Friday, February 3, 2012

Twin Paradox...Again

So  I'm on my final year of the MA in computer animation. Right now we're very busy at work on our final project. It's a first person sci-fi adventure game. Back when we were making the point and click version of Twin Paradox we got a lot of ideas that just werent possible in that format. So now we're using a proper 3D engine, the CryEngine 3.  So far I've spent most of my time just learning to work with the engine so there's not a lot to show at the moment. There's a few tests and a video showcasing some of the skills I've acquired while using the engine so far.

Exit Through the Gift Shop

Here's a fun little project. It's an After Effects exercise made for a motion graphics class. The objective was to choose a promotional poster for something and make a motion graphics ad out of it. I chose to promote Banksy's Exit Through the Gift Shop. Great movie by the way.

Tell Tale Heart

This project was made on the first year of my MA in computer animation. It was a group effort and the 9 minute short was divided into sections, so each student was responsible for a chunk of the story. I got the final two minutes all to myself. In those two minutes all the storyboarding, animation, lighting, post-production and editing is mine. In the modeling and texturing department the kitchen and the dead grandfather are mine while the cop, the girl the hallway and the bedroom are my colleagues'.

Return Zero

Even though making games is my passion, I had never actually finished making one. But that was about to change when a professor of mine asked me if I was interested in helping a friend of his make a smart phone game. Hell yeah I was. We made the whole thing in between other school stuff and actually managed to release it to the android marketplace. I got paid for making games! How about that?

The game itself is a futuristic tron-like racing simulator. If you're fast enough relativity kicks in and time slows down.

Do you have an android phone? Want to try the game? CLICKY

Here's the trailer for the thing, made by the fine folks at Jump Willy.


Besides making videogames my other great passion is film. I remember watching Jurassic Park for the first time when I was 8 and deciding I wanted to be a movie director. For a very long time that remained true. I learned everything I could about film-making. I watched a ton of movies, old movies, new movies, french, russian, swedish movies, zombie movies, spaghetti westerns. Everything that was considered good I would watch. I ended up with a 300+ DVD collection and became completely obsessed with Stanley Kubrick. I saw a lot of obscure stuff but my very favorite movies were actually pretty mainstream. Most of them were Sci-Fi. My top ten includes masterpieces like Terminator 2, the first two Alien movies, Blade Runner and of course the greatest of them all, 2001: A Space Odyssey.

I got into college still wanting to make movies, but little by little I realized that videogames had a lot of untapped potential and that they could be very powerful story-telling devices. In the end, what I really care for is stories, and not the format they are in. During college I worked on a couple of short-film projects and they just turned out terrible. Thats part of the reason why film-making had lost a bit of it's luster for me. I got on with my videogames where I felt more comfortable but in the first year of my MA I got another shot to finnaly make a decent short-film.

Joana and I teamed up again to make a special effects heavy sci-fi short. At the time I heard a story about some dudes at Nasa that proposed a one way trip to Mars. They said that getting there was pretty easy, getting back was the hard part. Of course a mission like this would never be approved but it really made me think. I'm sure it wouldn't be difficult finding volunteers. They'd go down as heroes for all of history.

And that's what the main character of our story thought as well.


For the last year of my BA they gave us two whole semesters to make a multimedia project. The rules were that it had to include some 3D , be interactive and use FLASH. Well before knowing any rules I knew I wanted to make a game. For this project I grouped up with Joana. We would both be handling all the art and game design. For the coding we had Francisco. And we totally didn't use any flash.

The game was called Fusebox. It was a sci-fi point and click adventure set on a space ship headed for Saturn. We made a snazzy web site for the game, if you want to learn more about the plot check it out here

We had the whole story planned out but it was just too much work for a couple of people to do in a handful of months. Still, we managed to complete a working demo and a CG trailer. Speaking of which, it's time for some videos.

This is the trailer we made in the first semester. Moody!

And this is the actual game

Now check out some screenshots.

Alien Landscapes

Here are a few more tries at digital painting. I love thinking about alien planets.

Monday, January 30, 2012

3D Programs

I started out with 3DSMax but the university I went to was all about Maya so I had to learn that too. Eventually I came to prefer it. Mostly because I ended up putting more hours into it so I knew it better.Then I looked into sculpting tools and I tried mudbox. It was great and really easy to learn but later I found out that the school used Zbrush so I learned that as well. In that case I still prefer mudbox. There's a lot of great stuff in Zbrush that I use frequently but I just don't feel as comfortable with the interface.

Here's a bunch of stuff I did with all these programs. Some of it is pretty old. Most of it are just tests I made for fun and don't belong to any particular project, some like the face and the guitar were school assignments.

2D Digital Paintings 2003

I want to try to keep these posts relatively in chronological order to give a better sense of progress and I forgot to start off with some work I did prior to Twin Paradox.

I used to sketch a lot on paper back then but painting was never really my thing. I'd try it occasionally but I didn't have the habit of following tutorials as I do today so It'd take a lot of work to figure things out on my own. When I was starting to get the hang of it I found 3D so I ended up making very few actual paintings.

I'm only going to post a couple of examples here. The Halo 2 one has an interesting story behind it. I was a huge Bungie fan back then and I used to make a ton of Halo related fan work that I'd submit to fan sites. Bungie saw this art and decided to include it as an easter egg on the making of DVD of the limited edition Halo 2. I only found this out months after release of the game.

The other one is a robot.
I  like robots.

Twin Paradox 2005

A long time ago, a friend of mine and I decided that videogames were cool, and that maybe we should make one. He had some programming skills and I knew my way around photoshop.
We found a neat little game engine called Adventure Game Studio and we got to work. At first we had pretty crummy graphics so I made up for it by writing the most epic science fiction story I could think of. It was called Twin Paradox and it was about teleportation and alien planets.

I was digitally hand drawing everything but that was taking up too much time. Getting perspective right was one of the issues I thought I could speed up if I used some sort of 3d application to layout some blocks and draw over them. So I got a free trial of 3D Studio Max and I read a couple of tutorials. Soon enough I saw a lot of new potential and I got addicted to this new 3D stuff.

I remade the 2D backgrounds in 3D in a fraction of the time, things were looking up for our project. The story kept getting bigger and I kept getting better at 3D so I would remake old backgrounds pretty often to keep them at a consistent quality level. Months went by and we had done a lot of work, but we were still very far away from completing it. The end was so far off and we kept coming up with more ambitious ideas. Some of those ideas just couldn't be accomplished in the point and click adventure format, we'd need a full real time 3D engine to make it happen. We had no clue how those worked and even if we did there were no free engines back then like UDK or CryEngine for us to experiment. Eventually school got in the way and the project was indefinitely postponed.

Still, this project not only taught me what I wanted to do with my life, it also put me on the path of learning the necessary skills to achieve that goal. The work you see here was all produced from early 2005 to 2006.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

First post

Right now I'm looking to get an internship somewhere. I need a place to dump my stuff so people can see it. I think the blog format will do nicely.