This was one of a cluster of alien close up shots I got to animate. They were short shots that each took about a day to animate.

I animated this shot towards the end of my time on the show. It was a fun shot that in my oppinion really came together in the renders (look at that puff of vapor from the alien's mouth!). The forground character Is all key frame animation. The background right character is motion capture and the background left character was pulled from a shot animated by Neil Michka.

Another shot animated at the end of my time on Battleship. I hadn't done much hand animation in a while so it was fun to change things up a bit. Plus I got to do some basic alien computer GUI design! Unfortunatly I'd moved off the show by the time this shot was finished and when I got a chance to see the final renders I found that the placement of the GUI was slipped about 2 inches up (you can see the aliens fingers just missing the slider).

Another of the alien closeup shots. Just a quicky. About a second worth of animation cranked out in a day.

This was my first ship shot on the show. Nothing to revolutionary, just fun, ambient motion. Viewed from turret cam!

This shot was originaly finaled by Travis Tohill. It fell in my lap because Travis had moved onto Avengers and the shot opened back up do to a massive edit overhaul of the movie. The edit change meant the animation of the alien ship needed to be rebuilt.

Fortunatly we were able to preserve all of Travis' work on the forground ship.

This shot was a blast. I roughed out the interior of the alien ship with primitive shapes which were fleshed out by the modeling department. From there I had a scene I could populate with alien crew members. You really only can see a handfull of the crew, but there are actually around 16 of them spread out through the enviornment. The forground charater is fully keyframed and all the background characers are cleaned up motion capture.

This was my first real chance on the show to do some sim work. After animating the ship, camera, and gun blasts, I ran a simulation through all of the external panels of the ship to quickly get some nice shudder and secondary motion. From there the TD's took over and mangled everything up nice and good to really sell the damage from the explosions.

This was a shot initially animated by Rick O'Connor. He was busy with other shots at the time so I took it over to just polish it off.

One of my first experiences with the timewarp tool. The results are really cool, but the tool isn't the friendliest I've encountered. Stay tuned for more on this in the future...

My first shredder shot in Battleship. What you don't see here is all of the preliminary sim work I did to try and sell the ship damage to the director. This has become rather standard procedure here at ILM. Much of our animation needs the context of lighting, explosions, etc. to make sense. So we the animators will spend extra time roughing things out that will A) sell the shot to the director, and B) provide a framework for the other departments to work from (ie, timing of explosions and gun fire).

This was my Battleship Quad Stacker (image search this if you don't know what I mean). Keyframed shredder ball, previs level simmed debris across the ground, keyframed chopper with secondary animation simmed throughout, tentacle tail work done through the shredder whip. There is even an animated pilot if you look closely. Then run the whole thing through the time warp tool, add a little grief, and tears, and you get what you see before you!

All of the above, minus the timewarp.

This was an awesome shot to get to develop techniques for animating tails/tentacles. Ultimately my rig was just a nurbs curve controlled via clusters, which meant that the character was super light and easy to animate. From there I was free to create a series of custom rigs to drive the clusters.

This shot was built off a rather solid piece of motion capture. In the end I just had to adjust head direction and arm swinging, but for the most part it still preserves the motion capture as it came down the pipe.

Another quick close up shot of our alien. This took a day to put together.

This was the first shot I've ever done where I had to replace limb animation on a live action character. The actor was flipped via a cable pulling him from the waist, so his leg motion didn't actually register a whack from the cg alien, much less pinwheel in a manner that justified the actors body flipping.
The alien was all hand keyed in this shot.

this shot was much easier than that above. The actors legs weren't interacting with the alien in any way so I was able to use the roto-mated legs that came down the pipe from layout. As well, I was able to start the Thug's performance from a decent piece of mocap. In this case it was like getting a rough block pass for free. There was a lot of cleanup and reworking that needed to be done, but all in all I'd say the motion capture saved me at least a days worth of work.

The flavor of cinema right now is extremely fast paced editing. Most of the vfx shots on Battleship were very short and became even shorter for the final edit of the movie. This shot is no exception!

Keyframe animation for foreground alien, and mocap for the background.

I've never done a shot quite like this before. The only real view you get of the thug is through the hint of motion you glimpse in the jeep's window. The motion had to tell the story of the thug winding up for smashing the window. Everything had to be lined up perfectly so that cg reflections actually placed the thug in the correct screen space.

Composing this scene was a lot like putting a lego set together. All the motion came from mocap provided by our anim sup Glen McIntosh. The thing was he had acted out a bunch of different performances by himself that all needed to be pulled together and composed in a manner that felt like all of the aliens were interacting with each other. Each motion was like a brick that needed to be properly placed !

Just an alien standing in the background, you know.

This was my only meaty alien battleship shot. But I did get to take it out so I'm not complaining. Hand keyed core motion with secondary motion simmed across the surface of the ship. I actually did some tentacle sim work to a bunch of hoses on the under side of the ship. Unfortunately it was all pretty much lost in the water spray though.

A pretty straight-forward shredder shot.

I originally simmed a couple of cars flying off the edge of the highway for this shot but unfortunately they were pulled for budgetary reasons. Shot still turned out pretty cool though I think.

All the shredder shots I did called for a lot of rough sim work to really convey the carnage these suckers were capable of. Again, it's all work never seen in the final movie, but necessary to sell the shot to the director.

For my close up shots of the shredders I really wanted to sell their energy rumble. Kind of like a revving muscle car engine. I took the root node of this thing and ran a high amplitude shake through it, then connected all of it's blades back to this root node via hinge constraints and ran a sim through them. This gave me a nice full surface tremble without having to hand key all the individual pieces..

My pride and joy of this shot is a technique I started to develop during Trans 3 for fast moving cameras converging on fast moving objects. Fun with aimed cameras, flight paths, and the bake key tool! Stay tuned for more on this in future posts.

More shredder madness.

More destruction madness! Light key frame work on the battleships mixed with simmed secondary motion, flight path bullet arcs and explosion timing! This provided a frame work for the full on sim guys to work with.

Pretty much all of the above applies here. I que'd up all of the tracer fire, mortar fire and explosions in animation land before the sim and td folks took over, fleshed it out and made it look awesome! This shot was one of my favorites, but unfortunately, do to editing reasons, it was only ever seen in one of the trailers.

I actually got to design a set of robotic arms for this shot that the drop ship was suppose to detach from. I designed them, they were fleshed out by the modeling department, I took them back, rigged them up, animated them... and then do to inner departmental miscommunications they never made it into the final renders. This was a lesson to me actually to stick with my shots until they are fully completed.

Well into the development of a 2 minute long shot, Battleship's director dropped a massive bomb on ILM. The shot was boring. So, Jean Denis-Haas and me were called upon to come up with a massive shot redesign in just a few days.

My contribution to the shot was all the shredder work and damage design to the ship. The ship is sinking because one of the shredder balls is ripping it up

from the inside, but as the shot progressed we lost sight of the shredder, and in fact never saw it again. I wanted to bring it back into the shot to create a sense of urgency for the main characters. At a previs level I designed the tearing of the sides of the ship and the ship splitting in half at the end of the shot. From there the TD's and sim artist used my work as a template and really fleshed everything out that you see before you.