Lovers Meet Postmortem

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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

movement.


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.