Motion

All the Things

By:
Paul McMahon
Paul McMahon
Chris Guyot
John Poon
A.J. 9 A.M. 10 D.B. 9 D.S.H. 9 F.A. 8 G.R. 10 J.S. 10 M.P. 9 M.S. 9 P.K. 8.5 Creative 9.2 A.J. 8 A.M. 8 D.B. 9 D.S.H. 8 F.A. 9 G.R. 9 J.S. 10 M.P. 9 M.S. 10 P.K. 9 Design 8.9 A.J. 10 A.M. 9 D.B. 9 D.S.H. 7 F.A. 9 G.R. 9 J.S. 9 M.P. 8 M.S. 9 P.K. 9 Craft 8.8 A.J. 9 A.M. 9 D.B. 9 D.S.H. 8 F.A. 8.7 G.R. 9.3 J.S. 9.7 M.P. 8.7 M.S. 9.3 P.K. 8.8 Total 9
"All The Things" is a collection of individual narratives, unified by a cohesive style.
The Concept

Our intention was to work on a short, simple piece. As many of you know, sometimes personal projects evolve and take on a mind of their own. The story behind “All the Things” is quite a simple and modest one. It’s a story many designers and animators have experienced, starting a project and never finishing one. Looking at my hard drive one day I had about twelve animation ideas I really wanted to complete. I decided to team up with Chris Guyot, an animator friend of mine for a few years, and we thought we’d take the best parts of each story and just make that scene - make the money shot. That was our goal.

We pared the ideas down to ten, then nine and finally deciding to make eight short animated sequences. The next big hurdle was “how do we tie these together? How do we make it look like they all belong to the one piece?”. Our first idea was to have a “thread” running through each scene. We envisioned a thick thread passing through each scene. For the “Defence!” sequence it was going to be a along flag-like ribbon, the scene would cut to the forest and it would be long strips of bark running horizontally through the scene, same with the basement scene it was going to be a long strip of leather. The working title at the time was “A common thread”. We thought using a title like that and giving them all one thing in common might pull things together.

The Production

The following is a selection of images from a 14 month long project. During the course of the project we played with very abstract concepts and then pared them back to something manageable for two artists in their down time but maintaining something special. I’ve never made a model without kicking out about four or five clay renders so I’ve always been in love with that plain block of colour. When it came to shading we tried a few ideas, we thought of getting a few more friends onboard to see what they could do but there was something not right. Everything kept coming out too serious. Living in Ireland, a lot of the work here can be a bit on the drab side. A little too much of Irish history and mythology. I’ve never liked that. I’ve always loved bright candy colours and retro 50’s Americana style.

Yellow is one of the hardest colours to render as it can look muddy and dirty or too blown out. It was surprisingly nice. It was sort of like a clay render, everything as one overall coat of colour. When I shared it with Chris he went wild. We both instantly fell in love and the rest of the scenes just fell into place so fast then. The thing we were missing was finally found, that consistency we needed to bring such wildly different stories together. The red forest was, by far, the most difficult to get right. The animation was kicked out at a furious rate thanks to Chris’s super human ability to animate so fast. We then got John Poon on board who tackled each scene at a time and created a wonderful sound that suited the piece really well. Again, funnily enough, we struggled with the red forest scene again. Finding a sound that made sense was so tricky.

Final

That “Mirrorwood” scene is an odd one - it’s the shortest, most abastract and most different in look and design compared to them all. There’s a backstory to each of the scenes long before they were committed to “All the Things”. For instance, “Mirrorwood” was originally penned to be a long tapestry type animation. It was something I wanted to make for a few years. This idea of a long tapestry in 3D with simple animation.

The “Basement” scene was going to be this short animation about a French furniture store owner who kept all his best pieces in the basement and ran a Jazz club at night.

The “Topiary” scene was just some very pleasing models that came to life one day when I was passing a garden center and saw these wonderfully pruned trees. They were crying out to be modelled in 3D.

The terrace scene was totally out of the blue. We had this model that just looked different from all the rest. The UV maps were created. It was half clay, half shaded and in the middle was this house that had been UV mapped and paint drips were painted on. It looked nice but animating it was impossibble. We were going to leave it behind as we tried animating UV maps but it just felt so strange and the results were awful! Then, one day, we thought “why not render one clay, one fully shaded, then using masks in After Effects we can reveal the colour?”. It seemed like a sensible plan. We were going to have it rain paint until one day I looked out my window and birds had destroyed my car with their crap! Hahaha like a bolt it struck me “why not have birds paint the buildings from clay?” just so you get this opposite effect. Rather than turning things white they paint them. Just like Wild E. Coyote. When he’s trying to catch the road runner, he paints a tunnel on a road but only uses one brush and one tin of paint yet all the details come out. That’s just wonderful! I had to pay homage to that.

Client
Personal Project
Credits
Paul McMahon
Chris Guyot
John Poon
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