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A 3D animated adventure set in a dystopic future, a wanderer without a past battles alien races and their fearsome constructs.
56 backers pledged $1,901 to help bring this project to life.

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AetherEdge (3D Animated Short Film & Proof of Concept) project video thumbnail
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UPDATE #3 — FIRST SHOT RENDERS!

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Welcome to AetherEdge! You'll like it here if you enjoy sword-fighting, aliens, and giant robots!
Welcome to AetherEdge! You'll like it here if you enjoy sword-fighting, aliens, and giant robots!

"AetherEdge is a 3D animated short that takes place in a dystopic future, and follows a wanderer without a past as he encounters other alien races and is often forced to do battle with their constructs."

Seems like a simple enough description, right? But AetherEdge is so much more. This project has four creative heads: Trey Buongiorno, Michael Contardo, Andy Pace, and Benjamin Rhoades. We're all graduates of the University of Central Florida's department of Character Animation. During our time there, we participated in the creation of two short films, GaiaSpora and Ember. While we learned a lot in that program, we're ready to do something a little more ambitious. We wanted to take the aspects that we loved from some of our favorite 2D animated TV-shows, such as Samurai Jack and Clone Wars, and translate those themes into a beautifully rendered 3D-animated environment. If you want a simple comparison, think of our goal as something like Samurai Jack meets Final Fantasy.

We should be clear though, we're not simply trying to recreate our favorite shows in 3D. Rather, we're trying to capture the essence of what made those shows so very entertaining, and how they inspired us to dream big. We also wanted to stray away from the simplistic stories that are often present in animated shorts these days—those looking for a quick laugh, or resorting to cliche to get a point across. Our goal when writing for this series is to capture the mythological scale of Greek myth. Stories that have import and relevance many thousands of years after their origination. We've got an original story with a lot room to grow, and we'd love the opportunity to tell it!

We're Project Hercules, and we thank you for your support!
We're Project Hercules, and we thank you for your support!

The ultimate goal, for us at least, is to turn these ideas into a series that can be published either for delivery on TV or the web. We're not quite there yet, though rest assured that we have plenty of ideas for how to make that happen. As of right now, we want to develop a proof-of-concept.

For us, a proof-of-concept basically means that we introduce some of the world, the characters, and the style that we want to achieve were we to enlarge this idea in a full-blown series. The full proof will only be around 3-4 minutes. Just enough to show potential investors (like you!) that we have the talent and the vision to follow through on our promises.

In order to achieve the level of polish that we believe our short needs to meet, we are asking for your help. We will be using the money from this Kickstarter to pay for the services of a talented musician to compose a score just for our short—and also to hire a sound effects artist to provide that extra little bit to push our proof into greatness!

We also have a loftier goal! Since we hope to expand on this project, we want to be able to grow our team by bringing in other talented artists to help develop the world we have created. While the funding that we have requested is not enough to enable us to produce the series, if we can meet our goal it will demonstrate the viability of our project and be extremely helpful in convincing those fickle artists of why they should sign on.

So, if you like sword-fighting, robots, THE FUTURE, and 3D animation, this project is made for you!

Floyld's got his work cut out for him in this titanic battle! The Gardener's no pushover...
Floyld's got his work cut out for him in this titanic battle! The Gardener's no pushover...

The main character of the story is Floyd. You might recognize him as something of a samurai-figure, and so naturally he is a bit mysterious. Even he is not sure where he came from. The only clues that he has to his past are two unique swords strapped to his back. Unknown to Floyd, these swords are powered by a substance known as Aether. 

Our brave hero, Floyd!
Our brave hero, Floyd!

In the not-so-distant future, humans discover a new element that has nearly unlimited potential. The nature of this element is determined not only by how it is acquired and purified, but also the purpose to which it is applied. In the short span of a decade the human race has managed to propel themselves into a prosperous future by developing technologies that astound more ancient races. However, this soon turns to jealousy, and Earth is invaded by these other races in an attempt to harness the power of this new element, which has been given the name of Aether. Years later, forced into a subservient role on their own planet, human beings are on the brink of extinction, and have largely forgotten the time when they were the sole manipulators of Aether.

A glimpse of the future, where things aren't so good for those below!
A glimpse of the future, where things aren't so good for those below!

Enter Floyd. His journey mirrors somewhat the trials of Hercules, as he must prove himself by performing impossible tasks—tasks that often bring him in conflict with the alien races now inhabiting the planet. He is supported by a diverse cast of characters, all of which wish him to succeed for their own reasons. As for Floyd, he is not yet sure of his ultimate destination, or what he hopes to find when he reaches it.

And now, a few of the races that Floyd will encounter on his journey...

The Gur-Eth

The Gur-Eth—one of the fearsome races that fight over possession of Aether.
The Gur-Eth—one of the fearsome races that fight over possession of Aether.

The Gur-Eth are a humanoid race with one desire: to fight. They seek Aether to enhance their bodies, so that they may become uncontested as the strongest race in the galaxy. Many Gur-Eth have successfully injected red Aether into their bodies, becoming even more brutishly strong. Unfortunately, the steroids came with costs: severe mental degeneration was observed in specimens who took the injections. For a species with normal Earthling intelligence at best, the majority of Gur-Eth have regressed into impulsive, aggressive beasts. To the human rebels, they are colloquially known as "minotaurs".

The Zaarim

The Zaarim—though not of this world, they have managed to adapt to it with surprising swiftness.
The Zaarim—though not of this world, they have managed to adapt to it with surprising swiftness.

The Zaarim are an elegant and peaceful race that are voyagers by nature. Because they are always moving, they are unfamiliar with war over territory and materials, and almost all Zaarim share the same worldviews. Although originally seeking Aether for academic purposes, the Zaarim avoid conflict and seem to have respect for Earth's original species. They have taken a liking to the dwindling forests of Earth, and have settled high among the treetops. Being less familiar with mechanical and robotic technologies, they show great interest in ethereal materials. Intelligence reports show that the Zaarim have mastered green Aether to the point of using it for controlled biological regeneration. Earth rebels call them "nymphs", though since our species are on peaceful terms, it is respectable to refrain from this nickname.

The Biduls

They might look small and harmless, but never turn your back on the Bidul or you just might wind up on one of their operating tables!
They might look small and harmless, but never turn your back on the Bidul or you just might wind up on one of their operating tables!

The Biduls are an enigmatic race obsessed with knowledge. They do not practice any sort of ethics when it comes to their experimenting. They are most likely responsible for human notions of “alien abduction” for “strange experiments” They are extremely long lived, and it is unknown how or if they reproduce at all. Aether has fascinated them since they came to earth, and they built many dangerous machines to mine it. Although not inherently dangerous, their constructs are advanced and efficient. It has been theorized that the Biduls are responsible for introducing warp space travel to less developed races such as the Gur-Eth. The humans say: never anger a Bidul, because they never forget anything. Luckily, they side with whatever force offers them the most opportunity to gain knowledge.

Making an animated film, even one as short as this proof of concept, still takes a lot of time. We've got all of our major designs ironed out, an environment nearing completion, and our characters fully modeled. We've also got a complete animatic that describes the timing and actions that we want to take place in the short. So what's left? Well, there's still a lot of animation to do, a lot of shots that need to be taken into 3D, and a lot of special effects that need to be researched and developed.

Since none of us are new at this, we've been making considerable progress, but there's still a ways to go. Once the shots are approved and the animation is underway, each of these shots also needs to be lit and composited.

Once we have our 3D pre-visualization done, we can start talking to musicians and sound effects artists about crafting a score that meets the needs of our production.

All of the team members are out of school, which should mean that we have plenty of free time. However, now we've also got to worry about things like paying our rent. This often means getting a job (not doing something as fun as making a short!).

Taking these factors into account, we anticipate being able to complete the film around September/October 2013. That may seem like a lot of time (or perhaps not), but that's a generous estimate. We have high hopes of completing it before then, but we are trying to account for any hiccups we may experience along the way.

Not everyone wants Floyd to succeed. Here's your chance to prove them wrong!
Not everyone wants Floyd to succeed. Here's your chance to prove them wrong!

Let's look at some more art from the world of AetherEdge!

For your invaluable support, we've got a few goodies to reward you for your generous donations to our project:

$1 OR MORE

Even the smallest contribution helps! You'll receive a special thank you credit on the project website. Also, you will be added to a mailing list that will contain exclusive updates regarding the progress of the film.

$10 OR MORE

You will receive a digital production still signed by the directors + All Previous Rewards.

We'll make sure that this still is nice and shiny so you are not ashamed to have it decorating your room.

$15 OR MORE

You will receive a private link to a digital download of the film after it has been completed + All Previous Rewards.

Once the film is completed you'll be among the first people to see it.

$25 OR MORE

You will receive a DVD copy of the finished film with custom case and disc art + All Previous Rewards.

Our resident concept artist, Trey Buongiorno, will make sure that your copy of the DVD will look spectacular sitting next to your TV.

$35 OR MORE

You will have your name listed in the film credits as a supporter. You will also receive exclusive digital copies of our storyboards, and your choice of concept art from the film + All Previous Rewards.

Become a part of movie history and have your name listed alongside the members of the team that created the film.

$50 OR MORE

Along with your DVD copy of the film you will receive a short behind-the-scenes video detailing the creation of the film + All Previous Rewards.

There's a lot of tomfoolery and serious dedication both that go into making a project like this. You'll have a front row seat to all the action.

$100 OR MORE

You will receive an HD version of the film along with the commentary, interviews with the directors, and the original animatic of the film + All Previous Rewards.

See where the project began, and listen as the directors talk about the evolution of the project.

$500 OR MORE

You will receive a signed T-Shirt with exclusive art, as well as the opportunity for a one hour Google Meetup with the directors of the film, and our everlasting thanks + All Previous Rewards.

We'll make sure that you always look stylish with an AetherEdge shirt. And if you happen to be curious about what we didn't talk about in the commentary, you will have the opportunity to ask all the questions you can think of. We will do our best to be truthful!

This project has become personal to our team, and even if we cannot make our goal here, we will continue to work towards its completion. But with your help, we can make it so much better! We appreciate any contribution, no matter how small, and welcome any questions you may have about the project. This is the type of show that we'd like to watch, and we hope that you feel the same. Thanks for your support!

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Social Media

Support us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ is very important to the success of this project. Please take the time to like us, we appreciate it very much!

Risks and challenges

Once the our goal has been reached, the only risks that we anticipate is finding the perfect artist that can fulfill our vision for the proof. We have a very clear idea of what we want out of our score!

Since the team is now out of school and supporting themselves in the 'real world', some allowances have to be made for the side-jobs that must be taken on in order to complete our real passion: AetherEdge.

Even so, we are fully dedicated to making this film a reality—your interest and support means a lot to us, and with your help we can add a great soundtrack to truly realize this goal.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    Receive a special thank you credit on the project website. Also, you will be added to a mailing list that will contain exclusive updates regarding the progress of the film.

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    You will receive a beautiful key-chain of your choice of either The Gardener or Floyd + All Previous Rewards

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    You will receive a digital production still signed by the directors + All Previous Rewards.

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    You will receive a private link to a digital download of the film after it has been completed + All Previous Rewards.

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    You will receive a DVD copy of the finished film with custom case and disc art + All Previous Rewards.

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    You will have your name listed in the film credits as a supporter. You will also receive exclusive digital copies of our storyboards, and your choice of concept art from the film + All Previous Rewards.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Along with your DVD copy of the film you will receive a short behind-the-scenes video detailing the creation of the film + All Previous Rewards.

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    You will receive an HD version of the film along with the commentary, interviews with the directors, and the original animatic of the film + All Previous Rewards.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    You will receive a signed T-Shirt with exclusive art, as well as the opportunity for a one hour Google Meetup with the directors of the film + All Previous Rewards.

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    You will receive a signed print of yourself drawn by our Art Director in the style of the world of AetherEdge, and our everlasting thanks + All Previous Rewards.

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Funding period

- (30 days)