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17.6.15

Whoops! Haven't put anything on this page fo a while. I've been rather preoccupied building stuff for the film.

I'm building the characters, sets and props for part of the opening sequence of the "TyHa'an" film to use as part of the fundraising efforts for the feature film. Gil and his best friend, Slab, are done, as is Clagg, the reigning Twin Planets space race champion. I'm about to start on Wheedle, Clagg's sidekick, and then it'll be Clagg's ship, a massive interplanetary transport vessel and an asteroid field.

Really looking forward to starting the animation! But it'll be a while yet.

More as soon as I have it...

 
20.5.15

As one of Benny Hill's characters used to say "Learning all the time..."! I wanted Gil's space suit to have a really old and worn look, and his home-made space craft needed the same. In the first place, I tried wearing off the paint on a few edges and corners, and making the whole thing dirty, but it didn't look right. There was much too much of a clean-edged look to it.

Doing a bit of research online, I saw that the images that looked most convincing were those that had wear on ALL the edges and corners. I didn't go that far in the first place because I thought it would be overkill, but, as you can see from the images below, that's what really makes it work.

There are four parts to these textures - all painted by hand in Photoshop. There's the colour, which takes a lot of painting and layers to get it realistic enough; then there's the specularity (that's how shiny it is), painted using the colour map as a starting point. After that there's the metallic-ness - basically, where it's paint it's not metallic and where the paint has worn or chipped away it's metallic. Then finally, there's the displacement, or the bumps and dips on the surface, like where the paint has been chipped off. Put those together in the right way and there you have it!

Gil in Space Suit
 
Cockpit pic 1
 
Cockpit pic 2

So I have a new saying: "There's no such thing as overkill with textures."

Obviously, there has to be some common sense with this! There's no point in making textures so busy that they're confusing to the eye or the software (and, yes, the software does get confused!), or that they do that nasty strobing thing when they're on moving objects (Anyone remember when TV weather forecasters used to wear finely-striped jackets? Very strange effect!).

So, there you go: I'd say that getting the textures right is actually more important than getting the model right, because you can make a fairly simple model look great with great textures, but a really wonderful model can be ruined by bad textures.

My fourpennyworth for the day...

 
21.7.14

You've heard the expression "Mother knows best"? I'm beginning to think it's accurate.

Having run into a major road block with Gil and his sister (see here), I've been re-deigning the character almost from scratch.

Here's the interesting thing. I've always liked that big flat nose horn on Gil's face, but my Mum has always said it looks like it's just stuck on for effect. The new character has no nose horn, and now I look back at the version of Gil that's on the Home Page, I'm beginning to see what she means!

Moral of this story: always listen to your mother (when she's right...).

If you haven't been there already, do please look at the "TyHa'an" FaceBook page and let me know what you think of the revised design - especially which colour you think works best.

Also, as ever, if you're on FaceBook and you haven't done so already, please click the FaceBook "Like" button on the left side of this page - and if you're on Twitter, there's a button for you too.

 
14.5.14

I'm making the model for Jea (Gil's big sister). I've started with the finished Gil and have been modifying him to make him into a girl. It's a lot quicker than starting from scratch. As soon as I have any images for you, I'll post them.

 
6.5.14

Hope you all had a happy Easter. It shot past here, and I've not caught up with it yet!

So, the big news at the moment is that I've been re-working the plot for the first story (yet again!). I have to say that I'm really excited about the changes. Some of them are reflected in the "About Tyhaan" page. The whole thing about the family being part of an under-cover slave rescuing ring opens up so many possibilities.

I've also beefed up Gil's story line. He now has some history: his Mum died when he was eleven, and he has not come to terms with that properly; instead, he has withdrawn himself from the rest of the family and has become obsessed with winning the Three Planets Championship and being famous.

He also has a great new bit at the end of the story - but I'm keeping that part a secret for now!

To add to this, I've been pitching the project to several big American companies (that's where most of the money is these days). At the moment, four of them are looking at it seriously - including one that's made some very significant CGI feature films. It'll probably be another couple of months until we know whether they want it or not. More holding the breath...

Still no word from the famous British actor. Not sure whether that means he hasn't looked at the material yet or what. It may be just as well, because, if the Americans take it on, they may think an American star would be better (meaning more likely to bring in the crowds).

As always, I'll let you know as soon as I do.

 
23.1.14

You may have spotted in the Latest News section that Original Force, the animation company behind Dreamworks' "Dragons: Riders of Berk" TV series (a spin off of their wonderful feature "How to Train your Dragon") are very interested in working with us on "TyHa'an". As I said before, this is very good news because they have a proven track record, and so should give us credibility with broadcasters etc.

Have a look here to see what they can do!

 
20.1.14

Happy new year!

Some interesting developments: I sent some material to the well-known actor I have in mind for the part of Gil. The good news is that his agent has passed the material on to him! So it's got past the first hurdle and we just wait, now, until the actor has time to look at what I sent. He's a very popular man, so it may be some time before he's in a position to think about it, but it's exciting to have got that far.

I've also been in touch with an animation company who do really high-end animation for TV and games, and it looks as though they may be interested in helping to make "TyHa'an". As they have a great track record, it will make it much easier to convince potential broadcasters etc. that the series will actually get made.

I don't feel it's right to reveal names at this point, but as soon as I have anything concrete, you'll all be the first to know.

Meanwhile, I'll carrying on with refining Gil and then starting to model the other characters. I want to do Father next, although the next to turn up in the story is Slab, Gil's best friend. Decisions, decisions...

 
2.12.13

So, we're at the next stage. The treatment for the first story has been reworked (twice, actually!). Gil's father is now something of an action man, saving Gil's sister Jea's life part way through the plot. I'm sure that's a better way of presenting him.

The other plots for the series have been fleshed out a bit too and the script for the opening part of the first story is now finished, so that everything is getting on towards being ready to present to possible interested parties like famous actors.

The way the industry works, it gives your project a lot more credibility if you can get well-known actors to voice the characters. Although it has been suggested, by someone in the know, that I might do just as well to use unknown actors to play the characters in the pilot, and see how it pans out after that.

Always more decisions...

I have decided that I definitely need a producer. I can do the artistic stuff, but the bit that really gets the thing off the ground - contacts, raising money etc. - is not me.

One of my own contacts is looking at introducing me to some people who might be able to help. Sometime towards the end of December, I hope there will be some progress on that front.

Meanwhile, please have a look at the "Latest News" page, which has a new little animation of Gil asking for someone to be his voice.

I'm pleased with it.

 
12.10.13

Went to a very instructive lecture about structuring film scripts a couple of weeks ago. It made me re-visit the story treatment and make some changes. I've written out a couple of characters who were really just convenient plot devices, and, more importantly, I've modified the ending to give it much more suspense and impact.

I'm still a bit unhappy with the portrayal of Gil's father. He seems to be rather inactive, just sitting in his office a lot and doing calculations. I'd quite like to get him out on the ranch doing active stuff.

It's just occurred to me that some of the conversations that take place in the office could actually happen while Gil's father and Jeah are out herding their Goatows. Hmmm... Might be what I need...

I'll let you know...

As always, if you haven't done this already, please push the FaceBook "Like" button on the left of this page.

Thank you so much, again, one and all!

 
10.06.13

I've had an interesting week. I was trying to set up the lighting for Gil's first scene, and it was doing very strange things - it looked as though he had a light bulb in his mouth. I tried everything I could to make it work properly - including getting support from the software makers, but to no avail. So I tried another way of doing it. That along with a little adjustment I made to Gil's skin, and finding out how to make it look as though he's got gunk on top of the skin and I'm suddenly getting seriously awesome renders at very fast speeds. Look at this pic! Full HD rendering in about 9 minutes.

Gil Ace Render!

This sort of thing seems to have happened a lot with TyHa'an. I try and do something one way, which SHOULD work, but it doesn't. When I eventually give up and try it another way, the new way is heaps better than I could have got with the other method. Interesting...

If you haven't done this already, please push the FaceBook "Like" button on the left of this page.

Thank you so much one and all!

 
18.02.13

My how time flies! Half way through February already.

Some news today. Received the script for the pilot yeaterday. It's so good. It really makes the characters come to life. Just what I need. I'm so looking forward to getting back to work on it. I've had a lot of other work on since Christmas. It's been good to have the income, but it slows progress on TyHa'an.

More soon, I hope!

If you haven't done this already, please push the FaceBook "Like" button on the left of this page.

Thank you so much one and all!

 
17.9.12

Sorry for the gap in reporting here. It's been an interesting summer, with quite a lot of other work needing to be done. But I now have a couple of exciting things to report.

1. Amazingly, we now have around £10,000 of the £20,000 needed to get the pilot made! So we're half way there. Thank you so much to all of you who have contributed and encouraged me along the way!

2. The rebuild of Gil is going quite nicely now, albeit slowly - mostly because of the other work I've been doing; although there have been several challenging things where the software doesn't do what it says on the tin, which is very annoying, and wastes quite a lot of time working out ways round the problem. Sometimes it works for my benefit, though. I couldn't make his hair work properly this time (turned out to be just a glitch), and had to try a different technique. I think the end result actually looks better than the old hair - and the best part is that it renders nearly twice as quickly!

Gil's face has now been re-textured to look more realistic. There are still some minor tweaks needed (mostly about the lips), but he looks nice, I think. His facial expressions have also been re-worked, and he's a lot more expressive now, with a greater range from the subtle to the extreme. Here are a few extreme-ish poses for your amusement!

 
Gil Expression
Gil Expression
Gil Expression
Gil Expression
Gil Expression
Gil Expression
Gil Expression

As always, if this is your first visit, please click the FaceBook "Like" button, or the Twitter "Follow" button (or both!) at the top left of this page.

11.6.12

A bit of fun: my "How to make a CGI movie" video on YouTube has just passed 10,000 views! http://youtu.be/fULhgvfLpI4

Fundraising for the project is moving on slowly. We're now over the £7,000 mark - just under £13,000 to go, then...

I finished painting Gil's skin textures over the weekend, but they don't seem to apply themselves to my Gil model properly at the moment. No doubt I'm doing something wrong. I'll find out soon, but I've got some paid work for another company to get on with for the time being.

 
25.5.12

I haven't heard back about the other piece of news, so I'll be a bit careful how I say this =]

I sent the TyHa'an proposal off to a significant broadcatser who are currently looking for "family" material. The wrote back and said they could really see how the show would appeal to a younger audience (very good, so far), but that they need something that will work for adults as well (not so good). It's the same problem I always have a the moment: everyone thinks TyHa'an is aimed at a much younger age group than I do. This is whey I'm making the ten-minute pilot (more below!).

The good news is that they will look at the pilot when it's done. So that avenue is definitely not closed yet.

So it's back to the pilot.

Since receiving the funding I mentioned in my last post, I've made some adjustments to the plot, and fleshed out some of the characters' motivations etc. That has now been sent off to my brilliant script-writer sister, and we're having a meeting to discuss it all in a couple of weeks time.

So now I'm re-working the Gil model. The original I used in the little promo (see Make It Happen) had some flaws which I hope I have addressed: the corners of the mouth weren't quite right, so I've tweaked them; the body needed some work, as it was a bit over simplified; and I've completely rebuilt the hands to make them look better, and, hopefully, animate better too.

Today I'm starting on re-doing Gil's skin texture. There were some seams between different parts of the map which need sorting out (you can't see it in the promo, but there's a really obvious join under his chin). I'll probably have to learn new techniques for that.

I'll keep you posted.

 
16.5.12

I actually have enough funding from other sources to start work! And tomorrow is the first relatively free day to get going.

It'll be the revision of the plot first of all, so that I can send it off to my script writer so she can begin writing.

There was some other news today, which doesn't change anything at the moment, but it is still encouraging. I'm waiting to check whether it's all right to pass it on, so look back in the next day or so to see.

 
1.5.12

I've been talking to some top-class animators about joining the team to make the TyHa'an series - once the show is funded. So far I've had two positive responses. Have a look at what these guys can do - and be impressed!

The first is Alex Ronco: http://roncoalex.blogspot.fr

The second is Tim Birks: http://vimeo.com/timbirks

Also been having some great discussions about the plot of the first story, which has yielded some really good ideas. These will continue...

As always, if this is your first visit, please click the FaceBook "Like" button, or the Twitter "Follow" button (or both!) at the top left of this page.

 
24.4.12

Well, I've been working away for the last 10 days testing alternative rendering software to Pixar's RenderMan which I used on the promo for this site. Each has apparent benefits over RenderMan - for one it's speed, and for the other it's a nicer-looking skin shader, and the availability of online render farms which would make it unnecessary to buy a whole lot of extra stuff. After all my testing and struggling (lots of struggling) I've come to the conclusion that I was right to use RenderMan. It does the job that I need, it's stable and quick and it does make nice pictures!

I think it's been worth the work, though, so that I now know I'm using the right tools for the job. All I need now is to be able to pay for them...

 
 
1.3.12

Started re-rigging the Gil character today. Doing the promo (see it here), I discovered a couple of little things that made the animation rather more troublesome than it should be, so I'm now in the process of putting those things right - hopefully. I have to learn some new stuff like putting "real" muscles in the arms and shoulders to make them bend properly. It's all a bit of an experiment to start with, but, all being well, we'll see a much more co-operative Gil as the end result.
 
As ever, I'll let you know how I get on.
 
If this is your first visit, please click the FaceBook "Like" button at the top left of this page.

 
23.2.12

As a result of conversation with my new contact, the development plan has been revised. There seems to be some confusion about what the series is intended to be like, so we're now proposing to make a 10-minute pilot to give potential funders/broadcasters/co-production partners a clear idea of what is intended. The rest of the development (that is, scripts etc. for the whole series and buying a load more kit) will have to wait until we have some firm interest from potential buyers etc. The best part is that this plan is a LOT cheaper: £25,000 instead of £60,000! So we already have nearly 10% of the funds. The "Make it Happen" page has now been re-done to take account of this. Click here.
 
This is exciting, because, instead of just doing a lot of preparatory work and promotion, we'll actually get to tell part of the story. It's still going to take a year to do, because Julian will be doing the whole thing on his own, except for the pilot script and the voices.
 
If anyone out there feels like helping this along, please get in touch. Click here to contact Julian Tewkesbury, or here to visit the "Make it Happen" page where you'll see a very brief outline of the pilot funding plan.
 
If you're on FaceBook, please click the "Like" button at the top left of this page. The more likes, the better this project will look to investors!

 
7.2.12

Interesting (potentially exciting) new contact today. It'll be interesting to see where it leads.
 
I'll let you know more as it progresses.

 
3.2.12

Well, another month has passed. I have some £2,000 pledged towards the development of the show. Long way to go to reach the £60,000 target, but at least it's a start. Still looking to get the idea in front of more people and organisations.
 
Keep pushing ahead.

 
17.1.12

So, here we are at the beginning of 2012. All sorts of stuff going on in the world, and fundraising for the development of "TyHa'an" is under way - at last. So, do you think that making a TV show that promotes family, caring for friends and relatives, and not being a selfish jerk is worth doing? Some people do, and some don't.
 
I really hope making TyHa'an a great, exciting show while still having something positive to say will be worthwhile. I guess we'll see.
 
I'm talking to an experienced children's programming producer at the moment to see whether she can help "TyHa'an" along. I'm also looking at the possibility of getting at least some of the scripts written with the idea of trying to interest some well-known actors in doing the voices. That makes the show easier to sell to broadcasters.
 
I'll let you know what comes of it all.

 
15.9.11

Well, it’s been quite a job getting this far. There have been lots of late nights, working-right-through-the-night nights and generally wearing myself out. I’m hoping the next part of the project will be a little more controlled.
 
Still, I’m really pleased with the outcome so far, and hope very much that everyone else likes what they see.
 
I’ll start sharing some of the landmarks along the way soon. There have been so many modifications and changes to get everything working, and looking really great as it now does. That’s what development is all about. And there’s more to come.
 
Please visit again soon, and pass the word to your friends. The more people on-board with this project, the greater our chances of making it happen.