December 5, 2011

Storyboarding 'Happy Box'

Learn how our new short film Happy Box was conceived and planned in Studio Sessions 3: Storyboarding 'Happy Box'.

Merry stuff and all that.

-Sgt M.

November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving! Here's your happy meal.

Come and get it! In the spirit of the holiday, we're serving up the final release version of Happy Box, the first Brudders mini-movie. Happy Box was completely homemade from scratch, just like how the Native Americans and Pilgrims made their movies. Yum yum!

You can watch Happy Box on the website in the Movies section or at our YouTube channel Little Green Dog Movies. Or just click the image below:

Maybe now we can get back to drawing some comic strips.

-Sgt M.

I want to thank my buddy Ken Wilder for giving me a five-minute crash course in how to use Lightwave SoftFX. The resulting 'jiggle' effect totally makes Sparklepus.


October 29, 2011

'Happy Box' Preview is Live at Gothtober!

It took a month of sleep deprived nights after a full day of work and family time to get it (almost) completed but the sneak preview of Happy Box is finally live at! To see it, go to the Gothtober website and click on the 29th.

For those who need more info, Happy Box is our first Brudders 'mini movie' and our second short film for Gothtober (the first was Hello Frankenstein way back in 2005) Gothtober is an annual Halloween inspired internet event featuring short films, animation, slide shows and recipes from a variety of crazy people (a.k.a., artists) for the entire month of October.

The reason I'm calling this a 'preview' version is because I had to cut some corners to make our October 29th deadline.

Most noticeably missing is the lipsync animation—I simply ran out of time to finish it. I decided to take out the lipsync completely because it looked weird to have only half the film with lipsync animation. Happy Box still plays well without it but I'm working on getting lip sync back in as quickly as possible.

There are also a few 'bugs' that need to be fixed, props that need to be properly finished, a few FX added, and I really wish to re-render the entire project in HD. (My little render farm lost half its capacity last week so I wound up rendering this project at 320 x 180 on two desktops and a tablet PC; surprisingly this 'web res' actually held up when scaled to double-size (640 x 360) for Gothtober.)

The final release version of Happy Box, with lip sync animation, bug fixes and other improvements should appear at our website later in November. In the meantime, please enjoy this exclusive Gothtober preview!

Now, I beg your indulgence as I take a moment send out heartfelt thanks to my friends:

To JP and Cristin for presenting Gothober every year. Gotober has been a great motivator in getting me to do 'big things' just for fun.

To the guys at work, for their curiosity and encouragement, and for just being a lot of fun to hang out with.

To the Lightwave and iPi Soft user and developer communities for their interest and support. Especially to Cageman and Rebel Hill for their technical advice and assistance in setting up my 'home brew' motion capture pipeline.

And finally, extra special thanks and love to my wife Alisa and my daughter Sienna Kai for putting up with all my nonsense these past weeks. Oh, yeah, and Sergeant and Toullie too. I could not have done this without all of you guys. Go Team Little Green Dog!

Come Monday morning, I'm taking a break and going back to work for a while. :)


October 1, 2011

Our 'secret' project: Happy Box

Bring out the candy corn and witches brew because it's that time of year again.

Gothober, the annual Halloween countdown calendar is alive! For 31 days in October, Gothober brings you music, movies, animation, craft projects, recipes and other spooky madness by a different artist each day.

This year, Team Little Green Dog will present our mini-movie Happy Box. Watch for it on the 29th.

In the meantime, be sure to check out all the fun stuff by other artists at beginning at midnight on October 1st.

Here's a little peek at what we're working on right now...


August 14, 2011

Sneak Peek: Brudders CGI

Here's a peek at what Sergeant, Toullie and Sister look like rendered in 3D.

These images are from a test of the new Skin material introduced in Lightwave 10.1. (See, we are working on the movie!)

And this is what a rigged character looks like inside the 3D program running on my tablet PC.

As you can see here, Lightwave 10.1's new realtime previewer, called VPR, is pretty sweet.

Okay, so if these were actual toys, would you buy one? Let us know; we're thinking about making that happen after the movie is finished.

Finally here's a small sample of the mocap 'puppetry' created for Sergeant last fall using iPi Desktop Motion Capture:

This video may look a little 'jumpy' because the animation was played back live and I'm sure frames were being dropped for realtime speed. Next time I'll post animation of all the Brudders characters pre-cached for full speed playback.


June 6, 2011

May the Force be with Tou

Well, another Memorial Day weekend has gone by without a new Star Wars movie. If that saddens you, we can help: check out Brudders - Episode 54 'Star Snores'.

The Studio is finally open to all of our online friends! If you drop in now, you can learn about the making of Episode 54.

- Sgt M.

May 1, 2011

Inspiring Movement

Toullie becomes Sergeant's muse in the moving Brudders - Episode 53 'Inspiration'.

Still working on the Brudders movie. Talk about a 'Never Ending Story'.

- Sgt M.

March 6, 2011

I am Toullie, hear me roar!

This week, on very special Brudders, we continue last week's sensitive gender bending topic in Episode 52 'Ladylike'.

If you're curious about some of the technical stuff behind our upcoming short film, visit our other YouTube channel LGD Test Tube. We just uploaded a calibration video for our motion capture system with annotations. I wouldn't exactly call the video entertaining but if you're the 'geeky type' you might find it interesting.

- Sgt M.

February 21, 2011

Happy Presidents' Day

But, really, shouldn't happiness be for everybody? Well we think so, and we created a brand new Brudders comic to help spread that happiness. Read it here: Brudders - Episode 51 'Confession'. It's good for the soul.

By the way, the drawing session for this episode was recorded. We'll premiere the video at our YouTube channel in a few days.

Speaking of video, work on the Brudders music video 'Don't Fear the Pooper' continues. Fear not; we're still intent on getting this project done before next Gothtober.

- Sgt M.

February 4, 2011

What's the scoop on 'Poop'?

Sorry for neglecting the website since last November. (Yikes! Has it been that long?) The Brudders short film project 'Don't Fear the Pooper' is taking a lot longer than we anticipated. Most of our time is being spent R&D-ing the experimental mocap system but we have the process mostly nailed down now.

Another reason for the delay is that we decided to up the production value quite a bit. Funny how that always happens. We were originally aiming for a 'quick and dirty' machinima look for 'Pooper' but because the quality of the mocap software improved dramatically last December, it seemed a shame to settle for our original goal of 'just okay' animation. Anyway, now we're shooting for a spring or early summer release and I think the extra time will be well spent. Hopefully, the release won't be as late as next Gothtober. Now that would be embarrassing!

Just for fun, here's a peek at the proxy model of Sister with mocap test data applied:

I know I keep talking about starting a public production log, and I will try to get it posted on the website this weekend. Really, I mean it. In the meantime, here's another mocap test video from last year: Deform Test Mocap Session. The motion from this session was created to test how well the characters deformed in motion, and it's the same data applied to the Sister rig in the above image. Pretty fun stuff! Come back for more sneak peeks at this production soon.

By the way, we posted Act I of the 'Pooper' animatic at the Little Green Dog Movies channel. This is essentially the same video that premiered last October at Gothtober 2010 so there's nothing really new here. If you haven't already seen it though, I hope you enjoy it. (The original blog entry about the animatic and Gothtober can be seen here: Hello Gothtober 2010.)

Finally, I've been itching to draw the next episode of Brudders. Maybe I can make time for it this week. Keep your eye on our tweets!