By Jeremy Birn
The character, Rachel, was created as part of a one minute trailer promoting an animated feature film in development, to be called "Pandarama."
Daniel Robichaud was responsible for the Directing, Scene Design, Lighting, and Compositing. Michelle Deniaud did the Art Direction, Character Design, and Textures; Stephane Couture was responsible for the Animation; Gonzalo Garramuno did the Character Setup and Subdivision Surfaces Plugin; and Jeff Wagner was responsible for the Modelling.
Originally from Montreal, Quebec, Daniel Robichaud has worked as an Animation Supervisor at Digital Domain, and contributed to the films Apollo 13, T2-3D (ride film), The Fifth Element, and Titanic, as well as creating the award-winning short Tightrope. You can find more about his current and previous productions on his web site, www.danielrobichaud.com.
Softimage was the 3D software used for the project, rendering in Mental Ray. Amazon 3D Paint was used for the facial textures, and Shake was used for compositing.
A Subdivision Surfaces plugin had to be developed to allow the modelling of the full head, including ears and brades, as one continuous surface. The UV coordinate system of that surface was set in such a way that a total of 10 different texture maps connected seamlessly to cover it. The same approach was used for the hands. The facial animation system consisted of nulls weighted to the surface, and was used to animate with lipsync.
Rachel is supposed to be in an introspective moment, reflecting on a sad memory. The main light source is the late afternoon sun coming from the window, backlighting the girl, and creating a warm, diffused ambience. The scene was broken down into several layers, combined at the compositing stage, in order to allow the depth of field effect, and the glowing, diffused look.