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ChrisC

"Side Effects" - short film

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I did a short thing about my feelings towards social media, the good & bad. It's a pretty personal piece, happened to land at the same time as the CA/Facebook scandal, which was pure luck but it was exactly this sort of thing I was thinking about while cooking up the ideas.

It's the least 'distracted' piece I've made I think - ie I didn't get bogged down in irrelevant details or flashy effects like I normally do, but tried to stay focussed on getting it finished without losing the thread too much. So there's zero flashy camera work, quite a few of the meshes are from stock except the detailed machines, and there's very little post - it's mostly straight renders with some colour correction. And from a production point of view it's pretty straightforward, a bit of rigging and one simple Houdini setup, which is a version of Simon Fiedler's setup from a while back. From a mograph piece it's actually pretty boring, even to me ;-) but hopefully the audience reaction is more about the ideas behind it than the surface stuff.

It's been funny to see the reception, which has been pretty positive, and the ironic likes/shares - and observe the exact effect on me that the whole thing is about. Dopamine kicks from the comments and peer reviews even when I try to stay detached - it's hard to stay immune which is what makes the whole social media 'experiment' so hazardous.

There's more detail here:

https://www.behance.net/gallery/63696503/Side-Effects

Fire up any questions about anything, or any suggestions about what I did wrong ;-)

 

 

igorschmigor likes this

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Really nice piece, Chris. 

Like your choices with the diffuse UI. The piece flows really nicely, but story-wise I got a little lost following the chemistry section. Everything you show before that is so specific and relies on combining what you're watching with prior knowledge of social media (pills, labels, icons, etc). When we get to the chemistry section it sorta seems "vaguely scientific". It's very nicely executed, but I couldn't tell how it related to the pills.

Minor criticisms might include how dark the pill bottles appear: 1) especially when there are pills inside 2) especially in such a bright environment. It comes off as dirty in an otherwise super clean environment. The whole piece is also a smidge too glossy for my tastes, but meh... that would matter more if it didn't have a message. But as reference, I prefer the spec/gloss of your opening scene over the scene that follows.

Also... loved "autoplay on".

-m

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Cheers for that, and good to see you here. Like going back to an old haunt after a decade and meeting a familiar figure, hidden in the shadows behind a bottle of whiskey...

Yup agree that the chemistry section is a bit separate, it was a late change of direction when I just wanted to get it wrapped up and move on - I had the ending sorted but didn't know quite how to get there. Initially the gas was going to get sucked into cannisters of 'vim-e-go!' or something, and the gloop left behind sucked into branded syringes, but I was worried the whole thing was getting so repetitive the audience would be bored as hell by then - yeah, we get it, social media is a drug *yawn* next... so I thought the 'hidden' logo would be something different, to reward the attentive viewer. Did you see the hidden logo...?

Thanks too for the feedback about the materials etc, good to get some detail like this. - C

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Oooo, Secrets! How fun. I did not notice the hidden logo. Even upon second viewing... I'm not sure I can with certainty say I saw the hidden logo. Maybe hidden a little too well? Perhaps so we wouldn't be sued? ;)

 

-m

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Strange this, some people I've shown this too (my kids included) spot it straight away. Others - designers included - stare without spotting it asking what am I talking about?

 

side_logo.jpg

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Beautiful work, Chris! Love the concept too. The modelling must have taken a while. Lot of complexity, wow.

My only feedback is the textures look too perfect in my opinion. I know it's a clean factory, but a little noise never hurt anyone. :) 

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Thanks aeko - yup modelling the custom stuff did take a lot longer than I thought, although I should mention there's a load of stock stuff in there too - the floors/walls, the screens, background machinery. Basically - anything that looks fairly decent isn't mine ;-) In the old days the purist in my would have balked at this and I've have modeled everything up myself - but now I'm much less bothered about bringing in whatever is available, it's more about getting the thing finished and moving on.

The same applies to the perfect paint/metal work. Sure I could have added some grime but it would have added a ton of work, working out grime maps, projections for all the moving parts, UVing, baking... Basically with this sort of personal project it's incredibly easy to lose focus, and the whole thing just slides away into the hard-drive abyss... so once I found a look I liked that was quick to set up and render, I could then post-rationialise it as an artistic decision (ie the sterility of the environment reflects the total inhumanity) and get on with it. Just don't tell anyone it was laziness ;-)

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Looking great Chris! Nice on that hidden logo I just didn't see it at all. Love the idea too. I've always fancied doing something like this (not about social media but within the realm) but have not yet had a concrete enough idea. Congrats again!

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