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Blog RSS Feed Report abuse Latest Blog: Star Wars: Ascendancy - Imperial Remnant Trailer

0 comments by _Jinz_ on Sep 4th, 2014

So, it's been 4 years since I posted a blog about anything on my ModDB profile, that's quite a long time. I haven't really felt the need to post anything on here, until now, where I've discovered that creating blogs can show off your learning process and help accumulate your previous thoughts into one place; it can act as a reminder for yourself on what to do and what not to do sometimes. The last time I made a blog post, I was working on a Battlefield 2142 mod (Northern Excursion. The mod planned to add an entirely new faction which wasn't in the original game, yet keep the same feeling as the vanilla game) which didn't really go anywhere in the end, but the process allowed me to teach myself how to use software such as Adobe Photoshop/After Effects, Autodesk Maya etc. And, since that, I am now at university studying 3D Animation and hope to end up, somewhere in the near future, in games development.

Lately, during my summer holiday after my first year at university (absolutely mental stuff, I'm really happy about doing this course), I've decided to take up a mini-job for the Star Wars: Ascendancy team (who are friends of mine, and the same people who made the Empire at War mod "Thrawn's Revenge/Imperial Civil War"); make a faction trailer showing off the Imperial Remnant. Instead of just showing off a bunch of boring old gameplay for about a minute, we've decided to give this one a bit of narrative. The trailer is narrated by a guy named Zach "UnassumingWhiteGuy" Johnson, who "assumes" the role of an unnamed, upper-class sounding, English accented, high-ranking Imperial officer. It starts off showing the old Galactic Empire, shows off the shift in territories across the Star Wars galaxy (which does not look good for the Imperial Remnant, since they start losing a lot of territory after Episode VI: Return of the Jedi) and ends with the belief that he will restore order to the galaxy himself by crushing all of the warring Remnant warlords who are trying to claim the Imperial throne for themselves.

For the section where I had to show the shift in territory, Corey originally wanted me to show off a bit of gameplay where the New Republic faction destroy an Imperial Remnant fleet, but I decided to go the distance a bit and create a completely lore-accurate, 3D, galactic territorial map of the Star Wars galaxy (from the years 4ABY - 18ABY, where 18ABY is just a prediction of what the future holds for the present Imperial Remnant if they keep on losing their territory). Creating the map itself required quite a bit of research, and was a massive file (to see the whole thing, you had to zoom out to the point where the quality was resized to about 12.5% of what it was. The dimensions for the thing were roughl 7000x7000 pixels), but it wasn't that hard to do, it just takes up a lot of your time. To animate the map, I used Adobe After Effects and quite a few custom plug-ins (e.g. VIDEO COPILOT's Element 3D, Optical Flares and a few more). Below is a still from within the first 5 seconds of the 16 second animation. All in all, it took about 2 weeks to create the animation just for 15 seconds of the trailer.

In total, there were 102 layers used for this animation (not all running/rendering at the same time, of course). I don't know how many particles there are (from the galaxy), but there are a lot. When I decided to start doing my final render of this thing, it took roughly 6 minutes to render just one frame when all of the particles, individual image layers (territory colours), video files (the animated 360 logos, which I also used in After Effects and rendered before rendering the animation) and adjustment layers (e.g. the motion blur) were running in the timeline (so, that means only 10 frames were rendered for the video in one hour, a total of 400 frames (for the frames which took the longest time rendering)) where I couldn't just render the whole 700-ish frames in one night, but over a number of nights where I wasn't using the computer to do things during the day.

This is not the only animation that I have been working on for the trailer; there is one other, which comes near the end, and it's also 3D, using a bit of Autodesk Maya to create the models I need. Thanks to my time at university this year, I have been able to pick up a lot of 3D skills to create things I wasn't sure I was even capable of doing before. It is much better than the 2D animated logos I did previously for them on the Thrawn's Revenge/Imperial Civil War mod for Empire at War (if you want to see those, click on this link and then click on one of the links in the description). Once the trailer has been uploaded, I will create another blog previewing the video also with an attached link to where it was officially uploaded first (most likely the Star Wars: Ascendancy mod page).

Thanks for reading,

Ben "Jinz" Pratt

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Post comment Comments  (20 - 30 of 45)
derek328
derek328 Apr 23 2010, 4:56am says:

no worries about it :) i just like to have idea suggestions concentrated in either the public comments section or my private inbox, just so it makes things easier for my own future references ;)

+2 votes     reply to comment
derek328
derek328 Apr 19 2010, 10:04am says:

you know man, in the future if you ever have all these big long ideas, you should just message me as opposed to posting on a random screenshots ;)

+3 votes     reply to comment
_Jinz_ Creator
_Jinz_ Apr 19 2010, 2:07pm replied:

Oh sorry man, I'll do that next time.

+2 votes   reply to comment
hate4uall
hate4uall Mar 2 2010, 9:38pm says:

its a stick man killing another stick man with an axe i think?

+2 votes     reply to comment
ElderPredator
ElderPredator Feb 25 2010, 2:50pm says:

What's up?? =)

+2 votes     reply to comment
_Jinz_ Creator
_Jinz_ Feb 25 2010, 4:56pm replied:

Nothing much, just watching the game, having some bud.

lol

+2 votes   reply to comment
MandaloreTheGuardian
MandaloreTheGuardian Feb 10 2010, 4:04am says:

What's your Avatar?
It rocks.

+3 votes     reply to comment
█Black/Brunez█
█Black/Brunez█ Feb 10 2010, 9:38am replied:

I thing that´s a soldier from Ghost Recon.

+3 votes     reply to comment
_Jinz_ Creator
_Jinz_ Feb 10 2010, 11:28am replied:

VERY CLOSE! It is from a Tom Clancy's game, but not Ghost Recon.

Its an avatar of a European Federation Enforcers Corp Rifleman from EndWar. Bad game, but the European faction looks epic.

+2 votes   reply to comment
█Black/Brunez█
█Black/Brunez█ Feb 10 2010, 5:09pm replied:

Almost =(

+3 votes     reply to comment
MandaloreTheGuardian
MandaloreTheGuardian Feb 12 2010, 1:54am replied:

Yeah, At first, I thought it was from GRAW.
But then, I saw it showed little resemblance.

P.S.: EndWar isn't crappy as much as you said it was.
The voice-activated thing is pretty cool.

A fan of Sci-Fi+Warfare too, Eh?
Me too.

+2 votes     reply to comment
_Jinz_ Creator
_Jinz_ Feb 13 2010, 4:39am replied:

Sci-Fi warfare is awesome.

+2 votes   reply to comment
MandaloreTheGuardian
MandaloreTheGuardian Mar 26 2010, 4:49am replied:

Agreed, Mate.

+3 votes     reply to comment
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