Dream Team reunited as cheap inbetweeners for Peach!

Posted in Blender Institute, Development, Production by William

As the schedule starts to get close, we recently realized that we are not going to be able to finish on time. We now have finished animation for less than a third of the film, and we only have about six weeks to go before all animation has to be locked, so that we can get all the final renders out on time. Weeks are going by with a few shots coming out here and there, which is not going to cut it.

There are a number of reasons for this: We underestimated the time it takes to set up environments. We are dealing with complex shots with loads of trees and millions of leaves, and everything has to look nice and natural. Thus, Enrico has had to work full time on environment modeling, setup and design, while he was supposed to do animation according the the schedule. Also, Sacha spends a lot of time directing, writing notes, speaking with the composer about the score. Andy is doing lighting, compositing, and dealing with huge amounts of grass, flowers, mushrooms and bees and birds in the distance. Nathan is tweaking rigs, adding new ones, and doing blocks.

That leaves me (William) as the only truly full-time animator. There is just no way we can finish the film on time with our current capacity.

And that brings me to our big announcement: We have hired almost the entire (Elephants) Dream Team (plus Claudio from Plumiferos), to help animating! Please give it up for the external Dream (or slave?) Team team consisting of Bassam Kurdali (Slikdigit), Lee Salvemini (LohnS), Bastian Salmela (Basse), and Claudio Andaur (Malefico). They work remotely, in their spare time, helping us getting those shots out of the door.

Please give them a big round of applause. These guys are truly saving our behinds. This is how happy we are with this:

Team Peach

Working remotely is not particularly easy though: The animator needs to be understand perfectly what is going on to ensure proper continuity. This is the reason why the core team members are all in Amsterdam together. To overcome this problem, we have set up a workflow where Sacha and Nathan block shots out with rough animation, before we send it off for finalling. The overall timing is locked down before the external Dream Team polishes off our shots.

Additionally, we’ve found that in order to meet our animation deadline, we need to churn out an extraordinary average of 3 shots every single day of every single week from now on. Since we are three people animating here in the institute, that’s one shot a day per person – delivered either as final animation or a block for our newly added slave workers. Although this is pretty insane, it’s psychologically easy – one shot a day – simple!

We have been on this new working schedule for about a week, and we’ve already gotten the first shots back from our externals. Luckily, they’re great. This means that in terms of animation we should be able to make it if – and this is an if – we are able to keep on working as hard and efficiently as we are now. Ofcourse after animating, there is lighting, compositing and rendering…

PS: Sorry about the lack of posts recently. Luckily we have had outsiders, like our super reporter India, to help with blogging recently.

56 Responses

  1. Brandon Writes:

    Do you guys need any more animation help? I could do some of the background animations so you can focus on the main characters/acting if needed. Just a thought. Drop me an email if you would like more help.

  2. epat Writes:

    These guys have done it before! Don’t worry too much about quality – it might even be better?!… Although I can see the benifits of keeping the team as small and as contained as possible!

    Anyway guys, work hard, and make this thing ABSOLUTELY ROCK!!
    ~epat. :)

  3. bmud Writes:

    @Ton: I’m curious how this affects the financial side of the Peach project. The fixed deadline seemed to be there so that you wouldn’t go over budget… am I right?

  4. Eric Mesa Writes:

    This is why it’s good to have deadlines or the project gets postponed forever. I know that from experience.

  5. Tarlipe Writes:

    Maléfico? You must be kidding.
    He can’t animate even with Keith Lango behind his back poking him with a stick.

    Oh… CHEAP inbetweeners. I get it.