: A Little Spirit

Oct 20, 2008

This was a crazy big job we did at Curious Pictures. 44min Christmas special for Macy’s.

This is probably the job that we finished ironing out our production pipeline. It was charged against me to light, render and composite 44min of animation starting August and finishing end of October. In retrospect, I sort of volunteered for the job. It seemed like an impossible challenge, that maybe, I had all the tools for. Hehehe. I remember grinning at the idea of it. It had taken us 4x longer to do 1/2 the amount of work on Chicago 10. But I was in a mischievous mood, and felt like running at trouble.

Mark Corotan was the art director, John Lee was the Lead Lighter, and I was Lead Compositor. Over a couple of weeks we worked up a method to quantify the amount of work involved, how long the render times were going to take, the man power required, diskspace, and number of machines rendering/processing hours. It was fun report to make.

I was playing a little too much lead and little too little compositing for my tastes, but it was an awesome effort. And it was a great job to work on my programming skills along with tricky workflows!

The summer before, I had met our old technical director Ray Forziatti in LA at Siggraph, and he introduced me to Phil Captian 3D McNally. I had always loved stereoscopic pictures, and after meeting Mr.McNally was romanced by the idea of doing Stereo 3D for a living! So, some of the reason I took on the roll of lighting / compositing supervisor, was because if I was lucky….I knew I’d be able to ‘convert’ a portion of the film after production was completed. Similarly to the way Dreamworks re-rendered Kung-Fo panda as a stereo production test a year after the movie was released.

Later I went back and re-rendered about 7min of the film in stereo 3D. I thought it was going to be easy.. Just throw another camera and call it day right? Ha! About 6 months of study into camera rigs and the maths (there was little information back in those days!). I would up having to re-write nearly every pipeline tool to accommodate the stereo images. Just learning how build a stereoscopic camera rig took me a couple months of weekends and nights:) The movie above is the stereoscopic trailer we cut for the film. In total the project took all my nights and weekends for about 8 months. It was a monumental effort, to re-create the pipeline, layout, render, and composite 7min of animation. But for what I learned and the satisfaction of completing a life challenge, I think it was worth it.

Still of maya stereo camera rig.

Maybe I’ll get around to posting the stereo camera rig here at some point:)

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