Pet Shop | Animated TV Series Trailer
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Pet Shop | Animated TV Series Trailer

Duke is new in the shop and brings hope to the other pets that they will find a home, whilst finding a family within each other. The main story arc of the series is getting the characters adopted whilst causing chaos and making friends.

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Pet Shop is a 2nd year students animated TV series trailer produced within six weeks, entirely remotely, at Escape Studios in London.

The story is about Duke, he is new in the shop and brings hope to the other pets that they will find a home, whilst finding a family within each other. The main story arc of the series is getting the characters adopted whilst causing chaos and making friends.

The Team:

Director & Writer: Shauna Ludgate
Producer: Emmanouil Zervoudakis
Art Director: Tsvetelina Kumanova
Storyboarding: Shauna Ludgate, Oliver Gallagher, Chanakan Jeffries, Tsvetelina Kumanova & Aroosa Qureshi
Colour Script: Tsvetelina Kumanova
3D Layout: Muhammed MansoorShauna Ludgate
Modelling & Texturing: Tom Perry & Oliver Gallagher
Rigging: Tom Perry
Animation: Muhammed Mansoor, Tsvetelina Kumanova, Liam Martin, Oliver Gallagher, Shauna Ludgate, Aroosa Qureshi, Chanakan Jeffries, David Akinyose, Tom PerryDerek Fead
Lighting & Rendering: Shauna Ludgate & Muhammed Mansoor 
Compositing: Shauna Ludgate
Original Music: Maria Cortes-Monroy
Sound Design: Mihail Sustov
Motion Graphics: Alice McCall
Editing: Liam Martin & Emmanouil Zervoudakis
Voice Acting: Cameron Bier (Duke), Ellie Wills (Bella) & Muhammed Mansoor (Victor)

Produced at Escape Studios

Script & Storyboarding:

For the first two weeks, our director, Shauna Ludgate, and the storyboarding team narrowed down the shots and began to plan cameras and draw panels. They had to work closely together to make the vision come to life in a short period of time. This stage was really important for the team to feel confident that we are moving into Previz with a story that works.

See the image below for our main 2D animatic panels.

Character Design:

Tsvetelina Kumanova was responsible for doing all the character designs for Bruce. After looking at plenty of fish references, she decided to go with a simple design and warm colours that bring out his calm personality. 

Slide the bar in the process view below to see Bruce's different design stages.

Character Expression Sheet:

Shauna Ludgate and Tsvetelina Kumanova decided to create a basic character expression sheet with the storyboarding team to not only to demonstrate the personality of each character but also give an idea of the range of facial movements to our rigger so he can plan what facial controls he will equip his original fish rig and what adjustments he needs to do the premade rigs we were using for the production.

Check the image below to see the different character expressions.

Modelling & Rigging:

Bruce was entirely modelled and rigged by Tom Perry, our team modeller & rigger. He used a mix of blend shapes and nCloth simulations to give off the effects of the character always being under water. This put less stress on the animators to try and make each fin feel wavy as the simulation engine would take care of it for them, allowing for more focus on his facial animation and core body movement.

Click the video below to see a full character turnaround in different stages.

3D Layout:

Our 3D layout artist, Muhammed Mansoor, began laying down the basics for our pet shop layout, which was passed to Shauna Ludgate for some refining during the 4th week. 

In the early stages of production, we felt that our shop was missing some important elements of a pet shop so we went through more real life references and we managed to quickly adjust it. 

Check out the below 3D Layout pictures for multiple views and our pet shop moodboard.

References:

References were an important part of our production process and helped us massively during the animation stage. The team used a mixture of animal references for natural creature behaviours, and live action filmed references for lip syncing and human actions.

Check the two videos below for examples of the references we used during an early stage of animation.

Animation Breakdown:

We were going for a realistic animation style for both animals and humans, so we made sure that all animators started from blocking out their shots, then moving to splining and then finishing their shot with polishing them. By doing that we managed to improve the overall quality of animation for the project.

Check out the video below to see the differences in animation between each step, from previz to the final render.

Lighting:

Muhammad Mansoor, our lighting artist, was responsible for setting up all lighting while also helping Shauna Ludgate implement her render layer setup. His basic lighting setup included a key light, a fill light, and a rim light. He also decided to use light linking which allowed him to add more lights which were assigned to light specific items only instead of the whole environment. 

During the early stage of production, we found it easier to have and reference one master environment file for each scene but moving forward the file was getting heavier so we decided to split it into different files depending on the shot and keep only the essentials objects for each one. After that the scenes were much lighter and the process of setting up the scenes for rendering got much faster.

See the two images below for a quick look at our colour script and lighting moodboards.

Rendering:

Shauna Ludgate constructed a rendering layer system with AOV's, allowing us to render backgrounds, shadows and characters separately. These technical applications didn't only help us be more efficient with our setups and renders but also be proactive and plan our composition in NukeX.

Check out the image below for our render layers and settings.

Compositing:

Shauna Ludgate was also responsible for compositing the final renders together in Nukex. By utilizing all the different render layers and AOVs she was able to adjust the light exposure to ensure consistency between shots, change the colour gradient of specific items in the environment or characters and troubleshoot any shadow issues. 

She used a master comp script which included all twelve shots in a single project file, and we were able to afford that because our scripts were not complicated and heavy. The main nodes she used were shuffles, merges, Zdefocus and grades. We also integrated some 2D drawings of clouds in our first shot, which were drawn by Tsvetelina Kumanova in After Effects and then comped and tracked in Nukex.

Production:

Emmanouil Zervoudakis mainly used Excel to create the production schedule and some smaller documents to help us track the progress of the different stages of each shot as well as managing all our assets and calculating our render times.

See the three images below for the key planning tools we used.

Image 1 - Production Schedule:

The Production Schedule helped the team have a general overview of each task, duration, and progress. All the tasks from the left side of the schedule are displayed on the right side in a form of calendar with the working days marked as blue blocks, known as Gantt Chart.

Image 2 - Shot Plan:

The Shot Plan helped us track the progress of each shot which means tracking the whole process of animation, lighting, rendering and comp. It displayed all the shots, the frame range of each shot, approved cameras, status of the actual animation, lighting etc. Also, it allowed each department to pass on their work to the next one by simply choosing the right action from the drop-down lists.

Image 3 - Render Stats:

The Render Stats displayed rendering data which helped the relevant person understand how long it will take them to render each render layer, each frame, each shot etc. This document took most of its data from the Shot Plan so when animators were updating their shots, this was getting updated automatically as well.

One Sheet:

Tsvetelina Kumanova posed the characters in Maya, Muhammed Mansoor added the lights and rendered it using RedShift. Then, Emmanouil Zervoudakis edited it in Photoshop to add the text and do any final colour adjustments. The poster design was based on one of Tsvetelina's concepts.

Slide the progress bar below to see the original concept.


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