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Time For Change

Decisions can lead to good and bad outcomes, as is the case for effort. I believe that it is necessary to direct one's effort and take decisions that lead to positive change.

I noticed the beauty about a simple plastic bottle in repetition. The ambition of the animation, is to show the insanity in the quantity of plastic bottles that are used today. I really hope that you can take decisions and direct your effort, to make a change.


Direction, modeling, texturing, lighting, animation, rendering, compositing & grading by Simon Søgaard Vallinder

Sound by Hannes Schönberg

First Step

Everything starts with an idea. Just before I fall asleep, or when I'm cooking, or just about any time, an idea can pop up. However, the idea is just the seed. You need to spend a lot of time with it, to actually be able to create something substantial from it.

My very first step, of creating an animation, is mind mapping. I do this to get an overview of everything concerning the project. This is a great exercise in trusting my gut. The next step, is to create the storyboard. The goal with this is to get a solid base for how the project will turn out. Efficiency is really important to not spend unnecessary time at this stage, while the message must be clear in each drawing. You can see my storyboard for this project below.

creating motion

When the story for the project is nailed down, the exciting part of setting it all in motion begins. This is called creating an animatic. There are always some details in a project, which require some problem solving. For instance, the fact that I wanted three bottles in the frame to begin with, and later on a lot more than that, could make the render time go up tenfold and make the workflow very inefficient. But I found a way, to make the process smooth and keep render times low. The animatic, is what shows you that the project works. If the storyboard did a good job, you'll end up with an animatic that aligns with the vision in your head. At this stage, if you like the animatic, you have rather quickly shown that you will be satisfied with the final version of the animation. Now you could also make a few changes, maybe add or remove a certain part, without having wasted a lot of time with it. The animatic for this project is down below.


When the animatic has been made, and feels right, it is time to start producing the scenes. This differs from project to project. For this one, I needed to model the bottles, create a texture for the plastic bottle itself and another texture for the cap. The light I actually already made in the animatic, since it wasn't a very advanced process in this project. The movement in this shot, was how the position of the sun and the position of the camera should shift, both of which I fine tuned after creating the rough version in the animatic. When all of this had been done, rendering was the next step.

I'll try to give a very simplified explanation of my rendering workflow. To optimise the render, you need to find out which number of samples makes good enough quality. In the renderer I'm using, this workflow is based in setting a specific number for each light, each material and then a special configuration for the overall quality. After checking each part of the scene, to assure an even and high quality, it's time to make the computer work. This animation was 287 frames, which in total took about 24 hours to render on my desktop pc. After waiting patiently (and working on my laptop in the meantime) it was time to put it all together, and finalise the animation.

When you render a scene, you can choose to get certain layers. For example, one layer with only the bottles, or one layer containing only the red emission in the scene. I used such a layer to enhance the emission. This is called compositing. After rendering, you can alter some properties of the scene, without having to re-render it, if you have prepared the compositing enough. This means that you can do some minor changes in minutes instead of hours. Compositing is also very useful to enhance the render, as I did in this project with the emissive red bottles. After the compositing, it's time to grade the animation. The colors, light and style of the animation is set with grading.


The secret ingredient to a perfect piece, is music from Hannes Schönberg. We discussed the project to get a common understanding of the emotion, in the animation. Hannes then created a draft for us to go through. He had done an amazing soundtrack. I had some thoughts on the melody in the end, which we discussed. He tried some different changes and one of them was spot on. Later that night, he had finished the mixing and mastering. The soundtrack was complete.


The finished piece is at the top of the site.

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