November 19, 2019

Freddie Mercury - Love Me Like There's No Tomorrow



Music video by Beth David & Esteban Bravo. Produced by Friends Electric & Woodblock. Animation by Studio Seufz.

November 10, 2019

'Into The Flame' by Sean McClintock (Hue&Cry Studios)



As Floyd sits trying to process the disappearance of his cult obsessed wife, a moth burrows his way into his ear, setting off a series of visions and the adventure of his life. Pushed over the edge and past his breaking point, he’s compelled to run headlong into the unknown.

Behind the Scenes:





Visual Development

CHARACTERS & COLOR

The best part of creating an animated piece is that we can really exaggerate the character’s proportions and push the form and color past what’s expected. That meant we could play with the proportions: small heads, long neck, skinny legs and tiny hands and feet; and have their skin colors be hot pink, which isn’t a huge departure from regular skin tones that could make them look alien, but a color that could be believable and a bit racially ambiguous.


Rose is fascinated by the Lepidoptera cult and as a dreamer of sorts, we wanted her form and especially her hair, to be fluid, organic and distinct, so even as a silhouette, her form would be instantly recognizable. In contrast, Floyd, an overworked businessman, tends to be more blocky in form because we wanted him to feel a bit serious and therefore, starts off dressed in a suit.



While it’s definitely easier to have a narrowed down color palette that’s consistent throughout the film, we wanted each scene to be colored differently based on time of day and the lighting based on the space: indoors or outdoors. It was important to us that the viewers could see the time passing by while Floyd moved throughout different scenes and really feel the vastness of the distance he was running. Color was also a tool to help distinguish Floyd’s visions from reality and help convey the feeling of the space. Floyd’s apartment uses cool, dark colors to emphasize the sadness of his wife’s disappearance. The bar scene uses a combination of violets and darker colors to convey a musty dark place where people seek a refuge from their troubles. In contrast, the outside desert scenes uses warm, washed out colors to accentuate the dusty, bright, barren desert heat.



Shooting Reference
LIVE STUDY

Live-action reference was shot in-house and was used to aid in the character animation process. This crucial step drove insight into our character’s performance. Reference provided animators with a study of the nuanced action. We use these references as a guide to help inform animators and give them a solid foundation. Building on that initial reference, we further enhanced the animations by exploring timing, spacing, overlapping, in-betweens, squash and stretch, and exaggeration. This practice is widely used in the industry, both for 2D and 3D, and dates back to the classics of animation.



Roughs to Clean Up
WORKING IN 2D

Once the animatic’s timing is locked, the character animators are provided with a set number of frames for the shot’s action to fit within. We shoot live reference as a guide to help inform overall gestures and performance nuances. Marrying the design and performance, motion arcs are roughed in and timed out to get a quick idea of how the shot will work. Once it’s feeling right, we move into tie-downs which iron out proportions and key joint placements as well as refining arcs and timing. Next step is taking a pass over the tie-downs to correct and fine tune shapes, and contour lines. In clean up, color and texture is introduced by closely referencing the design frame. The animation develops into its final form and is ready to be composited into the shot.



Building in 3D
COMPOSITING

With each design frame, there were elements that lent themselves to cel and those that needed 3D. Sometimes 3D was used for reference for cel artists to visualize how proportions change in space, especially when extreme lensing was involved. Other times 3D renders would be part of the final composite, especially when we wanted textures to stick to curved surfaces or if we wanted complex rigs such as the dynamic moth antennae. A variety of custom shading techniques were used in order to match the 2D style. Some shaders existed entirely in Cinema4D, often using luminance materials and cel shading. Others used a combination of greyscale materials, object buffers, Cineware 3D position importing, and stylized AE compositing.