The Sims™ 3 Community Blog
: March 2012
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You may be asking who am I and what is SIFF? Fortunately for you I can answer both! I am Kazee169, one of the newest Moderators at Simatography and long-time player of The Sims games. This season I took over the promotional thread here at The Sims 3 forums for SIFF. And I must say this has been an experience of a lifetime! I am also the creator of the most recent venue for the Red Carpet photo shoots, Red Carpet Venue. With the Red Carpet Venue, I was wanted to bring that city look to the red carpet. I do plan to eventually do the interior so it can be a fully usable venue, I kept it simple for first release so that even those with not so up to date computers could still have a beautiful new space to take their photos. So for now, enjoy the exterior, and soon you will be able to enjoy a space built for Showtime. 

SIFF is short for the Sims International Film Festival that is presented twice a year (March and September 15th) by Sims Machinima has been around for a long time now, and has only gotten better with the ever changing interactions and expansions that comes with The Sims games. So how did a film festival using Machinema come about? A long-time fan of Toronto International Films Festivals had one thought: How can I run a machinema challenge that would grab attention? And now thanks to Minraed and her question we have an amazing community of Machinema creations that are modeled after her love of the Toronto Festivals. It isn't just about making a good film, it's about learning and meeting others and making your imagination come to life.
You may have run into some of the amazing creators, some maybe not but here are some examples of what SIFF has seen over the years, and the people behind it. 
Staff past and present have been a big part of SIFF. Some that are still making videos and have since the first season are Minraed, SylentWhysper, SSProductions and Bzanna. Other recent staff members who have contributed are AAshleySEG, JinjaNinja and myself. I think each of these members are obvious at being big contributors, I want to focus on the not so obvious talent that has been seen in the past. 
For instance 1st place best film winner LilMSims with “Magic and Dark Hearts” brought a world of magic and revenge to SIFF in Spring 2011.  Then there is the forever memorable "Woohooium" commercial by MeestorMark67, which has found its way to those who keep up with The Sims YouTube channel and got Best Ad and Promo Fall 2010. If you happen to have run into Liam on occasion you will appreciate his feature in a music video that gets you to giggle with "Hero" by 1molly360, which holds its place in the Best General Admissions Films of Spring 2010.
This season will be a tough one, with fantastic entries that push the limits and new people getting involved and bringing in their own feel to the festival. You can see it all at the Simatography YouTube page, or keep up to date with us on Facebook as well. 


Not only are there videos for SIFF but also photo challenges and star reporting that are just as important. Every season there is a new poster challenge, which becomes the official poster for the season and is used to promote the festival. We really have fun with the red carpet photos and magazines, like Rising Stars magazine and the newest fun read The Exposer. SIFF isn't just for machinema creators, it is for anyone who wants to be creative and have fun. This season Anches brought us "Red Carpet Story-Telling" which is a photo story about stars on the Red Carpet and a prime example that you don't have to do machinema to get in on the fun. 
Before I go I would like to encourage anyone and everyone to participate, whether experienced or not, SIFF is for everyone. I feel a bit overwhelmed at times with the amazing talent, and my own inexperience in machinema. I like to stick to the more artistic side with the photo challenges but still manage to play around with video just for the fun of it. If you are interested but have little to no experience, don't be intimidated. Just jump right in and have fun! 

03:48 PM
Posted by: kazee169

   Norman McLaren once said that “animation is not the art of drawings that move, but the art of movements that are drawn.” While many of us animators in the game industry have moved away from the blue pencils and peg bars of our predecessors, observation and reference is still a major part of our workflows. The Sims is a game where we are trying to make little collections of polygons feel like living people with lives, hopes, dreams and fears, so it’s crucial for the animators to understand the reality of something before we can exaggerate it and make it part of The Sims world.

   In The Sims 3 Showtime, your Sims will make their rise to fame in the new world of Starlight Shores and become the star headliners in town.  One of the new active careers they can choose is to become a magician. From basic street illusions to full-on ‘can I have a volunteer from the audience’ style extravaganza, the magician allows your Sims to amaze the crowd with their prestidigitation as they progress from small local venues to huge sold-out arena shows.

   In order to make our magician Sims feel like ‘the real deal,’ we elicited the help of local magic-man Dan Paulus. We admired his special blend of comedy and magic and thought it would mesh perfectly with the zany world of The Sims. Dan was able to give us a private magic show in which we picked up some great tips of the trade. Ultimately, our team was able to come  out of the experience with much more than we had expected.

Some of the team, participating in a bit of up-close table magic.

   It’s important to note something here, (and we’re sure Dan would appreciate the caveat) no secrets were revealed in the show. In fact, we didn’t want to know the cloak and dagger of it, and made that clear from the beginning. We didn’t want Dan to break the old adage that a magician never reveals his tricks. What we focused on, however, was his movements, showmanship (flourishes, poses and misdirection) and all that makes a magician’s performance memorable.

   Dan delivered that and much more. We enjoyed his awesome show of course, but we also got some fascinating insights. Dan’s career spans a variety of levels from  birthday parties to consulting for Emmy-nominated television programs, it’s kind of similar to the career experience your Sims will have in The Sims 3 Showtime. Dan also taught us about magician’s code, their proper handling of live animals and about the interactions of magicians with fans and their peers. I should note many teams found Dan’s information useful, not just our animation team, but all who attended, including modelers, producers and designers. Everyone took copious notes to help them understand how a professional prestidigitator operates.

Dan's volunteer from the audience, eyeing an innocent piece of rope with suspicion.

   The entire experience was really positive for all of us and we’re sure the magic acts in The Sims 3 Showtime are much more awesome now as a result. Thanks to Dan Paulus for his performance and wisdom, and of course, thanks to all our fans for continuing to support our efforts to create the best life simulator in the world. Enjoy the show!

07:56 PM
Posted by: SimGuruYokley