Welcome to the Cellar

Don Dohler: Uncontained Imagination « Baltimore Filmmakers

Baltimore Filmmakers posted a nice article about my friend, the late Don Dohler. Here's the link:  Don Dohle r: Uncontained Imagination...

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

More Crawler Pictures

As I continue to crank out more final FX clips, I thought I'd post a couple of stills. These shots, courtesy of Timewarp, show the creature in both an outdoor, nighttime setting, which is very dark, and an indoor setting that is lighter--though not by much. These renders, which I call "final" use a feature in XSI called Final Gathering to augment the base lighting with a global illumination. For my purposes, it serves to subtly fill in some light, and accentuate the creature's surface details. The base lighting still dictates the key and rim areas on the creature, but Final Gathering augments the fill lighting, providing more depth.The actor in the second image is George Stover, who plays the sheriff. Hey, George!

Click on the thumbnail for a larger image.

Monday, May 15, 2006

The Crawler

I received a request to post an image of the Crawler. I created this image a while ago to use for printed materials such as the DVD cover. It is more stylized than the version that will appear in the movie, but it conveys, I hope, the creature's menacing appearance. So, with Don's approval, here he...er, she, er...it is:

(Click the image to view a larger version.)

Thursday, May 4, 2006


I plan to use this blog to keep track of my progress with the seemingly endless list of creative projects on which I plan to work in the next few years. Whether it's filmmaking, music, writing, martial arts, or even computer programming, creativity is in my blood—I can't stop it. Whether what I produce appeals to anyone else is a different matter. I'd like to think it does.

At the top of my laundry list is Crawler. For the last three years, I have been working on the visual f/x for this low-budget horror movie produced by Timewarp Films. In particular, I'm working on the computer-generated title character. One thing I've learned in the last three years is that there's a reason we see hundreds of names at the tail end of movie credits for visual f/x; it's hard to do this stuff. It took at least a year to zero in on the best software to create and animate this beast. I finally settled on Softimage XSI—a godsend.

Currently, I'm on the 3rd to last scene involving the creature. After I finish the last creature shot in the last scene, and the 30-some shots of final renders, I have to address the miscellaneous f/x. For this I've recruited a few friends interested in f/x to help. That led to the next lesson learned (no, not "don't hire friends"): I learned not to try to manage and do at the same time. You wind up doing a half-assed job at both. Thus, I had to concentrate on my stuff first. Once I finish the remaining creature shots, I'll pull the gang (or what's left of them) back together to finish the rest.

As a final note, I want to mention a project on the back burner, an amateur film project that is a mere 14 years in the making: Monster Planet.