In our LAB+ series of articles we are giving production companies, post houses, music houses, CG & VFX artists, an opportunity to demonstrate transparency in their technical set of skills bringing to light their most interesting projects and collaborations.
SHP+ 的LAB+系列还在进行中。在这一系列的文章中，我们为制作公司、后期制作公司、音乐公司、CG&VFX 艺术家等，提供了一个展示他们技术能力极其透明的机会，以介绍他们最有趣的项目和合作。
SHP+ continues with sponsored series of articles by JUICE, a renowned polish Visual Effects & Sound studio that very soon will open its new office doors in Shanghai. Previously in “JUICY WORKSHOPS” we have written about several super challenging projects: the exciting commercial done for Chinese Cnice, Transphere – the first ever Japanese short film created with IMAX technology, Unconquered – animated long format war film, etc… This time we are going to dive into most compelling project JUICE has ever done. The LIBERATOR is the first-ever TV series to be produced using the Trioscope Enhanced Hybrid Animation (EHA) that offers a new kind of visual language.
SHP+继续JUICE赞助的系列文章。JUICE是一家著名的波兰视觉效果和声音工作室，即将在上海开设新的办公室。之前“JUICY WORKSHOPS”系列文章仔细讲述了几个超级挑战项目的后期制作过程， 包括纳爱斯国内广告影片、日本第一部IMAX技术短片Transphere、以战争为主题的Unconqured动画长片等项目。这一次我们要深入JUICE最引人注目的项目。《解放者》是首次使用 Trioscope 增强混合动画（EHA）制作的电视剧集，这项新技术，也诞生了新的视觉语言。
THE LIBERATOR 解放者
Produced by JUICE and Trioscope Studios, The LIBERATOR tells the true story of the bloodiest and most dramatic march to victory of the Second World War: the battlefield odyssey of maverick U.S. Army officer Felix Sparks and the 157th Infantry Regiment from Oklahoma. They fought for over five hundred days until the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp.
“I have been working together with Grzegorz – the director for years, to articulate the unique look and feel of the series. At first it was just the two of us but later, with the entire Juice team, we were able to create a proof of concept. The technology allows us to preserve the authenticity of the emotions by the real actors, and let CG take care of every detail–even the smallest—on the screen. We created a new original visual language”
—— Michał Misiński (Juice), art director and 2nd unit director of the series.
—— Michał Misiński (Juice), 《解放者》艺术总监和副导演
How to create CGI hybrid animation for NETFLIX
Challenge#1: If you’ve ever shot live action scenes with real actors and then rotoscoped them into an animated environment, one of the things that you lose almost immediately are the emotions. Roto-ing simply flattens the nuanced facial expressions that could make or break a line. Often, you’d have to add those later in post.
Challenge#2: A question we asked ourselves constantly was: where is the fine line between the look and feel we are after, and realistic details? For example, with creating actual existing cities or vehicles, which look like that and nothing else. So, finding that fine line of artistic interpretation and real existing details was the most challenging aspect.
Challenge#3: Another challenge was combining all CG elements with live footage. Unlike any other production we did before, the style was directing both. So, finding a perfect balance between achieving visual\artistic style and having fast turnaround (render times and changes) was the priority from day one.
Trioscope Enhanced Hybrid Animation is a proprietary animated drama engine that fuses live-action with animation for a groundbreaking moving graphic novel experience. The workflow combines 3 elements:
ON SET – stylized makeup, wardrobe, props & main set elements
在拍摄现场 — 风格化的妆发，着装，道具与主要的拍摄元素
IN CG – creating all the stylized environments
使用CG — 创作出所有风格化的场景和环境
In CG/COMPOSITING – stylizing the footage by cartoonizing and adding croschathes
使用CG及影像合成 — 通过卡通化和添加阴影线来编辑画面
With Trioscope EHA the actors were made up in greater contrast. In the raw footage they already looked a lot like animated characters and when we brought them into the environment, the transition was so smooth we barely needed to add in any expressions. This helped preserve the original acting with greater fidelity. The advantage of having real actors on set rather than creating them in CG, means that their motion and emotions feel infinitely more natural and nuanced.
Probably a great use of the technology is the ability to make changes to the story line often during shooting. When creating the scenography in CG, budget that is typically allocated to the organization and logistics of each location could go to the actual shoot. The production took place in Łódź, Poland. The city, whose thriving textile dye industry was gutted during the war, provides a compelling backdrop for the exterior action. Once again, the use of the Trioscope technique allows us to add any kind of detail to create immersive scenes without having to dress up entire streets.
Thanks to this solution the LIBERATOR could take place in as many as 50 different locations in one episode for example. The director could easily add all those story-supporting scenes that would make a live production exponentially more expensive. What’s more, designing a set with literally a bunch of blue boxes allowed us to shoot as many takes as needed without the fear of destroying an expensive prop, or blowing up a painstakingly created set design which would have been very costly.
The key to the success was a tight cooperation between Supervisor, Lead Artists, Art Director and Director. The learning curve was fairly steep with every sequence getting exponentially better than the previous one and eventually each chapter had outdone the one that ensued, thus raising the bar ever higher. To be fair, we must admit that the final look exceeded our best laid plans and demonstrated the value of instilling trust between all the working components in this production and treating it not so much as a factory project but as an artistic adventure.