Pigeon: Impossible


Hey all! I just finished the first two video podcasts for my upcoming short film “Pigeon: Impossible”

We’re still a few months away from finishing the project, but I’m in need of a little boost to get over this last hurdle, so I figured I’d start the podcasts and make myself even more accountable for getting the film finished quickly.

I’m open to any feedback on either the film or the podcast. If you have any ideas for episodes, I’d love to hear them!



After watching the second video it almost makes wanna make a one week animation short with your plot so you have to make it all over again :twisted:

Just kidding (even though this picture of you crying in the bathroom was hillarious :slight_smile: ).

Can’t wait for the finished piece.



Renders looks nice. Would love to see more character animation. So yeah you already have people waiting for this short film :slight_smile:


Thanks guys! Yeah I think I’ll do one on character animation next. That’s definitely my favorite part of the process, and also the one I struggle with the most.

Also, a few people have had problems seeing the podcasts because the movie files are pretty large so I uploaded them to YouTube as well. The quality isn’t as good, but they download faster and might be more convenient for some people.



Hey Lucas, your short look amazing! The models, scene, environment, lighting and effects seems to come from a pixar film!!! The animation also seems to be great but I want see more to judge.
I have some reserve only on the stories, I think them must be very very fun in order to keep the interest of the audience for all the episodes…

Wow you have used an entire orchestra for the music! great!


Incredible…absolutely incredible…agree exactly with the previous comment here that the quality is Pixar quality.

Was the $5,000 to pay somebody to compose, orchestrate and conduct / record the music?..man, its crazy isn’t it. Music and sound is incredibly important though
.and it looks like the style, composition and technical side are fine.


Thanks guys! The orchestra is actually a group that I play with called the Austin Wind Symphony. The $5k covered the cost of renting the recording equipment, space, and travel costs. It probably would have been more like $50k if Chris Reyman (the composer) and all of the musicians hadn’t donated their time. So yeah, I still feel like we got a huge steal on the music. I’ll definitely do a podcast on that soon!


What illumination and rendering engine you have used?


Everything is done in XSI with standard lights and rendered in Mental Ray. However most of the shots have about 30 passes so the “look” is all done in the comp. One of the really complex shots got up to around 70 passes which is just silly.

edit: Actually, stay tuned for more details. I was going to do the next podcast on animation, but I’m just finishing up lighting a big shot so I think I’ll do a little series on lighting/compositing.


Podcast #003 is now online and talks about the multipass workflow we used on PI:

Let me know if you have any questions or ideas for something you’d like to see in one of the podcasts!

Also, if you’re wanting to see a more in-depth image of the compositing tree, below is a screen shot of the comp in Combustion. Beware… it’s a pretty huge jpeg.


Podcast #004: Lighting Hacks is now online and shows a few tricks to help speed up the lighting process…


Podcast #005: Lighting the Eyes is now online and shows a few tricks on how to do the Pixar/Dreamworks style eyes.


Hey Lucas.
It looks amazing!
I’ve been following this closely since I saw it on animwatch, and it unbelievable how you can keep focus and motivation.

Your podcasts are great too.
It’s always nice to get a glimpse behind the curtain :slight_smile:

Ideas to future podcasts (in my opinion) would be:

Rigging: Now, I see you use XSI and I am a maya dude myself, but you take on how to set up the most effecient rig, how to set up the spine controls (FK or SplineIK), fingers, face GUI, that sort of non-program-related stuff would be really great.

How do you adapt a script into storyboard:
At least I always face problems when trying to visualize written stuff. It’s so much easy’er to write “He was scared” or “He couldn’t stop thinking of his dead mother”, or something like that, but how to translate that into a visual thing, would be really nice to hear you opinion about.
I guess you must have faced the same problems, somewhere in the process.

Well, that two fast topics.
I’ll let you know, if I come up with any more :slight_smile:

Cheers, and keep up the AMAZING work! Really inspirational!


Hi Lucas,

First able congratulation for the nice work you have done so far in that Inspirable project you are involved.

I would like to say that you are doing an exceptional quality film. And that in my opinion is really hard when the project is that huge and doing it along. You also spend time to inform people on how you accomplished difficult tasks along your journey, in a very fun and helpful way to others. Only that already takes a lot of time. Those videos are very useful for people who love this art and wanders how to achieve things and don’t have where or who to ask.

I think the most difficult part of a project like yours is how to balance Quality with Time. Because although we have to assume one has to have the skills to be able to deliver quality art. We all know that quality is also a matter of dedicating time to your artwork. And with the among of work there is in an animated film, one has to sacrifice some of that, other wise it could take much more time than it already takes.
If one wants to dedicate more time to your project in order to raise the quality it would then take much longer than it already takes. And a project like this can easily take 5 years.

So for me you are achieving the most difficult part witch is progressing on your project at a good speed achieving quality results.

Therefore I think this would be a helpful topic that you could cover on your next video on your Blog. Just giving us your opinion on how to find that balance with time and Quality.

Again congratulation for your work and good luck with the rest of the journey.



Doffer: Excellent ideas, that gives me a good idea on a way to do the rigging stuff without being package specific. Stay tuned for the storyboard stuff. I’ll definitely have a few episodes on that.

Adolpho: Great idea as well. The quality vs. time thing is something I struggle with constantly. I’ve got a few other episodes planned first but don’t worry, its coming soon!


Great podcasts Lucas. I should have checked by the Pigeon Impossible website more often. Looking forward of seeing more of your film soon!


Hey guys, Podcast #006 is now online and covers some cool camera projection techniques.

Hope I see some of you at SIGGRAPH!


Podcast #007 is now online and covers some tricks for rendering mattes and particles with RGB separation.


It seems like you don’t get a whole lot of comments on this one, but I can tell you, that I watch these podcasts with a lot of interest.
It’s great to see how other people work, and it’s always nice to get something on video instead of reading it.

So please keep it up.
Can’t wait for the rigging casts :slight_smile:


Just found your podcasts Lucas, really interesting and funny too!
Amazing work on the short, that dedication makes me feel a little ashamed at my own laziness…

Keep it up man!