Panic Attack!

You’re a young man stuck in Nowheresville, and you create a four-minute $280 short film that imagines giant animated robots coming to destroy your crappy town. You upload it to YouTube. Two months later, Hollywood inks a $30m (£18.6 million) contract with you to make a feature film. Very cool. And I bet he was glad he used all royalty-free assets…

Nice. But let’s hope the studio execs persuade him to ditch the sea-sickness -inducing “wobbly camera” look. I will be so glad when that particular movie-making affectation goes out of fashion.


Pineapple Chunks adds another article to the recent flurry of bloggist introspection about “what is and isn’t machinima?”. Chat Noir comments that…

“if somebody comes up with a cool name for “non-game-driven” “machinima” […], I will adopt it and see if it flies.”

“Anymation” seems to be the obvious and already in-use contender, although it does confuse Google — which assumes you’ve mis-typed “animation” — and is fuzzy enough to include some machinima. Other contenders I can think up off the top of my head, which might serve as substitutes for the phrase…

“micro-budget films consisting of computer generated footage, made by amateurs using a range of accessible digital tools”





Open Movies (for movies that give away all their assets, or Web links to those used, at completion)

DIY-fi films

Small movies


Toonologists / Toonology

Hybrid films

Homebrew films


Genimation (generative animation, when procedural animation really starts to find its way into consumer level suites in a few years)

Trashimation (for all the terrible character-dancing “test clips” littering YouTube)

True wave (a pun on “new wave”)

I can’t think of a picture to illustrate this blog post, so here’s how they did DIY film FX in the year 1901. I’d love to see this faithfully recreated in beautifully-lit color iClone-o-Scope…

More Creative Commons models

Virtual Lands has a few rather well-modelled free props, very low-poly and suitable for fantasy/ghost/historical stories. These include an apple and an 18th century lantern. Both are professionally textured (check the lovingly-applied spots of rust on the baseplate of the lantern), and convert easily from .obj to iClone .vns format. There’s also a good broadsword and other models, also as .obj files and also very low-poly. All his free models are licenced under an “attribution + non-commercial” Creative Commons licence.

Click the image for a larger version.

You’ll probably want to remove the candle’s 3D-shape “flame” and the wick, when you import the lantern to .vns form. That makes it easier to add an iClone particle-effect in the background to simulate a candle flame (as I’ve done in the above picture), and to add any old narrowed/scaled 3D block to serve as an adjustable or curved wick.

The apple is low-poly enough to potentially seed an iClone apple tree with a decent amount of fruit. Very handy if you wanted to re-stage the discovery of gravity by Newton…

“Giddee up, Dobbin…”

Jason has posted a good video tutorial on how to have a horse kick up “puffs” of dust from each hoof, as it trots along in a desert environment. Some useful tips here on what counts as a “foot” in the iClone horse’s bone rig, and where to find it. And also — should you happen to have handy a leggy young model, an amusement-arcade bucking-bronco machine and a green-screen room — how to green-screen yourself riding the said horse (by using a video billboard) across the desert in iClone.