Forlorn – Animation Short Film based on The Tempest

Watch with good speakers or headphones for the best experience!

A Sci Fi take on Caliban and Prospero from The Tempest by Shakespeare.

Animation by                                 –      Wai Kin LAM, Central St Martins.

Music ‘This Was My World’ by     –      Andrew Simmons, Royal College of Music.

Special thanks to Ioli-Iliana Filippakopoulou, Darryl Hutchison, Steve Roberts and Alex Hislop.


Reviewing myself

This version might not be the final version; I do want to add better sound effects and maybe additional visual effects(but I’d probably just move on and leave it this way). I’d probably submit this for assessment, and work on it a little more for my portfolio.

Visuals – The only time I’ve touched Maya before this course was building square blocks a couple of times, so i was very very new to this program. Am I satisfied with the renders, textures etc? Oh yea definitely. But the reflections could have been better if it was rendered in mental ray. Unfortunately it took about 15 minutes per frame, couldn’t afford it. I’ve seen how it looks like in mental ray (bloody nice reflections); so in a way I’m happy cuz  know I’m capable of something more, but also disappointed I couldn’t access better machines for this version.

Film making/ story/ camera angles – I feel there’s a lot I can improve upon in terms of the timing of certain scenes as well as the camera movements. But again, its a learning process and I felt as a first time short film production; this is really the best I could have done with what I’ve learnt so far. Can it be improved now that I’ve learnt from this? Oh yea definitely, but I would rather spent time improving my film making skills on another project than revisiting this one.

Character animation – What we’re graded on, whew. This is the part where I really need to work on in the future. To get a job you need a show reel that shows animation specifically. When I started this project, I had to choose whether I should concentrate on animation alone or to make something visually pleasing with my own vision and character/rigs/background models. I chose the latter. Why? Because I have another year (and a whole summer) to work on creating good animation.

Looking back, this might hurt my job application and future career. I guess my reason was that I really wanted make something I could be proud of as a short film; and that meant using my own designs for everything from the characters to the weapons and background. I wanted my own vision so I stayed away from Morpheus rigs.

I was unfortunate that my first mentor left to Canada, so I was mentorless for quite awhile. Then I got a new mentor in May, Alex from MPC. He quite possibly saved my ass. Initially the keyframes and poses were all totally off; and I think I have improved it so much under his guidance. There were alot of things he pointed out that I couldn’t fix due to time constraints, but I’ve learnt alot from him from just 2 meetings. Seeing some of his brilliant work has also inspired me to make this decision = I would concentrate solely on animation for the last 6 months of 2nd year. As much as I love modelling, I want to be an animator.

All in all for animation, is this the best I could have done with what I’ve learnt so far? Hmmm 95%. Very high because I’ve learnt a lot of animation techniques far too late. 5% because of Diablo 3.

Sound and music – I had a superb composer in Andrew Simmons from RCM (visit for great music!). The first draft he did was excellent. The 2nd was even better. Very impressed with what he came up with in such a short time. The song you hear isn’t 100% exactly like he composed though. I did add a bit a heavy bass ‘dummmmm’ and relooped a guitar riff. This was because after watching it many many times (about 50 I would say, no joke); I suddenly felt the part before Caliban jumps needed more ‘kick’. Obviously it was too late to ask him to touch it up; so I improvised and did some audio work on my own. I have edited songs before so it wasn’t too difficult.

In terms of the sound effects, there was only so much I could do with royalty free music. Sound effects were very limited; and I actually heavily edited many of the sounds in Adobe Audition. (eg. metal hammer noise, electric shock) The best I could do? Yes. What I envisioned? No. How this could be improved? Invest in some sound effects next time.


Forlorn as a whole – It has been a fun ride. Tough, but not as tough as architecture haha. I didn’t even do a single all nighter this whole project, I did it twice a week for 3 years in UCL! Thats not to say I worked less than my coursemates or found this easy, I think I’ve worked as hard as everybody else. Its just that I’m used to far worse torture in my Bachelor’s degree.

Am I satisfied with Forlorn? Yep. I’m glad to say I’m very proud of it. But the most intriguing thing for me in this project is that I know I could produce something far better in the future. I’ve learnt so much about Maya that I feel if I repeat this project I could do it in half the time or less. That’s because I know my way around the errors and program bugs. Can’t wait to kick on with the next project with my newly acquired knowledge. Lots to improve on.

Forlorn – Teaser Trailer

Teaser trailer for my animation. I’m waiting for the final version of the music from my composer, Andrew Simmons from Royal College of Music. Everything else is complete except for the CSM and RSC logos at the end; so I thought why not play with After Effects and make a short trailer.

Clouds concept and colour test + new promotional poster

Not too difficult to have a realistic cloud movement with After Effects. This was done roughly in Photoshop with just 5 layers(1 for sky, 4 for the clouds). I’d imagined this scene in my head looking a bit more realistic, but after painting the clouds I quite like the rough feel of it. Also, not much time left; I don’t think I’m expected to create super realistic clouds anyway.

Same cloud background just to test the ‘feel’ of it.


Lastly, a promotional image. Since I was testing the rendering times for high-res frames, might as well save it and make some promotional images. I think we are suppose to do it anyway, so might as well get it out of the way. Not like there’s much to do when maya is rendering.

I guess another reason I’m posting these images here ( aside from not wanting to get a C again for not blogging) is to show that this would be how the animation would look like if the PCs in CSM weren’t almost literally thrash. I’ve stated in one of the previous posts that I was quite ambitious in attempting to add as many quality visual effects and lighting. I really believe that I have met those targets in many ways, BUT the total render time is about 150 hours! Maybe more considering there will always be technical errors. There is no access to better machines in our university that can render all our frames.

Another alternative is Rebusfarm which renders frames for me. But it would cost me about 150 pounds so that would be my last resort… actually my last resort is shitty renders.