Interview Todd Redner (Hybrid Animation-Integrating 2D and 3D Assets)

Supervising Animation Director radical Axis, Inc.

Lets face it, we have limits in the real world and they are called “budgets." The only way we were able to make a 3D pilot and keep it under the budget was to use 2D animation on 3D models. The characters were sculpted as generic people. We simply unwrapped the models and drew all the facial features, colors, clothing, etc. in Flash. The 3D animators only had to worry about body movements, while the 2D animators did all of the eye movements and lip-synch in Flash. It worked really well and had a very unique look. It saved us time and money in multiple areas: we didn’t have to purchase multiple workstations, render times did not kill us, and by separating the facial movements from the body animation, we were able to animate faster.

The biggest help in using 3D and 2D together for us has been with backgrounds and objects. You can spend some crazy hours on building realistic backgrounds for your 3D show. One of our projects was taking way too long to draw and paint the backgrounds. So our solution was to take rough sketches and build a simple 3D background. That way we could have the model done for all angles in one shot, get the shading done faster, and the perspective was already done before the next shot was laid out! After we pick the shot, we just render and add any texture or effects. Another show we did called for the reverse. The characters were entirely created in 3D, but we painted the backgrounds in 2D. There were just so many shots that required crazy amounts of objects and sets that would just not work for our budget to do in 3D. So we creatively blended 2D and 3D into the backgrounds. No matter what the medium is, 2D, 3D, or 4D (fingers crossed!), whatever it takes to get the right look and also keep your project under budget is what we have to do. Otherwise, we are either losing money, losing work, or both.

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