Friday Animation Fun: For the Remainder
Find out how this atmospheric, painterly animated short was created using Maya, Photoshop and After Effects. Watch the film here too
For the Remainder depicts the last moments of a house cat who bids farewell to its home before leaving to perish. The short was a graduation project created by Omer Ben David while studying at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem, Israel. Ben David first began working on the plot in November last year.
“I was dwelling on a concept of a cat that leaves his house and searches for his final resting place for some time before then,” he says. “I pondered on that notion since hearing the rumour that old cats sometime leave their home to die somewhere else unseen by their beloved ones or enemies. I felt that this essence of a story is very poetic and thus should be treated as a song rather than a narrative.”
After developing the main plot, the director carefully considered the importance of the film’s characters and what role each would play.
“From the beginning, the story was about a cat and a house,” Ben David explains. “The cat’s owner was also a main character but I wasn’t sure if he would be performing or his presence just suggested. The spider came somewhat in the middle of the storyboarding stage, when I was searching for a death motif to allow the cat to deal with.”
“I was greatly inspired by sketches and calligraphy, and some colour blocking when searching for the look of the characters. I figured the house, as a character, should be mostly colour blocked while the cat should be wired so they were in contrast.”
Creating perfect brush strokes
The film’s unique style was inspired by a number of sources. “I was very moved by a series of paintings by Lukasz Pazera called Postcards from the Zone and his brilliant Dog of Zone, which I figured would be awesome animated,” Ben David says.
While researching, the director also watched Andrei Tarkovsky’s film Stalker. “I thought it to be the exact poem-like atmosphere I was searching for both visually and musically. I love the ambiance and slow rhythm,” he says. “I was also greatly inspired by color block paintings such as Gerhard Mozsi’s, and the dreamy feel and pace in animated films such as Tekkonkinkreet or Ghost in the Shell which I adore.”
One of the film’s main influences was a series of paintings by Lukasz Pazera called Postcards from the Zone. You can see similarities in tone and style between them and For the Remainder
Ben David’s extensive research and inspirations helped him to develop the unique painterly style of the film. In order to achieve this in 3D, he turned to the powerful tools of Maya.
“This software was vital to production,” he explains. “It was an inherent rendering method that got the look for my characters and objects, combined with the overlapping textures on the sets. Photoshop was of course crucial for painting the textures, but Maya allowed me to rig and control almost everything I needed.”
The film’s style, however, also presented some technical challenges. “The whole sketchiness and painterly look was the biggest technical issue,” says Ben David. “I did a lot of research about NPR (non photo realistic) rendering before developing the technique for creating it, and it was pretty much an experiment throughout the entire process. I didn’t have a clear point of reference on a technical level on how to achieve this look, and so I did a lot of testing until I reached a certain point where I knew that the composited render would satisfy me.”
Despite extensive research and testing, Ben David managed to complete the film within a fairly short time period. “It took me around nine months to finish the short,” he says. “I did some touch-ups, on and off, for a few months afterwards as I was not completely happy with some renders and I’ve worked some more on mastering the soundtrack with Onili. I’m very pleased with the final result. Both on the aesthetics and the feel of it.”
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on Friday, March 16th, 2012 at 3:30 pm under Shorts, Showcase.
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Tags: 3D animated short, 3D animation, 3D software, After Effects, Animated short, animation software, For the Remainder, Maya, Omer Ben David, Photoshop