Lovers Meet Postmortem
Team Members: Brian Matthew Beebe, ChiaoFang Chyu, Wenyu Jiang, Xiaolin Liu, Luo Yi Tan
Fake it ‘Till You Make it Animation Studio had the unique task of: creating Lovers Meet from
preproduction materials provided by the Fall 2015 Animation Studio, Para Productions, as well as
creating our own preproduction materials to pass to the Fall 2016 studio.
The majority of the semester was spent creating Lovers Meet; however, we quickly learned we would
need to specifically tailor the short film to our needs due to the fact that the script needed to
be revised per Para Productions and Chris Klug’s recommendations, along with the fact that no one
on our team felt comfortable being the dedicated animator. Another unique challenge was the fact
that half of the story takes place in live action. This meant we would not only need to create a
pipeline for creating a short animation, but we would need to have the capability to blend this
animation with a live action short film. Therefore, we decided that in order to create a successful
deliverable, we would need to focus on creating our own pipeline and way of working that would
allow us to create something we could all be proud of while also building upon personal skills.
This problem solving workflow allowed us to conquer many issues throughout the semester quickly and
pragmatically by using motion capture, division of labor, and “cheating” many shots and effects
using post production.
Lovers Meet is about a love-troubled young man, Isaac, who finds himself
magically transported inside an impressionist painting. While inside this magical new world,
through a newfound friend, Isaac learns that love is worth fighting for. While FITYMI and Para
Productions were both inspired by the work of Leonid Afremov, we decided to take his work as
inspiration rather than imitation. This allowed us to create our own art style which complemented
our quick production turnaround time as well as our artistic vision.
The animation is set in a painterly-style world. We combined the expressive brushstroke style
textures and hard-edge, low-poly 3D modeling together to create unique art style for our animation.
Instead of using the help of facial expressions to show the characters’ emotion, we expressed
emotion through posture, gesture, camera movement, color scheme and music. At the beginning of the
semester, we created a color script to map out the color, lighting, emotion and mood of each scene,
which was really helpful during production.We strongly recommend to create one frame of visual
development piece early on that looks very close the final animation, so the artists have
good reference what “look” and VFX they will research and produce. During motion
capture shooting, we ensured our actors and actresses emphasized the motion by exaggerating their
In the music composing process, our main challenge was to create a piece that fits the artistic
style of the animation and the realistic feeling in the live action. It is common for animation
project teams to spend weeks working hard on experimenting technologies to find the most efficient
way of producing the animation. That is why we suggested our composer to start earlier on composing
simple melodies and then pitch to the team so that the composer can constantly improve the music in
an early stage. Also, drawing out the story’s emotion changes and beats with colors helped the
music to develop in the right direction.
The pre-production materials we are creating for the Fall 2016 production studio will be for The
Sea of Stories, our concept for a short Virtual Reality Immersive Artistic Experience. This concept
was inspired by a quote that was given to us by Ralph, which is an except from a novel titled
Haroun and the Sea of Stories. The experience will consist of the Guest flying on the back of a
giant bird above and inside the sea which consists of rainbow currents that represent all stories
that have ever been told and that will be told. Rather than a linear narrative animation, we are
hoping this will function more as a tech and art showpiece; meaning, while it is a complete
experience, we want the artists and programmers to be able to express themselves while building
their skills to create a beautiful portfolio piece.
While pre-production concept art and visual development illustrations can really help to predict
what the final image will look like, the post production is also key to produce an unified final
look for the animation. The post process including particle effects, 2D atmosphere, color grading,
filters and lens effects. Color correction is the key to get a harmonious look. It is necessary to
create Look Up Tables (LUTs) for each scene based on color script. LUTs help to wrap the entire
scene into one unified mood. For real time VR animation, major game engines also have their own
powerful post and camera lens tools.
FITYMI, while facing many challenges and hiccups throughout the beginning semester, created an
efficient pipeline which kept the production on time while simultaneously allowing each member to
contribute. By the time we had finished revising pre-production materials, creating necessary
assets and capturing and receiving motion capture data, we had an assembly line of sorts allowing
for simultaneous animation cleanup, lighting, rendering and compositing.
However, in retrospect, there are aspects which we could definitely have improved upon. While we
created an efficient workflow later in the semester, we floundered a lot in the beginning in terms
of scheduling and time management. Specifically, we struggled to find the most efficient way to
meet our deadlines. This was a combination of focusing on the wrong production method (going
shot-by-shot rather than creating the full piece, then adding to it), as well as being unsure of what were realistic
deadlines for our own skillsets. However, as all of our skillsets improved, our producer was able
to create more helpful and accurate schedules and documentation while our artists became more
efficient at creating content as well as estimating time
until completion of their tasks.