“The Tale of the Three Brothers” from a technological point of view post 3 of 4




Newton states in his interview with fxguide that this animated sequence was made in a number of software programs. They modelled everything in Maya, and used Zbrush if anything needed any sort of displacement. They rendered using mental ray and for the making of the bridge used Houdini and rendered in RenderMan. They also used nCloth for the characters robes and the dead brides dress and also used Nuke for compositing.



They were set on using the same style as shadow puppetry but obviously things like pulsing light and textures were physical 2D things which they would lose in computer imagery, so they made their own 3D grain to keep the quality textured look as their camera flies through the 3D space. In the animated sequence, the camera is constantly moving from one angle to the other, floating through layers of paper, seamlessly flying through the scene which was made possible with the 3D grain they devised, which allowed the animators to concentrate on the shadowing.


In Hibons interview with Animation World Network, Ben states that “they wanted to keep the language of cameras and not lose the motion of the cinematic experience as a potter movie. Therefore didn’t want to use 2D to break this2”. They did originally think of doing the sequence in 2D but soon realised that in order to get the look they were after, they would have to move the camera an awful lot more. They also wanted to animate on 2s but had the same problem with the camera moves, which is why they decided on 3D in order to get that more stylised textured look and beautiful detail you can see in the animation.


The textures you see were made in Zbrush, where the texturing team worked up colour maps making the animation have no clean curves or straight lines even though the designs were so stylised. With these stylised enriched textures though, came the problem that since the camera is constantly moving, they had to move the textures as well in order to keep the feeling of the overlay of the paper texture. So they used Nuke and Maya where they added camera moves and placed layers of paper textures between renders in 3D Nuke to give the illusion of the moving textures.


Despite the fact that, if they had decided to do this sequence in live action they wouldn’t have needed to worry about all of these problems that the software brings up, the effects that the animation gives in the viewing of the movie is more impactful, as the audience can see that it takes a certain amount of skill to use animation in such a technical way producing such beautiful imagery.



1Ian Failes. (2010). Framestore: Deathly Hallows Animation. Available: http://www.fxguide.com/featured/framestore_deathly_hallows_animation/. Last accessed 5th may 2014


2 Bill Desowitz. (2010). Shadow Play with ‘Potter’’s Tale of Three Brothers . Available: http://www.awn.com/animationworld/shadow-play-potters-tale-three-brothers. Last accessed 5th may 2014.



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