Rundown of 3D Film Previs

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Brian "Panda" Choi interpolator
So I just accepted a week-long contract to do low poly art assets for a previs company in LA.

The making art part I get. What film previs is in terms of production workflow, I do not.

Does anyone have any experience with The Third Floor, or any other film previs studios? How do you relate them against game development studios?

Something tells me it's going to be a VERY intense week. Though if it's just an assets list with a certain, quick quality bar that I am helping knock out, then I'm fine with that.

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  • Steve Schulze
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    Steve Schulze polycounter lvl 12
    I haven't done an enormous amount of previz, but I can give you a rough idea.

    It'll vary depending on the studio, where they're at in the project and what exactly they need. It'll quite likely be animatic assets they're after - low res models that give an accurate sense of shape and dimensions of elements in a scene that they can use to quickly block out a shot. Think of the sort of art you'd do for an environment blockout, and factor in the need for getting your measurements correct and you'll probably.
  • Brian "Panda" Choi
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    Brian "Panda" Choi interpolator
    I'm imagining it's literally straight to low-poly modeling and quick textures after UVs?

    It sounds like an interesting experience, but correct me if I'm wrong, not necessarily portfolio work to show off?
  • Steve Schulze
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    Steve Schulze polycounter lvl 12
    Probably not for games, although it certainly won't hurt to have it on your resume

    This is the sort of stuff I imagine you'll be working on:
    http://www.cgmeetup.net/home/rise-of-the-planet-of-the-apes-previs/
    There's a little bit of detail, but it's obviously been hammered together really quickly. Segmented characters, low res models, really basic textures, corners cut wherever possible. Kinda looks like a movie I put together in my first year of uni.
  • pangaea
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    pangaea polycounter lvl 4
    [ame]

    This is an example of a previs.

    There is also a previs of this scene [ame] but I can't find it. It was similar quality to the above lord of the rings previs.
  • stabbington
    Congats! Third Floor are one of the top previs companies in the world; I used to do a good chunk of previs and TV/Film work before I moved into games and they were one of the places our previs animators used to drool at the thought of working for!

    Chances are that whilst it might not provide anything sexy for a games modelling portfolio, you might be getting a chance to have a blockbuster movie on your credits list, which is pretty cool in itself.

    Usually the modelling workflow is solely about rapid asset production - low poly but with good animation topology, usually diffuse-only or untextured entirely. The main thing is that characters need to be very efficiently made and animate well so that the previs animators don't get slowed down - often directors will want to make live changes in an animatic, so everything has to be as lightweight as possible so edits can be made in realtime in whatever program they're building the previs in.

    Props and environment work should be essentially the same, just expect rapid iteration and potentially having to make lots of edits to assets at any time during your day should someone suddenly need a building taller for framing, or a different type of aircraft exploding, etc.

    I'd imagine Third Floor would have a pretty well defined workflow by now and set out their expectations for what you need to achieve on the first day, so you shouldn't have much to worry about other than adjusting to their naming conventions and filing systems!
  • MagicSugar
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    MagicSugar polycounter lvl 9
    It sounds like an interesting experience, but correct me if I'm wrong, not necessarily portfolio work to show off?

    One idea. Overlay the final render with your draft render like this from Prometheus previs:

    [ame]
  • Brian "Panda" Choi
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    Brian "Panda" Choi interpolator
    If they let me grab the previs sequences they pump out, definitely going to look into doing that.

    Alright, so I guess get ready to learn a new pipeline and naming conventions on day one, and get ready to model and diffuse texture like mad.

    Thank you everyone! If anyone else has additional wisdom, I'd love to hear it :)!
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