Animated Short in Pre-Production

This is a style frame for the first scene. The biplane is an image from wikimedia commons. I drew the shed in Photoshop.

I currently working on the pre-production for an animated short film. I’m finishing my storyboards and splicing them together into a story reel with temp music and sound effects. I’ve also made some style frames to get an idea of how the lighting will look for different scenes.

I’ve also been spending a lot of time learning more about Cinema 4D, which is the animation software I’m using on the film. Modeling on the main character is going well and I’ve also begun laying out the UVs for him (UVs are coordinates on a 2d plane, just like in the cartesian coordinate system. They’re used to wrap 2d textures around 3d objects). He’s a WWI biplane, a Sopwith Camel to be precise.

Finding the right look for stylized clouds has been a little tough, and required some work arounds. I may post a tutorial about that later. For now I’m mostly utilizing the techniques found in this tutorial to create clouds:

Below are some more images from the pre-production process on this film.

A test render of clouds. For those of you who are into C4D the clouds are made of particle emitters shaded with a pyrocluster.

A style frame made in Illustrator. Inspired by the color script from the Disney/Pixar film Up. The color script from Up can be viewed here: frame from the story reel. Very rough but with motion it’s enough to see if the story is working and figure out rough timing.


Best Books for Aspiring Filmmakers – Part 1

I love reading great books, especially ones about film and video production. This is the first in a small series of posts about my personal favorites. Each post will list a number of books from a different category.

General Production Books

Outside Hollywood

Isaac Botkin has written the definitive book for aspiring Christian filmmakers. This challenging and thought provoking look at using the medium of film to glorify God is certainly a must read.

The DV Rebel’s Guide

Stu Maschwitz’s book about “An All Digital Approach to Making Killer Action Movies on the Cheap”. Filled with loads of helpful information about practical effects, shooting, color correction, and visual effects. The book even comes with materials such as Adobe After Effects scripts and extra chapters on the included DVD.

Me, Myself, and Bob, by Phil Vischer

The story of the creator of VeggieTales is tough to put down, (I read it in under twenty-four hours). If you’re not familiar with the history of VeggieTales it’s a somewhat sad story but has a profound ending. The lessons Phil Vischer learned and the mistakes he made are ones every aspiring filmmaker should pay very careful attention to. I enjoyed Phil Vischer’s writing style and the fun little episodes from his life so much that I’ve reread it several times.

Made to Stick

This great little book is all about how to make your message stay with your audience, and hopefully motivate them to do something about it. Filled with great tips for making stickier films.