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Laurie Cope
by copecg and maxzolloanim on 31 May 2020 for Rookie Awards 2020

'TIPPING POINT' a USW PRODUCTIONS Directed and Produced by LAURIE COPE. brought to life by MAX ZOLLO(Claw Animator) and MATTHEW HOWELLS(Sound Engineer).

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'TIPPING POINT' Directed and Produced by LAURIE COPE. Brought to life by MAX ZOLLO (Animator) and MATTHEW HOWELLS (Sound Engineer).

May 2020



I really wanted to produce a story for my final piece at university. I love Star Wars and inspired by FromSoftware's Dark Souls 3 that I played so heavily in second year I knew I wanted to create something in those genres.

I started putting together a concept for a story for my final piece in late June 2019. I wanted to produce a short animated environment piece to develop my CG pipeline workflow and learn how I can produce a feature animation and tell a story in an effective way. I learnt that when taking on large projects, file management is as important as time. The help I received at USW supported my learning and enabled me to finish the project however I had issues rendering remotely due to the university campus closing due to COVID-19.

I am responsible for modelling, texturing, lighting, cinematography and directing sounds. Max Zollo, is responsible for the animations for the claw. Matthew Howells is responsible for the incredible sound engineering which brings the piece to life.

Since the start of the project, I have pieced together a narrative that has given my models and textures purpose in the scene. This has taught me a lot about how to populate an environment. When researching this project I took inspiration from my own personal experiences and the topics I wrote about in my dissertation, being AI and Climate Change. 



Without giving too much away I will explain briefly what the premise of the narrative is; this is the home, lab, and workshop of Dr. Miln. Set in a pre-apocalypse alternative 1990s this story touches upon a planet and timeline similar to Earth, however, this society of intelligent life-forms has accelerated in their technological advances and by doing so ravaged their planet for resources. This has led to a spike in global catastrophes. A count down for the total annihilation of the world has begun and nations across the world seek solutions to their demise, one scientist has the answer and the world is about to find out. 



Overall, I give it a thumbs up. I am pleased with what I have produced given the time-frame and circumstances I found myself in. In the future, I would like to develop the story further through the set design and planning ahead of time which props I should prioritise when in the production cycle.

I would improve the overall quality through understanding the process of texturing further, I feel some if not most of the models are let-down by the issues I have had with texturing as I hadn't invested enough time prior to this project in that department. Also unwrapping every single object in the scene in one go kinda killed me off for a day or two.

I am happy with the kitbash solution I landed on when constructing the robot. I found myself at the end of the production cycle, having to Look Developed each part of the final environment, and then got to the workshop and realised I had a completely unacceptable model for a robot sitting in the final 1000 frames. So referenced each part of the environment and using my concept art and research, pieced a robot together. Look Dev'd and in the scene within two days, it does the job but given more time I would like to incorporate specific pieces the robot would have had to give it a slightly less smashed together look.

I have included my work-in-progress showreel at the bottom so you can have a better understanding of the final product, however, due to accessibility issues with rendering I have been unable to get the final piece together in time. That is coming soon. 

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