Original Short Film (2007)

All visual elements were created, animated, rendered, and composited by me from January-April 2007 for my final short film assignment at Sheridan College. The dragon character and his cave were designed through concept sketches, and then modeled using Maya. Displacement maps for both the dragon and the cave were then sculpted using Mudbox. I painted all textures using Photoshop, UV’ed all objects, and created the shaders for rendering in Mental Ray.

The dragon is rendered using sub-surface scattering, and his shader contains 3 separate layers of body textures that were hand-painted (a muscle layer, veins and fat, and skin colour). The cave was created by first modeling low-res geometry, with detail then added by sculpting a displacement map in Mudbox to save render time. All objects in the cave were modeled and textured by me. The scenes were then lit using a multi-light setup, with select spotlights generating fog. The dragon and the set were rendered separately in 12 passes (beauty, occlusion, spec, shad, alpha, depth x 2), using Mental Ray and composited in After Effects.

I painted a few matte paintings to extend the cave beyond the entrance and the opening in the roof. Those matte paintings were composited in After Effects by tracking the camera moves and layering the cards in 3D. Some shots were completely mattes, which were painted in layers and transferred to 3D cards in compositing to create parallax. The fire and smoke effects were generated in Combustion, rendered and composited in After Effects.

All animation was done by me, with advice and suggestions from my teachers, Mark Simon and Jim Sayers. The script and screenplay were a collaboration between myself and Bruce Burrow, with Mark Simon and Jim Sayers advising. Sound was created, designed and mixed by me, with the dragons voice played by Bruce Burrow.

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