New animation short: Princess of the Magical Tears
Watch this funny CG animated short and read how director Brian Carter created it using Maya, After Effects, ZBrush, Mudbox and Photoshop…
New comedic short Princess of the Magical Tears is a welcome break from the classic fairytale ending. The short film is the product of director Brian Carter, who created it during his fourth year at the California Institute of the Arts. Carter came up with idea and his clever twist after seeing Tangled where Rapunzel does indeed breathe life into her man with her tears…
Once Carter had the plot sorted, the character design could begin. “I’d seen and really enjoyed [Swedish animation studio] Meindbender’s shorts and knew I wanted my characters to have a goofy and oddball quality,” says Carter. He spent much time developing and refining his characters and called on the big guns to bring the characters and narrative to life – using the toolsets of Maya, After Effects, ZBrush, Mudbox and Photoshop.
- Read more about the specific software by clinking on the links above
It was a tool used to automate the rigging process that Carter found to be the most valuable. “The AdvancedSkeleton auto-rigger (a downloadable script for Maya) was extremely useful to me,” he explains. “It comes with a lot of great functionality for a character rig – for example, being able to create quadrupeds as well as custom and non-standard rigs. And, best of all, it’s free!” So Carter put the tool to good use. “I used it on all my characters (except for the facial controls, which I did from scratch) and I was able to have them all pretty much rigged in about a month,” he says.
Although the short features many shots with intricate effects, it was the crowd scene in particular that required the combined powers of his chosen software. “The whole thing was created in separate pieces and then composited back together in After Effects. The background with the buildings and mountains was a painting done in Photoshop, which was projected onto simple geometry like boxes and cylinders in Maya and baked to their texture.”
Cry me a river
The tear-falling sequence also presented a series of challenges to the director. “The tear was rigged with a basic joint chain and animated in a very straight fashion down the face – pointing the tail of the tear in a way that looked natural and using blend shapes to make it feel like it was sticking to the skin a little,” he explains.
To make it even more believable, the director gave it some wind resistance, which he achieved using non-linear deformers within Maya. The tear effect was finally perfected in composition. “I used the Turbulent displacement effect in After Effects to give the splash of the tear a little more randomness and the Timewarp effect to morph it together more seamlessly,” explains Carter.
Watch Princess of the Magical Tears
After eight months in production, Carter is happy with the final product and the lessons learned from making his own film. Find out in more detail about Carter’s production process in the current issue of 3D World.
on Thursday, July 19th, 2012 at 1:28 pm under Shorts, Showcase.
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Tags: Animated short, Animation, cg short, Princess of the Magical Tears