The Dream Globe Illusion Begins

Here’s the complete scene transition from the holographic projector activation to the beginning of the Dream Globe illusion (and the true beginning of Rex’s wild adventures).

I’m probably going to keep tweaking this shot for a while but I thought it was at a stage where I could post it. Next week, I’m going to post some video breakdowns and insight on how the whole shot was accomplished.




“Coruscations drift and disolve; the Dream Globe illusion begins.”

Holographic Projector Activation and Toon Boom

Here’s the video of my last completed scene.

As you can see, I’m using the music temp track as a way to time and choreograph the various elements in the scene. I can’t stress enough how important music and sounds are for me when it comes to doing animation. I get a lot of inspiration from it. The trick is to make sure that I select the right musical piece to go with the visual. That’s why I spend hours listening to potential music until I hit one that brings out the imagery of the film in my head. This time, I feel so right about my musical selection that I have gone ahead and bought a license for those pieces just in case I decide to keep them in the final film. We’ll see what happens there.

The next video, shows how I set up the scene in Toon Boom. I’m not going into great detail, but it will give you a good overview of how things are put together. There are so many elements in this scene that it’s quite a headache making sure everything is working in unison, and the only way to make sure is to do a final render, which takes about one hour for this particular scene. One little change and I have to render the whole scene over again. Since I’m never completely happy with my work and keep tinkering with details, that process can be frustrating at times, but at least it’s a lot better than in the old days when a re-shoot would take up an entire day and cost thousands of dollars.

Finally, here below is a screenshot of the node architecture of this scene. Toon Boom is a node-based system where each node represents either an element of the scene or a modificator. The light blue nodes are associated with animation levels, the dark blue with filters and compositing, the light green is for the camera, the white one for output information, and the dark green nodes represent pegs, which I use to create camera moves. Looking at the module library, I can see that I haven’t even scratched the surface of what’s possible with the software but I sure look foward to continue my exploration.

Holographic Projector Activation

Just a little heads up on where I’m at this week. I’m currently working on the scene where Rex’s bubble land on the Dream Globe Holographic Projector and activates it. The scene is fifteen seconds and will feature a wide range of animation techniques. I finished keying the animation for REX and I’m back in “Inbetweening Hell”, but anticipate being done with that part by Wednesday. Then, I will get to the effects which should be a lot of fun.

This week has been a bit difficult as I’ve also been working on a presentation I will be giving in Portland on Saturday. If anyone is in the area, you should come by. Click here for all the details.

Until the next post, I’ll leave you with the graphic novel panels that form the basis of the scene I’m currently doing. The whole thing will be treated as one single continuous shot.


Into the Dream Globe

Just completed the sequence where Rex is carried inside the Dream Globe. Have a look!

And here’s a look at the original panels from the graphic novel which were the basis for the sequence.

This sequence uses a mix of animation techniques ranging from hand drawn, puppet tool, warping and matte reveals. My goal with this, was to convey a sense of scale and space. The last scene where Rex enters the inner part of the globe was a particular challenge. I’m sliding various elements against each other to create depth and an illusion of speed. Because everything is eyeballed, I have to keep playing with the ratios until satisfied. This can be quite maddening at times, but when everything starts feeling right, it’s pretty rewarding. It took a lot of effort for that last scene to sing, and it wasn’t until I added the pulsing lights (which were completely inspired by the temp music) that it all came together. This final touch is one of the reason I love working with a temp music track―ideas and ways to improve the scene will come to me from listening to the music. It also provides a rhythm for the cutting and animation beats.

As I was putting that last scene together, one of the thing that bugged me was the fact that the robotic sphere looked quite flat when the camera zoomed in. I didn’t want to build the thing in 3D but I did want to get some three dimensionality as the camera closed in. I raked my brain to find a solution to that problem and was happy to solve it in quite an unorthodox manner. Here’s a little video I made to explain how I went about it.