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Taking Aim at Paul Steed '99

Vol. 2, Issue 5 
December 6, 1999 


That’s cool. Why were the hip hop and ballet animations created? Was that an experiment?

Yeah it was just me tweaking stuff. That was mo-cap. Motion capture data. Just a way to fit our characters. During [my seminar at] QuakeCon, I dropped my computer, it was hosed. So that whole last minute solution of switching out computers with Paul Jacquays threw me off. And I forgot my glasses so I couldn’t even see the thing they had set up. It was basically a desperation move. Get some humor in there, because when I give talks I always try to get people laughing a little bit and loosen them up, and then they’re more tolerant of you if you don’t really deliver on something educational.

Either that or you serve booze.

Well yeah, booze helps too. I give out free stuff.

So you did that all with motion capture. You did that yourself right? You put on the ping pong balls and stuff.

For that particular, for the ballet and that, no I didn’t. But just recently I did and I got some movies of that. It was pretty cool because it’s what I used to choose my powers. The first time I did it I went to this place and I was watching this guy do it. And I was thinking, I can do that. It’s not too bad. I’m in pretty good shape. I thought, screw this, next time I’ll do it myself. So I did. Then I did it again but you know what, next time, if I do it again, I’ll definitely pay somebody. It’s just not worth the pain. Because it gets pretty painful sometimes. And you’re so conscious of your time, because the longer it takes in the studio, that’s pretty expensive stuff. In the end I think it’s worth it. I just got some data back from Locomotion, the guys who did it, the stuff turned out really good.

It’s either really expensive to pay somebody to do it or you build your own studio.

Well yeah, you build your own studio but you still have to pay somebody to maintain it. The good thing about me doing my own motions, is the fact that I’m the animator and I know exactly what I want. Because you’re always trying to pantomime your stuff to the guy.

How much sketch work do you in preparation for modeling a character?

It depends, if I’m going off my own sketch than it’s usually pretty rough. Like that one sketch I sent you, the Barbara-Fett, that’s pretty detailed for me these days. Normally I just scribble stuff down for sets of mass, or what I’ll do is I’ll sketch it out to the point to where I can scan it in – I normally build from a front view and a side view. If it’s not too complex, like just a normal – I just built a PMS model, built it yesterday, I just did that from tweaking models that I already built. But I really don’t do that much. I like to build other people’s sketches, to be honest. Because it gives me new ideas. I feel like I’ve tapped myself out sometimes for original ideas because I’ve done it so many times. I like taking Adrian’s or Kenneth’s sketch, scan it in. Because they’re really good artists. Real artists. Their sketches just amaze me with the skill.

How about the Mynx model? Actually, here’s a question that Mynx (the original Dear Mynx) gave me: What will the gestures be for the Mynx model?

We can’t really do the taunts like in Quake II. But I’ll do something special for her. I’ve got the whole little special animation. When I went to the House of Moves, I got some motion capture for it, I hired this girl to do some stuff for me, and one of the things she did was she did this kiss thing that I’m going to use for my logo model that I built. Basically I’m going to have Mynx making out with one of the other characters as part of the Bloopers. Because I’m doing a blooper thing for the credits. And I did all these blooper – when I did my first mo-cap, I wanted to get this blooper mo-cap for the characters. You’ll like it, I’m basically going to display the credits that way.

Are you going to be doing the cinematics again?

I’ve storyboarded out and art directed the cinematics with Digital Anvil as we speak. There will be cinematics, it won’t be as story-driven as Quake II was, but it will be better quality and it will be higher res, and it will have true-color high-res versions as well as the standard knockdown version. But Graeme Devine did 7th Guest, with full-motion, he’s done a lot of work with compression so it’ll look a lot better than Quake II looked. Plus the fact I’m not doing it on the weekends. Let somebody else do it.

I heard you did a lot of the Quake II cinematics on a 486.

Yep, it was 486/66 with 64 megs of ram.

One more question. What’s after Quake III Arena?

Good question. I have no idea. I’m going to go to Australia for a while. I want to go to surf school in Hawaii. I want to pick up snowboarding. Yeah I like to go skiing. But I got rid of the skis this year for snowboarding because they have much cooler clothes. And I was a big skateboarder. I want to learn how to surf, I want to go skydiving, you know, the whole mid-life crisis thing I guess.

Very cool. Thanks Paul Steed.


- Russell "RadPipe" Lauzon is currently exhausting all his free time researching Beer Goggles.

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Credits: Illustration © 1999 Kenneth Scott. This interview is © 1999 Russell Lauzon & Paul Steed. All other content is © 1999 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited. So don't do it, or we'll make you cry, sissy.