Last Midnight (2010 - Hourglass View) Picture

Settle in folks, this is going to be lengthy, with two sections -- and they're both going to be long! Reviews of the new stuff in scene after the first section.

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As has been mentioned, because of the normal production methods and schedules of your average motion picture studio, Adrienne G. had all of her first three films as a director come out within a twelve month period. First up in 2010 was "Last Midnight", a science fiction dystopian film off the Hourglass View label. According to Adrienne G:

Oh, my god, we had no budget for that film. I mean, even for Hourglass, that was NO budget. Spyglass View was trying to save as much as they could for the big budget items that year -- City in the Dark, Queen of the Night, and ... well, Shoe Girls wasn't exactly big budget, but it was bigger budget than this. We shot this straight-up spaghetti-Western style, in the middle of nowhere, skeleton crew. And, of course, it was Liz' first film, after all that time doing opera -- to this day, I don't understand why she signed on for that. But she did, and she was a complete trouper about everything. It was basically a pure chase film -- she's a princess, and her mother dies, and revolutionaries decide that they don't want her to inherit the throne. So he has to get her out of the place where she is, and get her to her coronation half a desert planet away. And the trick is that the revolutionaries were right to rebel against her mother, but she's not her mother. As she sees more of her planet, sees what her mother's policies have done, she starts realizing what sort of queen she wants to be. And that's the whole thing of the film: will she get to her coronation, will she be crowned, will she actually survive her coronation, and what happens after?

2010 marked the beginning of the Spyglass View Studios group's rise and rise. Much to the surprise of everyone -- it was essentially a B-movie, after all -- "Last Midnight" received one of the group's three Academy Award nominations for that year, their first three in studio history. Spyglass View received its first nominations ever in the Production Design/Art Direction/Set Decoration categories, with nominations for "Last Midnight" and "City in the Dark". Unfortunately, neither of them won. However, the people involved with "Last Midnight" considered its nominations to be the award, since Spyglass View had put all its efforts (successfully) into nominations for "City in the Dark", and Last Midnight's nominations were completely unexpected.

Sadly, Hedley Lamarr Edinburgh didn't live to see the achievements of the studios he'd resurrected, dying just before Christmas 2010 at the ripe old age of 102.

-- I. Noah Lott, professor of current history, comparative and modern mythology and modern media studies, Serenity Falls University, Hollywood Roars, book 2: the story of one little studio and how it couldn't before it could.

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So, new stuff from the PA Festival:

- RW Hall of Dreams by Renderwelten. As suspected, it's really meant as a different type of "stand" to showcase characters. Otherwise, you'd expect someone to have said, "You realize you have a stairway to nowhere in that, right?" But since all you're supposed to do is to have a character posed decoratively on the stairs, that they don't go anywhere isn't relevant -- as long as you remember not to put a character at the top. The other oddity in the Hall is the windows. They're all one piece, interior frame and glass, so it wasn't possible to put an Iray glass shader on them. Which was fine, more or less; they were intended to be frosted windows. That said, when you go to the outside (which is textured) and look through the windows, for some reason, the windows strip off anything with transmaps inside. Liz looked naked, and her hair turned into a cylinder skullcap with no hair.

- Nova Hair by Aeon Soul. I mean ... it's an Aeon Soul hair, of course it's really good. Iray mats, morphs a-go-go (in an updo!), etc. (Purely as a side note: first time I've rendered Liz both without her own hair and WITH her own jewelry)

- Galactic Smuggler G2M by Luthbel. Also very good, of course. And even with HD morphs on -- it defaults to that -- it didn't seem terribly heavyweight in scene. Hadn't realized that it had lights on it when I saw the promos for some reason. In any event, it's workable as it is, and it'll kitbash well.

- Nuru Hair for G2M by 3D-GHDesign, GarfiHomeDesign on DeviantArt. Honestly, if this had come out before the female version, I would have purchased this one and skipped the female one, because it's visually easier to make male hair work for female characters than the other way around. I picked this one up because, with the combination of Festival and REV/Throttle discounts, it was fairly inexpensive, and it has morphs and presets that the female version doesn't. Much to my surprise, it handles MUCH better in the workspace than the female version; I thought the combination of Galactic Smuggler and Nuru would make the workspace too sluggish to be workable, and it didn't. Also, it turns out that for Iray, flipping Nuru from base to High resolution may not do much visually. For the first few test renders, I forgot to do that, and the hair looked pretty good. All that said ... the one thing the hair critically lacks is adjustment morphs for the ear area. At least, I couldn't find them. As you can see from the image, the sideburn is in the wrong place on Darius, and I didn't see any way to fix that. I'm going to see if I can find a hair with the right shape that has the morphs to inject with Transfer Utility, because that is a real problem.
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