Renderosity Member Spotlight:
Chris Wilson [Chris_rw] & The Chronicles Of Nerm
October 14, 2007 10:05 pm
Tags: Kathy Poche
As we all know, Renderosity is an ever growing community whose talented members fill the galleries on a daily basis. While some of these images stand alone, others hint to a much bigger project in the works, before getting lost within the 'What's New' section. I was very fortunate to catch one such image before it was lost, and believe me was I glad to have found it. The image, Nerm Film Main Street was impressive.
However, what was even more impressive was the bigger project that particular image hinted to! The Adventures of Nerm and BG, the first big project by Chris Wilson, looks like something straight out of Pixar. And it is without a doubt that the following film currently under production, The Chronicles of Nerm, will take Chris Wilson's' art to the next level. Being of the curious nature, I had to get to know the talented mastermind behind Nerm and his adventures. It is with great pleasure that I introduce Mr. Chris Wilson.
(We invite the Renderosity Community to post questions to Chris. After reading this interview, please click here to go to the Spotlight page.)
Where are you from?
I live outside of Portland, Oregon.
How long have you been involved in digital art? Any other art experience outside the digital realm?
I've been doing 3D work for about seven years now. I've always had a desire to make movies and decided to try 3D as a way to get into film making. Before 3D, I did a lot of sketching, although I haven't had time for that in years now.
Where did the original idea (The Chronicles of Nerm) come from?
The Chronicles of Nerm is a sequel to a film I created when I was first starting to work in 3D. That film, The Adventures of Nerm and BG, came from watching my friends kid play with two action figures. One toy would go up and say several obnoxious things, the second would leap off of a table to its death. I took that idea of an innocent looking creature so obnoxious that it left a path of destruction everywhere it went to create the first film, and even used that kid as the original voice of Nerm. The Chronicles of Nerm takes that same principle, but will be much larger, much more insane and hopefully a lot funnier!
So how did you begin the creation process once you got the idea? Did you do any sketches?
I was coming up with ideas for another Nerm film while still working on The Adventures of Nerm and BG years ago. I wrote up the entire story and decided what sets and characters I would need for the film, including recreating a few characters from the previous Nerm film. I'll occasionally do simple sketches for characters and I usually start by building an incredibly low poly version to nail down proportions.
How long has it taken you to complete Nerm? Is he actually finished?
The updated Nerm model took two or three months to create. Modeling went by pretty quickly since the basic design was already complete, but I spent a lot of time creating his textures which will hold up really nice in close up shots! Nerm is completely done and now there is only one other model I have to do, the other main character, before switching gears over to animating the film.
Overall, how long do you think the final movie is going to take you to complete?
I've been working on the film for over two years now and with almost all of the models complete I'm moving on to putting the entire film together! I'd like to think that it will take 3 years, start to finish, but there's a good possibility it'll run a little longer.
Are you working on this project full-time or is there a pesky job that you're working around?
Working on The Chronicles of Nerm does not pay well. Or anything for that matter. I work half the week, then work on the film for the remaining time.
The Adventures of Nerm and Bg has a real professional quality to it, as do the preview images for the Chronicles of Nerm. So what kind of software and what kind of system are you using?
Both films are made in 3D Studio Max and I use Photoshop for textures. My computer is nothing special: single core, 1GB of RAM.
Not to scare people away from trying something similar, but what kind of render time are we looking at here for the Adventures of Nerm & Bg?
The render times for The Adventures of Nerm and BG weren't scary at all. They ranged between two and ten minutes per frame. The Chronicles of Nerm, on the other hand, scares me to death. The few scenes I have rendered so far have been three or more hours per frame! But the quality level between the two films is huge, the new film should look amazing in the end!
Have you attended any particular schooling to accomplish this level of skill?
I attended an art college, although the school was quite bad and I feel I've learned almost everything on my own by just working through problems and exploring the program.
Ever thought of making models for others to use in Poser or other 3D programs?
No, with working and also creating this film, I really don't have the time for anything else. I'm also pretty protective of my models!
How do you keep yourself motivated to continue such a detailed project?
I love film making and I wanted to create a very detailed and intricate film that was on par or even higher detailed than short films being created by groups and studios. The excitement of getting this project done and being able to share it is a huge drive! Every model I finish or every animated scene that gets completed, I get a huge rush seeing the project slowly start to come together. I hope that the visual style will blow people away and everyone finds the story to be hilarious!
Have you had any problems finding voices for your characters?
Voices are something I'm currently working on. As of now, I have one of the voices recorded for the character Keena, voiced by the very talented nine year old Mylisha Hood. I have four more characters that need voice actors, including a new actor for Nerm. I'm hoping to be able to get a few real legitimate actors this time around, but funding, or lack of it, is a limiting factor. I'm hoping to have more exciting news about this in the near future!
When the Chronicles are finished how do you plan to share it? Will it be free? Will people be able to download it so they can watch it over and over again?
From my understanding of film festivals, a film becomes ineligible for many festivals when it is released freely, like on the internet. After its festival run though, I'll distribute it in as many ways as I can, including free over the internet. I would like it to be seen by as many as people as possible!
It might be too early to ask, but do you see yourself doing another animation once the Chronicles are finished?
The Chronicles of Nerm is taking much longer than I had anticipated when I first started the film, so I plan on taking a nice, long break from film making when I finish! But after that, I would like to think that I'll continue making films for a very long time.
Any advice for someone considering the huge task of an animated movie such as the Chronicles of Nerm?
More of a warning: A lot more time, work and energy goes into an animated short than most people probably realize. Go into it knowing that it will take months or even years to complete. But, in the end, having a completed film is one of the most rewarding things you can do in this field, in my opinion. It is also an amazing learning experience and I would recommend it to everyone that does their own 3D work.
Any parting words?
I hope that I can finish The Chronicles of Nerm soon and everyone will have as much fun watching it as I have had creating it!
Nerm and his cast of friends are truly inspired, though I think it's safe to say we all know someone like Nerm. So, if you want a good laugh, head on over to Chris' Web Site and check out The Adventures of Nerm and BG. And don't forget to check out Chris' Gallery here on Renderosity.
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October 15 , 2007
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I don't visit the front page very often so I'm really pleased I received the weekly news. Hi Chris, way to go my man and you truly deserve this. I can say without a shadow of a doubt taking everything into consideration the modeling, texturing, expression, animation and design of the characters, the surroundings, lighting, sound (which is your weak spot) and the fact your a one man band. You are the best 3D artist on Renderosity and many other CG sites as well. If you don't already work in the business! why the hell aren't you. Superb artist and I as I've said before keep on trucking and if you ever need a hand with a walk in the countryside it would be a complete honor. Top notch. Chris P
I saw the "Adventures of Nerm and BG" for the first time about three weeks ago. I have watched it almost every day since and am driving my work colleagues crazy with it! It is the funniest thing I have seen for years and George Lucas would be foolish indeed if he did not beat a path to your door...."While I was talking to him"..... Well done mate. I saw three grates today.