Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Home Sweet Home - A Sweet Story

Home Sweet Home from Maria Robertson on Vimeo.

Home Sweet Home is a short film about friendship and family, in which a group of discarded sweets must try to get back to their sweet shop home. Directed by 3rd year undergraduate animator Maria Robertson, co-directed by Harry Pearson and produced by Maddison Gould, this film was a collaboration between three departments: Animation, 3D VFX, and Compositing. Working in a team, our students pulled together to deliver a strong piece of work, showing what can be done when students collaborate successfully on group projects.

Home Sweet Home
VFX Project Brief
The project brief was to create a roughly one minute short film that should include live action plates, animation, 3D and compositing.

Each team included (roughly) three animators, the same number of 3D artists (of various roles) and three 2D artists. So, about 10 artists in total.

Each team would film on-set for around four hours: plates & data acquisition with our DOP, Clement Gharini. The teams were given the choice of modeling and rigging their characters, or sourcing their assets online. Some restrictions were imposed: such as no fur or chroma keying.

Home Sweet Home
The character rigs that the team used were adapted from an existing rig, sourced online, which was then adapted to create the different sweeties.  The textures were created in Mari, and then exported to Maya.

Principal photography was done in Hampstead, using Black Magic 4K digital cameras. Some of the challenges of filming included getting permission from Camden Council (applications can take time to process) and how to get the camera down to ground level, where the sweets were. Cameras are big and bulky, and the sweets are very, very small.  And, of course, once your shoot is finished, you'd better be sure you got all the shots you need, because it's a lot of work to go back and do it all again.

Home Sweet Home
The animation department had to find the characters within the sweets. How would they walk and move? What would their different personalities be? All the characters were given names, such as "Cola" and "Marshmallow" and each had individual personalities. The animators used Syncsketch to give and receive notes on their shots.
Compositing was done in Nuke, shot tracking was done in Shotgun.

Foley was created outside, in a quiet street.  Not the easiest place to record audio, but "it's hard to find a quiet space in London".

Challenges of group projects
Team projects inevitably face many challenges. These include communications, limited access to the  render farm, proper organisation of files in the pipeline, learning Arnold, and implementing & learning new software - ShotGun.

Project supervisors
The project was overseen by our 3rd year tutors:
  • Davi Stein, Head of 2D at Escape Studios
  • Michael Davies, 3rd year Animation Tutor
  • Jonathan McFall, 3rd year VFX Tutor
  • Mark Spevick, Head of 3D
Credits in Full
  • Director - Maria Robertson
  • Assistant Director - Harry Pearson
  • Writer – Harry Pearson
  • Producer - Maddison Gould
  • Storyboards – Maria Robertson
  • Lead Animator - Harry Pearson 
  • Lead 3D Artist - Raphael Kennedy
  • Lead 2D Artist - Mitchell Searle
  • Actor – Jack Neale 
  • Music & Sound Mix – Harry Pearson
From left: Maddison Gould, Maria Robertson, Harry Pearson at the BAFF
  • Maddison Gould
  • Maria Robertson
  • Emily Lim Sarrias
  • Katerina Zacharakis
3D Artists
  • James Cooper
  • Mike Holder
  • Louise Kalyango
  • Shannon Martin
2D Compositing Artists
  • Bedos Mavanubu
  • Jack Neale
Concept Art
  • James Cooper
  • Mike Holder
  • Louise Kalyango
  • Maria Robertson
  • James Cooper
  • Louise Kalyango
  • Shannon Martin
  • James Cooper
  • Mike Holder
  • Shannon Martin
  • Louise Kalyango
  • Maddison Gould
  • Harry Pearson
Matchmove Artists
  • Raphael Kennedy
  • Shannon Martin
Lighting – Harry Pearson
Render TD – Mitchell Searle
End Credits – Maria Robertson

To see Home Sweet Home in Full
The full film is hosted at Vimeo.

Home Sweet Home at IMDB
To find Home Sweet Home at the IMDB, follow this link.

Other Student Work
To see more work done by our third year undergraduates, check out "Jericho", another studio project combining the talents of the animation, VFX and 2D compositing departments.

The Escape Studios Animation Blog offers a personal view on the art of animation and visual effects. To apply for our BA/MArt in 3D Animation, follow this link.  To apply for our storyboarding evening class, visit this page here.  For the next 12 week animation course, click here. And to apply for the next evening class in Producing Animation, see this page.

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