Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Dog and the Butcher

More visual harmony from another Ringling graduate film, this one by Jonathan Holt. I really love the look of his shaders here. Not just the painted textures (though they're wonderful), but  the actual way the shading on the surfaces works. It's not flat, but it's also not highly specific in its gradation of light and shadow. It definitely works in pushing things back into a more interpretive space. As a result he has found a lot of leeway in making the motion less than literal. I think the style of the motion fits the visual style of the film perfectly. The way the dog walks is really whimsical. Lots of appeal.

While the general story telling in Ringling films is not nearly as kinetic as the French school Gobelins' works (it seems nearly every celebrated Gobelins student film in the last 5 years is built around a hyper-kinetic speeding chase through some environment), Ringling continues to steadily turn out some very nice student work. In the past much of the focus has been on a more typical CG approach, but it seems in recent years there's been a shift away from that toward more artistic visualizations. This is a tribute to the great work that the CG Animation Dept. head Jim McCampbell and his faculty are doing.


Wonkey the Monkey said...

The shading in this short fascinates me. When I look at it closer, I'm pretty sure that the self-shadowing on the dog is faked. The dark and light areas are baked on, so when the dog rotates, the shadow sticks to his skin. It works pretty well, too. When toon shaders are used with cast CG shadows, it tends to feel like cartoon characters moving around through a sea of static, "real" shadows.

Jonathan said...

Hey, you are pretty much on the money, though, all the shadows are painted by hand, not baked. actually everything you see on screen is painted, with the exception of the contact shadows, they are an occlusion pass. I wanted to try and make the shadows more painted looking too but never got around to it, I have some ideas on how to do it though. Actually I had allot of things I wanted to put in but never had time, but I guess that's how it always is.

The thing I was trying to do, and you hint at, is try and make the whole thing feel like a human being was making artistic decisions with everything on screen and avoid having any part say, " a computer made me!" which would be discongruous I think.

Anyways, I'm glad you found it interesting!
and thanks Keith Lango for saying such nice things about my stuff :-) Always been a big fan.