Friday Animation Fun: iPhone – Diorama
The quality of this CG animation is so good, we wouldn’t be surprised if Apple actually used this as a bona fide advert in the future. Find out how 3D artist Michael Ko used Maya, After Effects, V-Ray, PFTrack and Photoshop to create this awesome short
It’s difficult to believe that this animation is an assignment for Michael Ko’s advanced 3D class at Otis college of Art and Design, because it is an absolute belter of an advert.
In fact, the quality of the rendering in this animation is so good that if Ko didn’t say it was created with CG, one might assume he had built the set by hand.
We caught up with the 3D artist to ask him how he created the cute animation. Check out the film and then read his story below.
Watch Michael Ko’s iPhone – Diorama
“The initial assignment/idea was to create three still shots using a diorama of any kind,” Ko says. “I’ve always wanted to create a miniature city using any sort of medium. So I thought it would be a great opportunity to build a miniature city using 3D software.”
“From there, I researched digital artists, magazines and web blogs to develop my miniature concept.”
Through this research, Ko found loads of inspirational phone commercials created using 3D software, and he discovered that the iPhone was the most popular phone out of them all, and that’s when he decided to use the iPhone for the animation.
He looked to projects done by Yum Yum and Vinicious Coasta for inspiration. “I’ve always loved Yum Yum’s cute models and cheerful colours in his projects. So I tried to practice using his colour palettes and styles with my project,” says Ko.
“For animation in particular, one of the projects done by Vinicious Coasta, Zune, shows holographic buildings/environment popping up on top of a phone. This really caught my eye, so I thought it would be fun to try them out on my project.”
Building the diorama
Maya 2012 was the main software used on the project. “I started out with getting the concept through research, laying out the shots to find angles to match the storyboard, and modelling the phone with orthographic view of an iPhone 4s.”
iPhone - Diorama offers a glimpse at what the future may hold for iPhone technology. We think the animation here is so good it could be picked up by Apple and used in future 3D iPhone campaigns
“Then, before I proceeded to the next step in Maya, I asked my friend to shoot the footages based on my storyboard and the HDR for lighting purposes,” Ko continues.
“The next task was to track the footage using PFTrack. After I tracked the footage, I continued to model buildings, cars, and other props.”
Ko kept the buildings and props low in polycount to make it easier to layout the UVs and textures.
“I laid out UVs in Maya in a way I can cover one entire building with single file for efficiency,” he says. “All the textures were created in Photoshop with the combination of solid colors with overlaid color paper textures.”
After a week researching and developing the ways he could animate based on his storyboard, Ko decided to manually animate every object in the scene.
“I thought it would be most efficient because that way I’d have total control over timing,” he says.
The whole animation process took about a week to finish. “After animation, I used an HDR image for the base light and two V-Ray rectangular lights to light the scene,” Ko explains.
Ko says that the most interesting shot was the beginning establishing shot. “I usually put all my effort into the first shot to grab the attention of the audience,” Ko says. “After I finished comping the first establishing shot, I showed people to judge if the shot felt complete. The biggest moment was when my instructor didn’t notice that the iphone was CG.”
It’s a good point. We hadn’t really thought about that either! Check out the fine details and reflections of the pastel-coloured buildings by clicking on the images in this post.
Many thanks to Michael Ko for granting us this interview. We hope to see more from this talented artist in the future.
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on Friday, June 8th, 2012 at 11:56 am under Shorts, Showcase.
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Tags: 3D animated short, 3D animation, CG animated short, CG animation, Friday Animation Fun, graduation animation, iPhone - Diorama, student