© COPYRIGHT MMXXI CHROMOSPHERE. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
2D/3D HYBRID ANIMATION / 2021
CASE STUDY NAVIGATION:
To create all of the water effects for the episode, Theresa found a huge resource in Unreal’s effects system, Niagara.
^ EFFECTS TEST REALM BY THERESA LATZKO
THERESA LATZKO (Technical Art Director): Niagara is a pretty new system and there isn’t a lot of documentation available, so a lot of it was just trial and error. Sometimes you just look at an effect, and you want to scale along the time of the particle, the age of the particle, and you go into the system and you’re like, is there a node for that? Can you do that? Usually there was a way to do what we wanted, and that’s how we ended up learning most of it.
^ SPLASH EFFECTS BY THERESA
THERESA: You can take most parameters that you set up in Niagara and key them in the sequencer. So you can set up effects pretty flexibly and change the settings on the fly. I made this little spark effect for when Yuki is trying to hack the mine, and we could just set up how many lightning bolts there are in sequencer based on what it looked like when we need it.
^ SPARK EFFECTS BY THERESA
In addition to the water effects, Yuki also featured a number of animated texture effects for things like reflections and electricity moving through wires.
^ MOVING LIGHTS IN THE MINE BY ANDREW
ANDREW WILSON (CG Artist): The reflections on the visors were made kind of similar to how it was being done in After Effects. They’re masks that are being animated across the geometry. So a couple different textures, like the texture pattern of the mountain reflection and the sun or like the big rectangle reflections going across the screen. In episodes 1 & 2, Stef would just use black and white mask renders to add animated reflections into certain areas. In Unreal, we’re pretty much doing the same thing, it’s just happening in real time using the post process materials.
^ WINDSHIELD REFLECTIONS BY THERESA & ANDREW
^ VISOR REFLECTIONS BY ANDREW
ANDREW: For the reflections on the crystal and the glowing electricity moving through the wires inside the mine, I used a different process actually. I used a flipbook material, so it basically takes an image sequence which is formatted into one giant texture sheet. So it kind of looks like it’s just a big grid of every frame of the sequence for your effect. To make that sequence I’d first make animation in After Effects of black and white masks moving around across the texture for the object. And then I’d have to export the image sequence as PNGs and then take it to Photoshop and have to…well there’s a script I found online that would then take them and reposition all the images into a grid. It’s a little bit of a messy process because there’s a lot of errors that pop up when you do it. But it gets the job done.
^ ANDREW CREATING AN ANIMATED TEXTURE MAP
Three years after starting our journey with Yuki 7, we ended up in a place we never could have predicted. Using a brand new pipeline to create animation, with our entire crew separated by a global pandemic, but still fulfilling our goal of creating cutting-edge visuals and telling stories that make us happy and make us laugh.
Some of our team members shared a few thoughts on what the experience of creating Yuki and working in Unreal for the first time was like for them:
THERESA: I mean, I really just started learning this program last year. And I feel like it was really cool to discover all these different systems and how much flexibility there is within them. I don’t know that I was that optimistic that we would be able to recreate our comping that well within it. And I think we ended up getting a lot further with that than we were probably hoping to achieve even. Definitely the fellowship also helped with picking up a lot of that stuff quickly.
I think some of the Unreal systems also are sometimes doing a good job at being self-explanatory. I feel like especially with Niagara, that’s an aspect I liked where you were like, “I wish I could make this adjustment. Can I make this adjustment? Oh, yeah, there it is.” And I feel sometimes what happens is I know what information I have, I know how I want to process it. And I go, “Oh, there should be a node for that.” Or in Niagara, there should be a module that lets me do that. And I look for it and there it is, and then I use it.
^ YUKI 7 EPISODE 3 CLIP
STÉPHANE COËDEL (Lead Compositor): When I approach any project I never use the tools the ways they were built to be used. And I always get to where I want to be, by sideroads, and taking different paths. I think that’s what my work on those test shots helped Theresa achieve in finding different ways that are not necessarily the first ones you would think of to achieve the look that we wanted to achieve. Because Unreal is a new tool for us and for Theresa. And even for the creators of Unreal, they would never think it could be used that way. So it’s still a real exploration. And there’s still a lot to discover with that tool. I feel like it has a lot of potential, but if you use it the classic way, you will never find those side paths and in order to work to achieve groundbreaking looks and original visuals, you need to think outside of the box. And that’s what happened on this project. That’s what we tried to achieve.
^ YUKI 7 EPISODE 3 CLIP
KEVIN DART (Creative Director): To me, our team works best when we have no idea where we’re going with something. We have a lot of flexibility as a small team to look at new challenges and unproven ideas and just go for it. Because really what is there to lose? We’re just making art, and it’s no fun if we’re not discovering something new. There’s a creative fearlessness we always try to embrace. There’s so many real things to worry about in the world, and I just don’t think art is one of them. It’s such a privilege to be able to do this and use new technology to express ourselves and create things. I hope the things we make are inspiring to people for the chances we took and that we can show people something they haven’t seen before.
We would like to extend a huge thank you to Epic Games for their geneous support of Yuki 7 and our studio, as well as to our Executive Producer Karen Dufilho who believed in us and made it possible for us to take Yuki further than we ever imagined. We would also like to thank our incredible team of artists, musicians, actors, and technicians who brought this world to life. Thank you, and GO YUKI 7!
^ “GO YUKI 7” MUSIC VIDEO
Watch the full Micro-Series at yuki-7.com
A CHROMOSPHERE Production
BASED ON A CHARACTER CREATED BY
PROPS & FX
TECHNICAL ART DIRECTOR
LIGHTING & RENDERING
POST PRODUCTION SOUND SERVICES
Boom Box Post, Inc.
SUPERVISING SOUND EDITOR
Brad Meyer, MPSE
Kate Finan, MPSE
Jeff Shiffman, MPSE
Katie Maynard, MPSE
Jessey Drake, MPSE
Xinyue Yu, MPSE
ASSISTANT SOUND EDITORS
NATIVE AUDIO – DAN NATHAN
Dialogue Recorded at
LEAD DIALOGUE MIXER
UNREAL ENGINE SPECIAL THANKS
YUKI 7 THEME
Performed by The Go! Team
Written by Ian Parton
YUKI 7 END THEME
Performed by The Go! Team (feat CHAI)
Written by Ian Parton
The Go! Team appears courtesy of Memphis Industries Ltd
CHAI appears courtesy of Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc.
PRODUCTION ART ASSISTANT
DIRECTOR OF PRODUCTION
The stories, names, characters and incidents portrayed in this productions are ficticious. No identification with actual persons (living or deceased), places, buildings, and products is intended or should be inferred. No animals were harmed in the making of this motion picture
Copyright MMXXI Chromosphere.
Yuki 7 is a registered trademark of Chromosphere.