CGW – The Story within the Story

CGW – Computer Graphics World | December, 2017 | Original Article

CGW Magazine reveals how our team helped to bring The Star, one of the most famous stories ever recorded to the big screen in a fresh new way & director Tim Reckart explains the new model for making animated features at Sony Pictures Animation in partnership with Cinesite.

So, how does a person tell one of the most famous stories ever recorded and bring it to the big screen in a fresh, new way? That was the challenge facing the filmmakers behind Sony Pictures Animation’s (SPA’s) The Star, an animated family feature about the events leading up to the very first Christmas.

The challenge, as Animation Supervisor Ryan Yee points out, was to not pull the animation too far from reality or do it too often, for risk of pulling the audience out of the film. “Once that happens, it’s too difficult to bring them back into it,” he says. The characters were modeled and animated in Autodesk’s Maya, which was supplemented with other third-party and proprietary tools. Because of the short schedule (11 months of production), the group did not have time to iterate. So, they came up with an alternative process to push the animation style. “Many times, I asked for a performance in the animation, and it turned out the rig didn’t have a certain muscle for that partic-ular facial expression. So, in some cases, the animators had to use a sculpt tool to push the model beyond where it had originally been designed to go,” says Reckart. 

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