A Drop In The Waters - A VFX Piece

Hey all!

Well here it is, my final project from my foundation year at Vancouver Film School! Although I can’t say I’m completely happy with the final result (The reasons are fairly self evident in the vid) I got it finished!

So enjoy!



Before all you Blender purists jump on me I will explain how Blender WAS involved in my workflow and thus I constitute posting it here.

My basic work flow was as follows:

Modeling, sculpting, UV unwrapping and normal baking was all done inside Blender, the objects were then exported to Maya, where rigging, animation and texturing (With the photoshop painted maps) happened, and then rendering was done with Mental Ray inside Maya using the schools render farm/system.

Not bad. The best part about it is the camera work. The worst part IMO is the music, it is interesting, but it doesn’t fit the piece at all. It sounded like random music, just shoved in there. The 3d part is mediocre.

But I’m sure it was a great learning experience!


The first thing that may be learned from this is editing. Almost every part of this piece could be, and should be, tightened … including the opening title. There are several crucial places where there are redundant shots of the two girls, where we see their mostly absent-minded or purpose-less actions. We don’t know what is going on. By the end of two minutes, we still don’t.

A fine point: we don’t know where the action is. I actually paused the film to read the title on what appeared to be an exhibit entrance. I paused the film a second time when I saw that apparently the same object had now turned to Latin text. This is why we need “an establishing shot.”

Next: when we have cut-away shots of people running, you must be sure that every shot shows them running at the same speed.

Next: in a long-awaited (but disappointing) “pivotal moment,” the girls look up! The very next shot must be an OTS shot from the girl’s POV, showing us what she is looking at. It can’t be a shot of the other girl looking at the same thing.

“The story,” whatever you choose for it to be, “must begin.” And it is this sense of story that ties the whole film together. I find that my patience is conditioned to be short. Thirty seconds in, with setting but no evolving story, I begin to fee cheated. Two minutes in, I feel robbed. The anticipation that I felt from the intriguing title, “A Drop in the Waters,” is completely unfulfilled.

Please understand that I am saying every one of these things constructively. It might not seem that way, but I am.

One thing that you might do with it is… re-cut it. Don’t add a single shot to it (unless it comes from the B-roll). What can you do to improve this picture without reshooting anything. Turn off the sound track during all of your rework.