Creating Caldera

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Caldera is an animated short film about a mentally ill young girl who abandons medication in favor of the beautiful — yet often disturbing — world of her psychosis. The project, from creators Chris Bishop and Evan Veira, had us absolutely hooked after we caught a glimpse of the stunning, hyper-surreal imagery revealed in their project video.   “We’re aiming to bridge [2D and 3D],” Evan explains of their unique approach to animation. “To take the rich organic line and merge it with the immersive 3D camera movement.” The result, as can be seen in the clip above, is downright ethereal.

We convinced Evan to reveal a bit of the creative process to us. You can check it out, along with more images from the short, below. Support the project here.

“[We wanted] to merge the strengths of both Japanese anime and western 3D animation. Great anime, like Miyazaki for example, is rich with organic qualities that result from a painter’s approach to stylization and simplification of nature. 3D animation operates differently in that it is made with software that is built to replicate nature with precise mathematics. Stylistically, these mathematically based creations tend to lean more towards the photo-real. Our energy has gone into bridging these two — to preserve the painterly marks of 2D animation while embracing the immersive motion parallax of 3D software.”

“To achieve this, we create simplified versions of every environments in 3D, then render out a still image on which we paint all the light and detail. Then once the painting is complete we re-project our painting back onto our 3D environment where we can freely move the camera around. This of course is a simplification. Like all animation, our process is very layered and goes through many stages of production. People are often surprised to know how long it takes to make an animated film that is only 10 minutes long. Unlike traditional live-action filmmaking, every element in it’s smallest detail is made from scratch. We are two years in and have one left to go.”

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