[vimeo http://vimeo.com/63886707 w=573&h=322]
I was recently approached by Pryce Duncalf – head Honcho of animation and VFX studio Nimble Gimbal about his latest 3D project for a Discovery show called Swimming With Monsters produced by Spun Gold.
I don’t know about you, but I always tend to take it for granted that 3D animators are knocking out technically accurate 3D animals of various sorts all the time with the myriad of templates available. However after talking to Pryce, I realised that it wasn’t as simple as that!“I was given the opportunity to pitch ideas for the graphical sections in this new program. It is about exploring some of nature’s most dangerous underwater predators up close in a way that had never before been achieved. To give the impression that we are exploring the cutting edge of natural history, I wanted to put these creatures in a surreal environment, a kind of weightless underwater observatory with an almost science fiction super camera which can slow down time and see things that are invisible to the naked eye”
Apparently because of the high level of scutiny of people who watch these programs (one person’s ‘enthusiast’ is another one’s ‘nerd’! ) there is always a lot of research involved. Pryce told me more: “Personally I spent a lot of time at the Natural History Musiem archive and had to make multiple appointments at the Zoological Society Library and at the Grant Museum to do things like inspect the skulls and bones of the animals- even checking that I had created the right amount of teeth in the anaconda by counting them…”
Here’s the making of as well:
[vimeo http://vimeo.com/75140487 w=573&h=322]
“It’s true that you can find templates for some creatures to start you off, but you still need to do a lot of work on them to fit your purpose. Also for creatures like the Humboldt Squid, I had to start that from scratch – which took a month of solid work! I did this project in Cinema 4D and After Effects with V-ray for rendering. I also had to take into consideration the desires of Discovery and Spun Gold, which wern’t always the same – while one wanted the creatures to be more realistic, the other more ‘savage’ ” Apart from that he said that the production company was very considerate and he had very reasonable deadlines – so it wasn’t all bad!
At one minute 40″ long – its a fairly meaty piece of animation but just a portion of the graphical content that was delivered for the program. I think that the extra graphic overlay and the weapons type stats give this nature program a really cool look and feel – imagine if you could call up a database of any animal and look at it this way – it would be awesome.
Finally he told me that he’s still trying to get a project about Ninjas and Aliens off the ground – which is something I would certainly like to see…so if any of you reading this have a budget to spend – get in touch… and if anyone knows what a Gimbal is – let me know!
Credits: Animation and VFX – Nimble Gimbal, Client – Discovery, Production Company – Spun Gold, Soundtrack – Amon Tobin