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In a previous post, Pre-visualization-The Next Step from Storyboarding,we talked about how pre-visualization (the process of creating 3D animatics from storyboards) is a very valuable tool for film production. In this segment, I am sharing a demonstration of how pre-vis can be used for short film projects, which is actually helpful for students and filmmakers interested in 3D animated shorts. Here is how I used it in my thesis animation, The Fallen Swan before I entered the industry as a full-time previsualization artist. Let’s take a look at the pre-production process and how it leads into the final cut.

2D Animatic

If you have storyboards, the first step is to combine the boards into an animatic. Editing the timing would be very helpful too. Because the key poses are limited in storyboards, I have to ballpark the timing on certain drawings. Bonus if you add in a soundtrack and edit the timing accordingly. If your shots have dialogue, consider the length it would take to convey the lines. Timing can be rough at this stage.

3D Animatic

Once the 2D animatic is approved, I started working roughing out camera shots and layout pre-vis. With help from Valeria Figueroa, my friend who was a previs artist, I had help in translating the 2D boards into a 3D animatic. Using low poly rigs and roughly textured environment, we visualized the scene in 3D space capturing the main idea. Here is a comparison side by side of the 2D and 3D animatic.


Camera and Layout Analysis

The great advantage of having things done in pre-vis is that it gives you a good sense of scale and what assets are needed in the shot. Since we have a rough model of the set from pre-vis, we can also get a good sense of scale and how big or small things are in a relationship with each other. The final environment was modeled by HR Scott. He is also involved in modeling environments in other shots as well.

Final Cut
With a help from previs, production becomes easier to plan since the process helps visualize storyboards into a rough 3D cut. By using the 3D assets built for previs, we can analyze and use them as templates for modeling actual characters and environments. I hope that pre-visualization will intrigue filmmakers and artists as it is a tool that can be utilized at a wide range of scale. The video below is the final cut of the film, and I hope you enjoy it. Cheers!

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