Saturday, August 14, 2010

Animation Development

Development of the animation style was worked out while the other departments were still nailing down the designs of the characters and the exact story of the film. We knew who the characters were internally, so progress was made where possible.

For Harold, the boss character, we knew basically that he was short and fat and not the happiest guy in the world.

We wanted Gabe to really contrast Harold in not just every shape, but in every movement. He was taller, more awkward, energetic, and flexible.

For Dan it was important that he be really oblivious to everything so we could get away with having him pulled around so violently without him catching on.

Working with the idea that every character has things specific to how they move and stand, a generic rig (Goon) was used to explore that concept.

Being a cg film a big part of preproduction was finding a good auto rigger to use. We wanted it to be versatile enough but also something we could add controls to as needed. A quick test was done to test to get familiar with the rig

Once we had our models in place model sheets were made because we were using a joint based facial system as opposed to the typical blend shape facial set up that would keep the characters more 'on model'

Lastly, to set in place a workflow that would keep us on schedule, two tests were done to show the different steps we would take for each shot that would be both methodical but break down each shot in completable steps. We brought the film up in these levels. Once we had every shot in the film blocked out it became a process of polishing off each shot and if push came to shove we could hit spline and do a small amount of work to make the shot passable. Luckily we didn't have to do that.

Earth LooksTest from Group of Six on Vimeo.

Clouds Looks Test from Group of Six on Vimeo.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

More Art Development

Here are some more examples of ideas, colors, and imagery we played with in the early stages of pre-production.

Model Sheets

Turn-around Model-sheets for Gabe, Harold, Dan, and Lester. All by Ryan Neff.

Monday, June 21, 2010

More Visual Development

Quoted from James P. Gibson's blog:

For "No Strings Attached" (aka Lunch Breaks) we wanted to create a different look and feel between the Earth and Cloud City. The film takes place in 1936 New York, so I decided to use Edward Hopper as a jumping-off point for color. Hopper's paintings both evoke images of the proper time period, but also present an image of isolation. I thought that appropriate, because for this story Gabe - the lead - must save a life, but is left without the aid of anyone more experienced. "Office at Night" was a major influence to the interior of the Department of Human Fate building.

The Office, as well as the rest of the Cloud City, Cumulopolis, were to have a brighter, crisper, bluer look, compared with the hazy, bustling New York City below.

In addition, the aesthetic between the Cloud City and Earth was Round and Soft versus Sharp and Hard, respectively. Here we see the development of the Office from initially squarer, to having the rounded look we wanted.

And here are some more explorations of different aspects to the Office. The controllers were designed to resemble a the cross used on Marionettes, which is how the Earth people are controlled. Originally, I thought the controllers were these ancient devices that have been used for centuries, so I explored a medieval/gothic approach. We decided against them, however, because they looked too much like Greek Orthodox Crosses, and we wanted to avoid blatant religious connotations.

I wanted to be as specific as possible for Noah Bench - the lead modeler - when he created the CG versions of these objects.

Even though it was only seen in one shot, we explored what we wanted the Cloud City to look like. We like the idea of New Classical - which brings to mind the Government buildings in Washington D.C., and I explored the idea of attached Art Deco skyscrapers to them. At one point we humored the idea that the Cloud People had been wearing Togas and whatnot, but about five years prior, had gone through a major upgrade to the modern era, adding new additions to classical temples and converting to 30's attire. That idea was dropped as we moved to a more succinct story.

I eventually adopted the idea that the Department of Human Fate building was build upon a "Cloud Acropolis," much like in Athens, in the old part of the Cloud City, while a more developed Urban Cloud City had sprouted up on the other side of the cloud. To help connect with Gabe, we wanted to show that he is just like a regular person, in that Cloud people have apartments, shops, and bills to pay, just like the Earth people.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Early Character Designs

We spent a long time thinking about how this film and characters should look. We came up with a variety of ideas, styles, themes, and the like, and here are some of the designs, doodles, and studies from that early time in production. Most are by Ryan Neff, with a few by John Fielding.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Lunch Breaks Complete!

The day has finally come! "Lunch Breaks" is finished and handed in. Over the next few weeks, we'll be updating this site with the Trailer, Development Art, Stills, and other fun things while we prepare to send the film out to festivals.

In the mean time, enjoy this Production Still!