View Full Version : Short Film - Potapych : The Bear that loved Vodka

11 November 2006, 04:29 PM
Hey cgtalkers...

I've just finished directing a short film for the Channel 4 Mesh scheme here in the UK. There are 4 films produced each year, 3 minutes in length... with the main criteria being that they are digitally produced.

Anyway, I was lucky enough to have a brilliant team working on it, and I just wanted to share the joy. It's based on a true story about a bear in Moscow. You can read his story and see the film on the website...

Thanks for watching!

11 November 2006, 06:57 PM
Holy crap.....what an incredibly style you've developed!

You've absolutely regained my faith in 3d cell-shaded animation, because that was down-right incredible.

Fantastic work!

11 November 2006, 07:46 PM
Beautiful style, I must agree. Lovely story, as well.

11 November 2006, 08:04 PM
lol that was awesome... i couldn't understand what was being narrated though, but the film was still fun to watch! :thumbsup:

11 November 2006, 09:30 PM
I agree with the others. Beautiful style an dcolors. I found it so visually interesting that I could even turn off the volume and still enjoy watching it.

GReat work.

11 November 2006, 01:15 AM
BRILLIANT! I don't really think i have anything to critique so I guess this is just a congratulations for such a great job. Best wishes to you and your team on your next project.

11 November 2006, 01:54 AM
Thats really cool :) I love the style as well and the animation is really cute. Its so nice to see something that is pushing some boundaries style wise.

Top marks on that one! :)

Is there going to be a follow up?

11 November 2006, 02:07 AM
That was truely amazing.
-Very unique style. You have set the bar my friend.....and the bar is high

11 November 2006, 02:26 AM
Simply amazing short - some of the best cell-shaded animation I've ever seen.

The story and colors used to convey it are wonderful. Congratulations! :thumbsup:

11 November 2006, 03:25 AM
This was really neato!

An the bear's true story is crazy and a little disturbing too.

could you share some details on the process. How much was 2d/3d, how long it took you to make, and what software you used?

11 November 2006, 03:33 AM
oh geez oh man, that was just fantastic! I LOVED IT. it was quite moving. amazing work.

11 November 2006, 03:50 AM
That was just a step above everything else I've seen recently. awesome work and thanks for making me smile.

11 November 2006, 04:18 AM
!!!Wow!!! that was the best short i saw in a while...5 stars from me...:thumbsup::buttrock::applause:

11 November 2006, 04:19 AM
THAT was great. It made me feel like I was watching something that I used to love watching when I was a kid, and hadn't seen for a really long time. I love the look, and the narrator was the perfect touch to the whole thing. Really great work.


11 November 2006, 04:30 AM
That was fantastic. Watched it the first time round without the sound and it made me laugh harder than with the sound. Wasn't as crazy about the intro (branding bit) though. But the animation was just amazing, congrats!

11 November 2006, 04:44 AM
Excellent piece, congrats :)

11 November 2006, 05:03 AM
This is very nice. I like the way you've integrated the 2D and 3D techniques.

11 November 2006, 06:34 AM
Whoa... that was, awesome! :buttrock:

The aesthetic and styling were engaging for the narrative. I hope someone does a write-up on the production of this short :bounce:

11 November 2006, 08:11 AM
Wow! That was great!

I love celshaded stuff, and that was one of the best uses of it ive seen. Some great animation in there, and nice use of colour. Love the uneven outlines too.

Was a bit sad at the end though - i was expecting it to end on a high, like most cartoony shorts do.

What software and celshader did you use?

Superb work and 5 shiny yellow things from me :thumbsup:

11 November 2006, 10:07 AM
Hey thanks everyone!

They are some great comments, and thanks for rating the film. I'm glad to help you regain your faith in cel shading Ivanisavich.

To answer a few questions...
The film was all made in 3D Studio Max. We actually used the standard Max cell shading, but also rendered an occlusion pass in brazil that is slightly multiplied over the top of the characters to add a bit more dimension.
The backgrounds are largely hand drawn and painted, with some details and grading added using Painter and Photoshop. For the scenes where there is a bit of 3D shift, or a camera move, the paintings are projected in layers onto geometry.

I'm planning to put a few process pics up on the website to show the various stages of painting and compositing. I think it's kinda nice to show some of these backgrounds in their various stages. I'll post again when I get my act together and put some more stuff up there :)

Thanks again for all the great feedback.

11 November 2006, 10:10 AM


erm! HOW?!?!

my god that is simply stunning - the look, style, colour, animation, characters - bloody hell thats amazing. I just feel like a total noob when I see stuff of this quality :/ fantastic work!

11 November 2006, 10:32 AM
Great style, i loved it a lot!
The story somehow reminded me of the videoclip "Poor Leno" by Royksopp:

***** from me :)

11 November 2006, 10:41 AM
Amazing, very very good !

Congratulations !

11 November 2006, 10:52 AM
Hi! Haven't seen the short yet... HD version seems to be down, yes? Anyway, downloading Medium quality version now...


Tom W.
11 November 2006, 10:58 AM
nice look and a cute story :>

11 November 2006, 11:06 AM
Got nothing to crit. Really great short. Well done. Now make another. 5 stars here.

11 November 2006, 11:54 AM
Awsome short. Great Story. Great Style. Great Animation. Im gonna go watch it again now!

11 November 2006, 12:05 PM
OOOh I've seen that on the CH4 before, I believe it was there among some other short animations, and loved it so much - glad there's a website!! 5 stars from me :thumbsup:

11 November 2006, 12:15 PM
Really amazing work, congrats to U and your team.
Very creative story and nicely done technically, no crits.

Keep up the good work!

11 November 2006, 12:31 PM
GREAT WORK MAN!! Lovely style and credits to the voice over guy - very talented.

P.S. LOve the gta coke ad - amazing idea and well executed!

11 November 2006, 02:00 PM
I never comment on postings of images or movies or something, cause I mostly don't have anything more to say then cool or wow and I think that's a waste of time and bandwidth. I mostly reply to questions people have and stuff like that.


This movie is really some of the best work i've seen this year! This is seriously gonna make it in my top ten shorts ever. I really really like the cell shading, it does most of the time feel really 2D and I think that's a great accomplishment! The 2D handdrawn backgrounds are of very good quality and the coloring and mood settings are great. Good staging, nice story, really good animation, I really like the pace and stuff... I really like it! Almost has a 1950's like feel to it...

So there's gonna be more then this one then, please keep us posted!

Great work,

11 November 2006, 02:38 PM
animation and fx are fantastic !
5 for you !

11 November 2006, 03:05 PM
Really great stuff, I love the character designs. :)

11 November 2006, 03:07 PM
Great work!
It is nice to see cell shading in 3d being used to well. Very original.

11 November 2006, 03:23 PM
Lovely short film. Great style and story. I love the bear's design and animation.

Congrats to you and to your team.


11 November 2006, 03:56 PM
amazing short, some piece of work you've got there, whatever praise you get for it you fully deserve it. I love the postcard feel of it, that shot with the waterfall in the background is simply wonderfull. 5 stars all the way

11 November 2006, 04:07 PM
it's brilliant! i was wondering when u applied for the mesh grant did u already had the team shaped up?
did u already had character designs, clips etc?

11 November 2006, 04:46 PM
In response to Anim_Ziggy,

When I applied for the grant I didn't have the team together really. I work in a busy studio, with a lot of freelancers coming in and out though... So, I just had to ask and hope that these guys would be into it. There was a fair bit of juggling to be done with the 'real' commercial jobs, but I ended up with a really good crew.

I already had the characters roughly built in 3D before I applied for the grant, and had been doing some tests on shaders etc. Still, they required a lot of work after that to get them into shape for a 3 minute film.

Because I'm a new member under this name, my posts are taking ages to come through. I sent one before this saying thanks to everyone for the great comments. In case this post gets through before that one, I'll say it again.. Big big thanks!! You're all too nice:)... top ten list Johan!? Whoo hoo!

11 November 2006, 04:48 PM
My god, thatīs wonderful; i think... what everyone have said; love the colors, the textures, great animation...

Flawless :), congrats to everyone involved.

ps: love that fire!

11 November 2006, 04:51 PM
Hey DeepRice,
congrats on the great film and all the deserved feedback.
My favourite part is the Bear.

11 November 2006, 04:53 PM
Thanks Mrben, the Bear was crucial to it - I'm glad you noticed him ;) Some people just see the vodka...

11 November 2006, 05:25 PM
Just awesome.

I can host the HD-version if you want? At least for a month

11 November 2006, 05:32 PM
I have to agree with everyone, this was an amazing film!

11 November 2006, 05:41 PM
Yeah, awesome style. If you can get the HD version up again, I would love to see that.
Five stars!

11 November 2006, 05:51 PM
thanks deeprice good to know that...i always have ideas in my mind one day i might apply...
again great short and i loved the' coloured pencil' like backrounds....

p.s. u might want to join the london sketch group one day :) (promoting m self badly as usual lol)

11 November 2006, 05:51 PM
Hi Maxon,
Thanks very much - that would be great if it's easy for you. I had it on ( at first, but that site seems to be down today for some reason. So..I quickly put it up on another site, but I didn't realise they had a download limit.
I'm have put it up on MegaUpload, but it has ads you have to click through which is annoying. However, you could try and download it from there if you like...

And then email me at ( and I can set up a link to your site.
I hope you have a good server though...13.4Gb was downloaded from my site yesterday...eep!

11 November 2006, 06:22 PM
Excellent short, my daughter especially loved it. She was very happy to see his friend wake up near the end, we both thought that he was dead.

Looking forward to more.

11 November 2006, 09:32 PM
This is so good- the look, the concept, the story. You have made my day much better.

Thank you

11 November 2006, 09:42 PM
Love it LOve It,

Very Mary Blair

good story, animation, color and style.

Keep up good job.

11 November 2006, 12:17 AM
Hey Darren,
just wanted to chime in, echo the sentiments of all the other posters here and say great work. It's a beautiful thing you've made.
The stills you have on your site would look great framed and put on my - soon to arrive - son's walls. If only they were of a higher resolution...
Say hi to all the Nexus crew for me.

11 November 2006, 12:21 AM
Reallu fun film!! The old Russion guy is my fav. Congrats to a well done film:applause:

11 November 2006, 12:50 AM
lovely story, cute design, beatifull story-telling. five stars!

11 November 2006, 04:27 AM
Beautifull art work, nice history.

5 stars keep that good work.

11 November 2006, 04:59 AM
Beautiful film! Thanks for a good story well told.

11 November 2006, 05:14 AM
This film makes me soooo happy because it's just too beautiful but sad because i really empathize with that poor bear. It is so good!

Thanks for inspiring me to do better work!!!

11 November 2006, 03:59 PM
Hello! Just thought I'd let you know that the HD version is back up and working.
Thanks again for all the great feedback. Makes it all worthwhile.

11 November 2006, 07:58 AM
Beautiful short, I really liked the style.
Very inspiring!:thumbsup:

11 November 2006, 03:51 PM
I love the style ! Vrey cute~:love:

11 November 2006, 12:06 PM
great shot.

I adore the visual style you created and the cosy naration feeling youīve given to it.
perhaps you would be so kind to tell me something about some details.

1.) facerig:
the mouths are clear to me (bones or blendis) but the 2D eyes work very fine, still they seem to be more then just exchanged textures.
can you tell me how they work.

the vodka out of the bottle sems to be a blobby emmiter.
but what really caused my attention was the "food in the bowl" the bear is spilling onto the floor. looks like a very complex and dynamicaly, realistic fluid.
how is it done ... handdrawn 2D, realflow or another fluid app?

thnx in advance

11 November 2006, 02:37 PM
Hey mimo,
Thought i'd jump in and answer these questions as I worked on the film for a large period of the production. (and Darren's probably extremely busy!)
The eyes were a material switch we set up which jumped between a mask of several (about a dozen if I recall) eye shapes for the basic expression. Then we had morphs which affected the verts on the face to make an expression bigger or smaller (just basically enlarging or decreasing the texture) then we mapped the pupils seperately and wired them to dummies that we rigged as you would a normal eye setup (with lookat etc.) and bob's your uncle!
For the food in the bowl, I used Real Flow and spent a few days pulling my hair out then hit render - and there ya go!
Hope that answers your questions.

11 November 2006, 09:12 PM
Well done, to all involved! The hand-wrought feel is a nice contrast to the slick CGI that many pursue. Also, DeepRice, the variety of work on your cleverlikeamonkey site is great o see. All aesthetically strong, yet totally different.

And yeah, that Coke ad was a nice change of pace. Video game commercials are getting kinda stomach churning. God, I sound like an old man!

11 November 2006, 03:22 PM
Cheers Rupert. I've worked with a lot of different directors, which helps to make all the jobs look different. It's also the great thing about cg isn't it?! I mean, aside from a base cg'ness, that's inherent in most projects..even something like can make a project look like just about anything you can imagine. It's great.

Thanks to Mike G. for answering questions....
...and for making the milk spill in the first place!:)

11 November 2006, 04:54 AM
I liked it a lot, great story and animation!

12 December 2006, 10:50 AM
Hey mimo,
Thought i'd jump in and answer these questions as I worked on the film for a large period of the production. (and Darren's probably extremely busy!)
The eyes were a material switch we set up which jumped between a mask of several (about a dozen if I recall) eye shapes for the basic expression. Then we had morphs which affected the verts on the face to make an expression bigger or smaller (just basically enlarging or decreasing the texture) then we mapped the pupils seperately and wired them to dummies that we rigged as you would a normal eye setup (with lookat etc.) and bob's your uncle!
For the food in the bowl, I used Real Flow and spent a few days pulling my hair out then hit render - and there ya go!
Hope that answers your questions.

hi michael,

thnx for your kind answeres to my questions - good insight.
just dontīt get it how you know that my uncle is bob ? : )


12 December 2006, 11:56 AM

Love the story, love the all!

You made me lose an eye.

; )

12 December 2006, 12:40 PM
what a beautiful story man...
nice work!

12 December 2006, 10:40 AM
it's excellent work man. The story is great and the style is wonderful. Nice voice also ! this short goes directly in my library :) Good job !

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