Animation: The Artists
Find out how 3D animation The Artists was created using 3ds Max, Photoshop, Flash, After Effects and Premier as Sean Mullen, director of Giant Creative, shares the inside story. Watch the short here too
The Artists tells the story of two painters who fail to see the bigger picture as they constantly try to out-do each other. The short was created by Sean Mullen, director at the recently formed Irish animation studio Giant Creative. “The plot was first laid out in 2008 while I was studying at the Irish School of Animation in Ballyfermot, Dublin,” Mullen explains. “I was having trouble choosing an idea for my final year project and, after taking the advice of my tutors, decided to go with the simple idea of two artists quarrelling.”
With his concept in mind, Mullen set about designing the film’s sets and characters. “I drew inspiration from the simple soft colours in TV series Pocoyo and the work of Dutch illustrator Jelle Gijsberts,” he says. “Also, Studio Soi’s Engel Zu Fuss was very inspiring in terms of lighting.”
Being a final year project, Mullen was responsible for almost every aspect of the project, from the initial idea right through to compositing. To fully achieve the three minute short, the director chose the combined tools of 3ds Max, Photoshop, Flash, After Effects and Premier. “3ds Max was undoubtedly the most useful piece of software on this project as the majority of the work was done using it,” Mullen says. “But I found Flash extremely useful in creating my animatic, which really helped me nail down the timing of the film very early on.
The film’s characters aren’t the only ones who had issues with paint. “The biggest technical challenge was trying to create 3D paint,” Mullen explains. “I didn’t have the luxury of being able to use RealFlow or any other high-end fluid simulation packages so I had to improvise using a mixture of lighting cheats, shaders and composition.”
Mullen also used such techniques to create one of the final shots, which shows the artists’ canvases together with the sun painted over them. “I wasn’t sure how I would achieve this shot initially but through a mixture of compositing cheats and painting over renders I managed to get the look I wanted,” he says.
Although pleased with the final result, the director would have like to have been more organised during the film’s production. “The project took two-and-a-half months from start to finish,” says Mullen. “I’m happy enough with the finished product, although I feel the standard of the animation fell dramatically due to scheduling problems on my behalf. I would have liked to have spent as much time animating as I had developing the look of the film, but I had very little time left.”
The experience of creating his own film clearly didn’t put Mullen off his chosen vocation. “I now run a small animation studio with fellow graduates of the ISA called Giant Creative,” he says. “We’re working on a number of exciting campaigns for various ad agencies in Dublin and officially launched the studio just a few days ago at the end of January.”
If you liked this short, why not check out another Giant Creative production – The Last Train
on Friday, February 3rd, 2012 at 2:27 pm under Shorts, Showcase.
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Tags: 3D animated short, 3D animation, 3d short, 3ds Max, After Effects, Animated short, flash, Giant Creative, Photoshop, Premier, Sean Mullen, The Artists