Tube had one false start before the team effort. Based on an early script I decided to go it alone, and started work on preproduction. For the animatic I used blender, mainly because I wanted to plan the shots in 3D. Some of those shots are still there in the current animatic, though the overall structure of the movie has mutated considerably. As you can see, the animatic was structured as a ‘typical’ blender project, with a lib folder containing linkable groups (in this case set/character/other simple proxies) and textures. All the shots were in one sequence directory with blends numbered for shots (the ‘crap’ in the blend title stands for ‘crapimatic’- a reminder to myself not to do something too polished at this early stage.
I wanted to previs not only shot angles and timing, but also things like basic lighting changes and DOF etc. , and to get a feel for the shot. This was before we had GLSL shaders in the renderer, so I opted to use a simple lighting setup, and to bake Ambient Occlusion maps into the proxies. I also faked baked reflections (innacurate I know) by using additive image maps rendered from different cameras in the proxy files. Then I linked the groups from each library file, including a rigged proxy character, set up some very simple lights and a simple composite to fake glow, depth of field, and to grade the render output slightly, resulting in a fairly ‘cute’ look, with very little render time.
After I had made a few shots, I made a single ‘edit’ blend file that contained scenes with simple titles, and one scene I used as a sequence editor (similar to a normal video editor) to bring all the shots together and add some simple transitions. Then I would go back and forth between editing the shots, and adding new shots, sometimes just by running two instances of blender in different desktops of my ubuntu system, seemlessly going back and forth between the two. I could build up the animatic quite quickly this way.
After a while I luckily (or unluckily) had a string of freelance jobs and got really busy. The upside was that I payed the bills, and had the beginnings of my planning for the project done. The downside of course, is that the project languished for a while, and it looked like I would never make the short. In any case, here are a couple of images from the first animatic, you can view more in the media gallery.