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ThomasMahler
02-08-2006, 08:19 AM
Hey guys,

I'm currently putting a lot of work into storyboarding my shortfilm "Edward" and after I'm done with that, I'd love to cut together a reel that resembles the ones that Pixar has done for The Incredibles (you can watch this stuff on the Incredibles Extra DVD) - I think it's a terrific way to get a feeling for the pacing of the film before animating a single thing. Seems to be an excelelnt preViz tool. You can watch some of this stuff here, too:

http://www.pixar.com/featurefilms/incredibles/behind_pop5.html

But the question is: Can one of you guys actually explain in a few simple steps what'd be the most efficient way to come up with something like that? My guess is that they did simple drawings, scanned them in in Photoshop, cut away the white stuff, saved the images out with an alpha, loaded all this stuff into After Effects, composited it together using 3d layers, keyframed it and used standard camera attrs for all the cam movements, right?

I'm just looking for a very simple and great way to get a feeling for the pacing of the film as soon as possible - The goal would actually be to get the reel to a level where you could watch the final film and the reel simultaneously and that they'd line up pretty much 1:1. The 3d tool in my pipeline is Maya and I heard that After Effects plays very well with Maya, but I'm not too sure if it'd be all that helpful when it comes to the reel.

So it'd be great if one of you After Effects Pros could give me some hints and tips about what I have to watch out for, etc. I think it'd be great to generally talk about ways of efficiently doing story reels and stuff using After Effects!

JurajMolcak
02-08-2006, 12:44 PM
Hi,
what are you talking about is animatic (storyreel) and this is a must in production pipeline.
There is no rules as well as for storyboards. Somebody might prefer basic 3D scenes for enviroment with scanned characters. Its strongly up to you, because its for your personal use. You have to have basic soundtrack with voices as well. In this stage, you should correct timeing for your movie and you will catch the feel of it.
And note, that Pixar has people for doing just this. Don't spend amount of time for great storyreel... just scan your boards, layer elements in it and move/scale/morph/... them.

ThomasMahler
02-08-2006, 02:43 PM
Hey Oweron,

I think you misunderstood what I asked for. I didn't ask what an animatic or reel is, I asked how they probably did it, cause I like how they're doing their reels.

I always just scratched the surface of AE, used it for compo of rendered frames and color correction and I think I already have a good idea about how I'm going to cut together my reels, but you know, it's often better to ask before you're doing it, simply because my idea of doing stuff might actually not work out, cause it was short sighted thinking, software-wise or whatever. So knowing how people who're working with AE on a daily basis would do it would be a great help to me.

Mylenium
02-08-2006, 04:27 PM
Hey Oweron,

I think you misunderstood what I asked for. I didn't ask what an animatic or reel is, I asked how they probably did it, cause I like how they're doing their reels.

I always just scratched the surface of AE, used it for compo of rendered frames and color correction and I think I already have a good idea about how I'm going to cut together my reels, but you know, it's often better to ask before you're doing it, simply because my idea of doing stuff might actually not work out, cause it was short sighted thinking, software-wise or whatever. So knowing how people who're working with AE on a daily basis would do it would be a great help to me.

If you're doing it just for your own project where you are your own director, editor and main artist, I wouldn't bother with putting the effort in first cobbling up a detailed animatic. You'll spend a lot of work on the timing and then still have to trash one or the other idea once you bump into a problem moving on to the production so your animatic will no longer reflect the movie as it is in its current state. Unless you need to communicate your ideas to a larger team, your drawn storyboards will be more than sufficient. Spend more time on actually working on the movie.

To ansewer your original question: Yes, those drawings were definitely scanned and carefully arranged in AE, combined with pencil test footage. You can see a similar thing on one of the DVDs form the new "Star Wars" episodes where they use matte paintings, photos and raw footage from test shoots to do similar things.

Mylenium

jussing
02-08-2006, 06:03 PM
I think an animatic is a great thing to have, even if the project is entirely your own.

Think of it this way: sooner or later the decisions regarding timing of each shot will have to be made. -The sooner in the process you make those decisions, the better the rest of the project will work out.

That's what an animatic does.
It prevents you from realizing your finished shots have bad timing, or don't fit well together in editing.

As for the software, I'd prefer to do 2D animatics in an editing software where you can see your changes immediately, whereas working with timing in a compositing app can be a bit cumbersome. But many of the running shots in the Incredibles animatic are 3D.

I believe many of the big studios have specialized or proprietary animatic tools.

Cheers,
- Jonas

ThomasMahler
02-08-2006, 06:21 PM
I think an animatic is a great thing to have, even if the project is entirely your own.

Think of it this way: sooner or later the decisions regarding timing of each shot will have to be made. -The sooner in the process you make those decisions, the better the rest of the project will work out.

That's what an animatic does.
It prevents you from realizing your finished shots have bad timing, or don't fit well together in editing.

That's exactly the way I see it and that's why I'm going to create a pretty extensive reel. I think it's a wonderful way to work, to preview a film before you did anything at all in 3d. It's just comfortable and can give you a feeling for the film pretty soon in the process. Doesn't matter if it's meant for a large team or not, being able to actually _feel_ the movie before any of the 3d stuff is done is a big help. I remember something Lee Unkrich once said... it was a quote along the lines of: "90 percent of filmmaking happens in the animatic - The rest is just plusing it."


As for the software, I'd prefer to do 2D animatics in an editing software where you can see your changes immediately, whereas working with timing in a compositing app can be a bit cumbersome. But many of the running shots in the Incredibles animatic are 3D.

I believe many of the big studios have specialized or proprietary animatic tools.


Yeah, I'm not going too crazy with the 3d stuff, I don't want to implement this at all into the reel, cause my film isn't THAT complex and simply doesn't need it. I just want a preview of my film, with no real animation, just to get a feel for it, for the timing, the pacing, for how it should work together with sound, for the camera, the staging, etc. - just to really see what'll happen at what point of time before the actual production begins.

About proprietary tools - I read that Andrew Jimenez used After Effects for the Incredibles reel. Guess they combined it with Maya for the 3d stuff.

jussing
02-08-2006, 06:31 PM
Darnit, Victor Navone took down his "Big Bang" animatic. I wanted to post a link to it here.

That just set the standard of a good animatic.

It was simple, just cutouts moving on background, but the timing was so perfect he didn't really need to finish it in 3D, it was entertaining and storytelling enough as it was.

Cheers,
- Jonas

dbates
02-09-2006, 12:15 AM
. . . exactly. Heck, I'd consider the Incredibles animatic a viable finished product in its own right (as far as style goes). Simple, but it gets the characters' emotions across, and you don't need a full 3d pipeline for that.

lucille
02-09-2006, 07:03 AM
I saw tutorial once where 3d elements were textured wih rough pencil draiwing art, so
they would look drawn but could be easily animated in maya...

I am doing a solo project and I am prevising in after effecta and premiere. In addition to
developing your shots without 3d overhead--you also decide what you will see before
buildiing 3d sets--this can be a massive work saver.

Also--the process is very plastic. I you want to add a cut you can temp in a pencil rough
as a placeholder and then build up and refine you whole animatic. Obviously, the pixar
example is at very high level of execution--but I've seen very rough animatics that communicate a sequence very conbincingly, esp if you have sound...

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