The Lord Inquisitor Grey Knights Teaser

The Lord Inquisitor has been in development for a loooooooooong time. Mainly because Games Workshop agreed to let the fan based project live but only with Aaron Demski-Bowden writing the script. So having thrown out the old script so it went back to a blank piece of paper.

So here’s the new trailer with no odd artefact and shaky voice over.

Lordi Update

Creator of the Lord Inquisitor movie, friend of The Shell Case an all round nice guy, Erasmus, has been a very busy chap of late.

Aside from producing some incredibly awesome looking renders of Servo-skulls (pictured below), he brings word that the project has now been officially green lit by the Games Workshop. This welcome and well deserved news has meant that not only now Erasmus can properly gear up and pour even more of his heart and soul into The Lordi, but he’s benefited from a huge influx of talent to help get the project finished. The most significant, perhaps, of these new additions is a new write in the form of Black Library author, and firm fan favourite, Aaron Dembski-Bowden.

This incredible development, combined with the widening team at Erasmus’ disposal will mean the film will now be closer to 40 minutes rather than 15-20. Again, very welcome news indeed.

Now news on the release date as of yet. I imagine that the new team will take a while to bed in and Erasmus and Aaron will need to thrash out a now much longer story.

I may have to collar the man himself for an update in his own words, so watch this space…

The Lordi Greenlit?

Over on the Lord Inquisitor website, friend of The Shell Case, Erasmus has put up a blog post that would indicate that the Games Workshop has given their backing, at least in principle, for the Lord Inquisitor to continue and be released – albeit non-commercially.

Rather than paraphrase, I’ve provided you with Erasmus’ post below…

Shortly before Christmas I finally got an answer [from the Games Workshop] and it was more than positive. I will not post any [details] as this is a private conversation between GW and me, but what I can tell you is that GW loves Lordi and everything that me and my team created. So GW really wants to see this project finished and they want me to have a kind of license that allows me to make non-commercial Warhammer 40,000 movies.  I mean, how cool is that? I never thought that GW would be so cool to this project and this is beyond my expectations – now I don’t have to hide anymore with this project, but can look to a proper future for Lordi.

However, GW told me that they can not guarantee [anything]. They have to [review the legalities regarding] their IP. But they want to get this through and I’m optimistic that this will work. So we still need to cross our fingers, but it looks really really good for The Lord Inquisitor.

This of course raised my motivation to a new level. With the [potential] official approval by GW I can hopefully gain a much bigger team to make a much better movie in the same amount of time. As I said I need Technical Directors and animators and such. I got new plans in mind and definitely need a good story/plot writer to work closely with me. If I find enough people who want to support my vision and to make the first non-profit and 100% fan-made Warhammer 40k movie, I want to make this film longer to tell a much bigger story. 

So what’s next? Of course I still got to wait for the next [communication from] GW, and if this will turn out as expected I will post a more detailed list of people I need [and] a job description. I’ll try to put that online permanently on [the Lordi] site, so that everyone can see if I still need some help in specific areas. This can turn out really great and the whole community can see this film grow and prosper and also have influence of the production. So regarding the usual workflow here of me posting images and you writing comments and me again changing all the mistakes I made nothing will change.

Yeah that’s it so far, I think this can’t be a better start for 2012 and the future of Torquemada Coteaz and his Grey Knights:)

The Lord Inquisitor – The Interview Part 2

It’s that time folks! Part 2 of the interview with the creator of The Lord Inquisitor animated short film. I was lucky enough to interview Erasmus on the 6th October and we chatted about the awesomeness that is his film. If you’ve not read it, you can find it here.

On the 11.11.11 the trailer for The Lord Inquisitor was unleashed on the world and to put it simply, it’s just the tits and for your viewing pleasure you can view it below. Because I’m nice like that…

Now you’ve had a chance to watch that and drool at its splendour, below is part 2 of my interview with Erasmus where we discuss the film in a bit more detail and some of the efforts that has gone into making it.

TSC: Thanks for taking the time to chat to The Shell Case again. The trailer for The Lord Inquisitor went live yesterday and having watched it through two or three times now I have to say it looks amazing. I knew we were going to be in for something special but it just blew me away.

Although obviously rooted in the 41st Millennium certain features, like locking mechanisms on bulkheads, have a degree of artistic license. Where did you get your inspiration from?

E: I’ve created art and fantasy for a long time now and I have my inspiration from various different sources; movies, animations, mangas and of course Warhammer. All those inspirations are etched into my memory and form a certain pool of ideas which I dip into as I need it. So I can create all sorts of things on the fly while modeling. For example the door, which Torquemada walks through, was created within a few hours. I thought of a door and this image instantly came into mind. I then modeled and textured it and lastly created the animation of it.

TSC: And he looks hard as nails while he does so. The trailer, aside from giving us a proper look at Inquisitor Coteaz, reveals some of the other characters we’re likely to meet in the movie. Can you give us a run down of who’s who?

E: Sure, Torquemada is definitely the main character, but there are other important figures as well. The second main character is Marcus Allenbrisk, in the trailer you can see him sitting in front of the commando table watching the report of the imperial ship carrying the artefact. He is the acolyte of Coteaz and thus being not as powerful as Torquemada himself he is the most human character. He has no super powers or genetic improvements, he just serves the Emperor with all his passion and knowledge. He is a clever guy and able to help Coteaz on his path against all sorts of Xenos. He’s young but tough. The dialogue at the beginning is spoken by just some mining workers who found this artefact; however you hear that they want to report this case to Admiral Phoenix. This guy is a fleet commander of the sector in which the artefact was found and really a high-class person. He has overall command of the naval elements at Coteaz’s disposal.

TSC: So plenty of Imperial brass lying about the place as one would expect. It’s great to see the Grey Knights in action during the trailer, especially that last tantalising clip before it cuts to black. How do you choreograph fight scenes when everything is built-in a computer?

E: Well it’s very similar to visualising any other scene. I instantly have images, or whole scenes very clear in mind and can go create them just as I see them. In this particular scene I was rather lucky, the animation of the Grey Knight took only one hour. Sadly, the really long part was the cutting of the deamon into two halves, which was really a pain in the ass. It took me a week, but in the end the scene just looked exactly as I had it in mind.

TSC: Blimey. So no scribbled story boards for you then. Seeing the Grey Knight going to work on Bloodletters has me interested to know, without giving too much away, about the ‘bad guy’ in this movie and some of the challenges facing the Inquisitor?

E: The bad guys are Chaos, yes. I think for a movie they are always a good choice, but in Lordi, there is a special case as the Inquisition has to deal with the Alpha Legion, who are known for their devious and insidious plans. This will hopefully make the film really interesting to watch as you can’t say for sure who is evil and who is not. You never really know what circles the Alpha Legion move in and who of the Emperor’s servants are truly loyal and it’s hard to say if the Alpha Legion are the real danger.

TSC: I suppose it’s made more complicated as not all of the Alpha Legion have embraced Chaos. And knowing what we know now from Dan Abnett’s Legion (if you haven’t read it you’re just a terrible person) it’s entirely possible their motives are just.

Between the trailer and the clips on your website we’ve seen a visual of a Land Raider, a Thunderhawk, Strike Cruisers on fire), a Battlebarge, strip miners and super heavy tanks speeding through the desert, which looks epic. Of all the various vehicles you’ve animated, what sticks in your mind as the most fun and the most frustrating?

E: The most fun was the strike cruiser falling through the sky. I really love that scene. For me it shows, that even Grey Knights are not indestructible and how breathtaking it must be to see such a massive ship crashing through the heavens. Also you can see the scale of this scene, as the ship is so big and far away that you can’t really see it falling, it just seems to be stuck in the sky. And, to be honest, the ship is not animated at all. The smoke is obviously animated and I added the feeling of driving on a road and filming out of the window to create this large-scale effect.

The most frustrating was the scene with the Baneblade through the desert. Luckily the work paid off as it is one of the visual most impressive ones in the trailer. The tank itself was modeled by Alexey and textured and prepared for animation by my friend Dennis. I then created a rig for the tank treads and animated this monster driving through the scene. But then I wanted to have this sand coming up to make it look cool and I tried several methods to achieve this effect. It took me maybe 2 or 3 weeks to complete this effect and I ended up with a real smoke simulation with FumeFX using 200 GB of memory on the HDD. So all in all this scene took me and the other artists maybe 6 weeks for a 2-3 second scene. Of course you can count only the evenings in, as we all have jobs – but still it was rather frustrating. I’m really happy that it turned out so great.

TSC: Six weeks for 2-3 seconds of footage? That’s dedication for you. And I couldn’t agree with you more about the Strike Cruiser. It looks epic. You’ve recently landed Adam ‘The Ultramarines Movie’ Harvey to compose the soundtrack for The Lord Inquisitor. Tell us how that all came about.

E: Adam contacted me and was really complimentary about all the progress I’ve made on Lordi. We had a nice chat for a few evenings and spoke about different things, Lordi, Ultramarins and creating films in general. I loved the music he composed for Ultramarines and I still couldn’t really believed that this guy had contacted me. So I took the chance and asked if he would like to create the music for my trailer, and luckily he said yes, as he loves 40k and is so passionate about creating music for that world. I think there is no better choice for a 40k movie than Adam. His music is really heroic and sticks in your mind. Also his music is not so full of clichés like other ‘heroic’ themes. His music has something special. So I was very lucky to have him on board and I have to admit to doing a dance around my room the evening he signed up.

TSC: Sounds like the soundtrack is gonna be epic. Hopefully it’ll be made available to download. And from reading your news page you’ve got a couple of voice actors onboard too. Tell us a little bit about the auditioning process.

E: Yes, that was crazy and easy all at the same time. The easy thing was the dialogue at the beginning with a great guy called Robert S. Benjamin. He contacted me and I was impressed by his talent without being a professional. He only has a small role now in this trailer but I want to work with him in the future as he seems to know what I need in the acting. Also I know a German music composer named Daniel Pharos who has a really cool voice and has been a big help too. The hard part was the role for Torquemada’s voice. I found a professional speaker named Zdravko and I think his voice is just perfect for this role – deep and powerful. It started well enough as he was quick to send me over his first take on the script. I had a few notes but was generally please. Sadly he I did not hear from him again. So the voice overs in the trailer aren’t perfect, and people did notice, but luckily it is easily fixed and I just need another voice actor for the final movie.

TSC: I’m sure it’ll come good in the end. At least you’ve got a couple of years to find a replacement. Last time we spoke you talked about how involved the site forum had been in your early efforts. Now the trailer is out, how much impact will the forum community have on the movie or any edits you may make?

E: The audience is very important for me but I have to separate the different forms of comments. They range from “it’s shit” to “you are the Emperor”. At the end of the day, some love to be negative and other like to be really constructive. However I am the harshest critic myself and I see errors in every scene. So when I see that more and more people share the same opinion as myself I will go back and make improvements. Right now I have so many comments I can’t read them all, but I fly over them and see the main reaction of the fans for the trailer. In the first 24 hours of the release the video was watched by around 18.000 people and the main reaction is really really positive and that made me really happy. The criticism I’ve had so far has pretty much reflected my own thoughts so I think I have a good feeling of what the fans want to see. But I have to remember I can’t make everything perfect which is important for fans and myself to keep in mind when creating a vision of something as established as the 40k Universe. I’m doing my best to make a really cool film that everyone will enjoy but I know I can’t please the entire 40k community and will try to include their ideas as much as I can.

TSC: Well there’s plenty of shell cases so I’m happy. You’re aiming for a 2013 release, how are you intending on making it available to the masses?

E: I definitely need a larger team for this release, as the work load is immense. I especially need good animators and technical artists. But I will explain that later in detail on my website. If I work alone on all things I need much much more time and I’m not perfect in every field of the CG industry. I need support with animation, story writing and voice acting. So every talented person willing to serve my orders for this project, feel free to contact me via the Lordi site.
The final release will be available for download on the website and of course free to watch for everyone on YouTube, Vimeo or whatever. This all will cost nobody a single penny.

TSC: I think it’s a shame that you’re putting in all this effort and you won’t make anything back from it, but I understand why you can’t and I’m certainly very grateful to you for carrying on anyway. It really matters to the community that people like you are willing to share their talents in such a significant way. So, finally, where can I get a Lordi t-shirt?

E: You can download the design from The Lord Inquisitor website. I don’t want to sell those shirts on my own, as I really can’t be seen to be making money out of Games Workshop’s IP. Also I think it is cheaper for everyone to create their own shirt and that way they’ll all be slightly unique.

TSC: Once again, Erasmus, thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions and hopefully you’ll be back again in the new year to discuss further developments.

For more information about The Lord Inquisitor or to get in touch with Erasmus about some of the skill sets he requires then please go here.

The Lord Inquisitor – Interview

When I started this blog at the end of July I thought that I’d be writing about models I painted, a scenario or two, have a bit of a moan about a gaming injustice or two, and maybe get to do the odd game review. I didn’t think that I’d be interviewing the creator of The Lord Inquisitor, a CGI short set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. Yet here I am, staring down the barrel of a two-part interview with that very person.

TSC: Erasmus thanks for agreeing to chat with me. For those that don’t know you, tell us a little bit about yourself?

E: Sure, my name is Erasmus Brosdau, I’m 26, and live in the North of Germany. I learned everything about 2D, 3D, Composition, Music, etc by myself and got a job as a 3D artist with 22. During that time I worked 8 to 10 hours professional and continued my private CG things in the nights and evenings whilst my girlfriend was asleep. The big project before Lordi was a video about the Audi R8, which you can watch on my homepage http://www.destrega.de. This took me around half a year to create, not to mention the render times, but I learned a lot from it. I also do a lot of music related things, but writing all about my creative hobbies would take way too much space here, so let’s say I’m really addicted to CG and spend all my free time with my girl or my computer.

TSC: Sounds much like myself. What gave you the idea in the first place to begin such an ambitious project?

E: I always have to do ambitious projects in my free time, otherwise I feel uncomfortable. After I finished the Audi video I thought ‘Ok, what’s next?’ and by this point my brother had infected me with his passion for 40k. So I really was into the whole atmosphere, story and so on. I quickly recognized that there were a ton of fantastic 2D images, but almost no CG related images – at least no good quality ones. So I decided to create a short movie about 40k to show its grim and dark atmosphere. It was my brother who suggested I focus on the Inquisition, so I opened up Lexicanum.com, had a look at famous Inquisitors and quickly decided on Torquemada Coteaz to be the main character. I wanted to spend the next two years with the project, but it now seems that it will take 3 years probably.

TSC: You said your brother pointed you towards the Inquisition, but with the 40k Universe being so fast and rich, how did decide that was the right way to go?

E: My main intention was not to make an animation about Ultramarines – don’t get me wrong they are really cool but they are displayed so often. I wanted to show something that hadn’t been done. As I said my brother had the great idea to show the Inquisition, and I thought they are really a good choice for a movie, as they have much influence within the Imperium.

TSC: The film focusses on the imposing Inquisitor Coteaz, Protector of the Formosa Sector. Can you tell us a little bit about the plot?

E: The story seems very easy to overlook at first, (TSC: As was evident in the Ultramarines Movie) but there are a lot of things going on behind the scenes, that he discovers more and more as he follows the trail to the root of all evil. It all starts with the Imperial Guard finding an artefact of unknown origin on a distant planet. Believing it to be of xenos origin they have it send to the Ordo Xenos sector headquarters. When the ship carrying the supposed alien artefact is destroyed by Chaos forces an already sceptical Torquemada Coteaz gets involved. He does not believe artefact destroyed and assumes the influence of Chaos. However the extent of the corruption is staggering into him.

TSC: Sounds awesome. Dealing with such a detailed universe, did you get any advice or guidance along the way to keep the look and feel authentically ’40k’?

E: Yes, it was important to me to reach all the fans of the Warhammer 40k universe, so I created a blog and later a website where everyone now can post comments without registrations and so on. This way I receive a lot of positive and motivating feedback and often lots of constructive ideas and advice. I can’t know everything about Warhammer 40.000, so I’m always happy when someone says ‘Hey, this is not right.’ or ‘Have you tried it this way?’ when I really made some errors to the 40k franchise. I think this is something the official site should have taken more care of, they had a comments section, but never replied to fans and eventually disabled comments. Maybe this is something that makes The Lord Inquisitor so special, as you can write me comments and I will go through them all and see if I can bring those ideas in – so this project includes the whole community.


 
TSC: So a movie for fans by fans. Which brings me smoothly on to what kind of visual treats can we expect from the film, am I right in saying we can expect to see Grey Knights?

E: Yes! Torquemada will be supported by a group of Grey Knight Terminators and also a heavy vehicle support which includes a GreyKnight strike cruiser, Landraiders, Thunderhawks and a custom dropship for Torquemada which I designed by myself. And of course the whole atmosphere and the aspect of violence and gore will be a visual highlight too.

TSC: If you’re not elbow deep in blood and guts you’re not doing 40k! Judging from the clips on your website, the film is going to be epic and it’s fair to say puts the Ultramarines Movie to shame and there’s only 5 of you working on it. How many people hours have gone into it so far, and how many left to go?

E: Well that’s hard to say as I don’t count the hours exactly, but basically it’s like this: I created 95% of  this movie on my own and have some people supporting me with modeling (vehicles and props etc). Also I was lucky to make a friend who takes care of all the website which is really time-consuming and I have no idea how that all works. But most of the modeling stage is done and I’m very thankful to the people who helped, as it would have taken me so long to create the Thunderhawks and so on as well by myself. However there is still a lot of work to do, especially shading, lighting, animation and post production, which I do completely alone. Combined with the aim to create the graphics as cool as possible this can take some time. But to come back to the question – I have my core team of 4 people (for CG) who try to create things as fast as possible in their free time. Reliability is very important to me, so some people had to leave this project already, as their progress was really too slow and I was faster creating it by myself. Right now for the Trailer I’ll do everything alone, but once this is done I’m sure I will have more to do. I’d really like to get some support from a rigging artist and animators by the way if anyone is interested?



TSC: The Games Workshop is known for protecting their IP quite vehemently and other similar projects have been shut down. What was the process like approaching them for permission to see The LordI through to completion and beyond?

E: When I started this project I had no idea about this IP thing of Games Workshop. I discovered that 6 months into the Lordi. However, it is true that films are forbidden, but their policy allows animations. Obviously it is hard to say what is a movie and what is an animation, but I see all computer animated elements as animations, so I regard The Lord Inquisitor as ‘legal’. Also GW is aware of the project and haven’t made contact – so I continue.

TSC: No news is good news. Now, the trailer is coming out 11.11.11 which I’m dead excited about seeing, but when will the finished product be released and what’s the estimated run time?

E: The whole animation should last around 20 minutes and can be expected in 2013. Sadly, as I am a one man army, I can’t make this any longer, otherwise it will take the rest of my life… I wish things were different, but Lordi can only be longer if GW makes it official, which is rather unrealistic.

TSC: And presumably give it financial backing too. Finally, what suggestions or advice would you give to any budding writer or film maker wanting to embark on a similar project?

E: Well, this all about passion. Were I not so focused on creating 3D characters, scenes and so on, this amount of work would have killed me already and stopped this project. And because the project requires a lot of research and I’m tackling it on my own, it would make a lot of people stop before they even get started. But as you might think, Lordi wasn’t my first project, I have been creative my whole life and I’ve been doing 3D for around 8 years now. Having high aims and to be inspired by other 3D artists, movies, etc is really the way to go and to become better and better every day. Start with small projects which you can finish and then make every project a bit bigger. You’ll need all the experience in the next project you create. Of course I have some plans already what I will do next once Lordi is finished, but I won’t tell for now. So practice and endurance is the key to create projects like The Lord Inquisitor.

TSC: Erasmus, thank you very much and keep up the good work.

The trailer for The Lord Inquisitor will be out on 11.11.11 after which Erasmus will join me again to go over some of the content and hopefully reveal a little bit more what Inquisitor Coteaz and his Grey Knights will be up against.