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Winning Shorts at the Computer Graphics Festival

The Art of Fallen Art

One of the winners at the Computer Graphics Festival at SIGGRAPH 05 this year was Fallen Art by Tomek Baginski (3D, 6 mins). This was Baginski's second win at SIGGRAPH having previously won in 2002 for The Cathedral. Both the shorts have been produced by Polish post and VFX house Platige Image.




Here's a short synopsis offered by the official website

- Tomek Baginski -

FALLEN ART is about Atol an old forgotten military base somewhere in the Pacific, soldiers who've lost their minds due to the hardships of the past missions and exemplary officers of the army which it wants to get rid of are sent there.

The soldiers far away from civilisation and society nurture their insanities.....

Sergeant Al cultivates his love for young and brave soldiers

Dr friedrich cultivates his love for photography,

and the old mentally lost general A, creates his art, he uses neither paper nor canvas, he attempts something completely different...

The IMDB entry describes the plot outline thus "A volunteer soldier plummets to his death. A photograph is taken and sent by courier to a huge man, who adds it to his macabre collection.

The film has black humor in its core and makes a profound statement about war.


Below are a few images, stills and sketches from Fallen Art followed by some comments from the director and the credits.


Stills from Fallen Art

"CG is the cheapest way of making moving pictures. I started to play with CG because at that time it was the only way for me to make films. I had no camera, but I had a home computer - if I wanted to make films, I had to learn how to use CG"
- Baginski
"Currently I'm working on the pre-production of the two shorts based on modern polish comic books. I'm also thinking about some long feature ideas, but it is not very advanced yet. Production of the first short should start in September. I hope that I'll finish it for next year's SIGGRAPH, but it is not sure. As it always is with shorts"
- Baginski
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Working on the film
The main assumption of the technique used in the film was the combining of the modern language of computer animation with the classical hand painting so that the picture would gain the feeling of an actual painting.

Almost every background is painted, as are the characters. Japanese anime and amateur camera movements were mimicked to achieve the feeling of an ordinary handheld camera, instead of predictable computerized movements. Character animation was a great challenge. Grzegorz Jonkajtys, one of the key animators, used a special software to bring digital characters to life in a three dimensional environment. The process of creating such "digital puppet" consists of creating a virtual skeleton inside a three dimensional character, then programming special controllers, which the animator uses to manipulate the character. Later on, the animator creates specific poses at key frames, which make up the main phases of movement.

"My biggest challenge was animating the furiously dancing general. Taking into account his physiology and rather large size it was very difficult to make him perform such a dynamic dance" - says Grzegorz Jonkajtys.

Right from the start, the film has been divided into 6 sequences called acts, which in turns were made up of 75 shots. Each one of the shots received a catalog and a number. That is a huge amount of data, but special naming convention made the work easier especially towards the end of the production when minor corrections were required. The film weights at around 300 gigabytes, and took approximately 6 weeks to render. It took around a year and a half from basic screenplay drawings to the final product. The actual work took about 8 months.

"I tried to utilize the computer only where it would speed up the process and increase the quality. Most of the time I tried to give the co-creators of the film artistic freedom"- concludes Tomek.

- Certain excerpts taken from Siggraph.org.
All images courtesy Platige Images, www.fallen-art.com

 
 


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