Friday Animation Fun: Waking Gus
Find out how this comedic animated short about a guy with a passion for working nine-til-five was created using a combination of Maya, Nuke and Mental Ray. Watch the short here too
Waking Gus is a surreal comedy that plays with the idea of dreams. The film opens with the main character, Gus, happily going through his normal morning routine before he heads off to his office job. However, as he walks through the front door his day turns out to be anything but normal.
The short animation was created as an entry to the Team Video category of the CG Society XXVI Dreamscape challenge by Paul Capon, Mack Carruthers, Die Gaztelumendi and Mark Rodziewicz. “We were all working at Guru Studio in various roles when the CG Society Dreamscape challenge began,” says Capon.
“Mack and I had tried unsuccessfully to enter their previous espionage themed competition. So, knowing where we had gone wrong previously, assembling a team of folks with various complimentary talents was top priority.
“We knew that with the number of people on our team and the amount of time available to us, we needed to streamline the story as much as possible. One or two characters at most, simple sets and a plot, in this case a dream, that almost all of our viewers could relate to.”
Personal experience led the team to the final concept for the film. “Who hasn’t dreamt of falling at some point in their lives?” Capon says. “As someone who isn’t exactly keen on heights, it’s certainly something that haunts my dreams on occasion.
“When I first thought about it, I realised how perfect it was. It had everything we were looking for, really simple sets, one character, two if you include the rubber duck, and not render intensive. The basic idea was there, but the team and Mack in particular, fleshed out the idea and really helped give the short it’s bizarre sense of humour. “
With the film’s narrative decided, the team started building assets using Maya as their primary 3D application. “Everyone in the group knew it well,” says Rodziewics. During production, the team’s biggest challenge was the sheer amount of hurdles they encountered and the time frame they had to sort them.
“The greatest technical challenge was the amount of technical issues we had to solve,” Rodziewics explains. “Our first pass of renders revealed many errors, glitches and artifacts. There were some bad UV’s, flipped face normals, bad name-spaces/references, Gimbal issues, flickering, the list went on.
“Some of the problems were easy to solve, some not so much. But solutions were found in the forums and rendering artifacts were explained in Boaz Livny’s book “Mental Ray for Maya, 3ds Max and XSI”.
The time taken to overcome these issues meant reprecussions further down the pipeline. “About 2 days remaining into the challenge, it was realized that only one workstation would not be sufficient to render the remaining frames in time for the contest deadline,” says Rodziewics.
“Instead, we gave the rendering task to a web-based rendering service which saved us. We were able to make the submission deadline with only a few hours to spare.”
Having now finished the film and although time was a constant problem, the team are happy with the final short.
“The tight time constraints of the project didn’t allow us to polish the animation as much as we would have liked, but we can safely say we’re thrilled and fulfilled with the end result!” Carruthers comments. “Working together as a team, each of us putting our all into the creative process was a truly special experience.”
Like this short? Check out the selection of other awesome animations on our showcase page
on Friday, April 6th, 2012 at 3:30 pm under Shorts, Showcase.
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Tags: 3D animated short, 3D animation, Animated short, Maya, Waking Gus