Dead Meat Mail Bag
An Exploded View of Beverly Holes
For Beverly Holes, I’m taking this corner of Beverly Hills and building a virtual set that’ll be a combination of digital photos and live action miniatures.
I need to make “exploded” (in several varieties of the word) views of some of the buildings the camera will be passing by, and here’s the first one. That little dude on his cell phone was a pain to dig out of there.
Still needs some more boards, but that’s just about one down. Long way to go, so we’ll have to check back on this thing later…
kentasworld asked: when do we expect to see the premiere of Dead Meat?
Oh, it’s at least a year away. Right now it’s kind of scary because I’m doing everything by myself. That includes researching new print houses for the art prints, buying and taping boxes together, mailing things, responding to emails, and all of the stuff that has nothing to do with actually making Dead Meat.
I know it’ll lighten up as time goes on, and I can’t wait to get to the good parts!
killingherwithkindness asked: I know you said no networks, but has any offered their services?
Nope. And who could blame them? Currently I’ve got some insubstantial promo footage and the claim that I’ve written something funny. If I were any given network, I’d wait to see what I’ve really got. Actually, I’d probably go on with my existence, blissfully unaware that Dead Meat even exists.
But once it’s done? Yeah, bring on the networks. I have no objection to networks airing something I’ve made. I just object to them forcible inserting their pudding pops into my ragout. If you get my drift.
Anonymous asked: Are you still answering questions on Tumblr?
Yeah. The holidays put me a bit behind. And I’m going to stop answering anonymous questions. Some anonymous questions are good, but there are a lot of them and many of them ask things that I’ve already answered. I figure if someone really wants answers and they don’t want to make a Tumblr account, they can find me on Facebook or just wait until I get into the prison system.
How to Blow Stuff Up Real Good
Have you ever wanted to be as good as the North Koreans at digitally blowing up your American neighborhood, without having to have a North Korean military budget? Now, with this handy step-by-step process, you can!
This is the basic process I’m using to create the environments for Dead Meat. Sure, sometimes there’ll be physical sets, but part of Dead Meat’s signature look will be the janky, slightly surreal ruins of our current civilization.
Step One: Take a Bunch of Photos
I learned pretty quickly to take LOTS of photos. At some point during the process, you’re always wishing you took another angle of that cool looking car or wanting a mailbox you never bothered to take a picture of.
Plus, we’ll be breaking these photos into layers and bringing them into After Effects to build a fake 3-D space for the camera to move through. That means that you’ll be able to see behind building that, in any given photo, don’t have a behind.
I picked this photo as one of the “atmospheric” scenes from the Kickstarter trailer:
Downtown was unusually empty on this particular day. Maybe they knew I was coming. Anyway, in Dead Meat, I really don’t want a lot of greenery. Trees wouldn’t have survived nuclear armageddon, so they gots to go. So do people and flags and canopies and birds anything that would be moving.
And since the last gasps of civilization would involve everybody in the city piling into their cars in a desperate and futile attempt to get the hell out before the bombs hit, I’m gonna need a lot of cars jamming up the street. Preferably full of charred skeletons.
Step Two: X-acto
First I lose the sky so I can have more control over what it looks like. For Dead Meat, even the skies should look a little stormy and tortured.
Also, glass isn’t gonna handle that apocalypse too well either, so it’s time to manually remove every window you can see. This part is hideously boring, but it really does add to the effect when you get it into After-Effects and you can see the inside of the building moving behind the windows holes.
I really need to make a few trips to some junkyards. I’ve compiled a lot of photos of buildings and textures and stuff, but I’m lacking cars. Some of these came from Google Image Search filtered to “free to use, share, or modify, even commercially”. It’s pretty cool that people are able to put stuff out there for others to use, and when I find some time I’m gonna dump a ton of free photos up on there.
I decided I wanted to have a piece of the building to have caved in the roof of the bus, so I warped that and painted on a dent.
Almost every car is on its own layer. The more layers you bring into After Effects, the more “realistic” an effect you can get. But more layers also means more cumbersome and annoying.
Step Three: Make More Layers
Each building needs to be on its own layer, and I’ll have to make an interior for each building. That’s no biggie. Interiors can just be cloned bits of concrete and rubble colored dark
Here I’ve removed the tree and replaced it with a big hole, so I’ll have to make sure the interior of this building looks somewhat authentic.
Step Four: Burn Baby, Burn!
In both photos above, you can see where I’ve started burning around the windows. I figured the buildings would’ve all been on fire. I suppose there’d be just as much nuclear fire on the outside as on the inside, but the burn marks around the windows look good to me, so I decided to roll with it.
Most of the rest of the burnt and distressed look comes from laying photos of asphalt and rusty metal I’ve taken over the buildings and cars. I usually blend them using Multiply or Overlay in Photoshop.
This is also when I put the bodies in the cars. I bought a small plastic model skeleton to help me with stuff like this in the future. There are only so many royalty free photos of skeletons out there.
Almost ready to leave Photoshop! At this point it’s all about painting and shading and overlaying textures over buildings and cars until you’re happy with how they look.
Step Five: Make it Move!
Time to pick a sky and get these puppies into After Effects. And by “puppies” I mean the thirty-some layers that will compose the shot.
I’ve desaturated the image and added a bit of a green tint to everything. Because it’s all radioactive.
It looks a bit like a painting right now. and that’s not such a bad thing. But let’s add even more layers and see what happens! I used a few atmosphere layers, and added some floating ash in the air. I filmed a piece of creepy cloth in front of my Car Port green Screen and attached it to the flagpole.
Step Six: Congratulations! You Ruined Your Hometown!
At least this time it was only artistically.
So this is what I’ll have to do for many, many shots in Dead Meat.
For the opening shot of the first episode, I hope to build a little set in After Effects of “Beverly Holes”. It should be pretty fun if it works out.
If you want to see this in motion, check out the Dead Meat Kickstarter. Only a few more days to go! Support a true indie project! Enable me to blow up more stuff! Back Dead Meat!