Written by Julian Pössnicker on July 2021
The past few weeks my colleges and I worked on a short film called “Where`s Henry”. The film is about the cow Annabell and her friends, which attempt a cooking contest. This time Annabell is so desperate to win that she performs an evil plan. The look of the film is intentionally simple and colorful to counterpoint the dark story.
At first, we wanted to make a full 2D-animated movie. But because of the short one-month production time, we opted for a 2D and 3D combined style. Most of the 2D assets are done in Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. We imported the 2D assets into Blender as simple planar meshes. The great thing about 2D pictures in a 3-dimensional environment is the flexibility for camera angles and lighting. The camera angle can change from a close-up to a medium shot without the hassle of redrawing everything in 2D. This helped us a lot. Especially in the final cooking contest scene where the camera is changing the framing often. Only objects which the characters interact with are modeled in 3D and are later overlayed with an outline to mimic a 2D look. The lip-synced animations are done with Adobe Character Animator and then imported as video textures in Blender. All in all, we combined various forms of content into one movie.
This was our first CGI production and my colleges had little to no experience in 3D modeling and animation. We decided to use Blender as our main software because of the great tutorials online and its flexibility for 3D and 2D. And it`s free. So we could use the same version easily and don’t have to buy or pay monthly fees. Luckily, we got quickly to the same level in working with Blender and split the workload into groups. We were six people. Two of us worked on the environmental design, which incorporates all environment 2D and 3D assets, which are all created from scratch. Two of us worked on the character animation. And the last two worked on the scene lighting and the camera.
To get the same starting point for each team we created extremely basic scenes in Blender. These scenes only contain the global character and camera animations and a few environmental objects. With that, we had a very basic cut of the movie. Because of the semi-final camera movement and timing, we could work on these scenes and add our sub-team parts simultaneously. In the end, we only merged the environment, animations, camera, and lights into the final Blender scene.
At last, we colored and cut the scenes using DaVinci Resolve. My brother Christian composed and produced the music. You can find more about his work on his website.
We hope that you like our short film.
2D 3D Animtion Blender CGI DaVinci Resolve short