Meet the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Set in present day New York City, from the glittering towers of Manhattan to the dark depths of the sewers, the series follows the adventures of four humanoid turtles and a six-foot tall rat, Master Splinter, fighting villains like Shredder, the Kraang and loads of super-powerful mutants.
The Layout process involves capturing the intent of the animation, character posing and detailing a plan on how to convey the idea. The positive and negative stages, the background, 2D graphics, timing and appeal are also considered at this stage. When Nickelodeon delivered the assets, we created a pipeline for multi-action usage, enabling the animators to pull from a library of stored selections, poses and animation clips.
The first stage in Animation is called Primary, or Blocking. The Key Poses, Extremes, and Breakdowns are created at this stage to convey the timing and weight for appeal in the storytelling, leading the way for Secondary Animation, or final polish. Work is done in Secondary to ensure that arcs and spacing are working properly and that overlapping action is pushed further to enhance the final polish of the animation; Secondary is also the stage where all lipsync is handled, which makes up for 30-40% of the work load.
LIGHTING AND COMPOSITING
The LRC team adds mood to the characters and set by lighting the scenes based on the storyboard and contact sheets delivered by Nickelodeon. Shots are lit and rendered in Maya using Mental Ray. In-house tools speed-up the process. Lighting is integral to the overall look of the series. In compositing, an automated pre-comp system was created to build the comp file based on the shot, so that artists spend more time making it better as opposed to starting from scratch. Colour corrections, special lighting and camera effects are added to get the intent of the storyboard and compliment the animation.
The final stage in the process is Special Effects. Done in Maya, the process begins before LRC, then takes over at the end to complete the compositing render. They are supplied with FX rigs from Nickelodeon (fire, debris, smoke, etc.), and use these rigs to modify and build upon them to suit the scene. A lot of custom work, tinkering, figuring out how it works in the scene, and design is involved. After the Maya elements are rendered out the FX artist then integrates them in Nuke into the Compositing team’s Nuke tree to complete the shot