CHASE    (1996)

CHASE is a short sci-fi film, developed and produced as a Final Major Project for my Graphic Design course at college.

What makes CHASE special is that it allowed me for the first time to create a major animation which told a story. When CHASE was conceived in October 1996, it had started out as just 3D animation. After producing a series of 'test' scenes over Christmas, I decided that I had the capability to mix 3D animation with live-action footage of actors. The actors would be filmed against blue-screen, digitized and chromakeyed into virtual sets.

The actors were filmed, the graphics were completed and then, at the crucial moment I was denied access to the digitizing equipment at the college. So, sadly, the actors remain forever on video tape and not in CHASE. All was not lost. I completed all the animation work and edited all of the graphics sequences together using home VCRs and my Amiga's TV modulator. After six months, I presented CHASE at the college end-of-year exhibition.

I walked away with 4 Distinctions for CHASE, and 4 for the exhibition!

I learned a lot from CHASE, and although some of the animation now is basic compared with what I am capable of now, I feel proud of what I managed to achieve in just six months. I know that without the Amiga there would have been no way that I could have completed the project.

The whole project was created using a variety of software on the Amiga A4000, including LightWave 3D, Imagine, Deluxe Paint and MainActor. There are over 90 shots for CHASE, all created entirely within the computer. LightWave rendered these at broadcast resolution using HAM8 colour modes, or 736 x 564 with 262,000 colours at 20 fps. This leads to a high quality picture but still allows the computer to play the animations back in real-time from 60 meg of RAM.

You can see some of the shots for CHASE on Amiga Format CD-ROM numbers 17 and 21.

In 2000 I decided to re-render CHASE and add in effects such as motion blur, new engine flares and the background nebulae - all things which I didn't have time to do when I created the film for college. So the re-rendered film is now called CHASE : Special Edition

The original Amiga version of CHASE consists of:

  • Approximately 16,000 frames of animation.
  • That's about 2 gigabytes of disk space. (I had to buy a hard drive just for this project. That was a huge amount of storage back then!)
  • The models used over 600,000 polygons between them. One shot in the core of the space station in the film used over 350,000 polys, so I was really pushing what I could achive on the Amiga systems available then.
  • The rendering the animation sequences took place overnight or while I was at college, taking the best park of six months to finish.