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Animal Facts #164 was created leveraging components of the Nimble Collective platform, going from script to screen using our virtual, streaming, collaborative animation platform. The short was animated, lit, edited, and rendered entirely in Blender with the use of other tools like Nuke, Audacity, and more (including the pencil and paper the chicken was originally designed on) using only a $189 Toshiba Chromebook 2. No software to download. No installs. Just a web browser and the Internet.
Our animal fact was picked, the stage was set, now all we needed was a chicken design. Iryna Korshak, a Polish artist was up to the task and provided pre-vis and design work that set a beautiful style and tone for the project.
After we had our chicken designed, it was off to Blender to model and rig our chicken, as well as the rest of the models used in the short (including our popular “squash and stretch” car). Haley Kannall and Jason Schleifer tackled modeling the chicken based on Iryna’s design. After the modeling, Haley moved on to surfacing the chicken and texture mapping her while Jason moved on to rigging the models. Jason rigged the car to really ‘read’ when the chicken hits the brakes (Who’s driving? Oh no! Chicken is driving! How can that be?!)
In the meantime, superstar composer and sound engineer from New Zealand, Stephen Gallager and Tom Scott-Toft, pulled together the score and sound effects that really brought the character to life.
When it came time to animate, Jason held nothing back. Along with the chicken, you can see Jason’s trademark eye for detail in the background birds, dust motes, and even the little sheep on the hill (Yes, yes. Soak it all in.) Of note, this production is one of the first to utilize Blender’s new ‘bendy bones’ rigging system. It worked wonderfully to give the chicken her fluid and stretchy neck movements.
After lighting and rendering, Haley composited the shots using Nuke to pull it all together so all the scenes could be edited in Blender’s non-linear editor.
Our final product was an international collaboration that went from script to screen in the cloud. It’s a big step towards animation independence! We hope you enjoy it.