31 December 2009

Thank You & Happy 2010

We would just like to say a quick thank you to everybody who supported us the past 6 months after the launch of Shelf Life.

Our debut into the machinima community was officially launched on July 6, 2009 and we have had a great time participating in festivals and getting to know many of you.

We have taken longer than expected to produce more of Shelf Life but we hope to make good progress in early 2010.

Who knows what the new year will bring but that is the exciting part!

Happy New Year!

22 December 2009

Valve Is Not Interested In Machinima

Here is a direct quote from Valve:

"We are not interested in licensing our technology or IP for machinima. This includes providing copyright approvals."

Well, that about says it all. Valve has no interest in machinima. It is really unfortunate because the Source Engine is so amazing and they offer such great tools for creating machinima.

What does this mean for Source Engine machinima? Probably nothing. Most people will continue to do what they do until they are told directly not to do it. But this does change things for those of us who look beyond YouTube popularity as what we want to achieve.

Source Engine can make amazing machinima. However, you cannot do much with it other than put it on YouTube, hope for a lot of views and then maybe hope that those views lead to somebody taking interest in you.

And what if they do take interest in you, then what? You can't actually use the Source Engine to make anything for anybody to use. Even joining some festivals will prove risky because some ask for extensive copyright permissions. This means YouTube Partner and Revenue Sharing is out of the question as well. I still have no idea how machinima.com does it and Valve would not comment on the subject.

I don't want to give the wrong idea and make it sound like we are giving up Source Engine machinima after our first try or anything. We still love the engine and the machinima that comes out of it and of course still have Shelf Life chapters to work on, we just feel very disappointed in Valve and the lack of interest they have in machinima. There is clearly no real future with Valve or Source Engine machinima other than personal projects free to the community.

This may lead to people moving away from Source Engine machinima and toward alternatives with licensing options. We were just given the iClone software that looked great already but sounds even better now that we know where Valve stands on machinima. Who knows what else we will look into, Source Engine is all we have known up until now.

Well, that's the news from the Valve vs. Machinima front. Thought it might be interesting to some of you.

19 December 2009

SIGGRAPH Asia 2009 Comes to an End

Yesterday was the last day for SIGGRAPH Asia 2009. It was an interesting experience and I met some really great people. Everybody at the Digital Hollywood/Association of Machinima booth were really excited about Shelf Life but also machinima in general so it was fun hanging out with them and talking about the different aspects of creating machinima.

We screened Shelf Life as well as Mr. Nagahama's Second Life films and there was a little demonstration going on to the side of the booth on creating machinima in Second Life.

It was definitely an excited atmosphere to be a part of and seeing all the people genuinely interested in machinima was great.

From left to right: Chee Yue (director of Association of Machinima Singapore), James Spencer (lost in translation), Hidetaka (creator of Award winning Second Life films), Keiji (professor at Digital Hollywood University)

There were a lot of other interesting things at the conference. Motion capture seemed very popular.

The emerging technologies exhibits were interesting and could have been at the MoMA in San Francisco.

The tech talk about Pixar's Renderman had a packed audience but I think not many people could actual follow the details of the program with any confidence. It was cool seeing how they build their shots though.

So that wraps it up. Hopefully machinima will continue to grow and expand in ways that allow for bigger events like to take place and attract more attention.

I am now in Tokyo spending my last day doing some relaxing and sight seeing. I really want to thank all of the great people I met at SIGGRAPH for making it such a pleasant experience for me!

18 December 2009


Yesterday I did the first presentation on our film Shelf Life. The first time slot was at 11:30 AM but technical difficulties made us reschedule for 3:30 PM. The second time went smoothly and a nice little crowd gathered around.

I handed it over to the director of the machinima association in Singapore Mr. Chee Yue at the end and he presented the awards. Mr. Nagahama was also present and received awards for his two award winning films in the SHOOOT festival.

It was great to meet everybody and Sayuri was really helpful the entire time. It turns out Sayuri used to live on the same block as us in San Francisco, so strange!

I watched a Pixar lecture about Pixar's core rendering technology, RenderMan and the movie UP. Last night I went to a great two hour screening of animated short films. I have another presentation today and then that is it for me at the convention. Hoping to head over to Tokyo tonight or tomorrow morning.

16 December 2009

Yokohama Japan!

I made it to Yokohama Japan! It is pretty strange being here all alone and lost and not knowing any Japanese. Where I am staying it is a convention center and it looks like a carnival off to one side.

Tomorrow I am supposed to give a little presentation. It is very casual booth style presentation, we will see how it goes.

I met the girl who was helping me organize the trip and it turns out she used to live in a building next to mine in San Francisco. So strange.

When I found the booth Shelf Life was playing on a TV off to the side.

I will try to post more after tomorrow. I plan to watch a Pixar lecture and I have pass to the electronic theater so I will have to figure out what that is about. :)

06 December 2009

SHOOOT Awards : Best Overall Machinima

The SHOOOT Awards concluded on December 6 and Shelf Life took Grand Prize as Best Overall Machinima and also received wins in the sub-categories of Best Long Machinima and Best Games Machinima!

We really felt honored by this win because the competition was very strong. There were five other finalists in the International Best Long Machinima category and two other finalists in the International Best Games Machinima. Below shows the listings as seen on the Shooot site.

Shelf Life Machinima SHOOOT Awards Winner

Shelf Life Machinima SHOOOT Awards Winner

Please watch all of the finalists:
Shelf Life - Source Engine
Dear My Father - Second Life
Death in Venice - Moviestorm
Clear Skies - Half Life 2 / EVE Online
The Ship - Unreal Tournament
The Stolen Child - Second Life
Resident Evil 2 in GTA - Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
Granado Espada Nobody Dance - Granado Espada

We would like to congratulate all the finalists for creating such great films. We would also like to thank the SHOOOT Awards for presenting us with such a great award!

The Grand Prize includes a trip to Japan and a pass to attend SIGGRAPH Asia 2009 in Yokohama! So we are off to Japan! We will also be doing a presentation on machinima and Shelf Life on two days at the conference. What an amazing award!

Of course I am a bit nervous about the presentations since they have slotted 30 minutes, but we can talk about movies, games, coffee and mahcinima for that long easily, I hope! :)

24 November 2009

iClone vs Garry's Mod: Excited to Compare

We were honored to receive the jury award at MachinExpo 2009 that included full versions of iClone 4 Pro and 3DXchange from Reallusion.

It is exciting that we won this award because we were wondering how the movie making software packages out there that are being used for machinima compare to the actual games being used to create machinima and iClone 4 Pro seems to be one of the best.

Now at some point we will need to put our thoughts in on the debate over whether movies made using software solely designed for making movies should be fully considered to be in the machinima proper genre but either way the outcome is still animated films created in real time so they are definitely in the same family to say the least. It may be that there should just be sub genres for machinima so all the platforms still fall under machinima but developers can specify there area...but again this is another discussion that would take over this post.

We have never used any movie making software to create films and so it will be interesting to compare the difference between at least iClone and our working environment, Garry's Mod.

It may take us a while to get deep into iClone because we are busy with Shelf Life but eventually we hope to see how far we can take it as well. It may be that we separate the two into sub genres since the production process and techniques are so very different.

This will likely also lead into a discussion concerning how festivals are conducted and how it may be useful to separate genres considering the vast differences between production platforms.

At first glance though iClone 4 Pro appears to be a very powerful platform that perhaps opens the door to a lot of film makers.

We would like to once again thank Reallusion for sponsoring the MachinExpo 2009 and awarding us with this great software package. Also a big thanks to the organizers of the Expo for making it all possible and creating a great machinima event for the community.

05 November 2009

YouTube Partner Experiment: Doors closed

A few posts back you may remember that we were going to test out accepting an offer from YouTube to enable revenue sharing on our machinima videos. This offer came after we applied for the YouTube partner program for the second time.

We had some hesitation because even after repeatedly trying to contact Valve we received no replies from them about us joining the YouTube program. Well, we decided to go for it anyway, and here is what we got back from YouTube:

"Thanks for submitting your video(s) listed below for revenue sharing. Because you have not provided adequate documentation that you have the necessary rights to commercially use all the video material and music, we have disabled revenue sharing."

OK, now we sort of expected something along these lines even though we hoped for the best. But here is where the unfair practices kick in, you see, our video is actively being sponsored by the YouTube revenue sharing program over on the Machinima.com YouTube channel.

Yes, that is correct, YouTube says they cannot allow us to join the revenue sharing program on our channel because our videos cannot be verified but we have a video that has revenue sharing allowed on the Machinima.com YouTube channel. Here it is with ads all over it.

Machinima.com is allowed to make advertising revenue off the very same videos that we are not allowed to make advertising revenue on. Not to mention the hundreds of other machinima on Machinima.com YouTube channel that do not contain as much original content as ours.

This has nothing to do with Machinima.com and we are not trying to imply anything negative toward them, it is not their fault YouTube is not clear on what is going on here. Machinima.com is a great site and they have a great YouTube channel and they should be a YouTube partner. But if YouTube is going to let Machinima.com be a YouTube partner by using our videos then why won't they let us be a partner using our videos?

It is very defeating to say the least. It would be one thing if no machinima was ever allowed partner but that is clearly not the case. If we upload all our machinima to Machinima.com then ads will be placed all over them and Machinima.com will get all the revenue sharing but if we upload our machinima to our site, nothing.

Also, the YouTube response is a generic cut and paste denial because we said all the music was original and fully owned by us but they say "...necessary rights to commercially use all the video material and music." We could not possibly have more rights to the music. It is 100% original, created and owned by us. So there is not even any indication as to what the actual problem is so we can try to fix it.

The only assumption that can be made is that Machinima.com somehow has some sort of contract with all the game companies that all the machinima on their site use and have been given full rights to use anything they want on YouTube and has supplied that evidence to YouTube.

So that concludes our YouTube partnership experiment. YouTube will not accept our machinima without some sort of written agreement from Valve (we assume) and Valve will not respond to us in any way about anything we are doing.

Doors closed.

Where to now?

29 October 2009

3D World #122 - No machinima

Issue #122 finally arrived of 3D World magazine here in San Francisco.

This issue contains a disc that along with the standard 3D World disc contents has films from the 2009 Bitfilm Festival.

We were excited to get this issue since we were a part of Bitfilm 2009 and because of this little bit found on the Bitfilm official site:
"All selected films will be published on a free DVD on the cover of 3D World Magazine in September 2009. Each selected filmmaker will receive a free copy."

:) Fun! Machinima on a disc with 3D World magazine! But wait, no machinima on the disc. :(

The only categories are 3D Space, FX Mix and Politicool.

Oh well, I guess it was a bit much to ask for machinima to be advertised like this in a major magazine. And I don't think Bitfilm was being misleading or anything. I guess it just turns out that machinima did not make the cut yet for this level of distribution.

Still a cool disc and it is cool that we were all part of such a big festival! But in all honesty I only got it to see if the accepted or winning machinima films made the disc. ;p

21 October 2009

Shelf Life Wins Best Short Film!

It has been officially posted over at the Cinemanila website that Shelf Life was awarded Best Short Film at the first annual machinima segment at the Cinemanila International Film Festival!

Thank you Cinemanila judging panel for awarding Shelf Life with this high honor!

We appreciate that Cinemanila decided to have a judging panel award and also an audience vote award. We think it is an excellent format to have awards based off an official panel and also awards based off of popular vote. This format allows different aspects of the film makers achievement to be awarded and makes it possible for some new comers to the scene to win even if they have not established a strong fan base yet.

Best Music Video went to Inside Your Head by Erica Cruz. Congratulations Erica!

Then there were the audience choice awards that were decided by online voting. Audience Choice for Short Film went to Shrink Wrapped by Russell Boyd and Audience Choice for Music Video went to Worship the Will by Ian-Dean LoreĊ„os.

Congratulations to all the winners!

16 October 2009

Cinemanila Festival Voting!

Hey everybody!

It looks the the Cinemanila Film Festival voting has started!
Shelf Life at Cinemanila

Shelf Life is in the running and even though we were happy to get second place at Bitfilm this is our chance to try again to take the first place prize!

Unfortunately this festival also starts off with online voting. We think there are a couple stages of the voting process and hopefully the last stage is decided by a panel but we need to read into that more.

But in order for us to make it to the last voting stage we need your support again! If you think Shelf Life deserved a first place in Bitfilm here is your chance to try again.

...and about online voting

Of course like always there are many other quality entries and you should vote for the one you think is the best and not just the one to support a friend or whatever. The only way to keep an online voting system at all acceptable is to ask everybody to truly watch and vote for the one that they really think is the best machinima, even if that means not voting for a friend. I know, so scandalous, but it is the only way to make it count.

Really, even if you know us or are friends with us, we only want you to vote for us if you think ours is the best. Winning because we have the most friends is not that exciting, however winning because we feel the community really believed in our work and thought we achieved something special is amazingly exciting!

So get out there and vote! It takes a second of your time and effort to register and it also supports machinima in general. When machinima festivals are successful it brings more attention and other festivals will follow. Also this is the the first time Cinemanila has offered the machinima segment so let's make sure it is a huge success for them!

OK, go go go! Shelf Life at Cinemanila

08 October 2009

YouTube Partner Experiment

Since we first started created machinima using the Source Engine we began sending emails to Valve trying to clarify their stance on machinima and copyright issues.

We have sent multiple emails multiple times to every email address we could find on their website and...nothing. Never any response of any kind after months and months and many emails.

Well, to be completely truthful we did get a response two times. Both times is was an auto-generated response about how Valve is not able to respond to all their emails, or I guess you could read in that "Valve does not respond to any emails ever, but thanks for using our email links anyway!".

OK, so we tried, and tried. We described exactly what we were doing since the beginning and told them we wanted to be in festivals and other competitions and so on and although we see a lot of machinima out there doing the same we have never officially heard from Valve on the matter.

Now a new situation has come up in that YouTube has extended an offer of partnership for revenue sharing on at least one of our videos. So what do we do? Once again we dash off an email to Valve first thing to every one of their contact emails informing them of our offer and asking for confirmation that they are OK with the program. Guess what we found out...nothing.

So, I guess we take the plunge and hope for the best. Machinima is all over YouTube and is not being taken down. Machinima.com has a partnership with YouTube and they show Source Engine machinima and I have not heard of Valve complaining. And since all of our story line, characters, voice acting and music is original we are about as clean on the copyright front as a machinima could possibly be.

Once we push the accept button on the program we enter a waiting phase where either the program will be initiated on our video or one day it will just be deleted from YouTube.

Oh well, we don't have much of a choice but to find out first hand since Valve won't comment on the issue. I can't imagine there would be a problem with this but just thought I would share so if our video does disappear you know why.

Wish us luck! :)

03 October 2009

2nd place in Bitfilm!

The results are officially in and Shelf Life took 2nd place in the Bitfilm Festival!

We would like to thank everybody who supported us and gave us this 2nd place win! We truly appreciate the time you devoted to helping us get the votes!

The 1st place win went to a World of Warcraft film called The Orchard by Dan Ross and 3rd place went to a Second Life machinima called Scripted by Krrish Spyker.

Congratulations to the winners! And thanks to all the films that were in the voting process for creating such great films for the festival!

If you feel like watching the winners and discussing the results that is great!

We will probably post our thoughts on the Bitfilm Festival in general in another post but for now we just want to say thanks again for all the support and thanks to Bitfilm for offering such a big event for machinima to be seen and honored!

01 October 2009

Nice report on Shelf Life chapter one

We were contacted by Christopher Kayser who is a Columbia College Student. He asked some questions about Shelf Life chapter one and said he wanted to do a report on it for his class. The report was very nice to us and so we thought we would share it here.
Machinima: Shelf Life
The machinima Shelf Life really stands out as a prime example of what can be done in this media form. Shelf Life is a Half Life 2 machinima created by a small group of talented individuals based in San Francisco, California. This group came together to form Pixel Eyes Productions. Starting in early 2007 they tried their hands at recording content from the popular game Half Life 2 and the popular modification known as Garry's Mod. Their first published creation is Shelf Life: Chapter One. This machinima stands out for its professional quality.

Shelf Life is superior to many machinima in it's production by four main ways. First, excellent use of in game assets. Second, camera angles and special effects. Third, movement and mannerisms of character models in the machinima rival the quality of movement and mannerisms that the game makers themselves created. Fourth, extraordinary use of mod tools and third party software.

Shelf Life used a large amount of in game assets in an adaptable way. Most machinima use in game assets without altering them. Some just grab the characters and basically green screen the characters into other areas. Shelf Life did something different.

They took maps, vehicles, and models and altered almost all of them. For example: the main character (Charles) is giving a presentation in what is the very first level of the regular Half Life 2 game. Pixel Eyes productions took the room, added a bunch of chairs, a raised podium, and added a bunch of props. The result was that the room was only barely recognizable from it's in game version. Just after the presentation finishes Charles leaves and he meets another character while standing at the entrance to a large mansion or university building of some sort. The building is clean, bright and shiny, old looking, but well taken care of in a welcoming way. The in game version is darker, dirty, and imposing in a hostile way. Pixel Eyes Productions did a masterful job of cleaning up this existing model and adapting it to their uses.

I contacted Pixel Eyes Productions with questions about their techniques and their response is as follows. " Using the post processing option in Garry's Mod we adjusted the lighting to make things look more inviting and pleasant. We then used a lot of props to create a more alive setting. We put up trees, street lamps, shrubs, benches, planters, etc. That brings a lot of life to a set and makes it feel alive. Finally, we used a console command that actually removes some of the details of the original map. It removes only certain things like graffiti, dead leaves on the ground and some other small details that make a place look run down."

Shelf Life really showed off their skill with their camera angles and their lighting techniques. I questioned James Spencer from Pixels Eyes Productions and he informed me that most of their lighting effects were actually done in game when they were shooting. Garry's Mod offers several post processing options along with the ability to create different light sources wherever they need them. It really is like working on a real set. You need lights, cameras, and action. Sorry, I couldn't resist. The interesting thing that I found was that Shelf Life really was created more like a TV show or a movie then I ever imaged machinima being. Sure, all of this is in a digital world, but the same issues apply. Further more, I found it really fascinating that the fade to white and black when Charles(main character) wakes up at the end was all done in game while they were shooting. Very few lighting effects were added during editing. Pixel Eyes Productions also used Adobe Premier for their work.

While researching Shelf Life I read at www.pixeleyesproductions.com that they used the same tools that Valve(The creators of Half Life2) uses to create facial animations. The exact program is called "Faceposer" and it allowed Pixel Eyes Productions to apply animations and lip sync the dialogue. It even provides ways for subtle facial movements so that they can really bring the characters to life.

Shelf Life also used very recognizable character models that fans would have strong, but mixed, emotions towards. Shelf Life masterfully crafted these in game characters into their story in such a way that it honestly feels like Shelf Life could easily be an alternate reality to the Half Life series. The characters have different names and different voices, but they still feel like old acquaintances, but in a great way. I would chalk this up to the writers, but the editors and special effects guys did a marvelous job of adapting these character models and their movements/mannerisms to this story. Pixel Eyes Productions used scripts and "Faceposer" to get the character movement down just right. According to James Spencer of Pixel Eyes Productions, all the animation work was very tedious, but it paid off since their characters really came to life in the final product.

I really have to commend Pixel Eyes Productions for its alteration and adaptation of in game assets, especially the characters. Most of the machinima I have watched do a decent job with character movement, but most of it is just regular movement of the in game characters with adding the slightest bits of quirks so that they appear to be different then other characters. Pixel Eyes Productions went well past the extra mile with their work. The movement of the characters and especially the fight scene are all masterfully done. There is none of the stutter movement that goes along with normally player controlled characters. I was and still am amazed at how natural the animations look. It truly is good enough to rival that of Valve's work with NPC movement in their own games.

I have already hit upon my last point a few times, but Shelf Life should also be examined for its use of user created content, sets, and use of third party software. Pixel Eyes Productions repurposed a lot of the in game maps, but they also used a number of user created maps for their filming. According to James a lot of time and effort was spent with setting up and perfecting the sets that they used. Shelf Life might have only been under 20 minutes long, but the shear amount of effort they put into this production is staggering to think about. I already quoted on what they did for one set previously, they had to do that level of work many of the sets. Near as I could tell, there were only about two maybe three sets that were not altered past cleaning the map up of enemies.

In conclusion, Shelf Life may very well be a golden standard machinima for anyone just getting their hands into this young media form. Pixel Eyes Productions is a prime example of what a group of dedicated individuals can accomplish when companies like Valve provide the online community with their own tools. I, for one, am waiting with high anticipation for Shelf Life: Chapter Two.

Christopher Kayser - Game Designer for Toxic Interactive and Columbia College Student


Thanks Chris!

24 September 2009

Shelf Life Chapter Two

Since the release of chapter one we have been very busy and have not had the time required to really jump into chapter two. We think are starting to turn the corner though and are going to be able to ramp up our production time.

Just yesterday we had a brainstorming session that went really well and we are excited to get some of the new ideas into production.

We spent a lot of time promoting chapter one and entering it into festivals. The Bitfilm Festival voting period has just concluded and we are waiting for the results of that to come in. Good luck to all the films running!

Next up for festivals is the Cinemanila Festival in the Philippines http://www.cinemanila.org.ph/ and of course Machinima Expo http://machiniplex.net/expo/

We have really enjoyed getting involved in the machinima community and would again like to thank everybody for their support and feedback.

Hope to start seeing you all again soon on Steam! Keep gaming and keep watching machinima!

- James Spencer

16 September 2009

Bitfilm Festival 2009 Voting

This is the last week for voting for the machinima segment of the Bitfilm Festival 2009.

There are a lot of great films included in the festival that have had a lot of hard work put into them by their makers. Please take the time to support these efforts by going to the Bitfilm site and voting.


Of course we are here to promote Shelf Life since that is our machinima that is included in the festival. We worked really hard on Shelf Life for a long time and are very happy it is being included in Bitfilm. It would be an amazing payoff for our work to actually get recognized with a win at Bitfilm. If you think Shelf Life is worthy then please take the time to give us your five star vote.

The most important thing of course is just to vote though no matter who you vote for. These festivals need voter participation to be successful so if you enjoy machinima please support it by supporting the Bitfilm Festival voting process.

Thanks for watching!

27 August 2009

DragonCon, Bitfilm, YouTube and Interview!

It has been just a month and a half since Shelf Life chapter one went live on our YouTube channel and the response has been amazing!

It went live on July 6, 2009 and now our YouTube channel has over 2,200 subscribers, over 11,000 channel views and Shelf Life has over 30,000 video views and overall our videos have over 88,000 views.

Relatively small numbers in the bloated world of superstar million-hits-per-day channels that exist out there but we have only been around for a hand full of weeks!

Plus, we are talking about machinima here. As awesome as it is the word still leaves a blank expression on most faces.

In addition to our channel interest Shelf Life has been accepted into the Bitfilm Film Festival and it will be screening at the massive geek extravaganza DragonCon!

DragonCon starts next week and Shelf Life will be showing on Friday the 4th at the Augusta Room in the Sheraton hotel at 7:00 pm. So if you are going to DragonCon please add that to your list of to-dos!

The Bitfilm contest is currently in the voting process so please go to the machinima section and vote for Shelf Life! :)

We also did an interview about Shelf Life and machinima in general that was really fun and interesting. The interview is not available yet and we feel we need to keep the source secret for now in case it does not air or the source has plans for the release that we do not want to spoil. But either way it was a fun afternoon talking about it.

Overall we have had an amazing run since Shelf Life went live and it has been a lot fun! We would really like to thank everybody who showed us their support!

Please stay in touch!

- James

16 July 2009

Shelf Life Accepted in Bitfilm Festival

We just got word the other day that Shelf Life has been accepted into the Bitfilm festival!

We are very excited about this and hope to receive some of your votes when voting starts next month. I believe the voting starts August 20.

Shelf Life was a lot of hard work but it was also a lot of fun and we appreciate all the support we have gotten.

It would be amazing to walk away with a win in the machinima category for Shelf Life! But we are very happy being accepted along with all the other great machinima this year.

We will keep you posted on the festival and voting!

07 July 2009

Shelf Life chapter one released!

Woooo! We released Shelf Life chapter one! Whew. Well, now what? Now, we get to work finishing chapter two and beyond.

But also, maybe take some time to catch up on the other small things like not neglecting this blog entirely and maybe even updating the website a bit.

Finishing chapter one took almost all of our time so other things were left unattended, including gaming. I have not seen a sticky grenade or a zombie horde in a long time.

So we will try to catch up on stuff and also get chapter two going as fast as we can.

Thanks so much for all the support and feedback for chapter one. If you stumbled in here and have not seen Shelf Life please take a look at our YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/pixeleyesproductions

See you soon!

- James

01 June 2009

Oh TF2 how I miss you...

"Need a teleporter here!" - "I feel alive!" - "Maggots!" - "Oops, zat was not medicine"

The sweet sweet sounds of our beautiful cartoon team. The thing is, Shelf Life is taking priority right now and so our dear TF2 has been sitting quietly unused until we can get caught up with chapter one editing.

On the upside we are missing the updates mayhem of full teams trying to get achievements so when we do get back in game it will be fun to learn the new stuff that is already old for everybody else.

So, for now, sleep tight dear TF2 and we will celebrate with a marathon session as soon as Shelf Life chapter one is ready.

Productivity has a price, and that price can be counted in kills.

17 May 2009

Shelf Life chapter one teaser

We just released a short teaser for our machinima Shelf Life.

This first teaser simply shows a few of the elements of our movie. We plan to release another teaser that has a different vibe to it and highlights other aspects of the film.

We have worked on and off on this project for quite some time and are finally getting close to a full release of chapter one. In the end the story will probably take three chapters to tell.

Thanks to garrysmod.com for highlighting the release of our first teaser trailer and thank you to the machinima community and everybody who has shown an interest in Shelf Life, left us great feedback and subscribed to our YouTube channel.

Thanks for watching! Please stay in touch!

21 April 2009

Everybody Should Love Physics

I hated physics.

Well, I loved conceptual physics then I got into practical physics and that love curdled into a seething pit of despair.

It all started after one assignment took 12 hours of tedious formula solving, 21 pages of my little blue project book and enough caffeine to resurrect the dinosaurs only to result in me knowing how high the 14th brick up the wall in the lobby was within a plus or minus 1 degree of deviation. WTf!>?

Ok, so I got through the rest of school without touching physics again and the lingering depression of those equations just sat and smoldered until one day it happened, I fell in love with physics again!

You see, when you can light a barrel on fire, launch it into the air, have it bounce off a wall, explode causing a stack of crates to break and send shards out that knock over all the bottles you set up with a satisfying shattering of glass...then physics is once again fun.

The physics in Half Life 2 are incredible. Pick something up, drop it, toss it, fling...it will do exactly what you expect it to do.

Play through the entire story of Half Life 2 and notice how you spend time just messing around with stuff along the way not to help you through the story but just because you can and because it is fun.

Physics are a natural part of our world and often ground breaking and boundary pushing technologies result from those who dedicate time to further study in the field.

Machinima can also be pushed to great heights when great physics engines are combined with ambitious set design and scene development.

Accessing Half Life 2 through Garry's Mod offers a robust environment where simply tossing 40 melons down a hill will result in a spectacular shot. How far we push it beyond this depends on how creative and motivated machinima makers are able to become.

So let's go have some fun with physics!

15 March 2009

Shelf Life

A long time in the making, Shelf Life will be pixel eyes productions first major machinima.

Shelf Life went from a spontaneous clip of a man lying in the road to a full film production including a screenplay, storyboard and high quality voice acting and filming.

The final version will include detailed faceposing, custom skins, custom maps and original soundtrack.

It has taken a lot of work to put together but the outcome will be worth the effort.

Please keep updated with Shelf Life progress and make sure you don't miss the premiere!

If all goes as planned there should be something worth viewing in a couple months.

28 February 2009

A Man Lying in the Road

This is how it all began, a man lying in the road.

Father Grigori is lying in the middle of the road only semi-conscious as Breen travels down this same road in his utility buggy. Breen swerves at the last moment to miss the man lying in the road causing him to wreck into an abandoned truck.

That was the first shot we ever created for machinima. We had no plan beyond that moment of where we wanted to go with it but we did know that we were hooked.

From that moment on the word machinima became a regular part of our world. We discovered a entire community devoted to the art of machinima and saw some amazing films that inspired us even further.

That first shot was created in a quality that would have needed to be upgraded to look good on YouTube and with no modifications to the game content at all. We actually filmed a lot of stuff under these conditions at first until we realized we had not tapped into the real potential of the game.

Our latest work is an entirely different story. Everything is shot in very high quality with custom skins, models, scripts and maps. Our expectations are very high now and we spend hours fine tuning details.

It has been a very long journey from that man lying in the road but it has opened up an entirely new world of creativity that is proving to be worth the trip.

Thanks to the machinima community for feeding our hungry minds with plenty of inspiration.

26 February 2009

Garry's Mod A Brief History In Geek

After playing through Half Life 2 and loving every minute it seemed as if the glory was over. Sure you can play through it again and it is almost just as fun as the first time but everything looses something after a while unless you do something to spice it up.

Then we started playing around with some mod that some guy apparently named "Garry" created...
Download...load game...funny picture...join server...now what?

Oh, spawn whatever you want, really anything and just, like throw it around or something.

Funny, for about 1 hour. What's the point of this mod? Your bored and think about going to a TF2 or DoD server or something.

You reach for the quit button...but then...what the hell is that kid doing over there? Woah, she built a car out of random parts from scratch. Not bad, you bet you can do better.

Four hours later you have a working car, a little fort to park your car in and a jump that launches you into a wall of gas barrels. That was kinda fun...now what?
For many the next step was creating more and more advanced creations from massive working robot towers to very complicated Rube Goldberg machines. For others it was to take the flexibility Garry's Mod gave them to control game elements and apply it to creating machinima.

The machinima aspect is what inspired us the most. Given the ample time and dedication it takes to learn the many aspects of customizing and controlling all the elements available to you it is possible to create full cinematic glory from the comfort of your messy desk.

Thank you Garry for that crazy Mod of yours.

24 February 2009

Machinima: Creativity Unleashed

Machinima (muh-sheen-uh-muh) describes animated films created by using real time 3-D graphics engines. Most often understood as making movies using video game content.

Search for machinima and you will find a wealth of information and history on the subject so there is no need for us to duplicate that information here in detail.

Machinima has been around for a long time but you will probably find the year 1996 and the game Quake often pointed out as the key point in time for the first widely viewed machinima that started making the term more known.