Gears Of War - Animated

So the past few weeks while preparing for Gears of War 3 I have been replaying the first two games to refresh myself on some of the story elements.  At first I felt compelled to just compile all the cutscenes and put them together to make a Gears Of War cinematic movie.  But there's no real fun in that and there's tons of videos on youtube from lets play's and walkthrough's so my video wouldn't be anything really different.  I said to myself that I'm out of practice and this would be a good time to brush up on my editing skills.  So one idea that came to mind is how good would Gears of War look if it was cel-shaded as i had done a short Deus Ex video with those effects in place awhile ago.  But the results weren't that satisfying.  Gears Of War is a very dark game, It needed alot more work and adjustments to make it visually appealing.  So i upped the vibrance, enhanced the lighting, adjusted the exposure and I came out with a very nice result, It didn't look Cel Shaded but it looked alot more like Comic Book art.
 
Below are some renders of the results.



So i was satisfied, so i went to work on editing and cutting video in Premiere and finally had a decent base movie without the effects.  But i ran into a problem when importing Premiere files into After Effects, the cuts and edits worked but it did not import transitions which would fade scenes black and crossfade audio into another scene seamlessly which kinda sucked.
 
So i looked for another solution, and rendering out a raw avi seemed out of question at the time due to the amount of hard drive space i had available.  So i looked at Lossless codec solutions like Lagarith, HuffyUV, UT codec.   Lagarith seemed to work the best so i exported an avi encoded with Lagarith and then imported that avi into After Effects.  All seemed well in the world so i started applyings effects and adjustments to the video.    After i was done, I was excited to render it out.   
 
The render would take 5 hours so I felt that was reasonable amount of time to encode a file that was about an hour long.  (I have a 2600k with 16gb of ram).  So i did other things in the mean time.  3 hours later I came back to check on the render and my heart sank.   The program crashed!  So i went back to the drawing board trying to figure out what went wrong.   I adjusted memory settings, rendering settings, cutting the file in multiple segments.  But the program would still crash!   It ended up being the Lagarith codec making the program crash.   Then i tried HuffyUV and UT, each had their own problems, HuffyUV worked but i had some corrupt frames which would flash white and that wasn't going to cut it.   So about a day and a half later i decided to just forget about using a lossless codec and went with uncompressed AVI.  So i went on a deleting rampage makign enough space.  The total uncompressed file topped around 170 Gigabytes.  But I'm glad to say after about 15 hours of failed renders I finally got an outcome worth showing.
 
It is by no means a perfect or flawless project, I myself would go back and change some things to try and fix some spots in the video.  I do hope some people check it out and give some feedback, perhaps give me a tip or two.  So by the time I'm ready to edit Gears of War 2 I'll have a lot more experience under my belt.
 
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Dragon Age Origins Mod Recommendations


If you are like me waiting in anticipation of Dragon Age 2, you probably started playing Dragon Age origins again. So to make this experience a lot more interesting I downloaded a couple of modifications and I am just sharing what I recommend from what I found.  Note that these recommendations are for the PC version of the game
 
The first mod I am recommending is Dragon Age Redesigned because it changes the face design of almost every NPC in the game. This mod includes many facial morphs and texture replacements of the heroes companions and is overall very high quality. 
  
  
Another problem I found with Dragon Age is that the hairstyles can be kind of bland and boring. Beautiful People Hair REN is a really nice mod that allows you to choose different hairstyles for your hero and a requirement for the next mod on this list. 
 Beautiful People Hair REN mod

 
Now the next mod that I recommend is CGI Leliana face morph sacred ashes trailer. Now this is another face mod but I prefer the Leliana in this modification more so than the one in the Dragon Age Redesigned mod because she resembles the character from the sacred ashes trailer and at the same time looks like the sweet nurtured version the character is in general. There are multiple versions but I preferred version 4 personally. 
 CGI Leliana Face Mod
 
So while playing Dragon Age I noticed that in combat the characters would run like they had a stick up there ass. To alleviate this problem I decided to look for a mod that would change them so that the animation looks more natural. This mod is called combat animations – battle animations and this mod worked perfectly in changing the awkward walk your character would do while you ran around in combat. This mod uses Dragon Age Mod Manager, which isn’t really a mod but a installation tool. Not every Dragon Age mod uses it but I will post a link just to make it easier for you. 
  

  
The next mod is kind of adult oriented and not safe for work so I won’t post any pictures or videos but if you really want that authentic raw Dragon Age experience then this might help with the overall immersion. It’s called Natural Bodies All-In-One. This is a body replacement mod with many options to choose from. Most of the bodies are nude but they are well modeled compared to the default body. The body only affects the characters when they don’t have any armor on. It kind of fixes the Morrigan Bra dilemma during her love scene because when she’s fully clothed you can naturally see she is not wearing anything on underneath but when you bed her she ends up tossing a bra on which she didn’t have before. If you’re mature about it, it’s a decent mod. If you’re a kid you shouldn’t download it but you probably will anyways.

So these are just a few mods that I use that enhance my overall experience with the first Dragon Age game. Most of these mods can be found at DragonAgeNexus.com or the Bioware Social site. Most of the mods have very good instructions but in general you usually toss these mods in the override folder in your MyDocuments/Bioware/DragonAge/packages/core/override. Let’s hope that Dragon Age 2 will have some fantastic mods in the future after it’s released this week.

Dragon Age Redesigned - http://social.bioware.com/project/1205/
Beautiful People Hair Ren - http://www.dragonagenexus.com/downloads/file.php?id=750
CGI Leliana face mod - http://www.dragonagenexus.com/downloads/file.php?id=666
Combat Animations - Battle Animations - http://www.dragonagenexus.com/downloads/file.php?id=2121
DAO Mod Manager -  http://www.dragonagenexus.com/downloads/file.php?id=277
Natural Bodies - http://www.dragonagenexus.com/downloads/file.php?id=554
 
I originally posted this on my blog but figured giantbomb duders would find this information useful as well :)
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