Despicable Me 2: Steve Carell Explains 3D Animation

June 20, 2013

I love this simple explanation by Steve Carell on the various processes involved in a film animation pipeline, in this case Despicable Me 2. I’m going to recommend it to clients as a fun way to basically get their collective heads around what it is we actually do. Obviously working in commercials with small budgets (and even smaller timelines) tends to force you to compress a lot of these stages into fewer and thus more general steps. You tend to be more of a generalist out of necessity. Still we do split out broad stages into design/previs, modeling/rigging, texturing/lighting, rendering/comping with people being in charge of their particular area of specialty. Times have certainly changed from my beginnings working in JAM design in 1991 when you had to do everything, computers cost thousands, and render farms were the domain of large companies like ILM and Pixar.
My favourite tool for explaining the various stages of animation remains Cirkus’ own ABC to animation. Back when I was directing the Asia/Pacific region campaign of Comfort the crew changed so often at Unilever (the large global company that owns the brand) that we had to continually explain to new people the processes of animation and the importance of sign off points etc. The guys at Cirkus decided to make a very tongue in cheek video that we could simply send a new person a link too. The resulting video, Cirkus decided to upload to youtube where it has been payed thousands of times. Cirkus encouraged this as a kind of animation community service. If clients are educated about what we do it’s easier for everyone… right?

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