Avatar is the new Star Wars for this generation of digital filmmakers.
The visual fourth wall has just been shattered inviting the audience
to now be in the film they are watching during a 3D IMAX
type viewing experience. As a filmmaker and writer, you now have
to consider things like Z depth, and how your story can literally
reach out and grab the audience from the screen in full 3D glory
– every scene.
3D films also make more money (if the visual story is good) and
are the hot new thing studios are making. The 3D experience cannot
be duplicated as easily with home viewing situations, forcing movie
lovers back into the 3D theaters.
Avatar is now the highest grossing film ever created and the most
expensive. Independent filmmakers can still make 3D films, they
just need to focus on doing what 3D does well. Avoid using highly
detailed photo realism visual styles that require long set up and
Things 3D Does Really Well To Plan
Your Story Around:
1) Original 3D Characters
– You can create any character you can imagine in 3D. This
is the biggest sell point of this very time consuming animation
style. People want to see things they have not seen before, or in
a drastically new way in 3D animated films.
Avatar hooks us visually and emotionally using 11 foot tall blue
skinned native catlike beings with tails. They do extreme feline
like stunts moving through a 3D alien jungle space in a fun to follow
2) Original 3D Sets
– Any location that you can imagine, you can build in 3D.
What set have you always wanted to see? Avatar show us a jungle
utopia on a distant planet with tree gods.
Avatar shows us floating tree covered islands hovering in space.
These are great for the catlike people to climb around on and do
extreme parkour type shots across the 3D terrain. We relate to this
setting in part because it is based on actual mountains in China
that do not float.
3) Traveling 3D Shots -
3D cameras can go anywhere. They are particularly good at moving
through never before seen environments, unencumbered by needing
dollies or tracks for movement. What traveling shot ideas could
you come up with using roller coasters, trains, moving character
POV’s, death defying stunt move POV’s, space shots,
things poking out into the audience, 3D sets wrapping around the
edges of the theatre or flying into objects?
4) Image/Camera Mapping
– Most 3D programs do a good job of mapping photos or DV,
to simple planes or objects, which can then appear as highly detailed
3D elements with lots of depth.
5) Adding digital makeup/Extra body
parts – 3D may used as digital make up on
actors, or blue screen characters, to add limbs, cut them half or
have something like a worm crawl out of holes in their face.
6) 3D Camera Movement
– Cameras in 3D software programs can do almost anything.
They are especially good at mathematically controlled motion paths,
original POV’s and flying through unusual or tight spaces.
7) Realistic 3D Stunt Moves
– 3D stunt actors never get hurt or complain. Blowing 3D models
up is much cheaper then destroying real cars or buildings. How could
you create a 3D enhanced POV stunt shot for your film that is too
dangerous to do in real life?
8) 2D Characters On 3D Planes For
Better Animation Controls - The 2D animated show
Southpark is done in Maya, by mapping pictures onto flat planes
the shape of the images. This allows the character animators to
take advantage of the powerful animation abilities in the 3D software
to move the parts around more easily than using a 2D package.
9) 2D Cell Shading For Video And 3D
Footage - Some filmmakers are shooting on DV then
taking the footage into 3D Studio Max or Maya, to take advantage
of the 2D shader abilities. A shader is like a filter that renders
adjustable visual styles such as looking handrawn.
10) Distorting Actors
- Many traditional 2D animated distortion or morphing
effects, can be created with an added dimension in 3D.
11) Animated Animals Or Objects
- What animals or inanimate objects could you bring to life in your
film using 3D?
alien has a talking staff with three smaller versions of himself.
12) Duplication –
Once you model, texture map and animate one object or character,
it is easy to make copies. Use this to your advantage by making
robot armies, twins, gangs, fleets of objects or factories full
of workers. How could you make simple variations of one character,
to form a group of individuals, by modifying parameters such as
scale, visibility, color, rotation and position on individual body
Once you have one dancing alien it is easy to duplicate and make
a whole party of dancing aliens.
12) Flocking Systems
- Flocking is the ability to animate large groups of objects or
characters in a natural looking way.
13) Physics - Many
3D programs allow you to assign properties to objects such as weight,
material, velocity and friction. These objects then assume those
properties during animations while interacting with other objects.
14) Hair And Cloth
– What kind of hairy looking characters or unique clothing
could help give your film a signature look?
15) Motion Ride Animation Paths
– What kind of POV ride could you take your audience on as
part of your film? 3D works great for traveling through spaces in
a way DV and 2D animation cannot do.
16) Mixing Animation Styles
- Real blue screen actors can be inserted into 3D worlds to save
money on character animation and sets.
17) 3D Water, Fire, Smoke, Weather,
Plants & Trees – 3D is getting good at
doing natural elements and plants. How would the plants and weather
look different in your world where you control everything?
18) Outer Space Shots
- Space has low geometry (lots of space with round planets), that
makes it easy to do in 3D. Modeling a simple flying saucer and setting
a few motion keyframes against a starry backdrop plane is relatively
fast. Taking that spaceship and duplicating it a hundred times gives
you a fleet of UFO’s. How can you have your story take place
in space? How can you create a unique version of outer space?
19) Unusual Texture Maps
- Once you have a 3D model, you can place any type of texture map
across the surface, which opens up a bunch of metaphorical possibilities
for your stories. Avatar features characters with blue sparkly skin
and lush jungles.
20) 3D Scanning –
Desktop 3D scanners are getting better and cheaper as the technology
develops. Almost any object can be 3D scanned.
21) Motion Capture
– If character animating is not a thrilling way to spend your
time, you could choose to use an actor in a motion capture suit
to generate keyframes. There are lots of motion capture files available
on the web to plug into your 3D characters too.
22) Z Depth Wow Shots
– Study what works best in 3D by watching Avatar in a 3D Imax
theatre. Thin things poking out into the audience from the middle
of the screen look more 3D then big thick objects. Sets that wrap
around the outside edges of the screen with 3D elements extend the
film world into the audience. Little firefly looking jellyfish creatures
who hover in the middle of the theatre add lots of depth and pop
out off the screen.
22) Free 3D Internet Models
– Google any type of model and find ones online ready to go
for free. Plan your story around what you have or can find if you
are doing the movie yourself.
could you think of a 3D element for each of the basic 40 plot points
presented in this sample movie from Writing
A Great Script Fast?
genius is one who shoots at something no one else can see - and
hits it ."
along and create a great film or story idea fast! Download the Workbook
file to edit. You can also use a notebook or paper and the Online
Workbook or watch it
in 20 Steps.
are some sample movies on Storytelling Goals, Creating Themes and
Using Symbols and Metaphors. These short films are part of the new
20 hour step-by-step "Writing
A Great Script Fast" DVD Workshop:
how to include themes in your films and stories in this free sample
movie from the new step-by-step "Writing
A Great Script Fast" DVD Workshop:
how to use Metaphors and Symbols in your films, animations or stories
from the new step-by-step "Writing
A Great Script Fast" DVD Workshop:
Writing A Great Script Fast Makes Screenwriting Easy!