* Note: we recommend watching the 720p version full screen with sound.
Note: There is now a better 720p HD downloadable version of this teaser available HERE (~76Meg Quicktime)
Check out the Afterdeath teaser – Making Of below.
The original storyboard for the teaser comprised of six fast cut scenes, an intro Red Alpha credit screen, and an Afterdeath title screen. The shots would show scenes from the Red Wing Hotel and a few characters. However, after creating an asset list of all the objects that would be needed for this it became clear that this would not be achievable within the schedule (Or at least not to a high enough standard) so it was decided to cut it back to a single long shot instead.
The new teaser concept became a single, sweeping, long shot which spiralled up around the Red Wing Hotel and the pillar on which it stands. All around a dark and frighting storm rages. Overall the shot symbolizes arriving at the hotel.
A quick layout was put together in 3D to set the pacing and timing. Initially I did tests with the camera banking much more as it flew around the pillar but this was very distracting and disorienting; same thing happened when adding camera shake. So in the end the camera motion was kept very controlled and smooth, and instead I have the ocean, clouds, and rain animating.
Using the above layout as a base, further development and work was done on the various elements to create the following animatic (This process allowed me to figure out exactly how the elements would be created and identify the different layers that would be required)
With the timing and elements defined in the layout and animatic, it was time to start building the hotel in 3D. First step was to collect up and look through a heap of photographs of interesting buildings.
From the reference photographs I sketched out some interesting features that could be used in the 3D model (Note: It is really useful to do these sorts of little sketches. You end up with a much great understanding of the form as opposed to just using the photograph directly as reference)
And finally the following design for the Red Wing Hotel was created.
3D Building model
3D modelling the building did not take very long. The base shape is fairly simple with the exception of the main face and front door which is on a 45 degree angle.
I did get to do a little character modelling for the horse sculpture that stands on the front mantle. There isn’t a huge amount of detail sculpted because you don’t really see it well in the teaser – but I will add some more detailing later and try and use it somewhere else within the project 🙂
The main pillar that the hotel stands upon is a simple tapered cylinder and it is textured using an example Substance material that ships with Substance Designer (Note: I tweaked the settings quite a bit to get it to work at this scale) I really like how textured this looks – and lit just right, it looks really creepy!
Also, on a side note, nearly every material used in this teaser uses some form of fractal noise 🙂
With the 3D models, animation, and camera animation in place it was time to render out the passes required for compositing. All up there were around 14 main passes – these included: background clouds, horizon line, foreground clouds, background ocean, foreground ocean, ocean foam, 3D rain, 2D rain, hotel, hotel ambient occlusion, window reflections, pillar, water splash, and god rays.
In addition, many of those passes also had a separate velocity pass (For motion blur) and Z depth (For depth of field effects) There are also a whole bunch of colour correction, masking, blurring, displacement, film grain, vignetting, and chromatic aberration effects going on.
Red Alpha credit screen and Afterdeath titles
In addition to the main shot, I also put together the opening Red Alpha credit and end Afterdeath titles. These were both done in 2D using Adobe After Effects and were a welcome break from the above 3D animation.
The final stage in the creation of the teaser was the sound. Initially I had looked at using a theme tune for the teaser but opted instead to really push the sound effects instead.