This is part 2 of the interview with Cody Vibbart, the creator of The Exigency. If you haven't read part 1 yet, feel free to do it now.
What shot or sequence of the movie you'd say was the most challenging to create?
There were several challenging scenes to create in The Exigency but the most tedious was the banquet hall scene because it has about 60 characters in it. Poser isn't good with efficiently producing large crowds so every character has to be positioned and animated one at a time. Copying and pasting keyframes wasn't always an option and was still very tedious. In fact, each table in the banquet was a separate Poser file and it got a little crazy trying to keep it organized. Even after it was all done, if you watch closely, the clapping animation of the crowd is very awkward, but I was so frustrated and tired that I had to move forward.
What Poser features made your work easier when working on The Exigency? What features would you have liked Poser to have to make your work easier?
Quite simply, the pre-made characters and morph controls. That's a huge head start because that's a lot of the tedious work already done! All I have to do from there is add some modifications and maybe alter some textures. Also, the support for motion capture .bvh files is pretty great. I have a laundry list of things that Poser could still do to make my life easier. Something I would really like to have is a crowd generation feature like "Massive" for Maya. I'd also like to see even easier customizable characters like what we can do with MakeHuman or iClone. Poser still feels pretty basic and sluggish even with the Face Room and other customizable tools. I think there's plenty of room for it to grow and make a bigger name for itself in the industry.
On the website we can see "Sleeping Giant." How much does it differ from The Exigency?
"Sleeping Giant" was the original title of the film. It differs from The Exigency in many ways including an entire upgrade of the characters. The main character in Sleeping Giant was an old Poser 4 base model, which looked outdated compared to what was available in Poser 7 at the time. So, I upgraded the characters and also rendered at a higher resolution. Only one really brief shot from Sleeping Giant was used in The Exigency, the remaining 10 minutes worth was completely scrapped.
Tell us about the audio side. How were the music and sound effects addressed?
I hired a composer, Charles Carpenter, to create an original score for the film because I didn't want to go through endless royalty-free libraries only to spend weeks going through millions of songs that wouldn't work. Collaborating with a composer for the first time was so much more fun and amazing to have everything custom-made and perfectly timed. Charles did a fantastic job and I'm hoping he'll be onboard for the sequel in the future.
I spent three months placing in temp sound effects and dialog and then hired Kevin Senzaki to do final sound design. My co-worker, Anthony Schulze, completed the final audio mix. The final year on the film was all post-production after the 12 years of animation. One of the recurring compliments I get about The Exigency is how well the sound design and music worked for the film, despite the animation being perhaps the biggest disappointment.
How much time was spent on rendering the movie?
I wasn't counting the rendering times but it was a whole lot of hours. My computer(s) was never off because even if I wasn't working on something, it was rendering. I needed something to always be moving. If I was planning to be out of the house for a day, I was sure to set up a larger scene beforehand and have it render while I was away. The longest render time was a little over a month for a six-second shot.
With the availability of free real-time game engines, like Unity, Unreal or even Godot, do you think entry-level artists who want to make 3D movies can see them as viable options for rendering, or do you think they still pose a high bar of entry, when it comes to the technical side?
I've never used Unity, Unreal or Godot, so I'm not sure how high that technical bar is. From what I have seen, it looks like it could be somewhat challenging for a beginner. It will really depend on the individual and how much time they want to invest and the quality they are seeking.
I noticed you've submitted The Exigency to film festivals. Can you tell us more about that?
Correct, I have submitted The Exigency to a handful of film festivals so far and I have had a couple rejections along with an official selection. It didn't win any awards but it was nice to be a finalist. There's quite a few still pending as I await their notification date.
Now that you are working on the sequel, what things you have learned that will improve your workflow?
I have learned to get things done right the first time around and have a solid plan in place before committing to such a long-term project. I'm also bringing on more artists to help create environments and scenes. I'm giving myself a goal of two to four years to have this complete. It's not easy finding the time with a full-time job but that's the only way I can pay the talent in order to make this a reality. I have recently jumped into the world of Blender and have really enjoyed it, so the sequel will be mostly animated in Poser and Blender.
Any final words you want to tell to our readers?
Discover your passion and never let anyone talk you out of following that passion. Better to be on your deathbed saying "oh well" than "what if."
We would like to thank Cody for his time, and also remind you to watch The Exigency on Amazon Prime. Also, if you are interested in filmmaking using Poser, you can contact Cody through The Exigency website.
The Exigency: http://www.exigencymovie.com/
Watch The Exigency: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B083CYHWWV