My 2017 demo reel. All assets modeled in Maya and shaded in Houdini. Some assets were painted in Mari.
Over Fall semester, I worked at BYU Bridges on a social innovation film they have been working on for the past year or so. Because of the magnitude of the project, BYU Bridges reached out and outsourced the project to a local studio called Sequoia Visuals, which then hired me to be an animator for some segments in the video.
Despite being an animation job, the film approaches a rather serious subject. It talks about the relationship between psychology and spirituality, and bridging the gap between the two. The challenge was making an animation that would be serious and appropriate to support the subject.
We decided to go with an ancient art style. Now, which one? After some studying, we boiled it down to 5 main styles: Byzantine, Ancient Egyptian, Medieval Iconography, Stained Glass, and Ukiyo. We made some art studies on the subjects to see how well they would work with the film.
Here are a few illustrations of Dalai Lama on some of the proposed styles:
We analyzed and decided the Medieval Icon was the most appropriate one for the film. However, we felt like we could push the style even further, so after some more researching, we found the styled that popped: Medieval Allegorical. Here is the main characters in the segments with the final style:
Having a style for the project, now it was the time to make the storyboards for the film. There are three segments for the film. The first one shows how psychology and research divided from tradition and spirituality, creating a gap between them (separation). The second shows a bar graph of research done over the decades, and the last one shows how research and psychology come together with spirituality through BYU Bridges.
We then blocked out the shots in Adobe AfterEffects with simple assets to make sure that the animation worked well. Here are two examples of the blocking:
Final Videos and Assets
After much work done and feedback given, we got to the end of it where it all seemed to belong together and complement the film. Even after it was ready, it took us a few times more of feedback and minor detail fixings to get to the final video. Both the client and the team in the studio were really satisfied with the results of it. Here is the final film with the final animation segments:
Cool stuff, huh?
This was modeled in Maya, shaded in Houdini. I used Mari and Photoshop to create the patterns of the scars.
Screenshot of the node network: