds. He's doing some great work. biggrin

Sollthar wrote:

Though I just make the backgrounds and have nothing to do with the decision what the video's about, the answer to "why a lightsaber duel" is simple: It's what a lot of users still make with the software. And since this is supposed to be a tutorial DVD covering what many users will want to make and not an original shortfilm - it's going to be a lightsaber duel.
Exactly. Although this stuff doesn't do it for everyone there's still a massive market out there looking for content.

If I was making a short film for myself I certainly wouldn't be making it lightsword-inspired, but the point of this, as Sollthar says, is to illustrate how to do certain effects in our software, and a scifi-fantasy action sequence is still one of the best ways to do that, and it'll interest a large number of people.

Plus, as Axeman pointed out, out of all the tutorials on the DVD only one will be about lightsabers. smile

With anything you do you're not going to be able to interest everybody. The bottom line is:

If that doesn't sell for you, that's fine - don't get it.
smile
Posted: Thu, 18th Jun 2009, 2:19am

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Terminal Velocity

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I think lightsaber fights are exhausted not because of the concept, but the execution. Most lightsaber fights tend to be stick banging, fancy flourishes and ridiculous moves. However, with an element of more physical combat and brutality added to them, as well as an application of Force powers, I think they still have a long way to go.
Posted: Thu, 18th Jun 2009, 3:13am

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spydurhank

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Exactly dude.
To make something like that look good, it takes more than just stick banging as Richard put it. It seems more often than not... when I see someones Saber duel, its like their just poorly touching blades and spinning around in an attempt to make it look pretty and flashy without much thought going into the dynamics of the fight itself such as actual sword play, stances and footwork to name a few.

I know this isn't the case with the tutorial dvd, as I know much more thought will be put into it but to everyone else... you can't just throw 2 guys in a scene and have them wave some Saber props around and hope it looks good.

Sometimes you have to train one or both of the actors how to properly and realistically wield a blade, oh gosh... and also remember the choreography. I know this to be a fact and it takes a bit of time to get it down right.

Anyway I'm very sure and with all confidance say that the dvd is gonna be great. biggrin

Tarn... don't make me a liar.
Posted: Thu, 18th Jun 2009, 8:27am

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Simon K Jones

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spydurhank wrote:

Tarn... don't make me a liar.
Hehe, no pressure, then? smile

I hope you guys like the short film when it's done, it's one of the most ambitious things I've worked on to date.

I'll try to post up some more work in progress pics as the project nears completion.
Posted: Thu, 18th Jun 2009, 9:17pm

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TheOutlawAmbulance

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spydurhank wrote:

Exactly dude.
To make something like that look good, it takes more than just stick banging as Richard put it. It seems more often than not... when I see someones Saber duel, its like their just poorly touching blades and spinning around in an attempt to make it look pretty and flashy without much thought going into the dynamics of the fight itself such as actual sword play, stances and footwork to name a few.

I know this isn't the case with the tutorial dvd, as I know much more thought will be put into it but to everyone else... you can't just throw 2 guys in a scene and have them wave some Saber props around and hope it looks good.

Sometimes you have to train one or both of the actors how to properly and realistically wield a blade, oh gosh... and also remember the choreography. I know this to be a fact and it takes a bit of time to get it down right.
Check out this video of 2 people called "Ryan VS. Dorkman"! Sounds cheesey but the moves are even better than the movies. Here is the first movie and here is the second. Don't forget to watch in HQ! Also here is the link to Ryan Wieber's website!-Storm
Posted: Thu, 18th Jun 2009, 11:23pm

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Bolbi

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Storm Grenade wrote:

Check out this video of 2 people called "Ryan VS. Dorkman"!
wall <-- His head against the wall.

/back to topic/

I don't really know how to react. I think we all have secretly made a lightsabre vid, and we all have seen it done. Again. And Again. And once more. I love the modeling and landscaping parts, but maybe you guyzos could have gone a little more... refreshing.
Posted: Fri, 19th Jun 2009, 1:11am

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Atom

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For me, again not to offend, but it's less a matter of you guys making a lightsaber movie/tutorial and more of begging the question if it's so exhausted, where's the market to learn lightsword effects? It would seem to me, like star-wipe transitions and mosaic filters on videos, lightsaber are just done. Over. For most people.

Again, with all due respect, I just don't see it.
Posted: Fri, 19th Jun 2009, 2:11am

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jawajohnny

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I dunno, Atom. I think there are plenty of 10-year-old Star Wars fans who want to make their own lightsaber duel. New fans, or filmmakers in general, aren't going to understand that lightsaber duels are a "tired" idea, when they've only just discovered the concept.
Posted: Fri, 19th Jun 2009, 2:41am

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Atom

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I guess....
Posted: Fri, 19th Jun 2009, 8:55am

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Simon K Jones

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Yeah, there's plenty of lightsabery people out there still.

However, you're missing a vital point: This DVD isn't a lightsaber tutorial DVD. Lightsabers occupy one tutorial on the disc and the actual lightsaber fight in the short film is relatively short.


Anyway, while we're on this topic: What genres/themes/techniques/etc would you guys like to see in future tutorial DVDs we put together?
Posted: Fri, 19th Jun 2009, 4:17pm

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ben3308

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Alls I know is that I enjoyed the hell out of the Beach Landing tutorial. Just sayin'. wink

So from this standard, another, differently-themed war concept, or maybe something in the vein of Lucky Strike? I'm aware it's harder to show the effects in these instances, but that doesn't make them not visual effects bonanzas. When I think of cool, crazy visual effects used in relatively low-key contexts, I think Tony Scott. Basically, if you can mimic something like Tony Scott in terms of visual effects (crazy gunshots, robberies, satellite tracking HUDs, insane keyframed grading and masking, etc) you'll have me even more sold! biggrin
Posted: Fri, 19th Jun 2009, 4:32pm

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Simon K Jones

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Hm, interesting idea, Ben. I like the concept of doing a tutorial DVD that is all about 'invisible effects'. ie, not a war movies/superhero movie/scifi movie/etc, but something that on the surface looks 'normal'....then peel away the layers to show the clever stuff.

Here comes the magic.
Posted: Fri, 19th Jun 2009, 5:12pm

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ben3308

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Yeah, it's sort of like the film 'Good Luck Chuck', if you've seen it. There's an obvious effects shot in the end, (a scene in Antarctica) but other than that it appears to be your standard romantic comedy.

Upon watching the bonus features, however, you find that almost every other shot had some form of keying, and that 90% of the sexual/risque gags they did were entirely digital. Crazy stuff, I'd never expected a low-budget rom-com with Dane Cook to be that intricate, post-production-wise.
Posted: Fri, 19th Jun 2009, 7:06pm

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Simon K Jones

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Same with Citizen Kane: I was amazed when I realised that 90% of the shots in that are composites of one sort or another.
Posted: Fri, 19th Jun 2009, 7:18pm

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ben3308

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I was going to mention that, but someone recently got on me about snootily quoting/using Citizen Kane. biggrin

Really, though, most of the Xanadu wide shots, and particularly the 'lightning cuts' with the composites on the crane shot into the club where his ex-wife is (when first introduced) is just insane.
Posted: Fri, 19th Jun 2009, 7:22pm

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Axeman

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I love watching that movie with Ebert's commentary track. Undoubtedly the best first movie of anyone, ever. I like the idea of a tutorial on 'invisible' effects as well. Though quite often motion tracking plays a very large part in those type of effects...
Posted: Tue, 23rd Jun 2009, 9:17am

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Sollthar

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Rating: +2

And another one of the virtual background sets for the movie:



A storage room in which there will be some epic sith power battle smile
Posted: Tue, 23rd Jun 2009, 1:47pm

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ashman

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Looks like evrything is coming together very well!

The backdrops look stunning, nice work on that Sollthar. I think you guys have done a great job and it's really nice to see the process right through from the pre-viz stage. I really look forward to the final product and as always, following the thread.

Unlimited PooooOOOOOWWWWWWEEEEER!!!!! biggrin
Posted: Tue, 23rd Jun 2009, 1:49pm

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Simon K Jones

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Hehe. I think you meant UuuunLIIIIIIIIiiimitEEDDDDDDD POOOOOOOooooOWWEEeRRRRRRRRR!!!

On a vaguely related note, anybody happen to know the copyright situation regarding the wilhelm scream?
Posted: Tue, 23rd Jun 2009, 4:15pm

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Axeman

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Rating: +1

http://www.archive.org/details/WilhelmScreamSample

According to that page, their links are Public Domain.
Posted: Tue, 23rd Jun 2009, 4:24pm

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Terminal Velocity

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Was it introduced before 1926? razz

Nice work Sollthar. Make sure there are plenty of objects to hurl and explode. twisted
Posted: Wed, 24th Jun 2009, 10:28am

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Junuc Kleen

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Just a thought. Could a tutorial be done showing how to put star ships into a film? It's all very good using cg meshes, but if you are like then you won't be very good. Showing how to use actual models and composite them into a film. I have tried, but it is not the easiest thing to do. It would be great if part of the new DVD showed how to do this.
Posted: Wed, 24th Jun 2009, 10:50am

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Simon K Jones

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Using miniature spaceships will be part of this DVD. smile
Posted: Wed, 24th Jun 2009, 11:33am

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Junuc Kleen

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Brilliant!!!!
Posted: Thu, 25th Jun 2009, 5:16pm

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Sid Barnhoorn

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Interesting...

Siddhartha Barnhoorn
_________________________
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kvk / coc: 27329459
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Posted: Thu, 25th Jun 2009, 5:49pm

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Mike Q

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Rating: +2

Sid Barnhoorn wrote:

Interesting...

Siddhartha Barnhoorn
_________________________
Sid Barnhoorn Music & Sound
kvk / coc: 27329459
btw / vat: 1842.36.800.B01

Phone in USA:
+1 (323) 319 6668
Phone in Europe:
+31 64 123 7292
Website:
http://www.sidbarnhoorn.com
Email:
info@sidbarnhoorn.com
Skype:
sidbarnhoorn
AIM/iChat:
sid barnhoorn
MSN:
sidbarnhoorn@hotmail.com
IMDB:
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2253394
Twitter:
http://www.twitter.com/sidbarnhoorn
Myspace:
http://www.myspace.com/sidbarnhoorn
Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=546575522
LinkedIn:
http://www.linkedin.com/in/sidbarnhoorn
In this years fxhome awards can we have one for the most shameless plug, we have a winner.
Posted: Mon, 13th Jul 2009, 7:57am

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Simon K Jones

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An article talking about the potential pitfalls of using previs:

http://effectscorner.blogspot.com/2009/07/previs-thoughts.html

Makes for an interesting read, particularly the amusing Fantastic Four 2 examples.

Thankfully none of these issues apply to the Assault project, given that it's already been shot and that the backgrounds will be created entirely in 3D.

I did, however, bump into a few vaguely similar issues when translating the storyboards to the actual shots - most notably in the Superheroes film, in which the laser corridor dodging sequence proved to be completely impractical due ot the corridor being shaped rather differently to how I remembered - hence we instead went for the floor-sinking gag.
Posted: Tue, 21st Jul 2009, 9:13am

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Simon K Jones

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Quick update: VFX are progressing nicely, and Sollthar just delivered all the rendered backgrounds which are looking great. Will start to composite those into the shots this week, which will finally enable me to start grading everything together and applying all the little finishing touches to the effects.

By the end of this week I'll have a fully locked cut, which can then go off to the music composer. Even though it won't have finished effects at all, there will be enough information there to accurately spot the music.

Once I've got some finished shots I'll upload a few preview images.

Getting there. smile
Posted: Tue, 21st Jul 2009, 12:25pm

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spydurhank

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Nice! biggrin
Posted: Wed, 22nd Jul 2009, 8:46am

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Simon K Jones

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Rating: +1

Preview of a nearly finished shot:



Here's the previs version, for comparison:



You can see how the previs was extremely useful for finalising the framing of the shot and the general design of the platform and cliff-face. This enabled Sollthar to put the final CG version together extremely quickly, without us needing to have lengthy conversations about conceptual designs or angles.
Posted: Wed, 22nd Jul 2009, 12:09pm

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spydurhank

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I'm in awe at the awesomeness of those textures. eek
That's pretty damned bad-ass looking.
How the hell does Solthar come up with those renders so damned fast while at the same time make look so Vulcan good?
Blows my mind it does.
Posted: Wed, 22nd Jul 2009, 2:24pm

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Simon K Jones

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Yeah, I'm pretty impressed with how fast he managed to pull everything together, bearing in mind there's 3 entirely separate locations with very different requirements and scales.

Here's another preview:

The original shot....



And the (nearly) finished composite:



Right, that's all you're getting for a while. wink
Posted: Wed, 22nd Jul 2009, 2:57pm

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spydurhank

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Holy crap dude!!! eek That scene is just wow!
I almost farted when I saw that.
Posted: Wed, 22nd Jul 2009, 3:19pm

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Joshua Davies

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Hehe, Adam the Jedi! Awesome!

I have to say I'm stunned by the rendering Sollthar did... it really is utterly amazing! Can't wait to see this all come together biggrin

Oh, and just look at the great keying from VisionLab! wink
Posted: Wed, 22nd Jul 2009, 4:27pm

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Goldenjabba

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That work is truly superb! Something I want to be able to do one day biggrin
Posted: Wed, 22nd Jul 2009, 6:30pm

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Terminal Velocity

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Tarn wrote:

Preview of a nearly finished shot:


Curious: How did you managed to give the actors shadows, seeing as they were composited? Really nice-looking btw.
Posted: Thu, 23rd Jul 2009, 2:58am

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ben3308

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The shadow is also a composite of the same actor. You duplicate the key, blur it a bit, bring the brightness and opacity down, then skew appropriately and you've got a formidable shadow. biggrin
Posted: Thu, 23rd Jul 2009, 4:33am

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Axeman

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Also, considering it is part of the composite created in the tutorial, one would assume that how to make the shadow is part of the point of the DVD.
Posted: Thu, 23rd Jul 2009, 4:46am

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ben3308

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Sort of related, are you guys keeping the aspect you've posted up in the stills, or are you cropping to anamorphic to preserve a more 'cinema EPIC' feel? biggrin
Posted: Thu, 23rd Jul 2009, 8:07am

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Simon K Jones

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ben3308 wrote:

Sort of related, are you guys keeping the aspect you've posted up in the stills, or are you cropping to anamorphic to preserve a more 'cinema EPIC' feel? biggrin
Good point. I'd been planning to keep it at 16:9, but I might have a play with a wider ratio to see what it looks like.

And Ben's spot on about the shadows. It's by no means a flawless technique and can work better at certain angles than at others, but for long distance/brief shots it tends to work fine. There'll be full details on the DVD, of course. wink
Posted: Sun, 9th Aug 2009, 8:15pm

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djswallow

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Everyone's talking about the backgrounds (and no offense, they are awesome) but when will it be finished?
Posted: Mon, 10th Aug 2009, 10:12am

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Simon K Jones

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Good question. smile

It's progressing nicely so far, but there's still a fair amount of work to do, both on the short film and on the tutorials side of things. We don't have a firm release date yet, but it'll be at some point in the next month-or-two.
Posted: Mon, 10th Aug 2009, 1:14pm

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djswallow

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Thanks - I can't wait
Posted: Mon, 17th Aug 2009, 3:33pm

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spydurhank

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Yeah me too. biggrin
Posted: Fri, 28th Aug 2009, 3:37am

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alectheman

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This is amazing! I just ordered the Beach landing tutorial, and I am totally going to buy this one when it comes out. I love how you guys do tutorials for all different types of effects and short-films. You Fxhome people rock my world. smile
Posted: Mon, 7th Sep 2009, 8:30am

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Simon K Jones

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alectheman wrote:

This is amazing! I just ordered the Beach landing tutorial, and I am totally going to buy this one when it comes out. I love how you guys do tutorials for all different types of effects and short-films. You Fxhome people rock my world. smile
Thanks alec! We think tutorials are really important and intend to keep making as many of them as we can. smile
Posted: Thu, 29th Oct 2009, 8:56pm

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AwesomeFist

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Tarn wrote:


Yeah, we're not using Sketchup for the final renders of the backdrops, it's just being used for this previs stage. So realistic rendering isn't required at this point.
I now realize how i can import scetchup models into blender and add the finale effects and render it there.
Posted: Sun, 13th Dec 2009, 2:35am

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spydurhank

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I just received the dvd from TubeTape earlier today. biggrin
Very cool stuff in there. Awesome compositing job Tarn and also on the many tuts' in there. My favorite though, is those 3D set extensions. They are beyond amazing. I can't get over how great they look so a tip of my hat to Solthar and anyone else that was invloved in the making of this dvd. Great job you guys. biggrin
Posted: Mon, 14th Dec 2009, 10:28am

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Simon K Jones

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Yeah, Sollthar did an amazing job, especially given that he basically only had about a week in which to do them all!

What was interesting about the process is that they're all pretty much 'first draft' versions. I gave him some basic information about the settings, and he had the previs versions to refer to, and that combination enabled him to get it spot on straight away.

Very cool, as it was a process I was expecting to take several iterations.

Glad you like the DVD, spydurhank!
Posted: Mon, 14th Dec 2009, 11:12am

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spydurhank

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You keep making them and I'll keep buying them. biggrin

You know what? I think that you guys should really think about making a film together. With your combined skills, it would be about as epic as epic can get. I'm not saying that it would need to be an "effects driven" film but the talent is definitely there as well as story telling and technical know how. I'm just saying that you guys really know what you're doing and the outcome would be great.
So think about it and maybe give it a shot because I think that it's a great idea because it came from me and there's just no going wrong with one of my ideas... or is there? Hmmm. confused
Posted: Mon, 14th Dec 2009, 11:15am

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Simon K Jones

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Hehe. smile

I'd love to work with Sollthar on more stuff. Certainly if I get my short film project off the ground next year I'll be asking him for help of one variety or another!

We have had conversations in which we lament that fact that there are several countries separating us and preventing more regular collaborations.
Posted: Mon, 14th Dec 2009, 11:31am

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Sollthar

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Thank you very much for your kind words! They're very appreciated.

I myself would love to work with Simon on future projects. I've always enjoyed working with him on everything we did so far, which unfortunately hasn't been much, and he's surely got all the qualities you wish from someone to work with.

We'll see. Might happen. smile
Posted: Mon, 14th Dec 2009, 7:02pm

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spydurhank

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All I can really say to that is... HELL YEAH DUDE!!! biggrin
Posted: Tue, 15th Dec 2009, 11:41pm

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Atom

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Who can resist that Swiss charm?