Senior Project

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Senior Project

Postby Marth8880 » Sun Apr 22, 2012 10:05 pm

Hey guys, I'm creating this thread so I can have a good place to share my progress on my senior project (something happened last semester that made it so I couldn't complete the previous project). My project is how to animate a (video game) cinematic.


Videos:

ImageImageImage


NEW:

Mental ray:
ImageImageImageImageImage

Hardware:
ImageImageImageImageImage


Screenshots:

Actor:
Hidden/Spoiler:
Image

Saucer:
Hidden/Spoiler:
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
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Scene:
Hidden/Spoiler:
Image
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Great sky shader, but not what I need. :(
Image



Documentation:

Annotated Resources:
Hidden/Spoiler:
Name: _Aaron Gilbert_____ Instructor _Haug___________ Class _Senior Seminar___

Date_4/1/2012 __________ Project Title _How to animate a video game cinematic_____

2.3 Provides annotations of multiple resources (credible, varied, with a minimum of six, including at least one interview, cited in MLA format) which detail how each resource was used within the project to achieve learning goals.


_________________________________________________________________________________
Source # 1

MLA Formatted Citation


Butler, Clay. "Storyboard Tutorial – How to Create Storyboards for Film, Video, and Television." Web log post. Storyboard Tutorial. Beats Digging Ditches, 17 Nov. 2010. Web. 1 Apr. 2012. <http://www.claytowne.com/beats-digging-ditches/storyboard-tutorial-how-to-create-storyboards-for-film-video-and-television/>.



Copy and paste the goal(s) related to this source.


Goal 1: I will learn how to create a storyboard for an animated scene in order to have an organized plan for my animation.



Annotation which:
1. Briefly summarize your resource.
2. What information from the resource was most useful in your project and/or how did you use this information to complete or improve the quality of the product of your project?
3. How did you determine this was a credible source?


Upon searching Google on how to create a storyboard, I found this blog post. The author is clear on the dos and don’ts when it comes to creating storyboards, and he explains the ways he creates them, as well as the ways a professional such as himself should present them. My goal was to learn how to create a storyboard for my project, and the author of this article explains how to do so.

When creating a storyboard, one should usually have a script to work with. However, since my project is a five-second visual-only sequence with no dialogue, I do not need any sort of script. A storyboard is a representation of how a scene should occur and look like, acting like concept art. I drew two storyboard frames: one of the saucer speeding into the scene in the beginning, and another of the saucer’s cockpit.

Clay Butler, the publisher of the article, has a ton of experience creating storyboards. Several of his past projects for the Discovery Channel include, but is not limited to the trailer and several pre-production animatics for 12 Days of Terror, three pre-production animatics for Colosseum, and three pre-production animatics for Days of Courage.


_________________________________________________________________________________
Source # 2

MLA Formatted Citation


Autodesk. "Animating with Keys." Autodesk.com. Autodesk, 2012. Web. 2 Apr. 2012. <http://download.autodesk.com/global/docs/softimage2013/en_us/userguide/files/ani_keys.htm>.


Copy and paste the goal(s) related to this source.


Goal 5: I will envelope, rig, weight and animate the models that will be animated in order for the scene to be dynamic instead of static.



Annotation which:
1. Briefly summarize your resource.
2. What information from the resource was most useful in your project and/or how did you use this information to complete or improve the quality of the product of your project?
3. How did you determine this was a credible source?


Needing to know how to animate using keyframes, I looked on Softimage’s web page and found documentation for the software in wiki format, and it lists almost, if not completely everything that Softimage can do, and how to do it. My goal was to learn how to animate using keyframes, and the wiki states and explains the steps to do so.

Keyframes are interconnected points in time through which an entity transitions smoothly, key to key. These points can be connected linearly, or through interpolated, algebraic arcs in order to create the desired smooth transitions. To animate using keyframes, a user selects an object and creates a base, or starting keyframe to create the starting pose. Then, the user selects a new frame, positions the object as desired, and creates a new keyframe, afterwards testing, or playing back the frames that were changed to make sure they transition in the desired way. In my scene, I created a NURBS curve to use as a reference path for my flying saucer, and animated the saucer generally along the path using a number of keyframes. I animated the saucer’s XYZ positioning first, and the rotations second.

Autodesk, the publisher and developer of Softimage, created this wiki. This is a very credible source because the company created the software, thus automatically knowing what they are talking about in their documentation.


_________________________________________________________________________________
Source # 3

MLA Formatted Citation


Autodesk. "Glow Property Editor." Autodesk.com. Autodesk, 2011. Web. 3 Apr. 2012. <http://softimage.wiki.softimage.com/xsidocs/property519.htm>.


Copy and paste the goal(s) related to this source.


Goal 6: I will light, render a video of, and mix audio with the entire scene in order to have a finished product.



Annotation which:
1. Briefly summarize your resource.
2. What information from the resource was most useful in your project and/or how did you use this information to complete or improve the quality of the product of your project?
3. How did you determine this was a credible source?


I needed to know how to make a surface glow, so I looked around the Softimage Wiki some more and found this page on adding glow. The relevant part of my goal was to learn how to light and render a scene, and the wiki states and explains how to make a surface glow, which is a part of lighting and the render process.

Glow is a post-process effect, which means it is only applied during the render process. To add glow, the user selects the object he or she wants to glow in the render and selects Glow from the Property menu in the Render toolbar. The user then has the option to change the color of the glow, as well as, but not limited to the size, intensity, or opacity of the glow. In my scene, I wanted the thruster on my flying saucer to glow yellow, so I selected the thruster object and applied Glow from the Property menu from under the Render toolbar. Now, whenever I render a part of the scene in which the thruster is visible, the thruster brightly glows yellow.

Autodesk, the publisher and developer of Softimage, created this wiki. This is a very credible source because the company created the software, thus automatically knowing what they are talking about in their documentation.


_________________________________________________________________________________
Source # 4

MLA Formatted Citation


Burton, Lucy. "3D Lighting in Softimage." Intel® Software Network. Intel® Corporation, 14 Feb. 2010. Web. 3 Apr. 2012. <http://software.intel.com/en-us/articles/3d-lighting-in-softimage/>.


Copy and paste the goal(s) related to this source.


Goal 6: I will light, render a video of, and mix audio with the entire scene in order to have a finished product.



Annotation which:
1. Briefly summarize your resource.
2. What information from the resource was most useful in your project and/or how did you use this information to complete or improve the quality of the product of your project?
3. How did you determine this was a credible source?


I needed to know which type of light would be best for simulating the lighting effects of a sun, so I went back to the article on 3D lighting by Burton. The relevant part of my goal was to learn how to light a scene, and the article states and explains the different types of lights and what each one does.

There are five types of lights: spot lights, point lights, light boxes, neon lights, and infinite lights. The spot light is very focused and direct, and is most commonly used and seen in theater and film; the point light casts rays of light in every direction; light boxes simulate soft lighting such as that reflected off of bounce cards in professional photography; the neon light is similar to a point light in that it casts light in all directions, but its shadows are softer because its casting area is larger; and the infinite light, the type of light I ended up using for my sun, is like an extremely enormous spot light, casting giant rays of light, similar to a sun.

Lucy Burton got a degree drama/political science at Seattle University and obtained film certification at New York University, which then, after having worked in theater for a while, moved onto visual effects/post-production for film, where she learned the XSI platform around 2001, giving Lucy over a decade of experience using XSI. She now freelances in Hollywood, California.


_________________________________________________________________________________
Source # 5

MLA Formatted Citation


Burton, Lucy. "3D Lighting in Softimage." Intel® Software Network. Intel® Corporation, 14 Feb. 2010. Web. 3 Apr. 2012. <http://software.intel.com/en-us/articles/3d-lighting-in-softimage/>.



Copy and paste the goal(s) related to this source.


Goal 6: I will light, render a video of, and mix audio with the entire scene in order to have a finished product.



Annotation which:
1. Briefly summarize your resource.
2. What information from the resource was most useful in your project and/or how did you use this information to complete or improve the quality of the product of your project?
3. How did you determine this was a credible source?


I needed to know how to make specific lights affect specific objects so my sun light wouldn’t affect my terrain and give it specular, which would have its own, non-specular-casting light, so I searched how to do so on Google and found this article. The relevant part of my goal was to learn how to light a scene, and the article states and explains how to make certain lights affect certain objects.

Lights can affect geometry through Exclusive and Inclusive light parameters; an exclusive light does not affect objects that are specifically associated with the light, whereas an inclusive light only affects objects that are associated with the light. What I did was I duplicated my sun light, altered it so it didn’t cast specular, set it to be inclusive and associated my terrain with it, and then set the original sun light to be exclusive and associated the terrain with it. This didn’t work for one reason or another, but I then remembered that I could disable specular in the terrain’s phong material shader, which produced the result I desired.

Lucy Burton got a degree drama/political science at Seattle University and obtained film certification at New York University, which then, after having worked in theater for a while, moved onto visual effects/post-production for film, where she learned the XSI platform around 2001, giving Lucy over a decade of experience using XSI. She now freelances in Hollywood, California.


_________________________________________________________________________________
Source # 6

MLA Formatted Citation


Autodesk. "Rendering to File from the Softimage User Interface." Autodesk.com. Autodesk, 2012. Web. 7 Apr. 2012. <http://download.autodesk.com/global/docs/softimage2013/en_us/userguide/files/rendering_RenderingtoFilefromtheXSIUserInterface.htm>.


Copy and paste the goal(s) related to this source.


Goal 6: I will light, render a video of, and mix audio with the entire scene in order to have a finished product.



Annotation which:
1. Briefly summarize your resource.
2. What information from the resource was most useful in your project and/or how did you use this information to complete or improve the quality of the product of your project?
3. How did you determine this was a credible source?


In order to have a final product, I needed to know how to render my scene, so I looked searched through the Softimage Wiki some more and found this page on one of several rendering methods. The relevant part of my goal was to learn how to render a scene, and this page of the wiki explains one of the ways to render a scene, which is what I needed to know how to do.

To render a scene, the user selects Current Pass in the Render menu under the Render toolbar after changing the scene, pass, and renderer options to suit the user’s needs. I did this and set most of the camera passes’ anti-aliasing levels to a minimum of -1 and a maximum of 2; this cuts down on render time by a ton, since anti-aliasing requires a huge amount of graphics processing power. Rendering a scene creates a bunch of .pic and .phpmap files; each .pic and .phpmap file is paired as a single, rendered frame. The file set is then loaded into Flipbook where they are then reviewed and exported to a variety of formats, most notably the .avi video format and codec; I chose the .avi file format and DIVX/XVID codec for all of my video renders and the exportations are exactly how I want them to be.

Autodesk, the publisher and developer of Softimage, created this wiki. This is a very credible source because the company created the software, thus automatically knowing what they are talking about in their documentation.

Reflective Journal:
Hidden/Spoiler:
Name: _Aaron Gilbert________ Instructor _Haug___________ Class _Senior Seminar_

Date_4/1/2012____________ Project Title _How to animate a video game cinematic___


Goal 1: I will learn how to create a storyboard for an animated scene in order to have an organized plan for my animation.
Goal 2: I will create all of the needed models for my scene using Softimage in order to have something to animate.
Goal 3: I will sculpt the high-poly details into my scene’s models using Mudbox in order to have high-quality work.
Goal 4: I will create the diffuse maps (textures) for my assets using GIMP in order for the models to be complete, as models always have textures.
Goal 5: I will envelope, rig, weight and animate the models that will be animated in order for the scene to be dynamic instead of static.
Goal 6: I will light, render a video of, and mix audio with the entire scene in order to have a finished product.


_________________________________________________________________________________
Goal 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 Date 4/1/2012

Goal 1: I remember watching the half-hour documentaries in the DVD special features of Pixar movies¬ on how the movies were created, like how they would first plan the project, and how they would draw hundreds of storyboards, which is where I got the idea for storyboarding from; I knew it would help me plan what I was going to have my scene look like.
Goal 2: Having already had several months of experience with 3d modeling for video games, I already know rather well how to alter 3d geometries to look the way I want them, but I still need to improve my already-developed skills.
Goal 3: Originally I had thought I would need to sculpt really fine details into my organic models, but since the only organic model I plan on having is a pre-weighted, pre-rigged, pre-enveloped actor, I am deciding to not do any sculpting since doing so would remove the envelopes and weights.
Goal 4: Luckily, I have two years of experience with creating and modifying textures using GIMP, specifically for video games, so if any texturing jobs come up, I will already know what to do and how to attack them.
Goal 5: This will most likely be the most difficult part of the project, since I have zero experience rigging, enveloping or weighting models, but I at least know the concept from looking through forums on the subject.
Goal 6: Most of this goal will be spread more throughout the entire project, as rendering individual frames is something that I will need to do in order to make sure the final product will turn out as nice as possible. A majority of the lighting portion, however, should not require as much work since most of the lighting is just a single sun light that will need to be placed, positioned, and colored properly.

_________________________________________________________________________________
Goal 1, 2 Date 4/1/2012

Today I searched how to create a storyboard on Google and came to a website that explained everything perfectly for me! I created two storyboard frames: one that’s based off of the north massif mountain at the Apollo 17 lunar landing site with an alien flying saucer flying into the scene and speeding off overhead, and another of the cockpit’s interior.

After creating my storyboard, I quickly got to modeling the flying saucer. The base of the saucer is a primitive sphere with a medium-large hole cut out of the top, and the saucer looks compressed along the Y-axis so the thing doesn’t seem like an actual, true sphere, but the stereotypical flying saucer. Next, I created the glass cockpit canvas out of a sphere, sized it to fit the base mesh’s hole, duplicated it, scaled the duplication down by a tiny bit and connected the vertices on the bottom. Then, I created the cockpit out of a primitive cylinder, sized it to fit the hole of the saucer’s base mesh, sub-divided it vertically a couple of times, and scaled the sub-divided vertices to form the control panels for the cockpit. Finally, I duplicated the outer polygons on the glass canvas and shaped it a bit to form the saucer’s thruster.


_________________________________________________________________________________
Goal 2, 4 Date 4/2/2012

Today I modeled the terrain out of a grid through sub-division modeling, which means starting out with a low poly count and sub-dividing, further shaping finer and finer details into the model after each sub-division. Then, with the low-poly finished, I sent the model over to Mudbox and sculpted the terrain exactly the way that I wanted it to look and sent it back to Softimage, where I then gave it a phong shader and connected a Luna-esque texture that I acquired from my texture library to the shader, completing the terrain.

After finishing the terrain, I learned a good bit about material shaders other than phong. I found Softimage’s material library in a very obvious spot and applied a metal material to the saucer’s base mesh, changing the color and specular values to the way I wanted them and a transparent glass material to the glass canvas. I also applied a glow render property to the thruster, which took a small amount of researching to learn how to do.

_________________________________________________________________________________
Goal 6 Date 4/3/2012

Lighting is always something I enjoy working with; it beautifies an environment, provides atmosphere, a sense of life. I created my scene’s sun with an infinite light and kept most of the default settings, other than shadows, which I enabled. Then, since my saucer’s thruster now glows, I decided I wanted it to cast some light on the saucer and on the ground; doing this was more difficult than I thought it would be. I created two spot lights: one at the bottom of the thruster pointed directly downwards, and one under the thruster pointed upwards; both lights cast yellow light and no specular. From this I learned that some things need to be attacked using a different approach.

_________________________________________________________________________________
Goal 5 Date 4/4/2012

YES! I finally started animating things today! I created the curve to use as a reference path that the saucer should be animated to follow. I first tried to figure out how to animate objects along paths automatically but had no luck, so I decided to do it the manual way. I created the saucer’s starting keyframe, changed the frame, moved the saucer to the first banking turn and rotated it as needed, created a new keyframe, moved frames, repositioned the saucer to the next spot along the path, created a new keyframe, wash, rinse, repeat until the saucer came to the end of the path, where I created the saucer’s final keyframe.

Going along with animating the saucer, I decided to create the scene’s very first camera: the stationary (but still rotational) ground camera. I created the camera, messed with its settings until I got it set up how I wanted it (mostly just set its output resolution to 1280x720 with a 16:9 aspect ratio, also known as 720p), and animated it to wait for about a second and a half before rotating to focus in on the saucer flying overhead, which the camera’s rotation then follows the saucer until the saucer’s final keyframe.

_________________________________________________________________________________
Goal 2 Date 4/5/2012

I got my first (and only) actor into my scene today with the help of Softimage’s Man Maker tool, which creates a simple model of a bipedal humanoid whose physical features you are provided a dialog with changeable settings for. Trying to make the creature as alien-like as possible, I gave it a medium skin tone, a very skinny, misshapen waist, thin arms and legs, and a large forehead. The Man Maker tool pre-envelopes, pre-rigs, and pre-weights the model, which saved me countless hours of mind-numbing, tedious work.

_________________________________________________________________________________
Goal 5 Date 4/21/2012

I got a lot of good work done today; I created three new cameras: one exterior to the saucer, and two inside the cockpit. All three cameras have their own unique orbital paths they are animated to follow around the saucer. Even though this doesn’t sound like a whole lot of work, it took seven and a half hours to complete.

_________________________________________________________________________________
Goal 2, 5 Date 4/22/2012

After reviewing a number of rendered frames of the saucer’s interior, I noticed something odd: the material shader for the glass canvas made the canvas unable to be seen through. After looking through the material’s properties, I found the culprit: the material’s reflectivity had a full alpha setting, which means the canvas was reflecting everything in a completely opaque way; I fixed this by lowering the alpha value from 1.0 (100%) to around 0.2 (20%), now making the canvas truly transparent.

Also today, I created a “U-shaped” flight-control yoke model for the cockpit and gave it a rubber-like, red material shader. Then, I animated it to follow the spacecraft’s movements, e.g., rotating the yoke across the Z-axis to simulate the craft’s ailerons during banking.

_________________________________________________________________________________
Goal 5 Date 4/24/2012

To monitor the flight yoke’s animations, I created a stationary camera, positioned it on the dashboard of the cockpit, and rotated it to look at the actor while still keeping the flight yoke in view. The camera has the same properties as the scene’s other four cameras.

_________________________________________________________________________________
Goal 2 Date 4/28/2012

Ah, I’m at the final stages of my project. Today, I modeled a seat for the actor to sit in so it doesn’t look like it’s sitting on nothing. Then, I created glowing buttons on the seat’s arms. A problem arose with the buttons’ glow not being able to be seen from very far away, but this doesn’t matter since the buttons are only really visible while looking through the third interior camera.

_________________________________________________________________________________
Goal 6 Date 4/1/2012

It took almost an entire day to complete, but the scene is finally finished rendering, and through all five cameras! The interior camera renders sadly have to have some aliasing but the render process would have taken even longer had they been anti-aliased any further.
Last edited by Marth8880 on Tue May 01, 2012 1:04 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Senior Project

Postby Cerfon Rournes » Tue Apr 24, 2012 8:38 am

Looks great so far dude! But, uh, are you going to give that guy some clothes? :P

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Re: Senior Project

Postby Marth8880 » Mon Apr 30, 2012 2:29 am

Thanks, and no, everyone knows aliens don't believe in clothes. :o

Updated the first post with more stuffz.

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Re: Senior Project

Postby Noobasaurus » Mon Apr 30, 2012 10:28 am

If they're more technologically advanced than us, then why haven't they invented some clothes?

That's my argument.

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Re: Senior Project

Postby THEWULFMAN » Mon Apr 30, 2012 10:40 am

Noobasaurus wrote:
Hidden/Spoiler:
If they're more technologically advanced than us, then why haven't they invented some clothes?

That's my argument.



Because Marth would need to rig the clothes to the model, get a new model altogether, or be lazy and texture them on, which takes time and this is a school project with time constraints.

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Re: Senior Project

Postby Marth8880 » Mon Apr 30, 2012 10:44 am

THEWULFMAN wrote:
Noobasaurus wrote:
Hidden/Spoiler:
If they're more technologically advanced than us, then why haven't they invented some clothes?

That's my argument.



Because Marth would need to rig the clothes to the model or get a new model altogether(or be lazy and texture them on), which takes time and this is a school project with time constraints.

^That, and because screw that. Also, clothes are an unnecessary man-made invention. Are we born wearing clothes? Probably not.

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Re: Senior Project

Postby THEWULFMAN » Mon Apr 30, 2012 10:48 am

Marth8880 wrote:Also, clothes are an unnecessary man-made invention. Are we born wearing clothes? Probably not.



Thank you. See, this is why we get along so well. 8D This is one of my viewpoints on our (human) society few people seem to share with me.

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Re: Senior Project

Postby RevanSithLord » Mon Apr 30, 2012 1:39 pm

Marth8880 wrote:
THEWULFMAN wrote:
Noobasaurus wrote:
Hidden/Spoiler:
If they're more technologically advanced than us, then why haven't they invented some clothes?

That's my argument.



Because Marth would need to rig the clothes to the model or get a new model altogether(or be lazy and texture them on), which takes time and this is a school project with time constraints.

^That, and because screw that. Also, clothes are an unnecessary man-made invention. Are we born wearing clothes? Probably not.


Spongebob was born with shoes and socks. :awesomeface:

Haha, just kidding, I can't use that argument because he's not technically human. Excellent view, same one I share. I view clothes as nothing more than a fashion statement. Adding onto that, it just shows how many people are insecure about what their...erm, natural bits, look like. Though, I could say that clothes could be a basic protective layer against some (keyword some) of the harshness of nature. You don't exactly want to be in the nude in a place such as the antarctic or the deserts of California and Nevada (would get a nice tan, though). But, this is not the subject of the thread.

With that said I shall have to say that the render is looking great so far, Marth.

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Re: Senior Project

Postby Marth8880 » Tue May 01, 2012 12:50 am

AHHHHH, that felt so good, finally done with my (part of my) documentation!

See first post for uhh...it.

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Re: Senior Project

Postby Cerfon Rournes » Tue May 01, 2012 5:15 pm

Marth8880 wrote:Thanks, and no, everyone knows aliens don't believe in clothes. :o

Updated the first post with more stuffz.

Ah, I see. When I first saw the video I thought he was a weird looking human. :P

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Re: Senior Project

Postby Lephenix » Wed May 02, 2012 10:32 am

So if he hasn't clothes, you REALLY need to work on anatomy and topology.

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Re: Senior Project

Postby Marth8880 » Wed May 02, 2012 10:50 am

What? Its anatomy is from my own conjuring, so therefore, there is no "right" or "wrong", or "correct" or "incorrect". And what do you mean when you say the topology needs to be worked on? I created the actor using Softimage's Man Maker tool, as stated in my documentation, and I only changed the fingers through scaling the fingers' bones, so any topology issues are going to be at fault with Autodesk, and even then, my project is in a hard-lock, so I am nothing more will be changed.

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Re: Senior Project

Postby AQT » Wed May 02, 2012 5:46 pm

Perhaps this alien is so evolved that his waste disposal and reproduction systems are in two completely different places, unlike having a strip club in the middle of sewers. :?

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Re: Senior Project

Postby THEWULFMAN » Wed May 02, 2012 10:34 pm

Yeah, wait...

AQT wrote:...unlike having a strip club in the middle of sewers.



What is this I don't even... I'm afraid to understand what this means. :shock:

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Re: Senior Project

Postby Caleb1117 » Thu May 03, 2012 10:21 pm

AQT wrote:Perhaps this alien is so evolved that his waste disposal and reproduction systems are in two completely different places, unlike having a strip club in the middle of sewers. :?


Perhaps it has moved beyond such simple methods. I can only assume it perspires waste through surface pores, and reproduces via asexual budding.

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Re: Senior Project

Postby Cerfon Rournes » Fri May 04, 2012 12:23 am

How long will the finished project be?

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Re: Senior Project

Postby Marth8880 » Sat May 26, 2012 2:18 pm


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