The Scientists shot

January 18, 2021

The Scientists shot – Making of

“The scientists” is part of our short Loopdeloop project on the subject of “outside”.


Back in October we submitted our entry for Loopdeloop Israel, and had it displayed with all the other entries as part of the Outline festival that took place in Jerusalem.



But way before that, we had to settle on what the subject “outside” meant to us.
so we gathered some of our best ideas, prepared storyboards for them, presented them to each other, and settled on the best one to turn into a videoboard.



Once the videoboard was done, we each chose a shot and set out on designing and eventually animating it.
“The scientists” was the second shot of the animation and contained a combination of 3D animation made in Blender, and 2D animation made in aftereffects.
In this post, we’ll be focusing on the benefits and hurdles we encountered while making that shot.


First of all, the design.
After borrowing references from various artists and art styles, the characters were designed with a sketchy background to form a general idea for how the shot will be laid out.



The sketch was then brought into Blender and a proxy 3D environment was made, afterwards, the rendered environment was brought into photoshop where we played
around with its colors and layout until it seemed coherent with the art style we aimed for.
That image was then brought back into Blender as a guideline.
We repeated this process until the background and the characters seemed to inhibit the same world and art style.



After the design was done the characters were broken into different parts, specifically with the animated parts in mind.
These parts, and some new ones we made, were then brought into after effects, where they were animated to the timing of the videoboard.
Other things like the computer screen were broken off to be animated separately as well.


The first hurdle we had to overcome was the fact that these characters were two dimensional and they inhibited a three-dimensional space.
To make this illusion work the 2D animations were rendered with the space they inhibited in mind, that means that, if a hand, for example, was in front an of object, but the body was behind it, the hand and the body would be rendered as separate files, each with their own alpha matte.
Then those videos were layered inside Blender around the 3D environment.
This trick allowed us to move the camera in 3D space while the animations were being played.



Note that for both the camera and the lighting to work with this kind of setup, they should always aim towards the object, and in our case the Y axis.
Any light or camera movement that breaks out of this axis, will instantly break the illusion of depth and reveal how the shot is laid out.


After we placed the characters inside the 3D space and the camera move was added in, the only thing to add was the obscuring shadow that looms over all the shots in the project.
This was easily achieved by adding a disc to obscure the 3D light in the project.



Extra tip for all of you who made it till the end, for the 2D animation to look good when the camera is zoomed in, both the video files and 2D assets must be as big as you want them to show up on screen, which means that, if your video is 1920×1080, and you want to zoom in, the video file must be at least twice as large inorder to look good.
That means longer rendering times, and heavier files should be taken into consideration when attempting to replicate this style of animation.


You can watch the finished video here



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