Paperman Style

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  07 July 2013
Paperman Style

Hi Everyone!

I just had a question as to how I would accomplish a certain animation style, or rather explained. Iím sure you have seen the Disney short ďPapermanĒ but if you havenít, here is the link:

I love 2D animation, but I also love the look of 3D animation. This is obviously an awesome combo of the two styles. Here is another video that briefly showed how they got this effect:

I understand the concept of rendering different layers and drawing tweened lines on top of the models, but I donít exactly know how to do this. I know that Disney uses its own programs, but I canít imagine that this canít be done with C4D or Maya or Max.

So does anyone want to further explain how this can be done with some sort of tutorial? Iím sure tons of people are wanting to implement this in their work, but donít know the correct steps to do so.

Currently, I am using C4D, but I am up to using a different program just to achieve this effect. If someone could explain this process in clear steps, it would be greatly appreciated by me and Iím sure, many others.

Thanks in advance for anyone willing to spread their knowledge!
  08 August 2013
It's simple enough to get the passes you'd need out of Max or Maya for sure. I'm not as familiar with C4D, but I'm sure it's up the task, also.

The difficulty comes when you're in 2d land, and that's where Disney developed new software for Paperman. I actually read an article about it fairly recently. If I recall correctly, the software is called Meander. You might be able to turn up some additional information about it by a search on that term.

When it comes to accomplishing something like this with off-the-shelf tools, I think it would not be very straightforward. It might be possible to use a planar tracker like Mocha to push around some vector lines, but you'd probably need an additional pass with some kind of complex id texture on the CGóMocha wouldn't be very good at tracking the simplified texture evident in Paperman. You'd probably be able to lock in outlines with this approach.

To track details across a model's surface, like eyes and hair, you could use UV passes and use them to stick your lines to specific parts of the model.

Then there's optical flow with something like The Foundry's Kronos. I doubt that the 2d motion vectors output from 3d software have a 1:1 correspondence with the vectors produced by Kronos, but they're undoubtedly similar enough that it should be possible to convert the cg vectors into something that Kronos understands. Those vectors could be used to manipulate rasterized lines. Trouble is, optical flow causes a rapid breakdown in quality, so this approach probably would not give you more than 8 frames of tweening, likely less. Oh, and you'd also need to find a way to combine the results of the backward vectors with the forward vectors to get an averaged line that looks good. I have no idea how that would be accomplished.

I am sure that other minds could come up with other solutions, but these are the notions that occurred to me after brief consideration of the problem. There's no way to know how well any of it would work without actually testing it.
Bryan Ray

Last edited by Midgardsormr : 08 August 2013 at 08:16 PM. Reason: grammatical error
  08 August 2013
I'm pretty sure they consumed lots of time drawing extra lines.
The result is not worth so much effort IMO.

Last edited by kyrgr : 08 August 2013 at 07:21 AM.
  08 August 2013
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