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Dan Dare: Netter Digital and Foundation Imaging

At Netter I worked on the show as a modeler, character rigger, animator and TD.

At Foundation I was a character modeler and character rigger for the show.

Most of the work for the show was done by Foundation.

     

Dan Dare is a British superhero. He's not superpowered but more of a Flash Gordan type adventurer. The show is based upon the comic book which came out in the 1940s - 1950s. We tried to keep the look and feel of the Dan Dare univierse - a place where all the planets have life, no digital readouts and spacesuits have large metal collars with rivots. The whole look is very retro and captures the image of the 21st century from the viewpoint of someone living in the 1950s.  

While at Netter Digital I started out modeling for both Max Steel and Dan Dare. Later I moved to animating on Max Steel. After that I was moved to animating, character rigging and to being the only TD on the show. This was a great show to work on. We had a great deal of creative input. The show was colorful and fun to work on. The characters had...well...CHARACTER!  This was a very challenging show to work on and I worked on many aspects of it. The character team at Foundation had about 10 people on it. Of the 10, only 2 of us were proficient at character rigging. I ended up doing over 90% of all the IK setups. I also devised the base setup used for Mocap purposes.

    

 

Dan and Sondar

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Sondar

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Sondar with Helmet

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Animation

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Sondar is a Treen, a war like race on Venus. He is an enhanced treen, meaning that after years of "treatments" from the evil Dr. Kuffka, he is now a cyborg under the control of the Mighty Mekon until recently. He is now Dan Dares bodyguard for life, a decision Sondar made when Dan Dare saved his life from the Mekon. Sondar is immensely powerful due to his cybernetic "enhancements" In the first picture Sondar stands behind Dan Dare (modeled by Tim Pietre). I modeled, textured and rigged Sondar at Foundation after it was decided to not use the Netter version. At Netter I had improved Sondars model to work better with IK. At Netter I also rigged and animated Sondar in several shots.

Sondars Helmet, though not technically a character thing was one of many pieces of equipment that I modeled and rigged for use by a character. This helmet was rigged to be able to flip up similar to the helmet on Lost in Space or StarGate using a single null. Again, at Foundation I did not do any animating so the animations I do have here are mainly to show off the rigging.

 

Animation - Sondar Battles Aries

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This is an animaton from the God of War episode. Sondar battles the space pirate Aries who is wearing alien power armour. Both are almost equal in strength and power. Dan has been stunned by Aries during a battle and Sondar comes to Dans rescue. I remodeled the early (Netter) version of Sondar to get him to work a little better. I rigged all the characters in this scene, set up the lighting and animated it all by hand. This was done back in lightwave 5.6 too!

 

Sondar Head Setup

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Animation

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Sondar in "gyro"

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Animation

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In one of the episodes, Sondar decides to go back to Venus to do some soul searching after his cybernetic implants begin to degrade. On Venus he is recaptured by the Mekon and subjected to brainwashing and torture. I had to create some special models and riggs to allow Sondar to be put into a "Gyro" and his head in a not so friendly vice. I used some special techniques to allow his scalp and eyelids to stick to the hooks on the head piece.

 

Young Sondar

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Young Sondar close up

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Animation of Young Sondar being changed into a Cyborg.

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Young Sondar under the knife!

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Young Sondar was part of a flash back that one of the main characters (Sondar) has. In the flash back he remembers how he was taken as a small child and changed into a Cyborg by the Evil Dr. Kuffka. Young Sondar was modeled and rigged by me and the animatons were a combination of mocap and keyframing. I did not do the animatons on these shots.

 

Thea

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Animation

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Thea closeup

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Animation

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Thea is a young Martian girl. She quickly befriends the giant Treen, Sondar who is also protective of the young girl. I also modeled, textured and rigged the young Martian girl.

 

Thea sick

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Thea early spline cage

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Thea ccmpleted spline cage

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Thea head patched

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At one point she is scratched and wounded by a Bolg, a war like race that also inhabits Mars. The Bolg claws are venomous. Here in this section I show some of the modeling process I go through to create her. I use the model sheet as a background template. To insure that my model is as close to the model sheet as possible I model with splines. The initial spline cage is simple. Later I add additional splines to form correct patches. From there I actually patch the cage, creating polygons in the process. This poly cage is converted to SubDs and detailed from there.

 

Thea head completed

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Here you can see theas completed head with no textures. Additonal details such as eyes, mouth, eyebrows and so on are added.

 

Thea early body

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Thea basic body

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Thea with clothing

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Thea hand detail

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I started the body with a basic spline cage. From there I patched the body and added details. Her clothing was created with splines which allow me to easily control the polyflow. Lastly I add the feet and hand detils.

 

Sun Animation with Anastasia

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One of my jobs at Netter was to TD various effects like explosions, shields etc etc. This time I had to figure out how to make a convincing Sun in very little time. This was the finished result using NO volumetrics...just textures.

 

Stripey in his space suit

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Stripey was a strange creature the crew of the Anastasia found among the friendly Therons on Venus. He took an instant liking to Digby, Dans right hand man, and theyve been together ever since. He looks like a cross between a cat and an elephant. This image shows him in a spacesuit Digby constructed for him. The texture and colors match Dans suit.