Friday Animation Fun: Temps Mort
Watch this short black comedy animation about the Reaper’s attempts at claiming a soul and find out how it was created using Maya, Mental Ray, Fusion and Photoshop
Temps Mort (English title: Time Out) tells the tale of a young man, Ethan, who is electrocuted as he assists his elderly neighbour Mrs Bompas. The Reaper comes to claim his soul but will Mrs Bompas let him succeed?
The short was created by three students – Micael Lima Barbosa, Laura Sabourdy, Paul D’Herbemont – of the ESMA School of Arts in Toulouse, France. The concept for the story first came about when they were brainstorming ideas in their second year of study.
“I pitched an idea about a young man who can’t die because Death is stuck with an old lady in her house,” says Lima Barbosa. “The team liked this idea and so we developed it. In the first version of the plot, Ethan had to wake up and die again and again while the reaper was at the apartment. We showed our teachers and subsequently decided to focus on what happens in the apartment with Mrs Bompas.”
The killer look
It was at the beginning of the team’s third year of study that they began to work on storyboarding and character design. “We compared our visions of Death and a professional killer and found many similarities,” says Lima Barbosa. “Calm, both keep cool in any situation, methodical, precise and they kill upon receiving a contract.”
The team drew inspiration from black comedies such as Jonathan Lynn’s Wild Target and Edouard Molinaro L’emmerdeur (English title: A Pain in the …), both of which feature professionals killers who get in trouble when their routine doesn’t go to plan.
The Reaper’s design was also influenced by a German fashion designer. “Yes, I admit he looks like Karl Lagerfeld,” Lima Barbosa laughs. “When we talked about the black suit, mittens, class and an imposing presence that would convey the Reaper, we thought Lagerfeld would be the perfect example.”
When designing Mrs Bompas, the team had to think of a complete contrast. “She’s like granny in Tweety & Sylvester,” says Lima Barbosa. “We wanted a grandma with great spirit: joyful, charming, lovable, myopic and most importantly, one who never stops talking.”
Find out how the loveable Mrs Bompas irritates and frustrates the Reaper so much that his contract killing has to be put on hold...
To create the film, the team turned to the powers of Maya and Mental Ray for modelling, lighting, animation and rendering. They had an extremely strict pipeline in place for the animation process. “We had a very detailed plan for each shot with how many days we had to spend on each,” explains D’Herbemont. “The difficulty of the shot was a big help to determine the estimated time. Each week, we had a review with teachers, and other students and, thanks to our pipeline, we’ve were able to release the film on time.”
During production, the team encountered some difficulties, with the biggest technical challenge being the number of props in Mrs Bompas’s apartment. “I think we had over 200 single props, which was still not enough,” D’Herbemont says. “We had over 270,000 polygons and as we were using global illumination to light the apartment we were scared about the render time.
“We decided to render the characters separately from the backgrounds. Thanks to the minimal camera motion we had, most of the time we rendered only one background frame, and then we rendered all frames of the characters which didn’t take too long. Thanks to that we saved render time and could release the film on time.”
Watch Temps Mort
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on Friday, February 24th, 2012 at 1:56 pm under Shorts, Showcase.
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Tags: 3D animated short, 3D animation, Animated short, black comedy, ESMA student animations, student 3D animation, Temps Mort animation