When you set out to tackle something as big as revolutionizing the animation industry it makes sense to start with some baby steps, and that’s what our pilot program was. We wanted to take first-time directors, creative thinkers who had a story they wanted to tell, and watch how they worked with the streaming online animation process.
We gave the directors guidance, advice, and even helped connect them with team members to fill out their crew. In return, we got to test various features of our platform as they rolled out. With portions of each project completed on the platform, many of the lessons we learned from their creation have provided the foundation and framework to allow Nimble’s engineers to develop the early version of the company’s Virtual Studio Service Platform.
And when your simple test produces such fantastic and entertaining results, well, you know you’re onto something big.
Coin Operated is the pilot project that was developed with the closest thing to a big budget studio pipeline. Using tools like Maya, Renderman, and Nuke, director Nicholas Arioli led a team of industry veterans through the creation of this animated gem. The short was a proving ground for independent production practices as well as a starting off point for our TDs and engineers for the challenges they would be facing to pull off such a high level of quality in later projects.
Merging 2D photo plates with 3D animation was a wonderful test for the Disrupted team, led by Brian Newlin. An additional challenge was the decision not to go with the standard “glossy” look of traditional 3D animation, but to match the vibrant, “sketchy” feel of the original character designs. Made with Maya, Photoshop, and Nuke with custom toon shaders, Disrupted REALLY put our TDs through their paces to achieve the director’s final vision.
A recent graduate of the SJSU Animation program, director Kathy McNeal came to us with her storyboards for Roadside Assistance. We were able to help her wrangle a team of SJSU Animation students and teach them modeling, rigging, and animation using Blender. Her project allowed us to see the high and lows of a new team collaborating in the cloud, as well as adjust our platform to the needs of a fresh team just entering the animation world for the first time.
Sunny & GERD
A technical tour de force, Sunny and GERD pushed Blender into the spotlight as the director, DaCosta, oversaw every detail of his character’s creation. From storyboarding to picking character textures he and his team were able to wring a truly beautiful short from open source software. Incorporating high quality, but low price options into the platform is a central tenet of bringing our animation platform to everyone.
Utilizing traditional 2D animation techniques using ToonBoom, director Mike Shiell was able to convert his hilariously off-kilter 2D comic panels into fully realized 3D stories. Utilizing a relatively small team he was able to expand on the stories behind some select gags and bring his Wandering Melon comic strips to life.