The discussions about the possibility of this project first started over a year ago. I really didn’t think this would take me a whole year.
This is gonna be a long article, I honestly wouldn’t have thought it would have deserved one, but here we are, I have so much to say.
The audio was finished very early on not long after we started.
I however, struggled to meet deadlines after deadlines, and as it turned out, it was a developmental nightmare. On the topic of skills and art direction, I don’t think I’ve improved much since when I started the project, the reason of which is also why this project took this long to complete.
That’s not to say I’ve done nothing, I’ve had quite a few other projects (though they’re all much smaller in scope and don’t drag on for two full minutes).
In essence and on first glace, the effects in Optie’s original (Sen-goku 2014) are not painfully difficult to recreate. From the exclusion effect of circles and crosses to the 3D tower animation reminiscent of mozuya’s amaryllis (BOF 2010), to compositing, I think you would agree with me if you’ve had even the least experience in this type of stuff, none of this is awfully difficult or time consuming to do. Though coming up with all this stuff and making all of this in the time that he was able to finish are still impressive indeed, Optie has since shifted away from this style of visuals as made evident by mopemope (ry. Flashy spinning particle trails are ultimately just that, flashy.
It had become clear to me on my journey that, I am actually still fucking trash at what I thought I was good at.
However, what ensued was completely unexpected and a total failure on my part. It’s not a secret to anyone close to me that I have very retarded mental issues, the fact that I can’t get anything done, and haven’t ever really gotten anything done before this project. Even then, everything still felt very easy to me and manageable to finish in a couple weeks even.
The truth is, for the a large portion of the time, I couldn’t get myself to work on it. And it took a total shutdown of society to get myself completely into “seriously doing stuff”. Nevertheless, I always had the burning urgency of “I need to finish this”, I think about it night and day, in school and at home and between school and home, to the point where it became difficult to work on anything else and start other big projects without progress actually being made on this one.
This really taught me an important lesson on the importance of time management and scheduling and about life in general. In order to stop procrastination, what really counts is not just making a schedule, but strictly following it. For this reason, I don’t regret having put this much time into this project to learn this precious lesson.
In retrospect, I’m happy I was miraculously able to follow through the project and make it till the end. It sure is much more convenient to simply shove it into the 183 folder and never have to worry about it again. Of course, I still had fun through this undeniably gruelling task.
During the agonizingly long span of the project, a lot of things happened, and a lot of things changed. A change in the scope of the project, which a lot of people run into when having long development cycles, fortunately did not happen.
What did change most significantly was my view on recreating other people’s work. Twitter is an amazing website at making you feel worthless.
If you’re having fun, then good job, you’re doing it right. If you’re doing this to learn, good job, you’ve possibly found the best way to learn. However, if you’re not having any fun and not learning anything new, I would go as far as to say that recreating other people’s work is pointless.
If you’re already familiar with the software you’re using and you’re just doing this to impress other people, YOURE DOING IT WRONG. While impressive to the uninitiated, it really holds very little value if all you’re doing is copying exactly what the original author was doing, kinda like coloring in an image 1:1 pixel by pixel will not actually make you better at drawing in general. As I have stated above, I don’t think it is worthless if you could learn a thing or two, or if you’re just here to have fun, but if you couldn’t, I argue it’s rather pointless.
This is something else I want to mention, copyright and credit, it is worth noting that not everyone is comfortable with basing an entire video of your own on someone else’s work or the idea of copying other peoples’ ideas. I don’t personally think it’s inherently wrong to base your fun, harmless funny video on a Japanese BGA someone made for FRENZ. Would you criticize someone for trying to copy and parody the Mona Lisa for entertainment or learning purposes? Of course, like most things in life, everything would get more complicated when money is involved.
Going on a tangent here, the author of the viral Mio Honda Step video is really not appreciating the parodies and memes. For one, all of the meme videos just straight up use the original and cut out the author’s work, instead of recreating or making their own parody. I don’t think the idea “That’s just how the Internet works, if you post your things online, expect it to be transformed into anything” is veritable or supportable. The ironic weebs on Twitter really made my day here, “don’t bitch about other people using your animation if you want to post your things online, there’s no stopping it”, the idea of you straight up using part of their hard work for your funny meme, even if you give credit (obviously much worse if you don’t), if this is not endorsed, and the original author has since expressed malaise, it should therefore be denounced. Society dislikes crime, crime will also never disappear, does it make sense to simply do nothing about it?
Another thing that has changed is my view on drawing. Ultimately I realized one dogma: being able to do conception, sketch, storyboard quickly is extremely important. And not just that, I have found that I really like illustrating, though terrible at it since kindergarten, it is something I have fun doing.
I’m taking a indefinite break from video production (long & big projects).
My eyesight deteriorated through the course of this project, I am unsure if this is a coincidence.
Now let’s talk about the video itself, shall we?
The video uses a source that is Bejeweled…. and also nothing but a inside joke on a discord server which I had since left and which I now greatly disdain, devoting this much time and effort into this video could’ve been a mistake.
So let’s also not talk about the source itself, which makes everything else inevitably uninteresting, instead let’s go through my journey on making the video.
The most notable part has to be the tunnel part, it’s the most resource heavy to render and is really the only part that took a sharp departure from the original.
I first had the idea (as if I often get ideas) of a 3D tunnel when I was just playing the game, when you complete a level, the gems shatter the board and go into a tunnel.
The gems are a nightmare to get right with C4D’s MoGraph tools, I suppose it didn’t come out looking too bad. Dealing with the tunnel is way more painful, when animating the camera, I ran into gimbal locks, unfortunately. C4D does provide an option to use quaternions however but with these, you can’t really control the animation easing anymore. Blender somehow does not have this issue.
Butterflies were proposed, like how there’s a butterfly flying in the original and Bejeweled 3 also had butterfly gems. Ultimately I didn’t implement the idea, for one the composition is already very crowded and I didn’t really know how I would go about it.
What I had to do for the breakbeat part was quite obvious, I didn’t think it would cause AE to completely go horseshit and force me to work in wireframe. Really made me wonder how Optie was able to pull it off with 2014 hardware. I even made a script just to be able to work on this part.
There’s really not much to say about the tower scene, I’m not 100% happy with it, originally I had planned something much more original, but it turned out to be shit, so I just scrapped that version along with the idea. This part is also what I called the “glow hell”, due to how challenging it was to get the glow to not look terrible.
Kudos to MMaker for his epic tips and tricks. I apologize to the people behind the projects on which I was not able to embark due to me (not) working on this project.