Key Scene Dynamics

Update on the progress with dynamics over the key sequences of the animation, created using Maya dynamics and post compositing in After Effects. Each dynamic element has to be rendered out separately for optimal control in post compositing, where the environment itself may still look at little rough as they were not rendered at this stage. Some further tweaking and refinements is still necessary as their not quite there yet.

Evil Wolf Dynamics Test

The dynamics are mainly following their influence from the initial concept here. Movements of the dynamics need to be sharper to better reflect the nature of the evil wolf.

Good Wolf Dynamics Test

Following the concepts from here. The markings are being generated randomly with instancing objects, although I'm considering to animate the markings manually for better control (or perhaps a combination of the two). Tweaking to the density of the purple lights may also be in order.

Shrine Dynamics Test

There will need to be two sets of dynamics for when the shrine; one where it is relatively dormant during the opening, to another with a rushing of activity as it beckons the wolves to the soul. The above example is admittedly not quite one or the other as of yet, serving as an experimentation of ideas with ethereal like flames to swirling trails of energy.

Shrine Opening Test #2

Revisions to the shrine opening, with increased speed and acceleration. Still toying with the idea of the fade to black during the narrator's dialogue as you can see in the 4th variation.

Some minor tweaks to the positioning of the rock formations is needed to stop the slight 'popping' towards the end of the pull back.

Shrine Opening Test

One of the trickiest environments to tackle is the transition shot from the shrine where the camera pulls back through the environment. Here is a playblast of the scene focusing on the camera movements, with two minor variations in the editing. Elements such as lighting is not final.

We are yet to determine the idea of cutting to one or two shots of the wolves with the slow panning of the soul and narration, for a sense of tension/buildup before the race. Feedback is most welcome.

The Wolves Within Interim Presentation

Today, we had to present a short interim presentation to our tutors and peers for The Wolves Within - which serves as a great way to recap on the project thus far. Check it out below!

The Wolves Within - Interim Presentation

Environment Update

Update on progress with environments The Wolves Within - these are framed closely to the camera angles found in the animatic/previs.

Above Shot & 'Take Lead' shot
We first see the wolves from above, before leading to a side by side shot of the two wolves running where the evil wolf edges in front.

Evil Wolf Paw Shot

Shot of the evil wolf demonstrating his power as he crushes the ground beneath him to gain the lead. Again, the green light is a placeholder at the moment until some more development tests.

This leads on to the main Evil Wolf shot which has undergone some further tweaks.

Side Race Shot

Side race shot where the good wolf catches up by taking alternate route.

Jumping Shot

Jumping shot as the good wolf begins to take the lead. This leads into the 'Air shot' of the good wolf. Elements of the affects of the good wolf should begin to present here (will be added).

Landing Shot

Landing shot showing that the good wolf has taken the lead. Bit tricky to capture the composition in this one as the good wolf needs posing to fit into the shot correctly. Remnants of the effects of the good wolf such as the purple/pink light and markings will be added.

R&D: Shrine Dynamics #1

With the wolves affecting the environment in fantastical ways, dynamics are an important element for our animation. This can be achieved with a combination of Maya dynamics and post effects, or just post composition effects alone.

Here are some initial render tests with Maya dynamics for the Shrine Environment. The soul is suspended in mid-air over the central shrine which reacts strongly to the wolves' presence.

Raw Maya Particles


The post effects gives a much needed boost to the basic dynamics, which will most likely be the best way to approach this process. It's still a little rough at the moment and will probably go through many more tests and variations, as elements such as lighting from the particles will need to affect the environment (current render is a single background plate).

Good/Evil Shot Environment

Making progress with some of the other environments/shots at The Wolves Within, with modelling, texturing and lighting. Here are the central shots where the Good and Evil wolf get to demonstrate their affects on the environment. Forgive the wolf poses in each shot - as I don't have the rigged versions yet, they are primarily there to achieve the correct scale in the environment.

Evil Wolf Shot

Here the evil wolf takes the lead, mainly bringing destruction to the environment. Ominous green shafts of light seep through the cracks on the ground, where shards of rock and angular rock formations fill the scene. Original concept here.

Good Wolf 'Air' Shot

In this shot, the good wolf is leaping in the air as he regains the lead from the evil wolf. Elements in the environment echo ideas from the original concept, with the Native American markings being awakened by the presence of the good wolf, as well as the shards and fragments of the rocks coming down to form as a whole.


There's still a few placeholder elements until some further testing with dynamics can be carried out, namely the green light from the evil wolf environment and the pinky/purple light from good wolf environment.

It's a little tricky working with each environment, as definitive right or wrong elements is hard to pinpoint until a more refined shot of the environment is done. Only until you you have a more refined scene, can you see the broader picture and identify what is needed next.

Shrine Environment #03

A lot of experimenting with textures and Normal Maps this week, while making more progress with the shrine environment. Textures have been applied throughtout the environment along with additional adjustments to the lighting.

Shrine Model with Normal Map

Totem Models

The base models of the totems was taken into Zbrush, polypainted (painted directly onto the model rather than a flat texture map) and scuplted for additional details. From this, normals maps and texture maps from polypaint can be exported and applied to the base mesh.

Shrine Environment #02

More progress with the shrine environment over at The Wolves Within, experimenting with the lighting in the scene to get a sense of the tone we're trying to capture. Elements such as the background matte painting and blue shaft of light are temporary at the moment and will be further refined.

Life Drawing #18

Life drawing! A few tricky poses this week with an array of intersecting objects and foreshortening.

Shrine Environment #01

Work in progress for the Shrine environment, blocking things in at the moment and will continue to add further detail. A few experiments will be needed to be carried out involving textures with normal maps and the background matte painting.

Main totem props


As we move into production over at The Wolves Within, we made some more tweaks and refinements to the animatic with the addition of previs. After an initial previs, we found the timing and pacing were better in the original animatic, and thus combined the two.

Animatic/Previs (Latest version)

Previs v.1

Elements are still subject to tweaking, but for now we'll push on with production. Where Jolanta is focusing on characters with the two wolves, I will be taking care of the environments with the shrine as well as the good and evil parts of the environment. Wish us luck!

Life Drawing #17

More life drawing again this week with a female model. There's a lot of objects surrounding the model this time as the first years were focusing on negative space.

The Wolves Within Project Proposal

With the foundations of The Wolves Within project firmly in place, here is the formal document of our project proposal.

The Wolves Within Project Proposal

Concept Shrine Environment #02

Second concept piece of the shrine.

To further suggest the transition into more man made influences as we arrive at the forefront of the human spirit, the environment is now more reflective of Native American influences with totem like elements. This also helps to distinguish the final confrontation with more significance.

Concept Shrine Environment #01

Concept piece of the shrine environment which holds the human spirit that the wolves seek to control. The presence of the wolves agitate the flames evoking the spiritual nature of the environment as the ruins resonate from within.

Rather than literal representations of Native American structures, I opted for more abtract/suggestive representations of rock-like material. However, this may need to be further resolved to suggest a more significant shift to a man-made environment. After some discussion with Jolanta, we have some fresh ideas to try at this key environment.

Some initial designs of the shrine


Life Drawing #16

Life drawing again with a male model. I think the plenty of 2 minute warm up drawings definitely helped further down the line with the later extended poses.

Good Wolf Concept #02

Another concept piece for the good wolf and his effect on the environment.

Moving away from the initial idea that the wolf brings life to the environment with elements such as plants and trees, the environment is now more consistent with the evil wolf with neutral rock type cliffs. Where the evil wolf brings chaos to the environment, the presence of the good wolf allows the rocks to form back into whole forms awakening the Native American markings in the process. In this way, the logic and design is also more consistent with the setting of inner space with other worldly elements.