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Tablemation Studios enlisted Pixeldust to craft a captivating 3D animated sequence for an innovative dining experience. Pixeldust’s task was to create animations that would be projected onto tables and plates, entertaining diners with an immersive story while enjoying their rounds of dishes.

CG/VFX Supervisor: Samar Shool

Senior Animator: Andy Hencken

Senior Producer: Emily Vitek

Illustrator: Olivia Mercury

CHARACTER DESIGN & DEVELOPMENT​

In the initial stages of character design, we presented a plethora of loose sketches, showcasing diverse face and body types. This phase served as a dynamic exploration of ideas, allowing us to discern what resonates and what doesn’t. Emphasizing the need to convey each character’s unique personality, our process involved incorporating feedback into refined 2D character turnarounds, illustrating the design from various crucial angles. These detailed 2D turnarounds played a pivotal role in shaping the subsequent 3D models. Despite the characters primarily being viewed from a top-down perspective, investing time in their visual development significantly enriched the final animation outcome.

MOTION CAPTURE INTEGRATION

The team engaged in the tracking of professional actors who acted out the scenes within a mocap studio performance. Our dedicated animators meticulously cleaned up and edited the performance data, ensuring a polished and seamless execution for each five-minute scenario. This refined data was applied to our character rigs, breathing life into each character. Delving further, we processed facial motion capture derived from the voice actors’ actual performances, enhancing our characters with synchronized lip movements and facial expressions. Adding an extra layer of detail, our team manually animated unique elements, including unique standout characters like the Eiffel Tower.

UTILIZING POWERFUL TECHNOLOGY

Under the guidance of CG Supervisor Samar Shool, the team leveraged Unreal Engine 5 for look development, lighting, and animation assembly. Unreal’s cutting-edge RTX rendering system facilitated the creation of a Paris-like city streetscape. Operating in parallel pipelines in Maya and Unreal, the team integrated motion capture and keyframe animations. Unreal’s sequencer timeline played a pivotal role in crafting a linear storylines, providing precise control over VFX, character models, and animations. This efficient setup allowed for the seamless blending of lights, textures, shaders, and atmospheric dynamics, presenting a cohesive final narrative.

THE RESULTS

Thanks to Pixeldust’s animator’s efficient usage of Unreal Engine 5’s robust RTX rendering technology, the team achieved rapid, high-resolution 4K renders in minutes, a task that traditionally would have taken days. The team’s expertise in character design, motion capture integration, and Unreal Engine utilization ensured the success of Tablemation’s immersive dining experience, delighting diners with a unique blend of culinary artistry and animated storytelling!

 
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