It has been a while since we were at the sketching stage, but now that the assets and environments from the first half of the film are well under way, we decided to revisit the locations not seen until the end of the film – Granny’s kitchen and the outside of her house.
There have been plenty of posts on the progress of the living room, but these images below are probably the ones that most excited us. To see the room with moon light and other atmospheric lighting really brings the world to life. The image below shows the main environment lighting tests – moonlight and the upstairs light shining down.
There were not a lot of images from this post that would have made sense as a main image without a little explanation – so we chose the one that most resembled a face! Once we had built the children’s faces in 3D we unwrapped the meshes and were left with the net you can see below (minus the colour/texture). We then took this into Photoshop and painted the texture and facial details such as freckles.
We put this shot at the top as we knew it would catch the eye – and it is one of our most atmospheric shots in the film. Traditionally in stories, the crossing of water is symbolic – of entering a new world – in this case, the Beastie crossing from the ‘dead’, baron land around his cave into the safe, warm land of the village. Although this shot is still not final, you can see the considerations taken when compositing it below…
We gave you a little update on the Beastie’s cave scene a few weeks ago but one of the huge tasks that we faced was building the forest that stretched from beyond the cave. You will have noticed in our last post about the cave that it features a tree – this is our master tree – the one that all other trees are based on.
Back to the bedroom for the last time! We have been busy texturing the room, walls, doors and props. With the room laid out now, we started to realise that it may not be necessary to texture every prop and part of the room – unfortunately items such as the toy balloon and helicopter hanging from the ceiling would no longer be seen in shot! Although this was a shame, we were relieved to save some time on the texturing work!
The village sign is a prop that we had been debating for some time… did we really need it? As the Beastie makes the journey from his cave to the village we needed to show a point at which he had reached the edge of the village, to show that danger to the children was imminent. Plus, as we still were not showing the Beastie’s body at this stage, we wanted to use his shadow to engulf the sign as he approached.
In the end, we decided that we wanted to keep this element, and the sign carried on going through some changes. We used the village name ‘Tuffles’ as a placeholder in the beginning, but we all hated it by this point, and decided that the village doesn’t need a name, so decided to drop it for the simple ‘Welcome’ message.
Over a year after we had Brian Blessed and Alison Steadman into the recording studio, it was time to dust off the microphone and record the voices for the children. Up until now we had been using scratch tracks – a rough track as a placeholder until we were ready. We had been looking for the right voice for some time – someone who could perform all the children’s voices – and were extremely happy when we discovered Lizzie Waterworth’s audition tape.
As you saw in our last post about getting the sizes and proportions right, we have almost finished the 3D modelling of the children. These will go off for texturing now, but at the same time, we start to rig the models – which basically means giving them a skeleton – ready for when we start animating them. We then put the characters through rigorous testing – pulling their joints, arms, legs and body around to test for any abnormalities. As you can see below, there were quite a few issues – some subtle and some massive! We’ve highlighted some of them, but see if you can spot the issues on the other images…
With the bulk of our 3D environments and characters now built, and ahead of the texturing of the children, we had our first look at what the characters look like in their environment. As the children interact quite a lot with the surroundings (especially when they hide) it was very important to ensure they were the correct size, or at least the correct proportion for that shot. We did this by placing them in some of the key places they needed to go, and next to each other to gauge their relation to one another, as you can see from the images below