A girl finds an alligator egg in the swamps and decides to raise the animal by herself
My Roles: Shading, Set Dressing, Lighting, Compositing, Artist Tools
Year: 2019, Director: Nadine Schwenk, produced at Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg
Evangeline is the largest project I have worked on during my studies at Filmakademie, with about 8 minutes runtime. Especially for Lighting, this has been a really fun project, as it has many different sequences with different lighting situations, atmospheres, and moods.
The biggest challenge for our team was the large number of shots, more than 110 in total. Thanks to a great pipeline built by my fellow TD, Tim Lehr, and some artist tools we built on top of it, we were able to finish the visual part of the shot production (everything from set dressing to compositing) largely with two artists, Caro Kiessling and me.
To finish that many shots we had to optimize our workflows a lot. In Lighting, we managed to work very efficiently by setting up light rigs on selected master shots and using them as a base for the other shots of the sequence. This sequence-based approach of lighting and compositing made it possible to set up successive shots faster and also helped with lighting continuity.
Here you can get a glimpse of some of the shots I have worked on:
Lighting & Compositing Setups
I split up the lighting of my shots into several light groups in Maya and rendered them all to separate layers using Arnold's Light-Path-Expressions. This way I was able to tweak the lighting and the final look with more control in compositing.
Here you can see an example of one of the interior scenes, where the lighting is split into direct sunlight, skylight, several fill and rim lights, as well as separate atmospheric lighting:
I did the shading of parts of the props and environments, but my main focus was the look of the characters. I received wonderful textures from my fellow student Elias Kremer. Using these textures as a base I added Detail-, Bump- and Normal-Maps to get enough detail especially on the shirts, faces, and hands, which are seen in many close-ups in the film.
Because the film tells the story of a longer period of time, another requirement for the shading was the possibility to easily switch between variants of clothes and dirt levels on the skin of the characters. For that, I built switches into the shading networks to change the colors and dirt levels, which could then be easily adjusted using a custom Maya shelf that controlled these switches.
Here you can see the character turntables with some of these variations: