Mon 3rd Dec 2012, by Paul Hellard | Production
Justin Weyers is the Australian [Ballarat-born] co-founder and producer at Made Visual Studios in London, the lion-tamer of studios in the production of the Graham Chapman film 'A Liar's Autobiography - The Untrue Story Of Monty Python's Graham Chapman’, now on release in the US and coming to the UK late January 2013. Weyers has made his living bringing print and TV ads into the world but there has always been a niggling passion for quality comedy, the visual arts and facing insane challenges into the bargain.
As producer and production manager at Made Visual Studios, Weyers gathered together 14 different studios and animators to create a complete stereoscopic 3D animated feature movie based on original audio recordings by the late Graham Chapman of Monty Python. After a selection and culling process, the maze of which studio did what sequence in what style was sorted. In the end, there were to be a range of one-man band animators, working alongside multiple team studios, using 17 different animation techniques. The sting in the tail was that none of them had any experience whatsoever working with stereoscopic 3D techniques. “With a whole lot of positive initiative, we went out to find as much information on how to create a stereo production as we could find,” says Weyers. We originally built our own stereo rig in Adobe Creative Suite 4 and found that, by the end of the project, Creative Suite 5.5 was released and had everything we needed.” While the production was animated in all kinds of software and formats, in Softimage, Photoshop, Maya and Flash Professional, everything was brought together through After Effects and Premiere Pro.
Initially the script was split into about seven different styles of animation, due to the segues in the life story that is included in the original book Graham wrote. But after the pitching stage, such inventive colorful ideas came back that Justin and the directors decided to cut the film into thinner pieces to keep the visuals even fresher. Of course, this meant more studios and more concurrent input.
“We invited 90 studios, then about 40 were invited to submit their pitches demonstrating their styles and direction. There was stop motion, comic book art, fully 3D CG, as well as some experimental oil on glass. Once the team had decided on which styles were to be used and where the animators were commissioned, they got to work to produce their 'segment', with After Effects, Photoshop and Premiere Pro at their fingertips and Adobe at their back."
All the lessons, tutorials, unique tips and tricks gathered during the creation of the Chapman feature were documented onto the ProjectChapman3D site. The site was used to give each animation company a profile and also share everything they were learning along the way. If someone wanted to start creating their own style in stereoscopic this would be a great start.