The CG team at Rushes has brought to life the everyday urban world around our feet. The "Tiny Worlds" trilogy of short films shows a humorous take on what might happen to the litter and rubbish on London's streets when we're not looking.
The project was started at the beginning of this year as the result of a team creative brainstorming session. A number of ideas were suggested, but Tiny Worlds won through and captured the imagination and enthusiasm of everyone involved. Once the concept was decided, the ideas were developed further to come up with the three scenarios, and the vehicle design was able to get started.
A key creative decision we made early on, was how to approach the various effects (smoke, water splashes, explosions, etc.) when dealing with a world being shown at such a small scale. We quickly realised that if we had decided to create the effects in a photo-realistic manner, then things like the torpedo impact would end up looking more like a chinese-firecracker, rather than the dramatic explosion that we wanted to show. At this point, we decided to use 2D hand animated elements to represent the effects instead. This had the immediate benefit of releasing us from the photo-real constraint and added a stylised feel to the piece, all without sacrificing the suspension of disbelief. After a few early tests creating the animated effects in Maya, it was obvious that this was going to work really well.
The other tricky challenge that had to be solved was how to get the submarine to interact with the live action footage of the puddle. After exploring a few possible solutions, we decided to build the puddle in 3D and carefully recreate the reflections, as seen in the original footage. A ripple simulation was generated in Houdini based on the submarine animation, and everything was carefully blended together in Nuke to make sure that we could keep the reflections of the people as they walked by.
Finally, we got in touch with our friends at Mcasso for their expertise in sound design. As always, sound plays a very important part in bringing CG to life, and Tom Martin did a superb job using sound to enhance the character and scale of each of the vehicles.