Friday Animation Fun | Buey de Piraña
Check this colourful CG animation that offers some smile-inducing home truths about the world of advertising and find out how Chilean-based studio Leyenda created it…
In December 2011, Leyenda’s CEO and General Director, Juan Paulo Mardónez, was invited to present a masterclass in a new animation festival in Chile – Chilemonos.
“To make things more interesting and challenging I proposed to the organisers that we could create a script contest for advertising creative professionals, and the winning idea would be animated by us and presented as a case of study in the masterclass,” says Mardónez.
Out of this novel idea Buey de Piraña was born…
Watch Buey de Piraña
The winning script was the one that had the best potential to be animated: In Buey de Piraña the main character (a creative guy) is depicted presenting an idea to a client. Since there’s lot of exaggeration it suited the brief the best.
“The first decision we took was removing dialogue,” explains Mardónez, “which was pretty good by the way, and replacing it with acting.”
“The second decision was to get into the main character’s mind and show his idea from his point of view as he was the leading character of the commercial he was selling. All of this needed a strong stylistic platform to be developed.”
Leyenda was inspired by the legendary UPA Animation Studio and Jim Flora, best-known for his wild jazz and classical album covers for Columbia Records (late 1940s) and RCA Victor (1950s).
Leyenda was inspired by the artist Jim Flora, best-known for his wild jazz and classical album covers for Columbia Records (late 1940s) and RCA Victor (1950s)
Once the script had been chosen, everything was prevized with pencil and paper.
Leyenda used Maya and modo for the modelling and UV layout, Mudbox and ZBrush for texturing, Maya for animation and Mental Ray for rendering. The backgrounds were created using Photoshop and After Effects was used for compositing and effects. The editing was done in Final Cut Pro.
Mardónez says that the combination of software and methodology made the film successful.
“Maya is our main animation software; we’ve used it since version 1.0, so we really know how to handle it. The method was to animate pose to pose with step keyframes to evaluate basic timing and posing.”
“Later our animators went into the Graph Editor to tweak the animation curves and polish everything. We were after a different style of animation than usual so this method turned out really well.”
After Effects was also particularly useful as it made compositing easy: “We took the background styleframes we had and simply composed 3D animation on top of them.”
Freeform modelling and useful scripts
The studio wanted to create original characters, both in terms of form and behaviour, and Mardónez thinks that modo was instrumental in allowing them to model freely: “It’s great with organic forms,” he says.
They also changed the way in which they rig for this animation. “We always create rigs with curve controls over the character, so animators they tumble around the character, select controls and keyframe,” he says. “But one animator created external interfaces with all the controls in them so they saved lots of time searching controls and clicking them. This may sound like nothing important, but I’m pretty sure we saved hours of work with that little script.”
The team had to rework some rigging as they didn’t plan enough about 3D deformations, but the simplicity of the characters meant that this was a fairly easy task. “Since our characters were very low geometry, it was easy to correct. Of course working with referenced rigs was a big help!” admits Mardónez.
“The festival was a great success,” Mardónez concludes. “And now we want to expand the contest to the world and do it once a year. We believe there’s lots of guys with creative minds wanting to see their ideas animated, so this should be a great opportunity for them and for us too.”
See more great work from Leyenda at its website
on Friday, June 1st, 2012 at 4:24 pm under Shorts, Showcase.
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Tags: 3D animation, Animated short, cg short, Friday Animation Fun