Episode IV is now live !
Episode IV is now live !
New year , new projects and new episodes. Seven Gates episode 4 and 5 are on the way.
Lots of ground work has been laid for the future of the project going into 2019, and I am excited to move forward once again. The first big announcement is the new scripts for the next phase are almost done. Seven Gates Where angels fall is the back story of the series, while the real story and series is what is coming next. Seven Gates Soul Hunters.
There is a reason to my madness in starting this way. Most authors, creators etc will start with the main story and then branch off into the backstory or side stories. I decided to take a different route. The project was to teach myself animation and how to use the various software packages. I started with that in mind and went with telling the back story first in order to be better prepared to tell the real story afterwards, once I was better at animation. In approaching the project this way I was still working on the same overall story and characters as well as laying the ground work for the series and the story.
Seven Gates Soul hunters takes place 10 years after the events coming in episodes 4 and 5. This means new character looks and world look and lots of new goodies to show. I wont detail much more on the story line as of yet because of spoilers. I don’t want to spoil the fun of episodes 4 and 5, now do I.
The rest of this update I am going to focus on the software I use in hopes of helping any one else who is trying to swim through all the various options out there. The choices I made are based on low cost and ease of use as well as a low learning curve of the software beyond the basics of 3d software and animation. The choices out there are crazy and you could spend years trying to find and learn which one does what or doesn’t do. Ultimately the choice is one of personal preference to me. Others may disagree but I see these as a great stepping stone. Master these programs and push them to their limits and your foundation will be solid. I am still learning how to master them but I found they work well together in the long run.
So I use. Iclone 7, Character Creator 3, Daz 3d Studio 4.10 , Hitfilm Express and Blender 2.8 ( Blender can do all of the work if you are so inclined to learn all the details of the program). Image editing I use three programs Krita, Affinity Photo and an older Photoshop version ( mainly because I like a few of the features for this version). There is no reason for using the three instead of one its just I like how one does one element better than another.
Lets start with IClone 7 and Character Creator 3. These two programs by Reallusion are the core animation and character creating portion of the workflow. The Reallusion software suites alone can do the entire process, especially if you purchase all the plugins and add-ons and additional content. I’ll just list what I see as the basics that you will need to create animation.
Next program is DAZ 3d Studio. Daz is a free 3d software suite and includes hexagon 2.5 for modeling and morph creation. The content store is where Daz makes its money, and you will find they give lots of freebies and discounts through out the year. The core free product and content will give you some basic models and props as well as character bases. Once you learn hexagon and the morph system you can start creating custom characters or combine store bought ones as well. I’ll be honest the content store of Daz is where the power and flexibility is. You can also create animations with Daz and there are several cool features for creating animations to export out.
So with these two programs any financial cost is the Reallusion software and the content from both the DAZ store and Reallusion content store.
The next program is Hitfilm express for video editing. The base program is free and any additional cost is on effects and template packages ( usually 10 dollars a piece). Hitfilm pro is the paid version of the same program which includes all the add-ons and filters. They have a great source of tutorial videos and a easy to use interface. I find the program easy to use and does an great job.
The final program is blender. Blender can do everything all the others programs can. Many would argue its better to just do it all in blender. The only problem I have there is, its a huge program and there is a lot to learn. I am learning this program and using it currently for modeling and sculpting of props and characters. It’s a free open source program and as of version 2.8 which is still in beta it has become a lot easier to use.
I like how the other programs do the specific jobs and find that the Reallusion software is really my main software program. They are constantly improving and adding features. I see it becoming the only one you may need in the future as new updates and improvements arrive.
In the end it doesn’t matter what you use, as long as you create something and you enjoy it.
The third episode of Seven Gates Where Angels Fall is close to completion. I set out a year ago working on this project, the goal and vision was clear. I was going to teach myself animation and tell a story at the same time. I knew that each episode would be a major leap from the previous one as my knowledge and skill levels increased. Episode three doesn’t fail to follow that model. Subtle things are sometimes what really seem to be the area of improvement.
I have tried to always keep peoples comments and suggestions in my mind as I move forward. One question I get a lot is , “Why post the episodes while you are learning and teaching yourself this?“. The answer is I learn better that way and If someone else can learn from my mistakes all the better.
Everyone has an opinion these days on whats the best way to do something. I’m not one of those people. I do what works for me and as I learn more I adjust as needed. I personally work better that way and tend to learn faster. Every one is different and there is no one “fits all” approach to learning or developing new skills and knowledge sets. So If i were to give advice, it would be this. Do what works for you and learn along the way. Every mistake is not a failure, its just a chance to do it again.
The above image is a new character concept created in DAZ 3d using Iray render. Iclone will have this type of render coming in the next few months as well. (Iclone being the software I currently use for animation.) As I continue working on this project I am also planning new episodes and continual story lines, well beyond what has already been scripted and recorded. This is just how I work sometimes, I just keep throwing ideas and concepts around as I work on current episodes. It helps to keep me focused as well as keeping the ideas from being lost over time.
Episode III – As Darkness Reigns is coming soon !
Episode 3 production is well underway, roughly a third of the episode is completely done. The remaining two thirds are roughed out and in the works.
Seven gates has been a great learning experience as well as a whole lot of fun. The creation of each episode, forces me to improve and push my ability. While I know that I have a lot to learn still, I feel I have learned a lot in the last year. I just hope this improvement is evident in each episode.
There are three things I try to focus my attention on. The first is to take each day and try to improve or learn one new thing, that pushes me a step ahead of the day before. It could be anything new or even a revisit to something old that I needed to refresh myself on. The idea is to progress and improve in a meaningful way.
The second item is remembering everything takes time. I know where I want to be and I know what I need to get there. However, I need to remind myself that it takes time walking the path and learning the lay of the land on the way. It’s easy to forget this, we all tend to focus our gaze on the horizon and try to see what the future holds. We forget to look around in the moment and realize that the journey is just as important as the destination, maybe even more important.
The third and final item is to continue the process of creating, new stories and new ideas. It’s OK to take a break for a few days and just have fun creating something new or play around with a new idea. When I return to the last scene I was working on I feel refreshed and I see sometimes things that i had not seen before. I may have taken time to study new materials or watch tutorials and that new knowledge now helps me move the project along.
I’m a storyteller and that will never change. The world inside my head is a strange one, full of exotic worlds and creatures. Maybe I never gave up my imaginary friends from childhood, instead I brought them along with me and allowed them to invite their friends.
Episode two is finally released!!
As I mentioned before all episode’s are now running at about 10 to 15 minutes long. This means that the actual episode two script that was given to the cast is now broken into three parts (Ep 2 , Ep 3, Ep 4).
So if any of the cast are wondering where their lines or parts are in this episode, do not worry they are all there just in upcoming episodes 🙂 .
I hope this episode is an improvement in production and presentation over episode 1. I tried to give this episode a grittier feel to its color and lighting schemes, while trying to not make it appear as if the lighting is to dark.
As always I hope you enjoy this episode and I’m excited to start on the next episode.
Only a few weeks away from the release of episode 2 – Dawn of the Fallen. I’m currently working on the last few minutes of the episode and then just final edits and sound mix.
I personally feel this episode is much better than the first, both visually and story wise. I’ve made so many improvements in various areas since I’ve started this project, it’s wild looking back and seeing what I didn’t know in the beginning compared to what I do now. However, that has always been the point to improve, learn, grow and expand.
My approach to projects and learning new things has always been just jump right in with both feet. Wrong or right that’s the only way I can personally learn something and enjoy the process at the same time. Many people will tell me that I shouldn’t approach things like that, especially in an area like animation. Sure I could spend years working on small little things, like bouncing balls and faceless characters walking around in blah grey voids. I could also spend years writing short scripts and stories about bears wearing hats eating picnic lunches and stress about trope, and cliches and if I followed this rule or that rule. The problem is that’s not fun. It does nothing to push me forward and want to keep working and creating.
I’ll study and I’ll learn along the way. My stories will be told and new ones thought of as I move along. Those who don’t agree with my methods and criticize my reasons, I understand and honestly nod my head to their opinions. It’s what they feel and believe about creating and story telling and whatever creative endeavor they are involved in. I think that’s great, everyone needs to pursue their dreams in any manner they see fit. I will however continue doing it my way and offering it up to anyone who wants to see it.
As always you can watch the previous episodes, trailers and teasers at the following places.