Earth Ravaged by Beasts!

Earth Ravaged by Beasts!

Earth Ravaged by Beasts!


Recently we caught up with a group of second year Advanced Diploma of Screen & Film students who have formed a group called “After Five” (Damien Lam, Brad Bishop, Ken Khoo, James Law, Chuong Vu, Mia Ng, Keen Foong). We asked them a couple of questions about their recent project, which is already looking amazing!


Tell us a little bit about your current project, and it’s background?


Damien – Our current project is officially called DIVE: quick summary – In a not so distant future the Earth has been terrorised by an unknown entity. These large beast like creatures have ravaged through our civilisation and the war between beast and machine has become our story for the past decade. We have suffered huge losses but we are starting to win the war. There are many species of these beasts and one of the most recognised are identified as Hexalum’s or a ‘6’s in short. These bulky large beasts act as the heavy front line, charging and ripping through our resistance with brute force. DIVE is the response unit designed specifically to combat the threat. The C-26 Tanks are the backbone of the DIVE unit and are deployed out of carriers during flight and literally dive into the heart of the hostile environment and eliminate the immediate threat.

How did you guys first get together and discover each other’s strengths?

Chuong – we got together at the end of last year, we all had similar ideas and really just wanted to work together, shoot something (an external project) and challenge ourselves with some visual effects.  

James – The majority of us met each other in the intensive art class last year, we did some work helping the second years last year, and that was really great in opening our eyes to the standard we should be working to.

Damien – In the intensive first year subject, everyone just sort of found each other because we were all producing similar quality of work and we just fell into a group with each other.


Ken's Rigging

We’ve been following your production blog lately – your posts and updates are great! What are your team goals and inspirations for the future and upcoming projects?

Damien – For inspiration I would say we love game cinematics, like Blizzard cinematics or game trailers. To me they’re more than just advertising games, they are like short, really well made animated films which is perfect for us to aspire to for our work at AIE.

James – Yes, definitely game cinematics. For the next projects we’re not entirely sure of where we want to go ahead: some of us are thinking of staying in the same style, and the other half is wanting to create something completely new, so you never know.

Camera Animation

What new and innovative techniques (programs or workflows) etc. have you been using to create it?


Damien - We came to the project and we understood that each person has different strengths, and roles. We used many different software packages - Rayfire, Mari, Zbrush, Maya of course, 3D-Coat and for editing we used Adobe Premiere and After effects. We also worked on both Macs and PCs.

A couple of the new things we did were things like: explosion simulations, fragment simulation, blend shapes for muscles, muscle jiggle, different software packages to work on our texturing.

Following on from that question – what were the biggest challenges you have encountered?
Chuong - The biggest challenge and I guess risk we took was mixing cross platform between Maya on Macs and PC. Using Maya in this way didn’t integrate as smoothly in our workflow when it came to rendering and therefore we had a lot of problems with regards to the passes. It came out nicely in the end, but we also encountered a lot of headaches as well.

Is there a ballpark figure you could give me on the hours of time you have spent on this project so far?

Mia - Pretty much all of us have not slept at all since we started the project– it’s been pretty nonstop.

VFX Breakdown

How would you describe your time at AIE so far? How has it helped form the artists you are today?

James - I think coming to AIE was awesome, because you’re with people that are like-minded. You get to experience absolutely everything first before you tie yourself down to a particular role, and the first year helped us find our footing, and second year helped us find who we want to work with.

Ken - It’s a great place to work on your portfolio. When you work on just your own, in your own headspace sometimes you doubt yourself and think something you do isn’t that great. When you have the encouragement of everybody else around you it’s great to have people to motivate you. It’s a nice environment.
Would you guys work together again in the future?

Together: Hell yeah!

Anything else you would like to add, or advice you would like to give to those looking to become animators?

Chuong - What makes the group work is that everyone believes in working together, achieving the same goal and everyone is really dedicated.

Brad - You have to learn to sacrifice a little bit of time in your life, and dedicate a portion of it to this. We use tools like Google Hangouts to keep connected even in the early hours of the morning, and catch up with the rest of the team – it’s a fantastic tool. It’s important to catch up regularly.


Damien - We talk almost every night


Mia – Agreed, we all have really great communication and we all have the same one goal rather than having everyone doing their own different things, we work together toward the same thing.


Damien – I’d say on a more personal level, before you attempt 3D animation, work out the fundamentals - so go back to drawing. Studying the physics of lighting and how an animated film, and a short film generally comes together. A lot of our team have this background in art.


James -  I guess I would probably say, don’t let your mind fall into the head space of “oh I’ve got too much work to do” and as your life changes later on in the projects don’t just think “oh this is going to be so hard” and then you starting of easier ways to do it and cut corners. Just, don’t complain, stop pitying yourself and just get down and do it – for the greater good of you, and your team basically.


Ken - Yeah the word ‘goal’ has been thrown around quite a bit here and I whole heatedly agree. In my view it’s the most important thing – we all expect the group to be all on the same page, and also for each person to define their own individual goal to the rest of the team (For example: to learn their role, during the duration of the project) to advance themselves in their area of specialisation.


Keen - For me teamwork was just the most important thing – it was what held everything together. When we first took on this project, we actually went up to a pub – sat down and had a talk about what we actually wanted from this whole project, and set the clear roles and clarified everything for the future.


James – Always create bigger and better, aim higher, and never let anyone say a project is “too ambitious”


DIVE Cinematic Trailer

To keep in touch with the group and their upcoming projects, follow them on their Blog