Production process

Each project has its own process and phases matching the kind and size of production that it is. We design and plan a process according to the role and responsibilities that we assigned.

Applying 3D and animation to corporate or entertaining storytelling is a multi-facetted,     creative process that none the less follows a sequence of activities.

The process for a larger production will in brief follow the steps illustrated below. We have used the making of the “The Steadfast Tin Soldier” as an example:

1. The story

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The original story – a fairytale by Hans Christian Andersen – is thoroughly studied. The idea of how to transform the written story to motion pictures begins!

A script is developed based on the original story. The script describes the scenes, plot, dialogue and characters of the film in writing.

2. Storyboarding

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The artists visualise the plot and characters. The storyboard depicts the action scene by scene. All the storyboard images are arranged on a wall to give an overview of the storyline. Scenes can be added, changed or removed.

3. Artwork

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Now it is time for the design team to develop and construct detailed characters, sets and props. It is important to have a clear idea of the personality of the characters and the general atmosphere of the environment at this stage.

4. Modelling

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In this phase, the modelers create 2D designs of sets, props and characters as a base for similar 3D renditions developed on computer.

When the dimensions and look of the characters and elements have been established the rigging can begin. Colour and texture are added later.

5. Rigging

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Computer-generated skeletons are created for each character and prop, which allow them to move and perform in a way that complies with the screenplay requirements. Some models need many sets of controls in order to function, others only a few.

6. Materials

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Material surfaces are added to characters, props and environment. For example: the tin soldier is given a realistic tin-like look with the right colours and textures.

The characters and props are now ready to be animated.

7. Layout & animation

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Before animation takes place an “animatic”, or rough, simplified animation, is made. In this animatic, the camera angles for each scene are defined and the broad overall movements of each character and prop are established.

In the animation process, the characters and props are animated in detail.  The animators move the characters and props and make them perform like ‘live’ actors.

8. Finishing

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There are several further steps a film has to go through before it is finalised, printed and ready to be
screened. These steps are: lighting, effects, rendering, compositing and editing.

Lighting is an essential factor that gives the audience an impression of the time of day (e.g. daylight during daytime, long shadows in the evening and moonlight at night). Lighting also gives a sense of mood and motion.

Then all kinds of effects are added, such as rain, fire and explosions, to either give the scene a realistic look or to create spectacular and exciting action.

In the rendering phase the individual elements finally come together and the film is viewed in motion mode.

Final touches are added by compositing, e.g. 2D effects added to the 3D sequences. The editing of the production takes place throughout the process where efforts are made to integrate the scenes, music and sounds into a totality