Thanks for your comments on the last ‘making of’ post for Origin. Here’s a look at how we’ve moved ahead with characters and locations.
Once we had finished the 2D character concepts and were happy with the overall look and feeling, it was time to get those concepts into a structured form.
These images, from character designer Barry O’Donoghue, are the first model sheet designs of the character:click on all images to enlarge
Using 2D model and gesture sheets is a great way to work out your characters’ head size, leg size, facial expressions etc before moving ahead into 3D. It’s important to troubleshoot these issues early on so the 3D artist doesn’t end up pushing and pulling in a 3D program which is a lot more time consuming then Photoshop or using a pencil.
I have also included the 3D models which were built by Lead 3D Artist Donnchadh Murphy once the model sheets were approved for 3D.
A large part of the character’s action is sprinting through the streets of Dublin, so we wanted him to have a build and gait that could show this. It was important that we kept the strong angles shown in the concept and carry this through the other character designs as much as possible.
Visual FX will be a significant part of the project but this is a character story and it is very important that our hero and rest of cast have a strong impact and appeal.
Once these models were finalised we moved into rigging and facial setup. These systems provide the animator with the controls to give life to the characters.
With so much work going into the characters we wanted to play out the film over an interesting backdrop. I wanted to capture Dublin and to try and distil it into visuals that shout out ‘Dublin’ at first glance.
I felt that building Dublin city in numerous locations as a full 3d environment was not manageable in the style I was thinking of. Here in Brown Bag we have a strong painting background and we have implemented a lot of it in production. I knew its possibilities and felt it was something we could explore. Souljacker, who are producing the film, have a strong live action background and by combining the two I felt we could be on to something. So with camera in one hand and storyboard in the other, myself and the lads from Souljacker went out and shot the camera angles and compositions that had previously been worked out in storyboarding. We shot some great stuff and got some great inspiration of the flavour of Dublin from the many shoots around the city.
Steve O’Connor (art director) had the task of working out how to get these live action images into a style and painting we were happy with. He took one of the photos and experimented with different styles. He painted out any unnecessary detail. He extracted the key components of the photo and and stylised them.
The end result has a tactile quality but is also a reduced version of the reference image. We were really happy with the results, and I could see the potential.
Using a Maya >Nuke pipeline I knew we could projection map these background on to 3d geometry and when we move or rotate the camera the 2d painting would come alive.
In my next post I will show some more paintings and some of those paintings moving in 3D. I will also show some of the character setups. Again, I’d love to know what you think so far!
Very excited to see the end result - all looks amazing..
I really love the before and after street background jpeg.. The changes are so subtle yet so effective..
Character studies are great too of course, as is the concept.. Look forward to seeing more!4 March 2011 by Matthew Griffin
I thinks its excellent! I’m a big fan of that look ever since Tekkon Kinkreet.Nice to see more of this look of animated film come out these days!4 March 2011 by Pete
Thanks a lot for the comment Mattew. I’m glad you like the artwork. Yes the differences do appear to be subtle but it’s a time consuming process to get there. Steve had to paint back the entire background into simple blocks of coloured shapes. He skewed the angles to give a more dynamic feeling. He then proceeded to paint back in the detail to the foreground. The far distance elements still retain their simple graphic shapes.4 March 2011 by James Stacey
The deer character turned out really well it reminds me of the horse in tangled who was a great character I thought.
Cant wait to see how well the 2d bgs show up when projected to 3d models4 March 2011 by Alan
Brilliant stuff james! It looks great. It’s lovely to see the behind the scenes stuff to see the progression! Looking forward to the next post!!4 March 2011 by Meadhbh
I love that painting style - Brilliant! Looking forward to seeing how the character work will sit into the BG style?5 March 2011 by doc
an excellent post. I’m wanting to do what the priests said was bad!... this is very exciting stuff, great progress but for me missing gaps on how you get from a to b- i know how, but your not showing the mistakes, the go-backs and the fixes, it’s so quick and so good, there’s gotta be mistakes and revisits and tweaks n stuff..or am i wrong? you’re so honest with your text, i’d like to see that reflected in the drawings, is that too much to request?6 March 2011 by Daithi
Thanks for all the comments.
Alan, yeah the horse in tangled was the sleeper hit in turns of character.
Doc, yeah we are working on the character shaders now so they integrate nicely. Here’s hoping :)
Yep there are lots of mistakes, headaches and re-do’s. ill try to include some of them in future posts.