Sunday, 13 January 2013

The Making and 3D elements of Iron Giant

From the Warner Bros Animation, the Iron Giant directed by Brad Bird is an animated science fiction fantasy action film. It was created by using traditional animation and computer animation. This was based on the 1968 novel ‘The Iron Man’ by Ted Hughes. The production of movie began from Brad Hughes who was impressed by the mythology of the story of the book, and with the help of Warner Bros creative control which introduced new characters that was not even on the original book. The Idea has been pitched ‘What if a gun had a soul?’ by Dean and Kent. Brad Bird has produced the Iron Giant on a Cinema Scope widescreen format which was unusual and disagreed by the other advisors, but Bird kept on and felt appropriate to use the format because most films during the 1950s were produced in widescreen formats. Eventually Bird was allowed to continue to produce the work in wide 2.39:1 Cinema Scope aspect ratio.

During the production, the initial idea of the giant oh how it looks like were all designed and created by hand even though it is a creation of a full 3D dimensional computer generation model, even the storyboarding the presence of the giant should dismiss. It takes a lot of talent and hard work because the illustrations will become the initial blueprint reference for the 3D animation artist to with. Animators found it really hard to animate the giant, a metal solid object in a smooth fluid manner, so they have decided to use computer generated imagery. Joe Johnston who had previously worked on the initial designs for the Star Wars Trilogy was the choice for the job. Once the illustrations and design was completed, the giant is now ready to be made. The 3D software chosen for the task to model the giant was called Maya. It was used to sculpt the structure, which then could later be rendered and painted with the 2D environment. They have used the same traditional techniques inherited for the other characters. They have blended a combination of Maya and Amino software packages which has the same colour palettes that are being used on both 3D and 2D elements to produce the ‘uniform, perfectly blended feel.’

When modelling a 3D object in Maya (or any other 3D packages, such as 3D Studio Max, Softimage, Cinema 4D, Light Wave and Houdini these are the well-known main softwares) the object can be viewed as a shaded wire frame. Using wireframe on shaded or x-ray helps the 3D animators very well to gauge and measure where the object is laid out. The wire frame displays all of the lines or edges, which are used to edit and model the object. These lines are also very useful for the 2D animators. Even though the model remains in the 3D basis, this adopts the features and appearance of the 3D model, though the model is rendered as a wire frame, lines can be used as a colouring base layout for the 2D world. The template would appear the same to the other unfilled outlines when it is loaded to 2D software. This is done to make the map painting process easier and uniform. This is still very important for the model giant to launch the same form of movement as the other characters showed in the movie, and to fulfil the same sequence of motion. The same techniques and structure layout has been simulated to animated the cartoon by the technical team. Traditional 2D characters are animated by pose to pose, by creating a different new pose on every other frame rather than on each frame which doesn’t really work well on 3D animation which is unusual, this has been also been adopter and used for the giant. Sometimes when the animation process is completed, the technique will sometimes result on having to take out alternate frames out from the scene, this process is very time consuming but it is so much fast and easier than hand drawing all the lines and angles of the complexly designed giant. It is very crucial during the making of any movie when adjusting and sorting out the movement of the 2D and 3D elements, as this could reveal most of the techniques used. Comparing 2D and 3D, a 2D surroundings makes movement by dealing with flat areas and alternatively ‘3D systems operate by manipulating volumes through genuine three dimensional movements.’

The style and movement and techniques were used in the ‘Rugrats’ by Klasky Csupo. They have studied and applied its unique characteristics throughout the years. They have used a similar 3D model of the vehicle to the ‘Iron Giant.’ The chosen software for the job was Maya, this is used for most of the complicated parts of the movie which makes work much more easier. As for the vehicle, all the 3D were also linear render which makes look like a blank colouring in book for the 2D animator to paint on top. ‘we don’t fully render colour… we don’t set lighting or shading on the actual CGI elements.’ The 2D software package that has been used for the cartoon was made by USAnimation. It is very effective to use the program because of its power and ease and also due to the fact that it can transit to 3D quite easily. The philosophy of the ‘Rugrats’ shows importance on the aesthetic awareness of both the 2D and 3D elements.



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