[Archive] Chaos Dwarf Fan-Made Short Movie


Hi, folks! Whilst I nurtured some long-term plans for a short Chaos Dwarf movie project in the future (if we could find 3D artists etc), I didn’t think there’d be any reason to even discuss such a thing until iamahobgoblin brought the matter up today. So this is an unexpected thread, and very much a long-term one. :slight_smile:

Here we’ll discuss how to make such a movie, what the movie’s story should be centered about, what “shots” of the Chaos Dwarf world to include and so on. Extra care must be given to the technical and practical side of things. Should Chaos Dwarfs be made in CGI or by costumed actors? We’ll also have a signing-up for any volunteers that can help out.

We’ll start with planning, and with any luck a CD short film will see the light of day here in the future.

Over to iamahobgoblin!


I think Chaos Dwarfs would have to be CGI simply due to the proportions of Warhammer Dwarfs as otherwise you’d need to be constantly digitally altering head size and other tweeks (and making sure they stayed consistent between shots) which I’d imagine would be more time consuming than just creating a CGI model and manipulating it on the computer. Not to mention the difficulty actors would have speaking with tusks in :stuck_out_tongue:

I’d also recommend staying away from Zharr-Naggrund as I don’t think we’d be able to do it justice without a LotR level budget and set design team.

The best plot would probably be a small scale slaving raid so we don’t overdo things. Possibly have it set underground in cramped tunnels vs Night Goblins so darkness can be used to obscure any imperfections in the animation?


Its certainly possible it would just take a long time to pull off. The thing with short film-making is to not be over ambitious, do something simple and do it well. Then if you decide to you can do something more ambitious once you’ve learned from your mistakes and go forward from there.

If I list some of the things that are viable and the pros and cons then you can get more of an idea of feasibility and voice your thoughts


Live action
The easiest and most tradtional way to achieve this is 300 style, just shooting a bunch of stuff against a green screen. Light it correctly and throw it into a digital environment ala Star Wars prequels or 300 or LOTR. You’d need a large area with controlled light ie no windows, and some good lighting kits, tons of green screen and lighting, sound, and camera equipment (all of which you can borrow these days from fellow collaborators).
The Dwarfs could be done with forced perspective. Early tests for Gandalf and LOTR exist on youtube and stuff if anyone’s in doubt, there’s a lot of reading material and guides out there on how to do this in cinematography and its one of the oldest tricks in the books going bck to the days of George Melies. Something worth mentioning about scale though is, if there weren’t any other types of races involved then you wouldn’t need to cheat scale because they would have nothing to compare against.
Environments, Zharr Naggrund etc, you would just paint digital mate paintings for large Environments in Photoshop, huge digital matte paintings like 20k resolution which depict landscapes or skies or huge interiors, and then re- project them in compositing or 3d software and drop them into the green screen behind the actors where appropriate. (Each shot has to be pre-designed) Also , and this is where the really fun bits come in, making Lava flows and miniature scale environments & buildings, castles, and shooting them on camera.
The costumes and stuff could be easily enough made. you can make huge beards our of crepe hair and use FX denture style sets for large teeth. If you wanted to go huge with the tusks you could make CG ones and add them in or just make practical latex ones. Make contact with all the Cosplay & LARP clubs, find extras, find actors, find costumes, go out and shoot in some cool places, garner support on warseer and other forums. Get the rpf guys involved : http://www.therpf.com/ … Make a kickstarter project to fund it.

- Photo realism, believability, jaw dropping backdrops and scenery, performance led acting (if you get good actors!), extremely fun making everything practically such as costume, makeup and miniature castles etc

- Mainly logistics, which is why you’d need a good producer to work through them. Need good actors, working with actors is tough trying to organise dates when they are available, and finding committed people to work with who don’t totally suck, would have to do casting sessions. Need a lot of Green Screen and space to shoot in, or awesome outdoor locations, mines, quarries, caves, but that opens up more logistic problems, need a large space if any model making is being done its logistically hard to have workshop space and space to shoot in, space and resources are really the main issue here. A workshop or barn or warehouse is really needed to house it all under one roof but that kind of thing is very rare to get especially for now money. And last of all and most importantly time, would take time to make inexpensive but high quality costumes, miniatures, makeup etc . A kickstarter project could help hire a warehouse for a month or something to build and shoot (and live and sleep in probably!)


Stop Motion
Agree on a scale, build some chaos dwarf armatures, and hobgoblin ones, someone sculpt some characters, build some miniature sets with MDF and you’re in business just animate the characters , possibly enhance with some CG for things like fire, smoke, large environments etc. Shoot very controlled lighting with very large depth of field and good lights. With 3d printing now you could possibly rapid prototype some face designs but they’d need to be sculpted by a digital sculptor first then finished off with hand painting. Laika’s work serves as a great example of whats achievable. Make a kickstarter project to fund it.

- Unique, beautiful aesthetically, never been done before, medium lends itself well to fantasy. Easy to work on continually over a long period of time as the logistics are more manageable than a live action shoot. easy to re-shoot scenes, not at the mercy of time or actors performances or actors reliability etc. Utilises model-making skills & creativity. Once stuff is made if it can be stored can be used over and over again. Use  two cameras and could be shot in stereo easily.

- Long winded process, a lot of workshop/model-making time, requires technical ability if you want to have any exciting camera moves you’d need a motion capture rig (like they built on the original star wars, or Alien, built with small motors and electronics) otherwise just shoot from a static camera which can look boring because every shot is a lock off.  


Full CG characters or CG enhancements / Live action

Mix model sets shot in miniature, digital environments & live action parts with full CG characters or CG character enhancements combining various techniques. Make a kickstarter project again to help fund it.

- If done right could be very photorealistic and gives more freedom to the director to do whatever he wants storywise, and not have to worry about the realms of whats achievable in the practical world so much, creature design, vfx all looks very impressive if done right and incorporated into the real world believably

- Extremely hard to do certain parts of cg characters, logistically without them looking like some kind of low quality computer game cinematic or 90’s pc game. Organic stuff like skin, faces, eyes, hair, teeth is incredibly complex and would take a huge amount of rendering time logistically. It is possible to do stuff , but things like close ups and realistic lip sync’ing would be almost impossible to achieve without a budget and large resources. Smaller things work better like enhancements, some digital teeth or cg eyes, or some form of lower body replacement etc
Rigid body stuff is easier too, its much easier to make a realistic Dawi Zharr helmet digitally that would hold up close up to camera than it would be to make a convincing face for example. Rigging the chainmail to move with the character would be a bit more involved (you’d have to make a cloth sim) but still easier than a full cg face with hundreds of muscles controlling it.


Full CGi or hand drawn animation
Could get a bunch of artists to work on building a Dawi Zharr full animated short film, make something beautiful, maybe incorporate different forms of animation, shadow puppetry, hand drawn, cg anim, stop mo.

- Skies the limit anything can be done, full control to the storyteller, no time limitations, no logistical problems, just takes time, talent and a good story.

- Takes a long long time and specialist animators to work on character animation, hard to find any good experienced animators who will work for free or low cost.


I’d recommend stop-motion with posable dolls alternatively and even better imho a combination of stop-motion and animation with paper cut-outs like south park.

Regardless of technique it’s about telling a story in such a quality that the viewer is drawn in rather than repelled, simplicity and making things suggestive is the way to go here, it’s low budget and imho both higher quality color or black and white “contrast” paper cut-outs is a better medium than million dollar productions with focus on effects.

A project manager with time and focus on completing the project is needed, which is no role for me. I do however volounteer translation into Khaozalid, ambient background music/sound aswell as voice-acting, however one should start with good writing. If I where you guys I’d try and bribe Thommy into making a short script approx 5-15 minutes?


Another thing to think about with voice actors is accents - if there’s going to be actors from a variety of countries, then when writing the script/character bios that will need to be taken into accout; it’s going to be odd if you have one actor with say a Texan accent, another with an Italian accent and a third with a Japanese accent with all three playing characters who were born and raised in the same place, but you could make it more bearable if one character is from Zharr-Naggrund, another from Daemons Stump, etc.


Yeah I think a language like Klingon and subtitle it or dub it over with adr or something would be nice! Thats for a director to decide though.


Yeah I think a language like Klingon and subtitle it or dub it over with adr or something would be nice! Thats for a director to decide though.

Check out the dictionary project, link in my sig ;)


If we had some animators (cgi, stopmotion, 2D) I think they should chose what they are best at. Lets see some showreels.

Unless it’s Nightmare Before Christmas quality stopmotion it will probably annoy us.

Cgi can work, but it has to be centered around masked up, fully armored dwarfs, to avoid lips, eyes, moustaches and so forth.

2D can work really good but its hard to make something serious without looking weak.

Liveaction is usually very bad at low budgets.

And if we don’t have anyone with a great pile of know how, years in the business and good contacts, the end product will probably be kinda cringe worthy.


Well thats where I kinda come in, I can help out work & family life permitting. I have a background in film, so I can supe on it or do some consulting or something, I’ve been working as a professional now for about 7 years. I don’t want to give out all my details on an internet forum but would be happy to answer any pm’s about my background.

Nice Madhatter =)


Thank you very much for the excellent description of paths open for fan movie making, iamahobgoblin, and thanks a bunch for volunteering and driving this thing! I could hardly dream we could find a single enthusiast from the industry, but now that we have you this topic deserves to be analyzed. Dînadan had some very concise points about the direction of the movie. I’m with him on those things.

MadHatter, despite being a good dictionary man, gets one thing wrong: Thommy H would have to do it for free. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

I’ve promised to try my hand at a short movie manus draft later in some weeks’ or months’ time. If nothing else it could make for a decent read, but I’ll post it here for review when it eventually gets made. With a story in hand it might even be possible to find other people with the skills required to carry this potential project. Once again, thank you iamahobgoblin!

Whilst I don’t expect any results towards such a far-fetched dream, I didn’t even expect us to have an industry man here on CDO either. Though Chaos Dwarfs are fringe Warhammer IP, it’d be a dream scenario to have a 5, 10 or 15 minutes movie like the upcoming CGI film, The Lord Inquisitor. A quarter of that quality would suffice.

I know MadHatter and Helblindi could make good Chaos Dwarf voice actors, if nothing else. If you need something sounding like a hoarse donkey with a crocodile biting on its left leg, then contact me and Yodrin. :wink:

Edit: Ah, yes. This thread belongs in the project section. Moved.


You’re welcome, :idea Agreed on all those points for sure


Just had a thought - is there anyone here who can do a variety of voices? Could be useful to help cut down on the number of voice actors and/or for background characters so that we don’t end up with all non-main dwarfs sounding alike, all non-main hobbos sounding alike, etc


As long as the story is decent you could do it with just the models you have and voice-overs. Stop-motion is so easy, even my kids can do it.


Indeed, stop motion isn’t too hard, but making nice models suitable for stop-motion, seems a different thing. I’ve zero experience in that, as I’ve only done stop motion with simple play-doh figures.

I’m up for voice acting. I can probably squeeze out two dwarf and two goblin voices or so.

CDs are basically based on babylonian cultures, right? So maybe we might be able to cover up our own accents in a thick middle-eastern accent?

Do we have any members with experience in flash animation? I’ve seen some really nice flash movies, and that can be pretty low budget at the same time. We have several artists here who could draw characters for others to animate.


On the subject of stop mo, I could point to a few examples of cool stuff. I’ve just got back from working on a stop mo movie, it was really fun…


Sadly, GW would Cease and Desist any such project immediately I suspect x.x

I use 2D and 3D animation software at work, I also work with video, audio and music production guys. In theory I could make such an animation from start to finish… if I had loads and loads of time. The amount of work (and people) required to make even a 10 minute proper animation is nuts.


I don’t know man, the Lord Inquisitor project has been ok’d by them and thats been going for years now. I think as long as it stays true to the IP and universe its ok. Could always contact them.


I don't know man, the Lord Inquisitor project has been ok'd by them and thats been going for years now. I think as long as it stays true to the IP and universe its ok. Could always contact them.

I don't think Games Workshop "ok'd" it, and I doubt they ever would. They may or may not send a cease and desist at some point, but I strongly doubt they'd "officially" allow anyone to use their IP for a fan-movie. They've (tried to) shut down fan sites before. It wouldn't surprise me one bit if they decide to send a cease and desist letter at some point.

Here's what the creator of the Lord Inquisitor project has to say about it on his website:
However, as most people of the W40k world know, it is not allowed to make movies about Warhammer 40.000 �?" but because this is all completely done in 3D (CGI), it�?Ts an animation and therefore has other legal apsects as declared on the website of Games Workshop:
�?oWe would probably not have a problem with anyone creating animations based upon our intellectual property �?" as long as there is no commercial connection to that creation. Again, please be careful of the language used and the topics discussed.�?�

Because of that I consider my project as legal and tolerated by Games Workshop, and hopefully it will stay like that until it is finished.
I think that's as good as it's going to get. You can assume things are okay and legal.
And that's not even considering the scenario where you might be fully within your rights to make a fan-made animation/movie, but GW pestering you anyway with a C&D letter and giving you a hard time.

Putting all that negativity aside: Fun idea, go for it! ;)

Vantraxx the Thrice Cursed:

I can edit/colour/master anything you need. Just PM me. As long as this is fan based and not for cash i can compile everything. This is the best community on the net and it would be a pleasure to help.