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New Reel Shows Off Edwards’ work on Season
Two of “Dogfights” on the History Channel

Posted: June 22, 2008
HOLLYWOOD — Animator and compositor Craig Edwards has posted a four minute compilation of full CG work he completed while working on Season Two of Radical 3D's "Dogfights", a Telly award-winning show on The History Channel which re-enacts famous aerial battles using completely computer-generated imagery.

The shots on this reel were completed from start to finish by Edwards, who, given his art and film production background, thrived in Radical 3D's somewhat unique pipeline, which has each artist work shots all the way through -- from initial shot design, layout and choreo, through animation, lighting and multipass rendering, to compositing and delivery of final frames just a few days later -- all within the confines of a very abbreviated episodic television schedule. This unconventional structure allowed a small team to generate between 30 and 40 minutes of animation per hour long show.

Starting with a just a one sentence description of the shot needed, It was Edwards' responsibility to translate that into finished, delivered frames in a very short time. Working from a library of plane and environment assets amassed as the team went along, shots could be laid out quickly, animated, broken out and sent to the render farm.

"About the only thing I did not do on these shots is model and texture the planes. We had a dedicated artist, Jon Gourley, whose job it was to manage and create those assets. Still, I often found myself up-rezzing and retexturing models as needed on a shot-specific basis, such as for cockpit shots, extreme closeups, or building demolition model variants to accommodate the show's frequent need for explosive destruction.

While I can't take sole credit for the digital environments the planes fly through, I was one of the major contributors. My matte painting and color grading chops meant I was often tapped to paint horizons, collage and modify sky imagery, or set up point clouds for instanced geometry and procedural terrain on the low level environments. Many of the environments I created entirely; others benefitted from the contributions of talented artists like Thomas Bremer or Matt Zeyn. Similarly, the lighting was based on generic rigs we developed for each environment, however I was constantly tweaking and adjusting based on what best served the shot at hand.

Otherwise, all aspects of these shots were handled by myself. I did all layout, choreo, animation, FX, dynamics, voxel and particle work, breakout, multipass rendering and compositing. All the CG elements were generated using Lightwave 3D, and all comps were created with After Effects. I'm also proud to say I also did all the editing and sound work for this reel, using Final Cut Studio. (The music and sound effects are not from the show.)

I hope you enjoy watching it!"

To watch Edwards' "Dogfights: Season Two" reel now, click here.

Click Here to watch my "Dogfights Season Two" showreel.

06-22-08:  I'm working on a new motion graphics and compositing reel; I hope to have it live soon!

Click Here for some clips from my After Effects work.