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Making the animated trailer #7 – post Friday, 26 February 2010

Posted by Helen in Animation, Behind the Scenes.
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Previous instalment: Making the animated trailer #6 – music

The last stage in making a film is post-production. For the Carry a Poem animation, post was all about putting together different layers. We “rendered” each part of the animation separately and then composited them in post. (Rendering is the last stage in creating CGI animation footage and the one stage that the computers do for us. The computers take all the information we’ve given them, and generate one or more finished images for each frame of the animation.)

So, for example, each frame where the poetry cloud is pulsing through the headphones…

Carry a Poem frame 3329 (Headphones)

…is made up of four layers: the street background, the headphones, the poetry cloud, and the Carry a Poem logo:

Carry a Poem frame 3329 (4 layers)

It’s even more complex at the points where the poetry cloud is transforming the street. This image…

Carry a Poem frame 2401 (explosion)

… has two street backgrounds, not just one: one without the poetry murals, and one with. These are combined using a mask which shows the splats where the poetry cloud has hit the walls, so identifies the areas in which the murals should be revealed:

Carry a Poem frame 2401 (poetry splats)

This creates a combined background onto which we add: the poetry cloud (in two layers because the number of particles in the cloud was too high for them all to be rendered together) plus the Carry a Poem logo (tiny, but still there):

Carry a Poem frame 2401 (4 layers)

As you can imagine, the biggest challenge in all this is keeping everything organised. Until all the layers are put together it’s very hard to check the renders, so it’s crucial that the whole process is planned and managed carefully. This involves lots of thinking things through at the beginning plus many diagrams charting what will go where.

It’s worth all the hard work, though. The moment when everything comes together to produce a finished film is brilliant!

Helen Jackson has been writing every week about the production of the Carry a Poem trailer. This is her last post. For more blog posts about animation, take a look at Binary Fable’s blog.

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