The thing about this kid is he’s picked a goal — a film that tells a meaningful story — and used 3D as the means to the end. As it should be, no? Easier said than done. In my experience it often takes so much time and energy to get results in 3D that the process takes over. This happens in any medium — viz the stereotypical book about the loveless, misunderstood college English professor who’s trying to write a book, or the self-referential indy film about the plucky, self-referential indy filmmaker.
David’s brilliance lies in stripping his process down to the bare minimum, mostly ignoring traditional workflows, and finding the paths of least resistance afforded by the tools to the result he wants. It comes across as a kind of technical judo — moving complexity away from places it isn’t needed toward places where it’ll be more useful. In shots where the character is the focal point, the shots are very simple. Where the character is overwhelmed by circumstance, there is more detail.
In general, it’s all low-poly, few textures, and apparently all hardware renders. There’s no anti-aliasing, no motion blur. Traditional time-sucks like modeling, texturing, rigging, and rendering give way to pared-down and effective animation, lighting, and simulation work. It all feels extremely efficient.
None of this would be that impressive on its own, but that the work it supports happens to be advanced conceptually, especially in the language of film and design. The story itself is simple but the acting, pacing, and editing are all subtle and sensitive. He’s also clearly some kind of composition savant, and my only hope of retaining any pride at all in the face of such prodigious skill is the knowledge that he probably can’t tie his own shoes.
Congratulations David, let me know if you need any help with your shoes.
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