Design for Media, Semester 2, Project Proposal

26 Jan

Word press did some strange things with the formatting that I couldn’t fix (such as double spacing things making it much longer).  I can email you the better original if need be.  Here it is anyway:

Design for Media                    Spring 2011

F/A-18 Island Combat Proposal Outline

Victor Dearing


-This project centers around the creation of a photo-realistic CG short film. The film will contain many techniques I have learned over the years and act as a sort of Junior level capstone project.

-The goals for this project are to gain a view of where I stand as a soon-to-be professional CG artist, learn how to create/utilize special effects in CG films, and to create my first ever large scale CG film.

-I have been working with CG in some way, shape, or form for six years. Between my experience as a CG artist, and the array of knowledge I have gained at CCAD, I should be able to live up to the goals for this project. This is a very ambitious project, and it will require a great deal of work, but I believe I am ready to take it on.


-The plan is to create a fully realized ~1 minute CG film, featuring photo-realistic models, textures, animation, and special effects.

-The film centers around an F/A-18 military jet as it approaches a small, solitary, island surrounded by ocean for a reconnaissance mission. The plane must fly through a raging thunder storm over turbulent seas to reach the target. As the plane approaches it is picked up by a previously undetected SAM (surface to air missile) site on the island. Despite the pilot’s attempts to dodge the incoming missile, ultimately the plane is hit and shoot down.

-Maya 2011 will be used to make the bulk of the project. All model, texture, animation, dynamic, and water system fall into this category. Rendering will be done in Maya through Mental Ray. Photoshop CS5 will be used to create and compile the texture maps. Modo is being investigated as a quick way to create the UV maps, but Maya can be used as a back up. Final composting and color correction will be done with After Effects or Final Cut Pro.

Market Analysis

-This piece is designed mainly for my peers and teachers at CCAD as a compilation project to showcase where I am at in my CG career. I am also making this for myself, to push my skills as far as I can take them into , as of yet, unexplored regions.

-There are many examples of weaker CG projects to see on youtube, but here are two videos that capture a similar vibe to what I want to make:

Strategy and Implementation

-For the next five weeks the primary goal of the project will be to finish the plane in its entirety in Computer Animation. During this time in Design for Media, pre-production will begin. Specificity, a treatment, idea board, expanded concept art, and color tests of that concept art will be made. The goal during this period is to lock down what the project’s ultimate look, feel, length and scope will be.

-The middle five weeks will go to setting up the long environment shots (long distance island geometry, clouds, ocean), and the close up environment for the SAM site to be located (the SAM site itself, radar system, land, and surrounding jungle). This will all be happening in Computer Animation, while in Design for Media, the focus will be on creating a solid story board and a 3D pre-vis animatic. The goal here is to be as detailed and complete as possible so that once the environments are done, animation and special effects can begin immediately.

-In the remaining five weeks the work work in Design for Media will focus on producing the animations for the plane, SAM site, and missile. In Computer Animation, the dynamics for the rain, as well as other special effects, will be put in place. This section is left somewhat sparse because there will likely be some work pushed to here due to the large scope of the planed project.

-Here is a list of the programs I plan to use:

-Maya 2011 (models, animation, special effects, water system, environment)

-Mental Ray for Maya (lighting, shading, rendering)

-Photoshop CS5 (texture maps)

-Modo (UV layout, no prior experience)

-After Effects (color correction, possible special effects, composting, and encoding)

-This project is mainly a technical demo of my skill set. However, I plan to use much of the cinematography, animation, and general production knowledge I have gained at CCAD to make the project more realistic. I hope this level of realism sets it apart from many of the other examples of CG fighter jet work out there on youtube.


-Here is a list of all the components of the project that will be delivered:

-project treatment

-idea board

-concept art expanded from idea board

-color tests using concept art

-story board

-3D animatic using low poly version of the plane

-photo-realistic F/A-18

-photo-realistic isolated island environment

-storm special effects including rain, raging ocean, and lightning

-realistic plane special effects/animation including control surfaces

-realistic SAM firing and flight animation/special effects

-final composited and encoded movie


-My primary goal is to put my self through a trial by fire and see how I do. It is very important to me that, regardless of how the final piece turns out, I learn what I can do and what I need to work on. I have never worked with fully realized dynamics, special effects, or water systems, so I am looking forward to learning more about them as well. I am proud of the work I have done up till now at CCAD, but I want to create one solid, blowout piece beyond anything I have done up to now. I want to be able to put the movie up on vimeo or youtube, show to my peers/teachers/friends/family and say, “this is what I can do; this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.”

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Posted by on January 26, 2011 in Uncategorized


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