This was an incredibly fun project to work on, and everyone at the BUCK LA office really went all out – from concept art and design, to animation and lighting. It was also a long project; it took around 9 months total from concept to final execution, although the CG aspect of the production took closer to 4 months.
I was brought into the project from very early on. My initial tasks involved further developing Mr. Seed’s look and starting the process of translating him into CG.
Here are some examples of Mr. Seed’s early look development process:
While working on his look, we very quickly realized that going too overboard with medium frequency detail not only started to make him less appealing, but it also created a myriad of problems with the detail around his mouth. Because his animation style was incredibly extreme, the texture would stretch a lot, which was really distracting.
After some exploration, I started pitching a simpler foam material with ultra-high-frequency details that sold it as physical and tactile without creating the problems we were having before, particularly during animation. This is the look we ended up settling for.
Another aspect of the spot I worked on from early in development was the creation of the “Living Wall”. Even though this is mostly a cosmetic shot, it was an incredibly important piece of the puzzle during the production of the film, as it was meant to set the tone for how we’d be handling all of the Lighting and LookDev going forward.
I quickly built a first version of this shot using Modo, and then brought everything into VRay.
As the project moved further along into production, I was tasked with leading the CG team, directing the Lighting and Look Development, Compositing most shots and updating Mr. Seed’s look as we continued moving forward.
The core Modeling/Lighting/Look Dev team for this project was incredibly small given the scope of the project. It mainly consisted of six people: Eric Pagtaconan, Wing Sze Lee, Michele Herrera, Jens Lindgren, John Niehuss and myself.
To deal with the insane amount of assets we needed to Look Dev, we approached the process the same way a fabricator on a stop motion film would: We decided on a limited number of materials to use for this project (Wood, Paint, Foam, Plastic, Seed Pods, etc) and then I built a modular material library that included those. This helped keep the look of everything consistent between artists. Every single material in this library was 100% procedural and UV-independent. The details of every material, along with it’s colors, could be easily tweaked. This allowed us to very quickly LookDev every single object in a scene, which let us move on to testing Lighting very quickly.
Some examples of the material library:
These materials could easily be mixed and matched with a collection of procedural blend masks. This gave us a very robust range of looks and combinations right out of the box:
his simple solution was enough for the vast majority of our assets, and even when it wasn’t, which was the case for our hero assets, it provided a great starting point, as we could bake down these materials into textures and then go crazy!
Directed by BUCK
Executive Creative Director: Ryan Honey
Executive Producer: Maurie Enochson
Creative Director: Joe Mullen
Head of CG: Doug Wilkinson
Producer: Emily Rickard
Production Coordinator: Kaitlyn Mahoney
Animation Director: Alessandro Ceglia
CG Lead: Alex Dingfelder
Art Director: Laura Yilmaz
Editor: Alessandro Ceglia
3D Animation: Alessandro Ceglia, Tyler Lancaster, Dony Permedi, Adam Floeck
Modeling: Eric Pagtaconan, Wing Sze Lee, Michele Herrera, John Niehuss, Mingoo Park, Jens Lindgren, Eyad Hussein, Alex Dingfelder, Arvid Volz, Brice Linane, Rie Ito
Look Development Lead: Alex Dingfelder
Look Development: Wing Sze Lee, Eric Pagtaconan, Michele Herrera, Jens Lindgren, John Niehuss, Mingoo Park
Rigging TD: Ernesto Ruiz Velasco
Character TD: Eyad Hussein, Ernesto Ruiz Velasco
Pipeline and FX TD: Albert Omoss
Additional Rigging: Lee Wolland
Lighting Direction: Alex Dingfelder
Lighting: Wing Sze Lee, Jens Lindgren, Alex Dingfelder, Eric Pagtaconan, Michele Herrera
Compositing Lead: Alex Dingfelder
Compositing: Alex Dingfelder, Wing Sze Lee
Storyboards: Laura Yilmaz, Kendra Ryan, Alessandro Ceglia, Craig Yamamoto
Concept Art and Matte Painting: Laura Yilmaz, Scott Huntsman, Susan Yung, Audrey Yeo
Design: Laura Yilmaz, Joe Mullen, Susan Yung, Scott Huntsman, Audrey Lee, Rasmus Bak, Xoana Herrera, Vincent Tsui, Jenny Ko, Kenesha Sneed
Music and Sound Design: Antfood
Voice of Mr Seed: Pete Holmes
Alex Dingfelder seed matters This was an incredibly fun project to work on, and everyone at the BUCK LA office really went all out – from concept art and design, to animation and lighting. It