Thursday, 14 May 2020

Animation Webinar: "The Making of Jerich0"

In this webinar, hosted at the official Escape Studios YouTube Channel, Escapee and animation director Sarah Andrews explains the process of making her short film Jerich0, which has been winning awards in multiple film festivals, including being short-listed for a student BAFTA.  In this 20 minute video, Sarah explores the production pipeline, how the film was made, and some of the hurdles and challenges which the team had to overcome.

About Jerich0
Multiple award-winning Jerich0
Jerich0 is a short film completed by our third year undergraduate students, in which a lonely robot searches for pieces to build a mechanical friend.

The film was a successful collaboration between three different groups of undergraduate students: Animation, 3D VFX, and 2D VFX (Compositing).

Directed by Sarah Andrews and Produced by Matt Wight, Jerich0 successfully raised the bar for all our students at Escape Studios.

Concept Art for Jerich0
Live action shoot
The live action was filmed in Producer Matt Wight's flat, which was turned into a workshop for the duration of the shoot.  The photography was supervised by Escape Studios' cinematography expert Clement Gharini.

Because the lizard would be created in CG (and therefore would not be present in the plates), the team first filmed the whole scene as a rough animatic, using a plastic lizard, to make sure that the shots were all working.

Jerich0 Team
The Team
The film was written and directed by Sarah Andrews; Aaron Hopwood was animation lead, and also contributed to the story.  The producer was Matthew Wight.

Original music was composed by Alexandra Harwood, and the film was edited by Daniel Dutton.

The 3D Leads were Callum Walters & Piraveen Satkunam; the 2D Lead (compositing) was Allan Dias Marques. The Jerich0 model was made by Piraveen Satkunam, and the robot model was made by Harrison Workman. Rigging was by Aaron Hopwood.

Alexandra Harwood
Jerich0 - a mechanical lizard
The lizard itself, Jerich0, was an original creation, modeled in Maya and textured in Substance Painter.  The animators studied live-action reference of real lizards in order to make the animation feel as believable as possible.

The production was managed using Shotgun, allowing the team to manage the many iterations of each shot, and allowing members of the team to work remotely where necessary.

VFX Pipeline
VFX Project Brief
The project brief was to create a roughly one minute short film that would include live action plates, animation, 3D and compositing. Each team would have (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.

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.

Ultimately, the team that made Jerich0 achieved a very successful result, winning prizes and also successfully entering the annual APD Animation Production Day in Stuttgart, a potential springboard into creating a successful commercial project.

Film-making Resources
For more information on making animated short films, follow the links below:
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

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