Wonder, weirdness and unbridled imagination: just some of the words to describe today’s hottest kids shows. Such is the story with Remy and Boo, an animated series charting the adventures of six-year-old Remy and her best friend Boo—an endearing pink robot.
Produced by Industrial Brothers and Boat Rocker Studios, the mind behind the magic is Matthew Fernandes, and tasked with bringing his vision to life were two animation studios working in unison—Industrial Brothers, based in Toronto, and Dublin-born Giant Animation.
“We really loved what Matt was trying to achieve with Remy and Boo, in pushing great stories and characters, and bringing them to life in a very beautiful world,” Ben Harper, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Giant Animation, tells us.
“There was also a really nice link with Ireland, where Matt told us he first thought of the idea for Remy and Boo when he was traveling to the Dingle Animation Festival. So we really immediately clicked with what he was trying to achieve with the show and from there it was very easy to get our teams on the same wavelength and start working together to bring the show to life.”
Both Industrial Brothers and Giant Animation had their work cut out for them—not least because of the rapid production schedule and high quality bar brought about by episodic animated productions.
We caught up with both studios to find out how they navigated these challenges armed with Foundry’s compositing tool Nuke.
Getting industrious with Nuke and Industrial Brothers
Having begun working in the animation industry thirteen years ago, Sumira Dhawan, Head of CG at Industrial Brothers, has charted the ebb and flow of animation as a trend for over a decade.
“The creative expectation of animated episodic projects has evolved substantially in recent years,” she comments. “The quality of some of the TV shows produced these days are at par with feature films, and this poses a challenge as each season of pre-school shows is 52X11 minutes long, produced in about two years. That’s over nine hours of content! Besides the quantity of high quality content, consistency across the episodes is really important. “
To achieve this level of quality and consistency, the Industrial Brothers team employs strict scheduling and tooling methods to help teams plan ahead and keep the production on track. Typically, look development for lighting and compositing starts when the team conceptualizes the look of the show. The CG supervisor and key lighter/compositors work very closely with the Art Director and the Director to research and develop this further.
As part of this process, Nuke proves pivotal. Having been introduced to the tool in 2016 whilst working on the How to Train your Dragon TV series, Sumira lends her thoughts on how Nuke supports the team’s initial planning efforts.
“Nuke is a huge contributor in the final look of the show,” she tells us. “[We used it] for look development, shot compositing, comp FX, particle FX and QC on Remy and Boo. It allows us to customize our comp scripts and the Python integration makes it much easier to write and deploy tools for the show’s specific needs, which helps us achieve consistent quality and higher speeds.”
“For example, we built lighting setups and Nuke scripts for each unique set and time of the day, which could easily be propagated throughout the show using Python tools we integrated in our Nuke pipeline. We were also able to leverage the capability of building gizmos for custom FX for Boo in Nuke, which were used consistently across the series.”
Madhu Nagarajan, key lighter on the show, lends her thoughts on what makes Nuke really shine for the team.
“The character “Boo” in Remy and Boo required some complicated treatments such as magnetism and sparkle,” she explains. “These tasks are difficult to achieve in other software like Houdini or Maya, and require a lot of trouble shooting and several iterations to achieve the desired result. With Nuke however we were able to do it in a much shorter time.”
“The most beneficial part of Nuke was not having to go back and forth to implement feedback and changes,” she continues. “The production viewed the final results in real time and the tweaks were made almost immediately for the key lighting and comp.”
READ THE FULL ARTICLE