I had no idea how 3D animation films were made before coming to Vancouver, but I had always been curious. My background being entirely in 2D (as I’d used to work in the graphic design field back home) and I have to admit it, the 3D world scared me a lot! It was introduced to me more than 5 years ago with a 3D software program only used by engineers and architects. Not very friendly for artists at all. But that was fine, I still wanted to learn and create my 3D short film. So I quit my job and started a new adventure in VFS. In the end, I think so far this is the best year of my life.
Story & Concept
At the beginning of the year (June 2014), I had no idea how a pipeline in this industry worked. So, the first term in VFS we learned about the software and how everything works in a real production. Imagine my surprise when I found out that I had to choose between Modeling, Animation or Visual Effects. It was a tough decision because as much as I loved Animation I didn’t have any idea what to create for my demo reel, on the other hand, I liked Modeling and had a couple of ideas. It was a battle between my heart and my head. Anyway, as you can imagine my heart won.
The problem being that I now had only 12 hours left to submit my three ideas / characters. I needed to pitch in front of the mentors the next day and I was drawing a blank. So I started going through all the amazing concept art, websites, Pinterest and Deviantart and looking at great character designs and 2 of them caught my attention:
The first one, was a retired sailor. I named him Bert, trying to catch a fish for a competition but this little octopus is the only thing he caught. On the left side are some of the images I used as inspiration for how I wanted him to look.
This is Liv, she loves the adventure and all she wants to do is save money so she can travel to all of the gorgeous places around the world. She works in a coffee shop and has a tip jar so anyone can contribute.
But I was still missing one character! My friends who already knew I love food and the movie Ratatouille, suggested for me to pitch a chef. So I started gathering all the reference images but I couldn’t find the perfect character. I wanted him to look like Linguini from Ratatouille, Robert from 101 Dalmatians and George from Paperman. So in a desperate moment in the midst of term 2, Luisa Abuchaibe, a talented friend from Colombia, helped me to create this character.
Oli, a pizza guy who doesn’t have customers. But be careful what you wish for.
The mentors liked all of them, they suggested me not to go for the octopus (as is very difficult to animate and I didn’t know how do animation yet) and they also told me using large and landscape environments was throwing myself into the unknown. Obviously, we all know which one I choose.
Now the problem was the story. So many questions to answer. What is going to happen? Why is he all alone in the kitchen? What is he going to cook? How is going to end? I started talking with a lot of people and doodling around and this was pretty much my first draft:
Now that my demo reel is done, I can safely say it is pretty much the same story. But at this point, I had no idea of how I could end it. So the 3D work began! And Oli and Oli’s kitchen started to take shape. Myriam Casper, this wonderful photographer, help me with my cameras so everything looks better!
Modeling & Texturing
I had managed to model and texture most of Oli’s kitchen. I really enjoyed doing it, because as I explained before, I liked modelling too! Although there is a point in the life of animators where you have to say “this is enough!” and start animating your shots.
Thanks again to Luisa Abuchaibe for her help with the modeling of the stove, fridge, jars and bulbs!
“Animation is hard!” is what every VFS student, after choosing the Animation Stream says (including me). I’m not going to lie, at one point I didn’t want to animate bipeds anymore! After I had my first quadrupeds class I fell crazy in love with it. So all I wanted to do was this little doggie.
But Oli was still waiting for me, and there were more pizzas to make. I’m lucky that in my class everyone was CRAZY BRILLIANT and I got a lot of help from my friends and especially one of them who helped me with some of the references! I owe him a lot, he literally broke a toe for Oli, Fernao Morato, I call him Fernoli.
In terms of animation I couldn’t have made it without my night mentor Wesley Chandler, an amazing animator who came every thursday and push us to our limits. Also, my friend Juaner Franzius another great animator helped me a lot with the facial expressions and understanding movements. And last but not least, Petar Tsonev gave me a hand dealing with dynamics.
A “thank you” would never be enough!
For the compositing work, luckily I had my friend Daniela Gómez B. it looks great thanks to her! After a loooooooot of passes, she put everything together, color corrected it and done! (Look at this awesome fire she comp’d together).
Thank you for reading and enjoy the pizza!