ABSOLOM: A sci-fi short

a sci-fi short short by H. Keith Hamilton
inspired by footage shot by Valentina Vee (and used with permission)

“A young freighter pilot is hired by a criminal syndicate to smuggle a valuable asset off a dangerous, tightly-controlled world.”

Back in September 2021, Valentina Vee was kind enough to let me play with some footage she shot on a spaceship set. I took her 30 seconds of raw, silent footage and crafted a 1 minute, 30 second short film with dialogue, VFX, sound design, and music. It’s been a fun ride exercising and developing my skills as a VFX artist as well as in writing, worldbuilding, editing, UI design, and sound design.

Will I further explore the universe of Absolom? Maybe. We’ll see what opportunities come up.

Adobe After Effects & Premiere Pro
Maxon Cinema 4D
VideoCopilot Element 3D, Orb, Optical Flares
Red Giant Trapcode Particular

The footage originally came from Lighting for Sci-Fi and VFX | Cinematography Breakdown - YouTube.
Check it out for a great tutorial on how to light a sci-fi scene. Host and DP: Valentina Vee.

Music: Chivalry by Tea Time (purchased from PremiumBeat)

EX-08 Spacecraft Transport and Scout by ShaunTWilliams (downloaded from SketchFab)

Drone Camouflage Colour 3D Model by ElvinT (downloaded from TurboSquid)

Malabar Medium Transport by bszlrd (downloaded from SketchFab)

Free SF Fighter 3D model by CGPitbull (downloaded from TurboSquid)

Scifi Space Cruiser by RealtimeCGI (downloaded from TurboSquid)

Obsidia Empira’s city lights were part of “Coruscant - Star Wars Planet Texture” created by ShinyMa (downloaded from CGTrader).

The nebula came from an asset pack called Interstellarium by Andy Dominique Rak.

Other spacecraft models kitbashed by H. Keith Hamilton using VideoCopilot’s Motion Design 2 asset pack.


Heck yeah my dudee!! this is awesome!! Well done!


This is awesome!!! Thanks for sharing and keep up the good work!

Thank you! Thinking about my next project now.

i liked the musik alot :slight_smile:

and…wow…did you build the cockpit?

No, I didn’t build the cockpit. All the live action shots were shot by Valentina Vee (an LA-based director/cinematographer) who graciously allowed me to play with the footage. The cockpit is a standing set in some studio in LA that’s used for a variety of productions.

Wow! I’ve been watching your updates and was so excited to see it! This is incredible!

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Great stuff! :+1: :+1: :+1:
Love how it all came together.
I think you scored in all areas - lighting, lookdev, comping and sound design. Even script and story - you managed to actually convey an engaging story in that short time with the little actual footage you had available.
Well done!

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Thank you! That is really encouraging.

0:39 is my favorite part! Loved seeing the details of the ship up close as it’s going by, and then seeing the planets and space at large.

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I like it, it is pretty good.

Quick note though and it may be out of your control unless you know how to repair/tweak 3D models, most of your 3D models have really bad visual shading errors. I can see it even through your grading and the low light-hard shadows, nature of it being an outer space shot.
It makes your Hero ship’s hull panels appear convex when they should be flat or faceted.

I’d suggest that you change your models shading angle down to 20 or 30 degrees to fix the convex appearance of your hull panels but be careful how low you go, as this will destroy any Bevels that your model “may/should” have. If it doesn’t have any bevels then go as low as you like but the lower you go, the more actual smooth shading and surfaces with curvature will become faceted and kill the illusion of an actual smooth surface. You should be able to change a model’s shading angle in C4d and also in E3d.

Nice job on the rest of the shot.

(Meant to reply earlier, but I’ve been busy.)

Thank you for the feedback. It is very much appreciated.

The 3D animation was a mix of Element 3D and Cinema 4D. My hero ship was animated in Cinema 4D. The original model was built in 3DSMax, and I imported the FBX version of it into C4D and reapplied textures. Yeah, I’m aware of the issues with it. I played around with the Phong settings but to no effect. Other models I’ve downloaded in the past had similar issues but were fixed by adjusting the Phong. I’m re-learning C4D after a long hiatus not using it, so there may be other techniques to fix this that I’m not aware of. In the end, I just decided to live with it.

You said several of my models had this issue. Can you tell me which ones besides the hero ship? I’m still in the process of developing my eye for this kind of thing.


No problem, I’m replying pretty late too. Whoops. :innocent:

I can actually see that most of the models have the shading issue and you can see it too. All you’re missing is how to fix it, which is…

Simply change the surface normal shading angle to around 30 degrees. You can do this in any of the 3D applications that you like to use and are familiar with… super easy. :slight_smile:

Nice work! I can’t wait to see what you come up with next!