Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Alma vs Bert

* I think Alma's only going to be online for a short time

Alma from Rodrigo Blaas on Vimeo.

So this has been about the net lately. Pixar artist Rodrigo Blaas did this short film. It looks beautiful, it moves beautiful, but it has me wondering what's the point? Maybe I've read to much Keith Lango, but I'm really starting to wonder about this much effort into a short film done on your own. Obviously Blaas has access to some pro quality friends he can pull in to help him out, so he managed to get it out in 2 years, but it leaves me wondering if it was worth it. Like Pigeon Impossible taking 7 years (not to harsh on P.I., it's a fun film, but could it have been done quicker if it used simpler models/sets?)

 I guess it comes down to what your goals are. I'm interested in short films for emotional character based stories, and I think that that is achievable with simple models. Personally I don't think the high res models, specular reflections, and multi render passes enhance the emotional core of the story largely enough to justify the extra time spent on them. True it looks pretty, but it is very time consuming and can distract from the main point. And I think that you can use tricks and hacks to get a similar mood fast and dirty. (Look at hands of the master, a lot of that fancy environment is just matte painting. Or look at Bert, it's using lighting and color to set the mood as well as Alma does.)

Not to diss Rodrigo & co., Alma is a beautiful film. But Bert by Moonsung Lee is emotionally stronger for me personally, and a thousand times more in my reach for achieving something similar. If I ever find the time to do a short film it will likely look more like Blip then The Passenger.

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