CGN: Tell us a bit about Richard Rosenman. How did you get into 3d?
Richard Rosenman: When I saw my very first computer generated visual effect in 1985 in "Young Sherlock Holmes" I was instantly fascinated by this new artistic medium. I immersed myself in the creative and technical aspects of computer graphics in the early nineties during my teenage years, and this is when I got my first taste of 2D graphics software, primitive 3D software and even computer graphics programming, which I still do in my spare time. During this time, I also came into contact with one of the first consumer-based 3D software packages, 3D Studio for DOS v1.0. I studied classical animation for three years at Sheridan College in order to take the post-graduate one-year computer animation course. After graduating from the three-year program however, I had enjoyed classical animation to such an extent that I decided to work in the field for an indefinite period of time. During the next few years, I worked in various cities such as Toronto, Vancouver, San Francisco, etc, in the classical animation industry producing series animation, game animation, etc. As time passed, I eventually became more and more involved in the computer animation business through projects that would inevitably come my way. As a result, it wasn't long before I ended up working back in Toronto at a large computer animation and design studio using Softimage. I began animating commercials and eventually ended up directing. From that point forth, I have worked primarily as an animation director locally and internationally, in the commercial and short film computer animation industry. For the last three and a half years, I have been leading the 3D department at Redrover Animation Studios Ltd. in Toronto, directing computer generated commercials, as well as our short film ‘Plumber'. At this current time, we have started our second short film that is in early production stages.
CGN: So, what's the story,
how did you came up with the film and what inspired you?
RR: ‘The Plumber' was our first fully computer generated short film produced over a six month period at Redrover Animation Studios Ltd. in association with Bravo!Fact. It was directed by Andy Knight and I, and produced by Randi Yaffa. The concept initially began as a pitch for a short film grant from Bravo!Fact and, after a storyboard and animatic was created and submitted by Andy Knight, we were chosen as one of approximately twelve final contestants. With the grant officially awarded to us, we began production only one week after that in late August, 2002. The film was completed in February 2003, making it a six-month project from start to finish.
CGN: What specifically were you trying to achieve
with the story of The Plumber?
RR: The purpose of producing the short film was to introduce Redrover into the short film production industry as well as to push the studios' creative and technological experience to the limit. In doing so, we learned a great deal about longer format production as we had always focused on commercial production usually in the range of 30 seconds or less. Finally, "Plumber" provided an opportunity to combine Andy's classical animation background with my computer animation experience, producing a film containing a combination of creative and technological sophistication.
|CGN: Can you elaborate on the concept designs for the main characters?|
RR: "Mario" originally began as a character developed for an entirely different story altogether. The original design was dramatically different from the one you see here and it has undergone numerous variations along the way before arriving at this final stage. Mario, as well as the environment, all began from drawings originally created by Andy Knight. As we all contributed to our vision of what Mario would look like, a character slowly began to emerge. A model sheet was eventually created which contained front, side and 3/4 designs to facilitate the modeling for Ben Pilgrim. As Ben modeled the character, Andy continually updated the designs and made revisions that Ben later reflected in the model, along with the rest of our collaborated suggestions. There were also numerous sketches of facial close-ups, as well as mouth positions and facial expressions that were later used as reference for modeling morph targets. Even after the model was completely built in 3D, additional proportional enhancements were made through the use of lattices for enlarging the head and hands, shrinking the feet slightly, exaggerating the belly, etc. Ben's model was built using a lower-resolution mesh that would use a meshsmooth modifier for increased tessellation during rendertime. It was modeled using traditional polygonal box modeling techniques.