Maya | Arnold | Photoshop
About the Project:
Flocked is a senior animation film that was in production during my 2nd year at SCAD. It was supervised by SCAD Professor and former Special Effects Disney Animator, Troy A. Gustafson.
Flocked is about Aaron who is trying to enjoy his lunch, when all of a sudden he gets attacked by a flock of pigeons and faces his impending doom. Luckily for Aaron, it was just a nightmare!
I was referred to worked on this project by one of my animation friends at SCAD. While on this film, I had the opportunity to work alongside very talented animators, texture artists, and storytellers.
I am responsible for creating two different lighting rigs for the two main moods of the film: daytime (reality) and the nightmare. I collaborated with the texture artist to create a stylized HDR for the sky to match the look of the film. I also created the aiToonShader animation for the mood change in the alleyway shot. I added emission on the large pigeon's eyes so that they could glow. I helped troubleshoot some rendering camera issues as well.
The most challenging part was learning how light interacts with AiToon Shaders. I have never worked with that material before in Maya, and so I had to do a ton of research and tests to get the film looking just right.
Here are some links to forums and example images that I found online which helped me understand it better:
I learned that a lot of the lighting depends on the shader tone ramp. Adjusting the colors and where the gradients start and end was what helped create depth and preserve shadows. I also really learned how to work with the Hypershade and its nodes to control the tonemap ramps. Finding out that the colors on the ramp can be animated was actually really exciting to discover because it gave us more control and added complexity to the scene.
For being my first experience working on an animation team for a short film, I really enjoyed it. It was awesome to work on a team and be credited on a film. Long nights of troubleshooting and figuring out the most effective and beautiful way to light this film was very worth it in the end because Flocked went on to win the Bronze Achievement in Animation Award at the SCAD Animation Showcase in 2019. I was very proud that I had a chance to work on an award winning student animation film.
See the full film below: