Baobab Studio Tells the Behind-The-Scene Story of the VR Animation “Crow: The Legend”
The VR animation created by Baobab Studios and the famous musician John Legend, “Crow: The Legend”, has been posted on YouTube and Oculus VR. Recently, the production team also shared more behind-the-scenes stories about making this film.
Among them, “Top Player” male Tye Sheridan (Tai Sheridan), American talk show queen Oprah Winfrey (Oprah Winfrey) and Liza Koshy (Hulu American drama “Distortion” starring) have brought the film A wonderful dubbing has also won a lot of attention.
Maureen Fan said: “We are very happy that Tye Sheridan and Liza Koshy have joined Crow: The Legend. This animation is more than just a story, but a narrative experience. We can’t wait to let the audience see these actors in hard times. Confidence in VR turns this into reality.”
Say Baobab Studios, presumably everyone is no stranger. The VR studio, headquartered in San Francisco, is known as “Pixar in the VR world” and has produced many popular works, such as the VR animation “Invasion!” And the sequel “Asteroids! .
In 2015, Baobab Studios announced the completion of a $6 million Series A round of financing, led by Comcast Ventures, HTC, Samsung, Zynga co-founder Mark Pincus and Paypal co-founders Peter Thiel, Advancit Capital, Chernin Group, Freelands Ventures participated in the investment.
In 2016, Baobab Studios announced the completion of a $25 million Series B round of financing, led by Li Ka-shing’s investment fund Horizons Ventures, 20th Century Fox, SMG (Shanghai Radio and Television), Youku Global Media Fund, Participation in Evolution Media Partners and LDV Partners.
So far, the company has accumulated $31 million in financing.
The director of “Madagascar” was founded, this studio is “not ordinary”
Baobab Studios, co-founded in 2015 by Eric Darnell, director of the Madagascar series of animated films, and Maureen Fan, former vice president of the game industry Zynga, mainly engaged in VR CG animation. The team members are also top talents who have worked in DreamWorks and Zynga.
Eric recalled that in the early 1980s, when he first saw computer animation, he was deeply attracted, which also made him the next thirty years. He is a director and screenwriter, and has produced all four episodes of the well-known Madagascar series. In 2015, he chose to leave DreamWorks and try to incorporate VR into the animation to bring a new viewing experience to the user.
Its first animation work “Invasion! 》, tells the interesting story between the budding bunny and the invading aliens, the audience will watch the movie from the perspective of the bunny. Soon after the film was launched, the number of downloads exceeded one million, which was well received by the industry.
Taking the crow as a prototype, deducting from sacrificing “self” to achieving “big self”
Inspired by the legend of crows, Crow: The Legend has a beautiful voice and colorful feathers, the most popular and respected animals in the forest. However, Crow must leave his hometown to bring light to the dark and cold world.
He was forced to make a choice between himself and his companions. Recognizing that he was the only hope for everyone, Crow embarked on an adventure, and eventually the sound and color were destroyed. Although Crow was initially uncomfortable with this transition, he firmly believed that saving the forest was more meaningful than protecting his own appearance.
This spirit of dedication, courage and justice, and a sense of responsibility cast the meaning of this film.
Because of the blood of Native Americans in Darnel, Sarah Eagle Heart, CEO of Native Americans in Philanthropy, and Kiowa, founder of the National Urban Indian Council, were also invited. -Caddo) as a consultant, providing guidance and voice support for film production, so that the work can restore the legend of the Indians as much as possible.
For this VR work, Darnel hopes to bring a more interactive experience to the audience. Maureen Fan explained: “So, in order to get rid of the controller, we need to think about ‘what should we do?’ We hope that the work will bring a realistic feeling to the audience, just like the natural extension of the hands, when you wave your arms, the flowers will Blooms or snowflakes will float. The specific effects depend on the environment.”
Darnel added: “This is natural. Just like you know magic, all you have to do is make gestures. We tested the snowflake effects in the early days and the results were satisfactory. We began to realize that we felt like it. Some doorways and methods. We see people suddenly stop in other VR experiences, and even if they wear the heads, they still try to hold the controller and ask ‘What button can I press?’ Of course, when the audience When they start doing this, their attention will be distracted without focusing on the development of the story.”
He said: “You may find some narrative clues, such as ‘It’s time to wave your hands,’ or find some hints such as the sky starts to snow, the color of the scene changes, etc., so that the audience is immersed.”
One of the biggest challenges facing the Baobab team when making this film was the immersion that Darnel described as a “story book”. The studio has put a lot of effort into making the work look soft and warm, and to avoid the audience “playing.” In fact, this is very difficult, so they are based on the unity engine to make the film.
Darnel pointed out: “Obviously, instant is critical for VR, because we dynamically change the movie based on the viewer’s movements. This is one of the reasons why animation is so suitable for VR. We can really create a world and role that can respond to the audience. And let the audience feel that they are part of the character world.”
To enhance immersion, animator Michael Hutchinson used a special technique: creating multiple versions of a character and stacking them together. One layer, one layer, to achieve a blurred texture surface. He visualizes the plants, trees, and other elements in the background, and the blurry edges of the endangered characters are extensively softened, which allows for more complex character rendering.
For Darnell, VR technology offers new opportunities for filmmakers. “VR makes the film different,” he stressed. “When I was asked, ‘What do you feel like giving up all the control of the film director as a film director?’, I replied that this is not giving up control, but using a new tool to better display the picture. VR as a kind of The new medium opens up a new era of immersive narrative.”
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