DAILY ROLE: Work under an art director, on a team with other prop and set modelers, to create the background sets, props, and 3D characters for the show. Work with animators to create and rig 3D characters for the show. Set up lip synch rigs for 3D characters. Create cartoon shaded particle effects and solid body simulations. Animate camera. Set up cinematic layouts. Create animated sequences involving lighting in Mental ray. Create 3D character Animations and lip synch animations.
I started work at Animation Collective in April 2005. They had just rented a new space and we were the first ones in the door. I was living in China town. The story was to be set in Tokyo. And we were looking at a lot of anime' background reference art.
The first model I was faced with, was a giant version of Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo. The process evolved over the 2 seasons of production, but all of the final images involved in some way a combination of modeling, and base shading in Maya, and then the work of a painter to add in the signs, atmosphere and mood. Later in production, we did more shading and lighting directly in Maya to speed up the process. When we started, a lot of the burden was on the painters (special thanks to Lawrence Valenti and Soonmin Chung). In the end, it was less so. Either way, the models did the structure, and the painters worked their magic on top, and it produced incredible results.
Another of my chores was to model and rig characters. Usually some sort of destructive robot. It was good practice to have an animator waiting for a rig, because they were usually critical and a good sounding board for producing professional rigs. There was a sequence of a talking motorcycle, and non only did I get to rig the motorcycle, I was lucky enough to get to animate him as well. That was a fun sequence.
And then there were the props. We created 100's of vector rendered props.