Saturday, 26 January 2019

Jericho - A Short Story about Friendship

Jericho - VFX Short Film from Matthew Wight on Vimeo.

Jericho is a short film completed by our third year undergraduate students, in which a lonely robot searches for pieces to build a mechanical friend. Congratulations to all our students for this very successful collaboration between three departments: Animation, 3D VFX, and Compositing. Directed by Sarah Andrews and Produced by Matt Wight, Jericho raises the bar for all our students at Escape Studios and shows what can be done when group projects are well-managed and resourced - just like in industry.

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.

The lizard itself, Jericho, is an original creation, modeled from scratch and textured using Substance Painter. The animators looked at lots of 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.

Director - Sarah Andrews
Story - Sarah Andrews and Aaron Hopwood
Producer- Matthew Wight
Animation Lead - Aaron Hopwood
Original music by Alexandra Harwood.
Compositing: Matt Wight
Editorial- Daniel Dutton
Sound design- Aaron Hopwood
3D Leads- Callum Walters & Piraveen Satkunam
2D Lead- Allan Dias Marques
3D Artists- Corey Birch, Ellen Menenes, Harrison Workman
2D Artists- Matthew Wight, Caitlin Twist
Animators- Sarah Andrews, Velvet Brandon, Daniel Dutton
Jericho model by Piraveen Satkunam
Robot Model by Harrison Workman
Rigging by Aaron Hopwood

VFX Project Brief
The project brief was to create a roughly one minute short film that must 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.

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
  • Mark Spevick Head of 3D at Escape Studios
  • Jonathan McFall, 3rd year VFX Tutor
Congratulations to the Jericho team on their excellent work.

You can find Jericho at the IMDB here.

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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