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July 9, 2008

lsgl: the 100-day countdown is done!

by sven at 11:59 pm

The 100-Day Countdown is DONEDONEDONE!!

Unfortunately, Let Sleeping Gods Lie is NOT.

And what that means is that LSGL will not be ready for submission to the 2008 H.P. Lovecraft Filmfest. This truth is a terribly bitter bill to swallow -- but there it is.

Yet, I'm choosing to count my victories. During the 100 days, I put in 288 hours sitting at the computer animating. (I was hoping to break 300, but some truly massive renders tied up the computer for days at a time.) What all this work bought me: Act 2 is storyboarded, all the essential props and animation cycles are done, and final renders for more than half of the shots have been completed.

I'm going to take a brief summer break from LSGL now. Plans aren't definite yet, but I'm likely to pick up the project again at the beginning of September.

* * * * *

As a way of putting closure on the big push, I want to share with you the shot I just polished off tonight. It's the most complicated one I've done yet.

spoiler alert: a big reveal
click on image to play clip (19sec - 4.4 MB)

It took 128 hours of render time to output that 17 second shot of Babel. That's 5 days, 8 hours, 6 minutes... Not including the two times I had to re-render large portions due to errors I missed during tests.

The file that outputted this shot went through 58 versions. I can't even begin to count the number of test frames and low-resolution renders that I outputted while getting to that final version. In the end, I actually divided the shot into into 4 separate files (based on a master), so I could output each section most efficiently -- removing everything that couldn't be seen during that portion of the clip (e.g. the sky, or the stuff at the bottom).

Consider all the elements that go into this shot:

Depending on how you count it, getting this one clip done ate up almost a whole month. (Good thing I can use the same basic set-up for a few more shots.)

* * * * *

I began the 100-Day Countdown (appropriately) on April Fool's day. Today, July 9th, marks the 100th day. I had set out to do at least 15 minutes every day during the push -- but according to my records, I've got zeroes on 12 days. About half of those are attributable to the computer being occupied with renders; the other half are due to Life trumping LSGL.

A lesson learned: 100 consecutive days is too damned long. Pushing for 30 days is easy-peasy... 60 days is OK... But beyond that, going without any kind of break just gets too miserable. When I start back up again after summer break, I'll definitely be using some other strategy to organize my time.

posted by sven | July 9, 2008 11:59 PM | categories: let sleeping gods lie