About The Making Of 

“When a mysterious creature crash lands in the mountains, a local girl finds a reclusive shepherd and his flock of sheep to be more than meets the eye.” 

Chapters
 Introduction
 Pre-Production
Pipeline 
 Layout & Painting
Compositing
Editing

Introduction

About

From August 2014 til June 2015, me and a skilled team of artist got together on our final year of our bachelor in arts to make The Shepherd; A colorful and quirky film about a young girl who meets a mysterious shepherd in the mountains. He puts her to the test, but is interrupted as a strange meteor crash lands on a mountain nearby. Suspicious of the situation, the young girl sneaks into his house, and realizes that he in fact is an alien, who protects earth from extraterrestrial threats by turning them into sheep. 

 The Team
  • John Muller – Director
  • Lasse Bruntse – Director
  • Emilie Stabell – Technical Art Director, Production Manager, Editor
  • Benjamin Bach – Art Director
  • Søren Krøjgaard – Animation Lead
  • Anne Hoberg – Character Lead, Animator
  • Bjørn Rasmussen – CG Generalist
  • Sabine Pedersen – Animator
  • Pernille Kjær – Animator
  • Cristina Bojesen – Animator
My Roles
  • Technical Art Director
  • Production Manager
  • Editor
  • Pipeline Manager
  • Background Artist
  • Compositing Artist
 Styleguide

In collaboration with our two directors, Me and Benjamin Bach came together to form our styleguide. We went for a simple, flat 2D look, heavily inspired by Santiago Montiel. We knew from the get go that we wanted something colorful and stylized. John and Lasse wanted to keep the look very grounded where as I tried to push it more towards the extreme. Ultimately, the decision was made to go with a more realistic approach.

Pre-Production

 Highlights from Pre-Production

During Pre-Production the team split in two. One group focused on story, the other on design. I was part of the story group developing the film and making decisions about where to take the film. In that process, I worked closely with John, Lasse and Søren who storyboarded while I edited it all together.

Furthermore, I made a few prop designs and a few 3D mock-up’s to help the animators understand the forms of the characters.

Set Design & Keyshots
Characters & Props

Pipeline

A big part of my job was to figure out the pipeline. Since the film was made in 2D, the folder structure was relatively simple. However, it required some heavy testing to figure out what combination of software to use for production. Various workflows with Maya, Nuke and After Effects were tried out, but ultimately the choice fell on After Effects. Our film doesn’t have complex camera movement, doesn’t require heavy color grading and when there is parallaxing, it is very simple. Therefore, it seemed like the right choice.

Below you will see some snippets of the presentation I prepared for the team when deciding on the pipeline. You’ll also see the final pipeline guide me and John developed to ease the workflow. 

Pipeline Planning
Pipeline Guide
 1st – Testing the Pipeline
2nd – Testing 2D Effects
3rd – Testing the Maya Camera

Layout & Painting

 Highlights from Layout & Painting

Layout was a very fluid process on this production. The files were constantly bounced back and forth between artists so the result is really is a mixture of everyone’s style. It is important to note though, that John went in and redrew every layout in order to get the design and lineart as consistent as possible. Below, you’ll see the layouts that I was a part of making.

Background painting was more straight ahead. Benjamin was in charge of supervising paintings of The Meadow, Bjørn handled Revelation, John took Epiclogue and I supervised The Battle. As things progressed the process once again went more fluid, and paintings were handed back and forth until a unified look was achieved. Just like John went over all the layouts, I was in charge of painting all skies, clouds and trees in the film.

Layout Guide
Layouts
Background Paintings

Compositing

Untill two weeks before the final deadline, I was the only compositor on the film, meaning that I graded and finished the majority of the shots. Below, you’ll see a selection of breakdown’s from each area in the film; something with lots of nature, something Sci-Fi and something with lasers, aliens and explosions. Furthermore, the gallery will show you a before and after of each and every shot I worked on.

The Meadow
Revelation
 The Battle
Other

Editing

I was also the editor of The Shepherd, meaning that I was in charge of setting up the premiere project, making the timing right, updating shots, making the scratch sound and SFX and finally rendering out the film. The biggest challenge was to handle the overhead and communication when timing changed drastically. Only five weeks before deadline, I cut almost 1,5 minutes out of the film and killed an entire sequence. As an editor, you quickly learn that every frame counts and that your workflow has to be extremely clean in order to avoid clutter. 

To get a good overview, me, John and Lasse created a Shot Count Document, containing information about framecount, music, sound effects, cinematography and mood for each shot.

 The Premiere Project
Working With Scratch Sound
Full Shot Count Document