Week 11

a CMU ETC Production

Week 11

On the Road Again

Everyone continued plugging away at their respective parts of the pipeline this week. We are getting more shots into motion thanks to Niharika’s animation, and are starting to integrate them with Yikai’s waves shown last week.

Muhammad finished the mermaid rig, and designed a first version of the mermaid’s textures. We are still iterating on the color choice to find something that will stand out against the water while seeming natural. However, we are happy with the general design and want to move forward with that.

Kristy started taking the animation shots that Niharika had developed, and added in the environments and compositing. In the process, Kristy noticed an emergent challenge in that correcting colors on a work screen can be challenging in daylight. It turns out this is a pretty universal truth in animation, and most production studios have special dark rooms where compositors work:

Example Source

Since we don’t have the resources for a specialized room, and most other team members prefer having light to work, we’ve come up with a DIY solution to give Kristy the lighting she needs. The tool for the job? An umbrella! It’s not uncommon for people in animation to have a large umbrella on their desk to shield light that would make color correction imprecise. We’ve ordered a special umbrella off Amazon with the ETC’s permission, and will be trying it out next week.

Our composer/sound designer, Kristian, provided us with a new draft of the music for Sirena. Unfortunately, the audio exceeds the file size for our WordPress blog… But we can tell you that it did a great job of matching the emotional beats we need for the piece to resonate with people. The team agreed that this was a solid foundation, but like with anything else on the project it could use some layering and iteration. Especially considering not every scene from the animatic has been fully animated and rendered yet, we recognize this makes audio a challenge to handle at this stage in the game. We learned from faculty that music can often be a pain point in the animation process, as it’s forced to come last because of the nature of the pipeline.

Packing the Package

This week a lot of progress was made on our other deliverable– the animation prepackage we’ve titled “The Package”. Going off the revised script from our external writer, Kate, Jared put together a rough storyboard to help visualize the scenes. To this end, Muhammad has also started work on a rig for the package, which could help the next team start off on the right foot depending on their skillset.

Over the weekend is the ETC’s traditional Playtest Day, in which the school invites Pittsburghers young and old to come experience our projects. By getting an outside perspective from people who aren’t deeply ingrained in the kind of projects we do, ETC students are able to compile valuable data to help make decisions.

The way we plan to approach this is to see what people are able to understand about our pre-production story. We want to make the most comprehensive package possible for next year’s team, so getting different kinds of feedback on its clarity will be a great asset. Since the Sirena side of things is generally set in stone (except for fine details), we’re not sure we would be able to get the most out of Playtest Day by focusing on that.