“Goodbye at the End of the World” Process Blog

The music video for “Goodbye at the End of the World” was a pretty major undertaking for me. It is a four-plus minute, computer animated music video about an alien invasion and a couple whose relationship is on the rocks, but who try to save the world. It was written, designed, animated, and rendered by me alone. I had never done anything like it before, so I wanted to run down the process behind the video and tip my hat to the individuals and sites that helped me eventually get the thing across the finish line.

When I set out, what I wanted to do was tell a story that allowed me to pay homage to the sci-fi, classic horror, and cult films that I love, and that have been a front-and-center influence on the band’s music. Initially, I had the notion that I might actually hand-draw a video in an attempt at something like the UPA style of animation that defines the look of 1950s animation for me. I figured it was contemporary with the great 50s sci-fi films, and it would feel like a natural fit.

I went away to a cabin in the mountains to watch old movies, drink beer in a styrofoam cup, and write the script

I went away to a cabin in the mountains to watch old movies, drink beer in a styrofoam cup, and write the script

Thing is, I’m a terrible draftsman, and I wasn’t able to even design characters that I liked. There was certainly no way I’d be able to hand-draw the thing. I have experience in motion graphics and a little bit of experience in 3D modeling programs, although never really with anything much more ambitious than flying text. I was able to design a pair of characters and some alien vehicles that I could live with, and then set to work trying to model them.

Concept Sketches

Concept sketches for the two characters and the alien walker

The modeling and animation were done in Cinema 4D. I had the help of Josh Johnson when it came to rigging the humans, because my first attempts at that were so disastrous that I knew I’d never get there in the time I had. I relied heavily on C4D Cafe for tutorials and insights available in their message boards. I watched a ton of videos on Vimeo (many from Greyscale Gorilla and EJ Hassenfratz) to learn about rigging, toon shading, and more.

The characters, aliens, some of the buildings, the streets, a number of props, and the interiors I mostly built from scratch. For the rest, I used some of the models that came in Cinema 4D, as well as models available at Turbosquid and Archive 3D, to which I usually made some kind of changes. I don’t feel too bad about using canned models, since I was working on my own and simply did not have the time to model everything from scratch.

I cannot thank the artists who made tutorial videos and contributed to these sites enough. I simply never would have been able to do this without their generosity.

Once all the sets and rigs were completed, I just got to animating. The entire project start-to-finish took about three months of late nights, usually starting work about 10 pm and wrapping up between 1 and 3 am. And then up again at 7 to go to work.

The finished video has over a dozen references to films and writers hidden (mostly) throughout. I think the video rewards careful viewing for that reason, and also because, particularly inside the museum, there are some set-dressing elements that help fill in the backstory to the aliens and why all of these events are happening in the first place.

Museum Kane Shot_0087

A still from inside the museum. Notice the crashed flying saucer on display. Keen-eyed viewers will notice a number of other things hidden in this shot, as well.

I’m quite proud of the finished video. Its technical shortcomings are certainly evident, but for a one-person production, I think that all-in-all, I punched well above my weight. I’m proud of it as a piece of storytelling, and for the fact that somehow, I feel like the characters came out empathetically.

Goodbye at the End Script

I had two of the walkers 3D printed at Shapeways. Because.

I had two of the walkers 3D printed at Shapeways. Because.

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If I Fell


You took my hand, took me under your wing
So smart, so funny, so perfect at everything
All I thought I could never be
Try to live up to what you see in me

But sometimes the climb’s so steep
The clouds shroud a peak out of reach

If I fell
Would you save me
Or close my memory in a file
Buried under lock and key?

I’m not blind, naive, or innocent
I’m not the first to think you’re heaven sent
But yesterday means nothing to me
It’s left its scars and set us free

But some nights the light’s so weak
The next step ahead so hard to see

If I fell
Would you save me
Or close my memory in a file
Buried under lock and key
And if I fell
Would you catch me
Or just write beside my name
“What might have been…”?

A heart alone too long
Don’t know what it can and can’t believe
If your love, your love was just a dream
Then let me sleep, let me sleep

If I fell
Would you wake me
And tell me it’s all right
I’ve got you, baby?

I’ve got you
I’ve got you, baby

Autumn Waltz


And it’s hard to remember these days
The way it all held me in
The thrill of skin on skin

And it’s hard to recall the way
Time could move so slow
In your arms that long ago

And I wish I could fall in love
Like I did once before
But my heart it don’t beat the same
My heart, it don’t beat the same
…anymore

And you said love was a mystery
Hearts and hopes, they change
Just leaves on an autumn day

I know it’s all history
Memories to shut away
No point in trying to explain

That I wish I could fall in love
Like I did once before
But my heart, it don’t beat the same
My heart, it don’t beat the same
…anymore