Last Christmas I got the opportunity to work on Blue-Zoo’s latest in house short, “Daddy Christmas”; Every few months the studio gives us the opportunity to pitch for their latest short, and this years brief was “An unusual Christmas greeting!” – Which Dan Cripps and Rory Cooke won. Voiced by Dan Renton Skinner (Angelos Epithemiou) and Teresa Gallagher, here it is, in all its gruesome glory:
This was an interesting project to work on – The set was “built” in the empty edit room in between refurbishment using bits of found and donated furniture, rubbish and tat – including a microwaveable roast dinner (which after 3 days of being open filled the room with that familiar festive scent) and selotaped wallpaper, with added mud, applied by hand of course.
I had a hand in shooting the backplates, which involved setting up the camera, lights and taking reference images of the set and some reference objects (Chrome ball and 3D printed Miffy) – I took multiple exposures of the set and created and HDRi to use as the IBL in the scene to help light match the characters to the background.
I used the HDR set capture to then create an IBL and get a rough light match to the characters and reference objects. I used Maya for lighting and the short was rendered using Arnold – which gave great physically based lighting straight out of the box – just needing a few tonal tweaks to the HDR and some added lights. I mapped sections of the unwrapped HDR image onto area lights, placing them in the Maya scene as they were in the real world set.
Using this light rig, lookdev was then done by Alastair Cross on the textures and shaders, to make dad look like a dirty old man.
Final lookdev / Lighting test:
Final Stills / Christmas card: