Overview of The Art of "Open Season": Traditional 2D Styling with Today's Bells and Whistles.
An Overview of the Course, 'The Art of "Open Season": Traditional 2D Styling with Today's Bells and Whistles,' about Sony Imageworks first animated feature.
Sean Mullen, Animation Supervisor on Open Season, talked about how it was a design oriented project. He stated that certain poses were needed to maintain the overall shape, look, and feel of a character. Mullen and his team primary worked on the performance for the character Elliot. Animation teams were built based on the based scene, but around primary character. Usually a team would only animate the bulk of one character, but if a shot had a multiple characters, the animators would have to animate all the characters as well. Good communication was needed to maintain consistency between teams. Often, the animation supervisors would draw directly over renders to give direction to the 3D animator. Not all the 3D animators had a background in 2D animation, so the ability to match over a 2D drawing gave the character more personality.
The jacket on the character Shaw, how the legs were positioned on Elliot, or the hair and clothing for the forest ranger Beth are examples of how very specific the design of the character. Certain visual keys were assigned to each character so they could be identified even at a distance. Some of the animation had to be tweaked to maintain that stylistic silhouette. Not breaking the profile was essential to Open Season. This was achieved using 'shapers' which allowed the animators to sculpt the exterior of the character. The topic of animation shapers interested the crowd, especially when they started the Q&A session. A lot of questions from the audience came in response how far and exactly what the shapers could do. They could pull a mass from on a character and then sculpt the surface to make better graphic shapes with the poses.
One of the most beautiful and fun scenes was the where Boog and Elliot get caught in a dam break and the raft down river while the hunter Shaw if chasing them. The characters were designed with the idea of getting wet as well. The fur both wet and dry looked very realistic on these stylized characters. The look and feel of Open Season is fantastic. They showed the audience their entry into the Electronic Theater with a different perspective on the shots for the film. The scenes they showed were hilarious. I look forward to seeing Open Season on September 26.