Each year for the past five years, our second-year students have created a film for the Clermont-Ferrand International short film Festival. This has been an important moment for these students because it is a team effort with everyone working to support the same film. It is also the first major project they see through from start to finish, conception to completion. As an added bonus, the film is in 3-D!
We planned ahead for the 3-D aspect of the film. Christophe Ferrier, VFX and 3-D supervisor, spent a day talking about 3-D with our students. We discussed the prinicple contraints associated with 3-D filming, post-production, and conception. His experience helped us to better anticipate and prepare for issues. Computer graphics instructors worked on technical points of view and the creation of stereoscopic images in Nuke and Maya.
The conception of the film
The students created the film’s storyboard based on a synopsis. We, of course, gave them contraints in terms of the number of scenes and the duration of the entire film. We decided use live-action footage with intergrated CGI characters. Therefore, the students were obligated to include characters created and animated in CGI and only one live actor within the creation of the storyboard. Once the storyboard was finished, the students were charged with making modelsheets for the CGI characters.
A modelsheet is a group of different character views (face, profile, back, 3/4 face and 3/4 back) which help the modeler create the best appearance and proportions for the character. A modelsheet is as much for people as for objects.
Organizing the Teams
To carry out this major project, students were divided into teams according to their specialty. We also chose leaders, people responsible for each team, who were the teachers’ main contacts. Leaders were chosen for overall production, editing, 3-D management throughout the film, and production of the ‘making-of.’
The VFX students (oriented more or less in 2D and compositing) were in charge of filming, 3-D management and all of the film’s compositing needs, namely the intergration of CG elements and the inlay and enhancements of the real character. CGI students (specializing in computer graphics) took on the tasks of modeling, layout, texturing, lighting and rendering. For lighting, we chose a method based on image HDRI (High Dynamic Range Image) taken during filming with 9 expositions.
Animators put all their energy into giving life and movement to the CG characters.
The credits were created by a combination of CGI and VFX students