ALIEN - The Message WIP Diary
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Awesome! Thanks for sharing this making of, very informative.
By Rottadamic Movies - 11 Months Ago
you can buy ripley on daz studio now
By Dr Acula - 2 Years Ago

doing glows differently now,
so they don't flicker, or get muddy at a distance.

basically don't use a glow map
and just set it to self illuminate, then adjust the GI settings on the texture
then the ibl/hdr/tone map will take care of the glows.
also 32 bit images wont hurt if they are glow only texures
the panels and whatever will emit light as well..

try a few tests..
if nothing else, the light fixtures in the set model can light the scenes

By Cary B - 2 Years Ago
Some beautiful work, congratulations! Eager to see the animated scenes. 
By thedirector1974 - 11 Months Ago
UPDATE 01/13/2019

Here is a little animated sequence I was working on all day yesterday. The first 20 seconds are new, the rest is stuff from last year, but updated with the new costume ...

Have fun

By 3Aliens - 11 Months Ago
This looks amazing!
By toystorylab - 2 Years Ago
Wow, looks very promising...
Nice SETTING w00t

By thedirector1974 - 9 Months Ago
UPDATE 03/21/2019

Hi folks,
it's been a while since I wrote here, but this doesn't mean that I am not working on the movie. I do. Every time I can.


After such a long time of silence it is wise to look back and see what was achieved during the almost two years of production. First of all I reached a big milestone, because the first half of the movie is almost done. There is one tiny scene I can't render right now, because the set isn't finished yet. But I have almost 20 minutes of footage rendered and edited. That means 20 minutes of the movie is done!!! When I look at the script I will have about the same amount of minutes to go. So I expect the movie to be more than 40 minutes long in the end. I had to extend one scene a bit, to have another big confrontation with the alien and I will need some additional lines from the actrees, who did the role of EMILY. I plan to do this in april, after my vacation. I also will start the sound editing of the finished sequences. the first three minutes are done arleady and if you haven't seen it, here is the link to the sequence ...


During the last three days I had to do a job I normally never do. I had to retexture my main character EMILY. After the big confrontation between here and the alien, she had contact with the acid blood of the xenomorph. If you familiar with the lore, you know haw nasty this blood can be to human tissue. So I had to create the injuries and the marks of the acid on her flightsuit. So I searched via google for fake wounds and injuries. Why fake ones? You know - real wounds and injuries look very disgusting, but fake injuries - made for TV or movies - have a certain artistic style and so they are watchable.
In the last three days I spend a lot of time switching between Photoshop, iClone and B2M to create those injuries.

Here is a small video to showcase the result of this work ...

Now I am able to do the scenes for the last minutes of my movie. There is a big part I can't work on right now, because the sets are still under construction and so I hav to concentrate on the things I can do right now. Finishing the injuries of EMILY was a vital point to get more options to do something on the movie.


I do what I can. You can be sure of that. I know, I will have less time during the summer time starting in june until late october this year. That doesnt mean I won't work on the movie, but it will take much longer to finish scenes, because of the shortage of spare time. In late autmn I will have more time (so I hope) and I think I will have the sets to start the big middle part of the movie. If anything goes as planned, I think I will be finished in spring 2020.

That's it for now and as usual, here are some screens from the final movie, showcasing the sequences I was working on the last months ...

Greeetings, Direx

By thebiz.movies - 5 Months Ago
Here's hoping for a efficient and productive summer Rene.  Love the stills!
By thedirector1974 - Last Month
kungphu (11/13/2019)
These are really inspiring!!!  Is that smoky haze from a window a combination of particle FX and bloom? Super curious how you made that "look." It's all sorts of great!!!

I assume you refering to the last still. Yes, you are right. It's a combination of particle fx and bloom. I still use the old particle fx (called "legacy" in iClone 7), because those fx are way better to handle than the popcorn fx. I used the "bath tub" particle fx and some "small smoke" fx. In combination with the right lighting and GI, you'll get this hazy look at the end.

The native renderer of iClone can do some amazing things, that's for sure ...


thedirector1974 (2/3/2018)
grabiller (2/2/2018)
:BigGrin Very nice. No more glow maps ?

A lot of them. I really like those glow maps. It's just a matter of how strong they shine. There is a lot of fine tuning involved, but when it's done right, it will look great ...

Have you considered to do the glows in post to have better control and avoid issues during *shooting* ?
By Capemedia - Last Month
I have been waiting for this patiently my friend.  

I know you make projects that are all about quality and this will be up there.

Thanks Smile
By pedrosura - 10 Months Ago
Wow, great production... Looking forward to it. 
By TonyDPrime - Last Year
Rene, 3 things:
1 - OUTSTANDING work.  You and your partner will get a lot of recognition for this, I am sure! 
2 - You sound just Like Arnold Schwarzenegger.  I would love to hear an impersonation.
3 - regarding the cam, LOVE IT!....I think it is a unique style that you have, but I do think it would be okay for you to experiment with traditional angles mixed in as well in combination, ie- following the back and then zooming in suddenly on something in the scene, for no apparent reason, and then flashing back, could enhance a sudden jumpy feeling of menace or anxiousness.  Oh well, just a thought....!

By Pixtim - 2 Years Ago
WOW ! really, really nice work ! oO !!! a superb project!
By justaviking - 2 Years Ago
@Shadoesword - Lovely artwork, but please shrink it to at least 1/4 of the original size.
By Postfrosch - 11 Months Ago
Hi Direx
looks good what i see
Greats Postfrosch (Werner)
By justaviking - 2 Years Ago
Wonderful news.  It looks like you're off to a great start on an ambitious project.

Tony beat me to a comment about the ketchup bottle.  It needs to be desaturated some to fit into the rest of the scene, unless you want us to focus on it (like "something" is in it).  I supposed a "futuristic" styling wouldn't hurt, but it's fun to have a little retro "touch of home" tossed in here and there.  It was just too vibrant in my opinion.

It will be fun to see how this unfolds.  Looking forward to seeing more.
By charly Rama - 9 Months Ago
Very good job Direx.
Time is not important when we see the good result. Take all the time you need , we'll enjoy to see this. Really professional. A good model for icloners
By toystorylab - 5 Months Ago
I am very curious about the full movie Wink
By kungphu - Last Month
Thanks for the reply and tips!  This thread really has inspired me to strive for better lighting in my scenes. These stills are nothing short of amazing. It really shows off that iclone isn't just for silly toons, but for serious films too. With a solid script and the quality of your visuals, no doubt you'll have an engaging film! Thanks for showing us what can be done with some creative lighting and simple FX. Extremely impressed by your work!!!!
By Peaches Chrenko - Last Year
Smile Looks A m a z i n g Can't wait!  I subscribed to this post. Looking forward to following your excellent work Smile  ~Peaches Chrenko~
By hj - 2 Years Ago
Das Set sieht beeindruckend aus und das das viel Arbeit war, das kann man sehen.
Hoffentlich können die Animationsmögliochkeiten von iClone deinem Anspruch gerecht werden.Jetzt hast du ja den "Curven Editor" und das "Face-Ware" Plugin als Arbeitsmöglickeit zur Verfügung. Da bin ich wirklich mal auf ein professsionelle Umsetzung gespannt, wo man nicht schnell die typischen iClone-Bewegungen erkennen kann.
Viel Spaß und nicht übermäßig viel Frust bei Umsetzen deiner Ideen und deiner Geschichte.
Es wäre schön, wenn du immer mal ein paar Details deiner Erfahrungen mit iClone bei der Umsetzung eines solchen Werkes posten kannst. Ich schreibe das alles hier in deutsch, weil ich Googe-Übersetzungen hasse und ich auch nicht immer weiss, ob das, was ich meinte, Google auch so übersetzt.

beste Grüße und viel Erfolg und Durchhaltevermögen bei deinem Projekt
Hans Jörgen
By thedirector1974 - 11 Months Ago
UPDATE 01/09/2019

Hi folks,
it's a new year and I am highly motivated to get back to the movie.
As I wrote in my last update, I had to process some technical and artistic problems. The last half of 2018 was packed with work, so I couldn't do anything for the movie. The project was on hold during this time. In addition to that, I had a harddrive crash and I lost almost all my production files. I was able to regain some of the old material, but most of it I had to do again. I suppose it would have happend anyway, because me and may pal Andreas decided to change the costume of EMILY to the classic flightsuit, including the original stickers and name plates. I was a hell of work to get this clothes working, but we managed.
So I rendered all the scenes AGAIN and this time I changed my camera setup from stable camera to "handhold" camera style.

Finally I started this week with new scenes and sequences. I really hope I can finish the first half of the movie within the first half of this year. I am not sure what the second half of this year will get me, but I guess it will be a lot of work. Let's hoper there will be time to do scenes for this project ...

Right now there are about 10 minutes of eidted stuff finished. This is one third of the material I have in mind. So, there is a lot of work ahead of me ...

Wish me luck Smile

And here are some screenies I took today from the editied movie, including post FX stuff ...

Greetings, Direx
By james_muia - Last Year
Stellar project! This definitely gives others hope that you can achieve fantastic results if you're willing to put in the time! 

Looks like you might be using Magic Bullet for color correction or maybe something else. Nice!
By TonyDPrime - Last Year
That camera work is masterful.. The camera stood out to me, it looked real.  You feel the tension and urgency throughout.
That was the first iClone video that ever made me feel like I was physically there.
By toystorylab - 2 Years Ago
thedirector1974 (11/27/2017)

Wow, that looks creepy... Imagine after waking up, walk around in your undies and some ugly, deadly creatures lurk about...
Well, she probably even does not know there are some creatures out there Sick
Again, looks very promising!

By Cary B - Last Year
Beautiful lighting and rendering, a fantastic look. You really have shown what is possible with this program. 
By thedirector1974 - 11 Months Ago
Thanx for your thoughts.
Yes, I will do most of the camera action in handheld style. But the shaking will be dictated by the action. I know, the camera is shaking a bit more, when she enters the room. This is, because I didn't change the camera setup, which I xreated last year. I didn't knew the trick I konow now. When you put the motion files at the "camera man", you should slow them down 75%-60%. The the movements of the camera are much more smoother ...

By illusionLAB - 2 Years Ago
Very nice work!  It breaks my heart to see all the alias flickering... surely it's worth rendering the final movie with Blender cycles or similar - obviously more work and time, but your production looks worthy of the extra effort.
By thedirector1974 - 2 Years Ago
UPDATE 11/23/2017

Hi there,

yesterday I had quite some time, so I created the firs scene of my movie right away. Nothing fancy, just a "wake up" scene, only two differnt camera angles. Rendering was pretty tough. I don't know why, but my PC needed much more time to render the scene in comparison to the last build of iClone. I am not sure if there is a special thing within the project which causes the performance hit, but I will look into this.
I rendered the second shot during night time. It took my PC about 4h to get this 60s shot done!
After finishing this, I imported those shots into my editing software, to figure out the look of the movie, using some post processing effect tools.

Until next time ...

By Walt_R - Last Month
Very nice. Keep up the great work. It's gets tiring like running a marathon but you're almost there with the finish line in sight. Looking forward to the release in Spring of 2020.
By Dr Acula - 2 Years Ago
looks great! but the lighting is too bright  for a alien movie,
this is just to show off the sets though?
the alien isolation game has superb design.
very tough to rip stuff from it, monumental work.

if you need assets or pro vfx just ask.

By thedirector1974 - Last Month
UPDATE 11/12/2019

Hi Folks,

A small update this time, just to show you that this project is still alive.
I had a lot of paid work to do within the last months. I edited 9 episodes of a popular german show for teens and one movie for the german cinemas. Most of the work is done and so I always work on my movie project when I got some time left.

The last third of the movie is almost done. There are a few missing shots, becuase I need some voice work to be done and there is one big set I don't have rigth now. But 95% of the third act is finished and edited together. Right now, about 31 minutes of eidted footage is done and ready for sound and music. I wanted to have this part finished in autumn and I manged to do so. That's good, because I really want this finished in spring 2020. I am exhausted to be honest. It's not that I don't have fun to create those scenes, but it gets tideous over time. It feels like a tread mill and I don't like that at all.
So, it feels good to add one piece after another to the edit of the movie and today I rendered the first two shots for the middle part of the movie. That's the part where almost nothing exists right now. The sets are almost finished and there si only one big set piece missing. I think I will get this set at the end of this year. I hope so at least.

I also updated my hardware some weeks ago. Now I have a NVIDIA 2080 SUPER gpu with 8GB VRAM. I also updated the RAM, motherboard and CPU. iClone runs really fine now, even with GI eneabled. Render times are also much better now. This will help to get the scenes done in faster time ...

That's all for now. And as usual, here are some screens from the final movie ...

Greetings, Direx
thedirector1974 (1/27/2018)
Wow. Very nice set. Where is this from? Did you render this with iClone?../..

Rendered with iClone 7.2 + post grading. The set is called "Sci-Fi Crew Quarters" from the artist Stonemason from the Daz3D marketplace.

thedirector1974 (1/27/2018)
../..You know, I tried to let go of the glow maps, but without them I can't get any glow effect at all. So how do I create the HDR effect in iClone without any glow maps?../..

First, to avoid glow maps, all surfaces that are supposed to emit lights must have their own Material (the entire surface Material will emit light). Then the Material must have its "Self Illumination" parameter greater than 0 (here all are at 100). Then if you use GI, set the "Glow/Self-Illumination Scale" to 10 for a start. Once you have prepared your surface(s) Material this way, then enable HDR in the Visual section with default parameters value (no tone mapping, no glare). Just adjust the "Threshold* level (here I've lowered it to 20) and the *Bloom Scale* value (here at 5) to your liking.

The drawback of this approach is that you have to separate the surface/material of all your light emitting areas. But this way, once done, no more artifact (at least for me and so far..).
By sonic7 - Last Year
Very nice work Rene...
I like your effective use of lighting both visible and emulated.
And that POV camera/performer is a great idea.
I do agree with Tony's comment about your style being 'unique' and whether (some) traditional steady angles wouldn't perhaps offer welcome relief from 'all' moving camera shots - Suspense would certainly be added by a 'contrasting' from 'steady' to 'moving' ... (maybe I'm biased - I do like steady establishing shots and smoothly executed tracking shots).
This is really an epic undertaking Rene! - I'm really looking forward to more...
There's so much we can be learn from creators like yourself. (and I'm happy that 'sci-fi' is so prevalent here on this forum - love it!).
Wishing you the very best with this! ...

◇◇◇ If you are working on something that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you. ◇◇◇  - Steve Jobs
By thedirector1974 - 2 Years Ago
AeMax (11/27/2017)

doing glows differently now,
so they don't flicker, or get muddy at a distance.

basically don't use a glow map
and just set it to self illuminate, then adjust the GI settings on the texture
then the ibl/hdr/tone map will take care of the glows.
also 32 bit images wont hurt if they are glow only texures
the panels and whatever will emit light as well..

try a few tests..
if nothing else, the light fixtures in the set model can light the scenes

Hmm. I don't know. I just did a test on that lamps without any glowmap and it looks awful. You know, you can tweak a lot via glow map. That light blue/green tone of the lamps all came from the glow maps. Self illumination is on as well. Its much needed for the GI. But GI doesn't help with everything. I did put under every lamp a spotlight with shadows, facing downwards, to get the leather parts of the wall more visible.
If you have a way to look the lights like they do on that last screenshot without glowmaps, I am happy to know about it.


P.S. The lights on that screeshot are to bright. This came through color correction (changing gamma values) and will be reduced later ...

By Cary B - 2 Years Ago
Yeah, thanks, Viking. I thought it would show up smaller. 
By toystorylab - 11 Months Ago
Looking forward for more...
By mark - 2 Years Ago
It's going to be amazing for sure!!! BigGrinBigGrin
By thedirector1974 - 5 Months Ago
UPDATE 07/14/2019

Hi Folks,

as usual, I have a busy summer doing editing shows and movies. But I really want to get going with my project, so I use every time I can spare to work on the movie.
Right now - about 24 minutes are finished. I am currently working on the last minutes of the film, because I still don't have the sets for the middle part of the movie. Right now, this is not a problem, because I still have plenty of scenes to do. This weekend I started with an action piece I had written only some weeks ago.


Because I looked over the script and I realized that the action comes to short in the final minutes of the movie. It felt not right, so I wrote some action in the movie. It will require to get back to the actress who playes the leading role to do some more lines. Next week I will work this out, so I can finish the scene. In the meantime I will do all the parts which will not require additional voice work.

My plan is to finish all the scenes for the ending of the movie until late october. Problem is, I have to edit a movie which will come to the (german) cinemas. That meands a lot of work, even on weekends. I really hope I can find time for my project.

As usual I will finish this post with some screens from the scene I worked on over the weekend ...

until next time ...


By kungphu - 5 Months Ago
These stills are crazy awesome!!!
By thedirector1974 - 4 Months Ago
UPDATE 08/02/2019

He folks,

I was in luck. I was able to work on my movie for two weeks straight and that was a good thing, because I managed to finish nearly 7 minutes of edited footage. That's quit a big chunk from the movie. The scenes I worked on can be seen in the last third of the movie and I really hope I can finish the whole ending in autumn this year.

Why in autumn?

Because now I am vacation for two weeks and after that i Will edit a movie for german cinema and right after that I got a TV-show to cover. So I will be in work until late october 2019. That means I will have less to no time to do anything on the movie. I try to get the scenes finished I need for the ending. There is one room to build and there will be some shots with big explosions and this isn't easy to achieve. I will talk about this later, because of spoilers.
I hope I will get the sets for the lower decks in november. My friend Andreas Günther is working on them, but it takes time. He now has two weeks off, so he can put more time into the project. The whole middle part of the movie plays on the lower decks of the spaceship, so nothing is done on this section right now. Plan is to get this going after october 2019. I really want to get this finished in spring 2020 and I'll do everything to get the movie done when the time comes.

I don't have any dead lines. No one is pushing me, but there is this feeling in me, that tells me to get this finished. I started this two years ago and I am motivated as hell right now, but on the other hand I want to get this over with. The sooner the better. There is another point. I basically rewrote the whole finale og the movie, because the original ending felt too boring. It wasn't when I wrote this, but as soon as I started with the scenes for the finale I felt it and so I created more tension, which leads to more scenes I hab to animate, much more scenes. I know this changes will help the movie, no doubt, but I used up almost the whole two weeks to get the additional scenes done.

Right now I assume the final running time of the movie will be between 40 and 45 minutes. Right now I am at 28 minutes of edited footage, so about 2/3 of the movie is finished. The light at the end of the tunnel gets brighter every days. Lets hope it's not the train ... Smile

As usual - here are some screens from the scenes I was working on this last two weeks ...

Greetings, Direx

By thedirector1974 - Last Year
UPDATE 02/02/2018

Hi folks,

some quick update on the project.
Casting process is done. I have all the audio files and now I can do the scenes, which contain dialogue.
I make good progress. I finished the first half of a bigger scene in the communiction room. Some days ago I got a new set from my friend Andreas. He finished the cockpit of the spaceship and it looks amazing.
I reworked some of the lighting and within the last days I contructed the sourrounding planet surface of LV-426.

Here are two pictures, both take directly from iclone. No postprocessing effects ...

Until next time ...

By IjonT - Last Year
Fantastic work! I love the lighting and DOF effects, and especially the attention to detail in all the scenes.I'm really looking forward to the animation - I hope you'll post some demo clips, would be great to see it!
By darth_angelus - Last Year
Very impressive! BigGrin
By kungphu - 11 Months Ago
This is ridiculously cool!!!!! Can’t wait to see it. The stills look awesome!
By thebiz.movies - Last Year
Hey Rene,  Love the camerawork in this shot!  I really like the way the camera has a slight delay before following her into the room and then pushes in once shes seated in the chair.  Would love to hear about how you design and execute this (plus the handheld shakey effect).  Looking forward to more!
By thedirector1974 - Last Year
Thanx for all your support. And yes, there is some color correction involved ... Smile
By txon - 2 Years Ago
the images look fantastic
By mark - Last Year
Simply....Brilliant!!!  BigGrin
By Rottadamic Movies - 11 Months Ago
CtrlZ (1/14/2019)
The camera shaking gives a sense of uneasiness and forces you to stay on edge which lends itself to a Si Fi thriller!


true, but in the second half the camera goes all over the place, if it was like the first half it would be perfect.
Just giving a tip
By thedirector1974 - 2 Years Ago
Hi folks,

welcome to my WIP diary for my new iClone 7 movie "ALIEN - The Message".

As you may have guessed, this movie will be a bit different from my other movies, cause this one is founded by pure fanship. I really love the original SiFi-shocker "Alien" from 1979. A perfect movie, in my opinion, never reached by any of it's sequels. This year, Ridley Scott released a new Alien movie, called "The Covenant" and this movie was insulting. I couldn't believe it and I asked myself, why is it not possible anymore to make good, decent sifi movies? I asked myself, if I could do this better and more grounded. And so the idea was born to do a fan film, devoted to the original movie from 1979.

In this thread I will post my progress during the production. Pictures, little behind the scenes stories, samples for animation, etc. Everything you could be interested in. Today I will start with the main character and the sets, which are already finished.

I don't want to spoil a lot, but ther will be a ship, called "HORIZON" and this ship has landed on the famous planetoid "LV-426". There is a member of the crew, EMILY. And she needs to figure out where the hell is everyone else and what is this lifeform, which is suddendly on board of the HORIZON ...
I know, this is vague, but I can assure you, I created a story, 20th Century Fox could easily make canon, if they want to. Th script is written and it's about 30 pages big, so this movie will be the longest I ever did in iclone.

O.K. Let's introduce you to the main characters of the movie ...

First we have EMILY WATSON ...

She is part of the sience team, which was supposed to examine the planteoid LV-426. She is the main charcater of the movie and she will be the one with the most scenes. There is another character, who has only one but big scene in the movie and that's DR. NOLAN ...

He is the doctor on board of the horizon.


When I decided to do this, I really wanted to go for the original set design. I didn't wanted to use some normal "si fi" model sets. Problem was, were could I get proper 3d models of the interior of the ship. There was only one solution to this. Some years ago, SEGA released a game called "Alien Isolation". In there, all the sets and props could be found. But it was a hard way to get them. I will do a seperate video about this stuff. In short - there were some tools to extract the models and the textures from the game and there was another tool to get them in Blender. I have friend, Andreas. I know him since the early scool days and he is really into creating 3D models. I asked him if he could find a way to get those models and he did. Since May 2017 he assembles those models to really great sets and believe me - this was really hard work.

I made a little video to show you the first sets, which are finished and ready for production. It's all rendered in iClone 7, with GI, a lot of spotlights and other things. You will see some flickering here and there, that's because the Global Illumination isn't tweaked in every scene.

That's all for today. I will update this thread as soon as I have news to tell.

Greetings, Direx
By justaviking - 2 Years Ago
thedirector1974 (11/22/2017)
Yes, the ketchup bottle is little bit too red. This is a prop ripped directly from the game "Alien Isolation". i didn't touched it, so I will look into it to get more desaturated ...

You can probably do that directly in iClone.
When you select the "Diffuse" (or Base Material) texture for the bottle, the adjustment iClone below the set of textures should allow you to tone down the color.  It's not elegant, but it'll probably do a fine job considering it will only be 20 seconds of effort.

Thanks for the additional WIP pictures.  Really looking great.  Eagerly looking forward to seeing more.

By TonyDPrime - 4 Months Ago
@Direx - looks Amazing!
Do you have any new paradigms you may try rendering with on the horizon? 
ie - Unity, Unreal, Iray, Octane?
By TonyDPrime - 2 Years Ago
Really looks excellent. 
My only styling difference would be on the Ketchup bottle and coffee, a touch more transparent to really make them pop as liquidy, but that's just a taste thing, yours looks great the way it is.
Fantastic job assembling this wonderful preview!  
By thedirector1974 - Last Year
UPDATE 09/27/2018

Hi folks,

it's been a while since my last update. I know. Unfortunatly there were several reasons which kept me away from the project for several months. First there was a project I had to do in May and the end result was the short scene "The talk".

This movie got really mixed reactions and I was a bit frustrated about that. There are some other reasons for it, but this is not a topic I want to talk about.
The I got a lot of work to do in real life so I was very busy within the last months. I am currently working on a travel documentation about Japan. It's a crazy project, shot in 4K 60fps. You can't imagine the amount of data this format creates. To work on this I used on of my biggest harddrives, the one with all my files from this project on it. And of course, the unthinkable happend. I bought this harddrive on April this year and several weeks ago it crashed!!! I took a while to realize that all my data from the "Alien" project was on this harddrive. I was devestated. I bought a recovery software and I was able to recover most of my files. The recording from the actors, most of the graphic sets and textures and most important - the sound files from the alien game "Alien Isolation", which were all sorted by hand. I really don't want to do this again.

So in terms of the project it was a really nasty summer. But I used the time I wasn't doing anything with iClone. I thought about the project and I decided to do some major changes. The first thing my freind Andreas and I changed was the costume. Andreas figured out a way to trnsfer the costume from the game into iClone and I was eager to have the original flightsuit in this movie. It took a lot of trial and error to make this work. We almost gave up on the idea, but after a lot of trials, Andreas managed to get a working flightsuit. You can see it a bit on this still.

As you can see, the visual style of the movie changed. This has several reasons. First, I wanted the movie look like a movie from the 70s, so I tried to get a more softer color sceme, not so much blue, more green and yellow. Second, I had to change my effect library on my video edit software AVID. I had to update to the newest version and so the library wasn't working anymore. I could have installed an update for several thousand dollars, but I didn't want to pay so much money, so i bought the "Ignite" library for 200 dollars. This library is not so powerfull like the old one, but it does the job. There are some pretty nice cinematic effects in there and I really like the look, but it's harder to get this look. I ahve to play with the values much more.
I also decided to change the camera work. I will reshoot every scene to make the camera handheld. I really like the documentation camera style. This will give that movie a unique style. I also want to reduce the ammount of cameras per scene. I just want to let the sequences flow with less editing at the end. I have a small clip to show you how I want to be the movie look like.

That's all for today. Until next time ...

By thedirector1974 - Last Year
Wow. Very nice set. Where is this from? Did you render this with iClone?
You know, I tried to let go of the glow maps, but without them I can't get any glow effect at all. So how do I create the HDR effect in iClone without any glow maps?


P.S. Nice to see you back on iClone ...
By sonic7 - Last Year
Yeah - just scanned this thread for the first time ...
This is the sort of standard I'd hoped to see with the likes of iClone.
You've really got a good eye - it shows .... plus you obviously have good technical ability.
Very impressive .....

By Peter Blood - Last Year
Verrrry nice work Rene. I feel it's important to build sets that are detailed enough so as not to break the immersion and
you've certainly done that with these sets. Excellent work.

Cool pete
By Capemedia - 2 Years Ago
Incredible work keep it up Smile
By thedirector1974 - Last Year
UPDATE 03/28/2018

Hi Folks,

it's been a while since the last update. Several things are responsible for that. Work, a computer game called "Kingdom Come Deliverance" and the hope of an update for iClone.
This will be just a reminder, that the project is still alive. I will put out more content at the end of this week, like a making of video which shows some of the new sets, the lighting and cmaerawork. Until then I have a short animation example for you, so you can see how the animation will look like in the final movie. This clip has no sound ...

Until next time ...


By CtrlZ - 11 Months Ago
The camera shaking gives a sense of uneasiness and forces you to stay on edge which lends itself to a Si Fi thriller!

By rampart - 2 Years Ago
Transitions are necessary?
I got involved with transitions some time back, started studying finished movies and most switch entire scenes instantly no transitions.
Maybe has to do with gamer culture or something, but just thought I would mention.
Your sets are excellent
Thanks for posting it is always nice to see your kind of work even in starting phases

By Rogue Anime - Last Year
thedirector1974 (1/24/2018)
The Casting is over. I made my decision

Direx - WOW! Did not know you were casting - Too bad I missed out on THAT! I'm a 30yr voice acting vet. I do games, animation & lots of narration, talking toys, etc. Let me know if you need any back-up. Send me a PM if you're ever interested, and I'll send you to my voice talent website.  Best of luck, your movie looks absolutely stunning, I would LOVE to have been a part of it..Crying  ~V~

By wungun - 4 Months Ago
All the work that is going into this animation is truly inspiring , I cant wait to see the end result great work and please keep it up!
By mark - Last Year
It's going to be fantastic!!!BigGrin
By kungphu - 2 Years Ago
I guess we have some haters here.  I just notice the thread had a 1 star rating.  Seriously??? That must be jealousy because I think your work looks amazing!  Can't wait to see the rest. I'll give it a better rating than 1 star.It's more than deserved. I just don't understand some people here.Ermm

I've always been a big fan of yours, and your ALIEN project comfort me with that feeling especially now that I know we do have the exact same opinion about the Alien old/new generation movies ; )

I can't wait to see the final result, you have all my support and encouragements. If I can help in any way, please ask.

Discovering your project (recently because I was away from iClone for some times) re-boosted my own motivation and inspiration, so I also wanted to thank you for that.


ps: regarding the issue with glow maps, if I were you I would not use those at all and rely solely on HDR glow, I found it more clean and reliable, no artifact so far in 7.2:

By toystorylab - Last Year
Nice... Want more Alien
By toystorylab - Last Year
Wow, very impressive, cool sets, wonderful lighting...
Thanx for this detailed "insight" w00t
By justaviking - 2 Years Ago
Really appreciate the WIP images.
Thanks for sharing your journey with us.
By justaviking - 2 Years Ago
Shadoesword (11/29/2017)
Yeah, thanks, Viking. I thought it would show up smaller. 

No problem.
It's a nice piece of art.  Just resize it in something (even MS Paint) and stick it in your signature.  Smile

Now back to the creepy and scary stuff.....   Alien

By Rottadamic Movies - 11 Months Ago
Very impressive, I am looking forward for this one.
Aldo, I find the camera shaking a bit overdone, if you will do that for the entire movie, it will be a point of irritation imo
By thedirector1974 - 2 Years Ago
UPDATE 11/22/2017

Thanx for all your comments. I really appreciate this.

Yes, the ketchup bottle is little bit too red. This is a prop ripped directly from the game "Alien Isolation". i didn't touched it, so I will look into it to get more desaturated ...

Thanx for your offer. I will get back to you when the time comes. Thanx.

Today is the day of leaving pre-production. I started my first animation, so "shooting" the movie has begun. Let's see what surprises iClone has for me on this journey ...

On this picture you can see, I just started the animation. Nothing fancy to be seen here right now. Let's see, what the new features of iClone 7.1 has to offer.

Until next time ...


By thedirector1974 - Last Year
UPDATE 01/24/2018

Hi Folks,

it's been over a month now since my last update. I really hope you got well into 2018 and I wish you all the luck for your dreams and projects you plan for this year.

Let's talk about "Alien - The Message". There are some news to tell. Good and bad ones. I'll start with the good ones.
The Casting is over. I made my decission and it took some days longer as expected, because there were so much and so good actors involved. I used the following site to search for the actors.

This was part of my casting call, I made on late november 2017:

As you can see, I decided to create a "professional" casting call. I had to pay 5$ and this had som advantages. First, this casting call had a different color than the others, actors with no certified audio quality weren't allowed to attend and all the members with certified audio quality aand gold status got an e-mail about this casting call. It worked very well. After a few days, I got mere than 60 entries and at the end there were more than 140 entries, waiting to get listen to. The casting call ended on 01/05/2018. After that, I had the task to listen und to decide who would be the best fit for all those roles. First of all, I created a excel sheet with all the entries. I did rate the audio quality and the actor skills, both between 1 (bad) to 10 (very good). When I was finished I got this:

Excel sheet Round 1

Just quick explanation about the colors you see here.
RED = Those were the entries which got a final number below 17. Sometimes it was because ofthe bad audio quality and sometimes because of the actor skills itself.
YELLOW = Those were the entries, which are considered to be listend again in the next round.
BLUE = Those were my favorites at the time I made this sheet.

Here we go again. Round 2 looks like this ...

As you can see, there were less names on the list and all those red lines indicate, there will be much lesser candidates in round 3. At this point of the decission process, it wasn't about the skill of acting. It was more about the fact wether a voice fit the charcter more than another voice actor. You can see, that I already made my decission about the small roles "BOSS" and "EMPLOYEE". Every other role had to go to round 3. And this was a tough one. Especially for the main role EMILY WATERS. There were 3 actresses, which are so good and so close to what I wanted. I couldn't decide just by listen to the audition lines only. So I started iClone, loaded the charcter in a project and aplied those audition lines to the charcter, so I could listen to the lines and see the charcter at the same time. That helped.

Final sheet after I made my decission:

It is interesting, that the part of the three amin roles were going to actors I hadn't in mind after round 1. Sometimes it doesn't work, even if you are a very good actor, with a very good voice. The main aspect is - does the actor fit the character? That's the main issue I have to think about.

As I am writing this entry, I almost have every audio file I need for the movie, so the process of getting the audio files from the actors is almost done.
One other thing. I paid the actors for their work. It is a privat project of mine. There is no budget I can spend, but I think if I use someone's profession, I have to give something back. So I decided to pay 5€ per line. This is a big project and I wanted good actors on this. The actress of the main charcter had a part on the latest "Mass Effect" game, so I am very happy to have her on board ...


My friend, who is working on the sets of this movie has sent my two pictures of a very important set piece and I thought why not showing them:

Yesterday I got the set itself and I am working on it right now, because there are some big scenes playing in this communication room. I think I will get the biggest set piece - the cockpit - within a few days, so we are making progress on this too.


After the holiday break I came back to the project and I rendered a lot of scenes since them. Luckily I have some time to spend and I made good progress. I nearly finished all the scenes without any dialogue I could do. When I get the next important set pieces (cockpit and mother) I will have a lot of scenes to cover. Sadly I discovered, that the update to 7.2 brought back some bugs, Reallusion already took out in 7.1. There is a problem with the DOF mask, similar to the problems we had with 7.0. When I updated to 7.2 I immediatly relized a change on the glow maps. They looked a bit fuzzy, as something wasn't right about the resoultion. But that wasn't the only thing. For some reason objects with opacity maps weren't rendered correctly within the DOF mask, as you can see in this render here:

Since it has no use to render with such graphical errors, I decided to stop all rendering. I will create the scenes and prepare averything for the final render, but I wait until this problem fixed ... again. Sorry.

But I don't want to colse this entry on the downside, so here is a still taken from the movie.

Until next time ...


By toystorylab - 4 Months Ago
Damned, those stills look really nice...
Good luck with finishing your long-term project Wink

:BigGrin Very nice. No more glow maps ?
By thedirector1974 - 2 Years Ago
UPDATE 21/8/2017

Just a quick update.
I am currently working on two fronts regarding this movie. On one hand I render stuff I can do. this depends on two things. Do I have the set ready to go and does the scene need a voice over. I don't have my actors yet, so I have to tend to scenes where no voice acting is needed. And this leads us to the second front I am working on - the casting. On December the 1st I started the casting on It took some time to create a suitable casting call, but I think it's working. Until today I have more than 60 auditions for all parts and there are some really good performers among them. I have a good feeling regarding this topic.

The casting will be open until end of december and maybe I will extend it a bit more, because I am on vacation during the holidays (New York).

Here on of my last renderings, just to show you that the EMILY is not forced to wear her undies ... BigGrinBigGrinBigGrin

Until next time ...


By kungphu - Last Year
This looks so friggon good! If you need an orchestral score shoot me a PM. I’m working on a sci-fi score right now actually. Should fit in well with what I’m already doing.
By jarretttowe - 11 Months Ago
Please render some clips...these stills are amazing.
By thedirector1974 - Last Year
UPDATE 04/02/2018

Hi folks,

As promised days earlier, I made the first part of a making of series concerning certain themes about the ongoing production. In this part I will show you some of the new sets and I will talk about the handshake camera and about some of the lighting stuff I created for the bridge of the HORIZON. At the end of the video you'll see a glimpse of a brand new set - the medbay, which I got two days ago. My friend, Andres Günther, has done a remarkable job converting all this stuff and I really don't know how this project would have looked like without him.

O.K. Here is the video ...

Thoughts about the camera work

After releasing a short clip showing some animation, I got very positive replies, especially about the camera work. It was kind of documentary style, handshake cameramovement. I can tell you, this wasn't planned at the beginning of the production. Several weeks ago I used this system to spice up an action scene and it worked very well. So since then I made all scenes in this style and after those positve responses for my short clip, I came to the conclusion that my movie should have this style of camera work. I will go away from traditional camera set ups and I will create some kind of documentary style. This means I have to redo some of the earlier scenes ... again.
The animation of the characters won't be touched, but all the camera stuff will be changed and I will reduce the amount of shots per scene, just to keep it close to the documetary style. I think this will give the movie a style you'll never have seen in an "Alien" movie ...

Some other news

I will use faceware in this production. I just made some tests and it looked very promising. I will do some promotional stuff for Reallusion about it, because after the test I am really excited about this technology. There will be at least on big tutorial about the use of facware and especially I will talk about the ways to enhance the outcome. And i will do a short scene (2 to 3 minutes) with dialogue, so you can see faceware in action within a short story. And I will do another video, which features a dialogue I already finished using face puppet and face key. I will redo this dialogue with faceware and then I will compare those two segment to each other. I think this is the best way to show the capabilities of this software.

So. This is it for today. As usual I will end this update with two screenshots, which show you the bridge of the HORIZON.

Have fun with your projects ...

Greetings, René

By TonyDPrime - Last Year
I wonder how a frame would look rendered from Indigo, or later if it all was rendered in Iray  BlinkBlinkBlinkBlinkw00t
By thedirector1974 - 2 Years Ago
UPDATE 11/27/2017

Hi folks,

I got some spare time and I use it to create the first scenes of the movie. I will use them to convince the actors I need for several roles. I will start the casting within the next week. Sadly the biggest forum for semiprofessional actors (VVA) is down and it doesn't seem to be back online soon. So I have to switch to and see how it goes from there.

There are also news from the set section. My friend has sent me some pictures of the current state of the next set he is working on - the cockpit ...
Have a look ...

and onother one ...

As you can see, this set is extreme detailed and its really hard to put all those models together. There are more than 200 different objects + a lot more lamps and buttons. As you can see, there is a lot of texture work to be done. I think this set will take some time to get it finished.
O.K. I will end this update with another picture fresh out of the movie. Stay tuned for more ...

Until next time ...

By kungphu - 2 Years Ago
Wow! Just Wow! This has the potential to be the best use of iclone to date! Can’t wait to see the story unfolds. I hope you get some great voice actors to go with the stunning images. This is one to watch for sure!
By jarretttowe - 11 Months Ago
Give us a still render with iray!
By aeolian - 11 Months Ago

quick tip:
you can get different types of shake
by linking the camera to a activated breast bone and adjusting
mass, strength and bounciness (and motion used)

funny but true!
By Peter Blood - 2 Years Ago
A great set of...sets. Smile Ready for a great story.
I thought everything looked beautiful, illusionLABs' point being well taken. (Is there an easy or laymans way to correct those?)

The only thing I noticed was the "Wet Floor" sign seemed a bit out of place in a futuristic setting. Something computerized with
flashing lights and an audio warning ["Good morning sir or madam, LOOK OUT the floor is 'fracking' wet!!"] or a cute little robot in a maids
costume who warns you in a French accent while cleaning up ["Pardon Monsieur or Madam, LOOK OUT, the floor is fracking wet!"] Well, those didn't work
out so well even with the Battlestar Galactica reference but you get my drift. Tongue

Very much looking forward to the great story to go along with these great sets.

Cool pete

By Rampa - 2 Years Ago
This is looking really epic! Beautiful work on it.
By kungphu - Last Month
These are really inspiring!!!  Is that smoky haze from a window a combination of particle FX and bloom? Super curious how you made that "look." It's all sorts of great!!!
By thedirector1974 - Last Year
grabiller (2/2/2018)
:BigGrin Very nice. No more glow maps ?

A lot of them. I really like those glow maps. It's just a matter of how strong they shine. There is a lot of fine tuning involved, but when it's done right, it will look great ...
By toystorylab - Last Month
Yo, nice stills!
And thanx for your "insight" how you achieved that "hazy" look...
By thedirector1974 - 10 Months Ago
Wow. This "Ripley" character looks amazing. It get's very close to the young actress ...

As soon as I have the plugin, I will do some renders, but I won't shoot the whole movie in iRay ...