Albert is Nickelodeon’s first original animated TV movie, telling the story of a tiny Douglas fir tree named Albert who loves Christmas and dreams of being the Empire City Christmas tree.
Albert was created almost entirely in-house and features a look that is unique to Nickelodeon. Texture artists, lighters and compositors worked on Dell Precision 5810 workstations equipped with NVIDIA Quadro M6000 graphics to bring the story to life. Scenes were rendered using RedShift's GPU accelerated renderer.
“The Dell T5810 and Redshift with the NVIDIA Quadro M6000 really came together for us, and allowed our artists to work in a way they'd never been able to before. They're able to work in near real time when lighting the scenes they're working on, which allowed us to create an entirely new pipeline for the way Nickelodeon has traditionally approached animation, giving them much more creative control than they've ever had before,” said Eric Swanborg, Senior Director of Digital Operations for Nickelodeon.
"The animated characters in Albert appear as though you can reach out and touch them -- it’s a look somewhere between photorealistic and stop motion. The ability for artists to have near real-time reflections, shadows and interaction was essential to the project.
“We're trying to make great art as fast as we can and have it look as good as possible. There's such a depth to everything. That's what I'm really excited about. I can't wait for the audience to see it,” says Jason Meyer, supervising producer. “And now what used to take two to three hours to see a final frame is now taking just half an hour.”
Using Redshift with Quadro’s powerful visual computing platform allowed artists to do renders at their desk without having to outsource. Artists are able to see what the scenes looked like before spending the time to render the whole sequence out, which is a significantly faster approach.
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COW Editor's Note: Here is an introduction to the artistry in Nickelodeon's Albert.
And here is a video of Max Lang, the director of ALBERT. Enjoy this behind-the-scenes look into some of the process...
As if this wasn't already the hottest summer on record, Blackmagic Design's Grant Petty rolled out some blazing news across a wide range of the company's product lines in cameras, production hardware, and software.
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Blackmagic once again delivers a jaw-dropping lineup of advanced hardware -- ATEM Constellation 8K with built-in Fairlight mixing in the industry's largest live production audio mixer, plus 16 hardware keyers, 24 8K outputs, and more; the New Teranex Mini SDI to HDMI 8K with dual on screen scope overlays, HDR, 33 point 3D LUTs and monitor calibration; HyperDeck Extreme 8K broadcast deck with advanced H.265 recording, touch screen interface, internal cache, built in scopes, HDR, and traditional deck control; and the URSA Mini Pro G2 camera featuring new electronics, Super 35 4.6K HDR image sensor, 15 stops of dynamic range, 300 fps high frame rate shooting, and Blackmagic RAW -- for prices even lower than how low your jaw just dropped reading them.
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Pav recently won a VES award for his groundbreaking VFX work on the film. He talks about his process, the amazing VFX and animation teams he worked with and the innovative new tool he invented that may change the future of animation.
If you hope to distribute your work via Netflix, you NEED to know this, but even if you're only interested in the best thinking currently available about how to preserve your own work for an unknown digital future, this is a must-read. Kylee Peña, Coordinator of Creative Technologies & Infrastructure at Netflix, and co-authors Christopher Clark and Mike Whipple share insights on the origin of Netflix archival elements, the importance of color management, and how all this comes together to preserve creative intent -- insights you can start using yourself, today.
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Editor/Director Courtney Ware got her start in the industry as a PA, quickly working her way up to producer before her 21st birthday. After her directorial debut on Sunny in the Dark, she realized a pivot away from producing and into storytelling was in her future, and she got started on being an editor in between directing jobs. The first film to bring her to Sundance was Never Goin’ Back, and she’s back at the festival this year with Light From Light. Creative COW Manager Editor Kylee Peña speaks to Courtney about how her work in each role informs the other, and making her way in the film community from her base in Dallas.