How CINEMA 4D helped bring a historic battle to life in a new feature-length documentary, Tobago 1677. Trinidad and Tobago-based studio Eye
Scream Animation reveals all...
More than 3 centuries ago, 2 European nations fought one of history's bloodiest battles over Tobago, a tiny Caribbean island just north of South America. Now, German production company Oceans Discovery Ltd., tells the story of the epic land and sea battle between the Dutch and French in a new feature-length documentary called Tobago 1677
"Relying primarily on CINEMA 4D, After Effects and V-Ray, Lewis and his team were charged with recreating battle scenes on land, as well as a 300-year-old town and fort"
Trinidad and Tobago-based studio Eye Scream Animation was a leading contributor to the film with founder Brett Lewis heading up a team of 6 designers. Relying primarily on CINEMA 4D
, After Effects
, Lewis and his team were charged with recreating battle scenes on land, as well as a 300-year-old town and fort, with only a few sketches, paintings and a modern-day topographical map for reference.
Though they had been doing 3D animations for advertising and architectural visualizations for 13 years, this was Eye Scream
's first foray into animating battle scenes and enhancing re-enactments and they were excited about the opportunity, Lewis recalls.
Brett Lewis compiled this great breakdown of how the team made many of the shots using CINEMA 4D
True to life
Director Rick Haupt wanted to achieve an authentic look and feel, so he opted to bring the production to Trinidad and Tobago and included as many local creative firms as possible. After meeting with Lewis and discussing their shared vision and passion for the subject, Haupt brought the studio onto the project even though they had limited experience with creating animations for feature-length films.
While Eye Scream worked to show the town and fort before and after the deadly battles, Bristol, England-based animation and VFX house 422 South
, the primary firm on the project, handled scenes of the ships, as well as sea battles.
At various points during the project, Lewis and his team collaborated with 422 South by sharing assets. For example, Eye Scream provided fluid simulations of cannon smoke to 422 South and in return they were sent ship models that they rendered and placed onto cards so the ships could be seen in the distance in some of the shots.
"Though they were not familiar with CINEMA 4D, Lewis got them up to speed
fast using online tutorials"
Knowing that creating 6 minutes of footage, including 30 shots, in 4 months was a tall order for Eye Scream Animation's small team of 3 artists, Lewis brought 6 animation students from the University of Trinidad and Tobago to help out.
Though they were not familiar with CINEMA 4D, Lewis got them up to speed fast using online tutorials. "The guys got oriented on Monday and by Wednesday, they were kicking out houses, shacks, weapons and even digital soldiers – full-character body sculpts,” Lewis recalls. "We were so proud that with just a little direction, so much could be possible.”
"MoGraph was used to clone different characters and place them around the battlefield and throughout the town"
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