DA: Was the artistic style set from the start?
MH: It's an approach we wanted to experiment with for some time. The effect worked well with the character design and animation in helping to tell a dramatic story in a slightly surreal way. This is one of those cases where our clients let us go right to the edge -- literally.
The story was a key aspect for us as well, and this came to us well-written and up our alley from the start. We seem to be a magnet for neurotic stories, and this was no exception.
DA: How did you create such a 'painterly' style using CG?
MH: The environments were hand-painted for every shot, then projected onto 3D models. This allowed us to leverage the depth of working in 3D, while maintaining a flatter, more interesting visual. Once we had this step complete, every edge was smudged and blended with adjacent colours to further break-up the clean, CG-edges.
Achieving the painterly effect was definitely the most challenging aspect of the production -- specifically when it came to the lighting, rendering and compositing process.
DA: How do you turn a cabbage into a character people can believe in?
MH: Cabbage’s personality and mental state were built directly into the design of this character. The big teeth-gritting mouth puts him in a permanent state of stress, and his skinny little knee-knocking legs make me nervous just looking at them. Take that and add in Nathan Love’s killer animation team, and it’s a match made in heaven. They know how to take our designs to the next level and really breathe a soul into their performance.
Our incredibly talented team of artist and animators got to work and created a piece that everyone at Nathan is extremely proud of.
Software tools used on Suicidal Cabbage included Maya, Mental Ray, ZBrush, Photoshop, After Effects and Corel Painter.