Friday, May 20, 2016
Behind the Scenes of Zootopia: Gnomon Alumni Panel
It was a packed house in the old Quonset hut auditorium as the Gnomon School of Visual Effects hosted five Zootopia artists, sponsored by Walt Disney Animation Studios. While the buzz for Zootopia may have cooled off a bit, the advances Disney has made should give them quite a lot of momentum at the box office for a while.
Alberto Abril (Animator), Chika Saito (Modeler), Diana Zeng (Lighter), Dylan Ekren (Modeler), and Tyler Bolyard (Look Development Artist) each spoke about their time working on Zootopia, and their learning experiences at Gnomon and the other schools they attended.
They all seemed to have enjoyed working at Disney, and I must admit, I kind of envy their talents and the opportunities that they have had.
Studies of animals in the wild were shown, along with a pencil test of Walt Disney's Robin Hood. Special plugins for Maya, such as Xgen were discussed, along with lighting strategies, not to mention good old-fashioned hand drawn art for development.
Just the development of fur and hair seemed to consume a lot of time and resources. There was some "recycling" as one basic species model of a gazelle/deer was tweaked with different horns, fur color and different outfits to create extra background crowd characters.
(my photo from CTN 2015, copyright Disney)
Unfortunately, there will be no streaming of this presentation due to copyright issues.
However, I did do a little digging to bring some examples of their work.
Here is Chika Saito’s Modeling Demo Reel 11/30/12
Alberto Abril's reel,
Diana Zeng's blog,
Dylan Ekren's work,
And Tyler Bolyard's Facebook,
Just being on the grounds at Gnomon is always interesting. Their campus is the old Television Center Studio lot in Hollywood. The buildings are characters in themselves. There's a mixture 1930's and 1940's architecture that has a "Diesel Punk" feel to it. Add in the extra plumbing and cables with Gnomon's high tech interiors, you have some cool, gritty movie exteriors right there.
I'm trying to find out more about the history of the place, but it's past seems kind of murky right now. Which makes it that more interesting. UPDATE:
The original home of Technicolor, set in a 1920's Art Deco style. There has to be more than a few ghosts haunting that building.