Need help for a school project.

Hello everyone, good evening (or morning/afternoon, depending on where you are located) from France !

I had a special ask to make, and here it is ! I'm currently studying Animation/3D and (kind of) SFX in a french university, and our English and Design Theory courses teachers have made a common project, which consists in finding someone, involved in the large domain of art/artwork/etc (and more of that in our own specialty) and try to make a kind of "correspondance" with that person - I need to have at least 30 "days" of discuss at the end.

Obviously, these exchanges might have to be in relation with the art : How each part sees it, lives with it (or not, who knows?), etc.

Aaaaand, I was wondering if anyone here could -maybe- speak a bit with me (not necessarily every day, I am myself quite busy only with the studies, without counting my personal works) about, well, about "things". I mean, I know you're not exactly in my specialty and all, but I see Character creation as a full part of Animation, either 2D or 3D, and I feel you all could be really interesting to speak with.

Then, if anyone here -student in arts, student of the SWSCA, maybe even artist or teacher, who knows?- is open to talk a bit, I will be greatly thankful to that (these?) person(s) :smiley: 

Well, I guess this is all for now, I'll hope to have an answer, now :smile: 

Oh, yes, also (almost forgotten it). If any of you wants to contact me more directly, I'll just put my personal e-mail : charles.emeriaufarges@gmail.com

Thanks to all in advance !


(Post-Scriptum : Also, if there are mistakes in what I've said, i'll be thankful if you help me correct my english :smile: that's also the secondary goal of it all. Thanks !)


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    Hi Charles,

    I can correspond with you here on the forums if you wish to discuss practical effects or animation.

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    Hi Chris !

    Thank you so much for anwering me, actually, you're the first one to answer me, and I'm really glad to finally be able to share with someone :)

    Well, first of all, It would be good, I think, to make some kind of...introducing, about myself. I already said I'm a student, but, actually, I have two main projects for the future; the first one in indeed within the animation domain, (especially all that concerns CGI and SFX), either as animator or modeller -I'm better-ish at modelling, though-. The second domain I'm interested in is Costume Design, prosthetics, (maybe even animatronics one day, who knows?) etc.

    That's more or less all about myself (all important, that said), so well, please, tell me a bit about your own activities (like, where you hail from, what's your job, that kind of stuff), so I can better see what to talk about next.

    Also, what exactly do you call "practical effects"? I know it concerns the "real" effects, but, I must admit I don't see exactly how to define it, right now.

    Thanks in advance!

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    Hi Charles,

    Sounds like you have some fun projects in the works!

    Here's a little bit about me.

    I live in Los Angeles, California.  By day I'm Director of Technology for a digital media agency, and by night (and weekends) I run a small special effects company called "Vex FX."  The effects work I do is primarily for short films, web series, music videos, TV pilots and commercials, as my schedule (and day job) don't allow me the time required to work on bigger projects like feature films.  I also work a great deal in the Halloween and Haunted Attraction industry, where there is a big demand for effects artists.

    My big personal project right now is creating an animatronic creature suit based on the Skeksis character from Jim Henson's "The Dark Crystal."  You can see more about that project here:  http://forums.stanwinstonschool.com/discussion/398/skeksis-animatronic-creature-suit-project/p1

    I also work with the Stan Winston School of Character Arts helping to run these forums, where we are building a community where our students can share their work, ask questions, help one another, and continue to grow as artists.

    I used to work in game design as well as visual effects, so I'm familiar with the CGI side of things.  I've always enjoyed world building, so in game design I loved building levels and designing immersive environments.  I've also done a bit of work as a texture artist.  On the visual effects side of things my background is mainly in motion graphics, but I've dabbled in modeling/animation/compositing.

    To answer your other question, "Practical Effects" is another way of saying "Special Effects."  While the term "Special Effects" can apply to in camera as well as digital effects, "Practical Effects" is specifically anything physical.  You can learn more on the specifics here:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Practical_effect

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    Hi Chris !

    Well, I've just seen your post and well, I must admit I'm quite impressed and interested by your project !

    I mean, it's been a long time I've not watched Dark Crystal, but even tho, that movie made me dream like no one since then : it was like magic to me, having child's eyes. Now, I'd certainly see more errors and strange stuff but I guess it would still be a great experience to see (thank you, you just made me want to re-watch it).

    So, to be honest, I'll give an eye as much as I can on your project (also, I must ask you : can I take away some photos from your project topic and put them in the final form of my homework? It could be a very nice example of your work to show to my teachers :smile: )

    Well, what more can I say ?

    I might better write more tomorrow, actually, I'm kind of tired tonight !

    Hope to write you soon!

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    Hi Charles,

    I've always loved Dark Crystal because of the unique and rich world they created and then populated with equally amazing characters.

    Part of what I love about the film is that it is so densely populated with artistic craftwork.  Everything was hand made.  There's something wonderful about getting lost in a world that was brought into existence by passionate artists.

    I feel the same way about the movie "The Labyrinth," Which is another Jim Henson project.

    You are welcome to use images from my project in your homework.

    Are there any movies that inspired you and influenced your choosing a creative path?


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    Hi again, a day later x)

    Well, thanks for that, then (the photos) :)

    I've never seen that "Labyrinth" (not the current one either : post-apoc mindfuckery bullshit? Nah.) but I might have to find a copy, now, just to see how it is :smile: 

    Indeed, that's what I wanted to say about DC, it was really impressive to "get lost", as you said ! And, even though I didn't see it since a long time, I shall watch it (as soon as I find my dvd-copy).

    Well, to answer your question...I don't know, actually. I know that whan I saw the Lord of the Rings for the first time, I was like "Whoa, those guys who made the armors and props are geniuses", and later "Whoa, still geniuses. One day, i will work with them", so I gueeess I can say that movie DID inspire me to go that way ^^.

    Now, I'm more inspired by comic-books and graphic novels (Do you ever read "Smoke City", drawn by Benjamin Carré? It's absolutely wonderful) (but you might know him, as the school's facebook page already published some of his work), and then...Then, I discovered Warhammer 40k. And armors just took another signification in my mind. Like another level (also, what is cooler than cathedrals in space?).

    However, today, I must admit I'm greatly influenced by many other universes, so it's quite hard to tell you what exactly is inspiring me the most, actually.

    Usually, I do some steampunk-ish props, which is guided by some friends of mine, who have a great experience in that domain, and also (mostly) post-apoc stuff. Here, I've been greatly influenced by movies like "The Book of Eli", or games like...he, like fallout, I can't argue against that :wink: 

    All for tonight, I guess !

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    The Labyrinth movie I'm talking about is this one:  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0091369/  from 1986

    Lord of The Rings is another great example of an immersive world where almost everything was hand crafted.  The production designer did not want you to be able to recognize even simple things like glassware as off the shelf products, so every glass, cup, bowl, etc. was custom made.  From the sets and props to the armor and costuming it was an amazing artistic achievement.

    I'm not familiar with Smoke City, I'll have to check that out!

    Warhammer is another cool universe, and one I need to look into more.  I'm mostly just familiar with the armor that folks create from it, and the figures.

    Games like Fallout are super inspirational.  A few of my friends are working on projects from that universe right now.  And I'm just starting Fallout 4 and feeling a bit overwhelmed by how complex the game is, but man is it beautiful.  It's the first game in the Fallout series I've played.  I've done my best to avoid them because I knew how much I would love the series, and the expansive worlds take forever to fully explore.  But with Fallout 4 I finally gave in.  I'm just hoping it does not eat up too much of my already limited free time!

    I love the "atom punk" retro-future style of it.

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    Hello Chris !

    Out of the main thread, I might need your help on a personnal project I have currently. I'd certainly make a full-blown topic elsewhere for it but, well, as we're speaking here, I'll ask you first.

    I'm currently directing a web-series (which is not "officially" launched because of several problems we've had on the first episode). It's set in a post-apoc world, but I tried to maje it my own vision of what could be our future after an "apocalypse".

    And, to make it the shortest possible there are...well, let's call them cyborgs. That's not the exact word but whatever.

    Some men and women, that have been recruited by a firm to get involved in a robotic program BEFORE the A-Day; most of them being injured severely -like a arm cut off or so-, the firm used them as kind of "prototypes" : so, most of them have been "augmented" by mechanical limbs (is that the good word? I mean arms/legs) and also some chemicals and genetically stuff.

    For the second part, it doesn't have visual effects on the subject, but obviously, the mecha part does.

    And then, as I try to be the main costume and props designer for this project, I needed to know if you could help me finding out HOW to make an arm more or less like this one on pinterest : https://fr.pinterest.com/pin/456974693414437263/ It should be more like a gauntlet, as I want the actor to actually make moves in it, but, well, I'd like some plates to move; kinda like an armor.

    As far as I'm getting into this, I've thought a bit about the materials I could use in it, and I've ended up with thermal plastic (like worbla or so), foam (EVA) and something in the inside, to insulate/isolate the wearer from the plastic itself. My problem is with the question of How to make it wear-able? (also, note that the actual prop is not from shoulder to hand, but only from elbow to hand.)

    Thanks in advance !

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    Augmented is the right word!

    For creating the artificial arm materials like worbla and EVA foam would be great.  I think you could learn a lot by what the folks in the cosplay world are doing, as they are making armor much like the image you linked to out of EVA foam, and occasionally worbla. 

    One good source of info on this would be http://punishedprops.com/  He has some great tutorials on working with EVA foam, and his techniques would work for what you are after.

    Another good option would be to make the individual pieces out of solid and rigid material like wood (MDF for example) or rigid foam and then vacuum form them to create lightweight plastic shells for the arm.  This is how some of the Storm Trooper armor for the original Star Wars films was created.

    Keeping the material thin is a good idea, as you don't want to bulk up the arm too much.  Bulk is fine for armor, as armor is additive (you put it on your body), but in this case you want what is basically a prosthetic limb, so it should appear as slim as possible so it does not look like an actor wearing something.

    Sounds like a fun project!

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    I don't have much time to answer yet, but wow, this guy does some great work ! Thanks for the link :smile: 

    I have made some templates-ish things, I'll post them this evening after my courses (currently, we're adaptating a short comptine (children's song) in an animated short movie and well, i had to realise one of the main settings (a strange cardboard house).

    It's really fun, to have some projects like this.

    I'll try to write more tonight;

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    edited January 2016
    Ohhhhhw. It's been a very long time, sorry, I was really busy since the last time (stuck between exams and job, It was very difficult to write anything).

    Well, what can I say?

    Actually, my school project has ended since...today; And even though it's been a month since my last message, I've really enjoyed this conversation, and I hope i'll see you soon on the forums, you've been a very interesting correpondant :smile: 

    Also, i'll just start another topic on the forums today, and, if you will to see what it's up to, I'll leave the link down there :


    Actually it'll be about the project I told you, the mecha-hand and all that :smile: I hope to find even more answers to keep on doing it, and I really think this forum may be the right place to find an helpful hand in this project.

    So, well, to "conclude" this discussion -even though I'll be more than happy to keep speaking with you from time to time, obviously- I wanted to thank you for the time you gave me during, well, almost a full month; this has been a very great time speaking to someone like you !

    Again, thanks for all, and I hope to see you on the forums !

    Post edited by Charles Emeriau-farges on
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    Glad I was able to help out with your project.  I'll be sure and check out your new discussion on the forums!

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