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Character Modeling and Animation: Ensemble

The short film The Birth Attendants features a total of 17 character models that are rendered in a stylized way that suggests handcrafted paper. To efficiently model these characters, a few generic templates were created, both for their bodies and for each element of their faces, which were set up as blend shapes. Then the generic assets were customized to more accurately represent each person.

For b-roll sequences in which interviewees are discussing past experiences, models could be varied to display less specific detail – sometimes rendered as shadows of the people speaking.

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In other cases, when the b-roll clip did not represent a specific person’s experience, but rather represented a general experience shared by any number of people, the surface details of the model were omitted and the scenes were rendered with additional cel shading layers.

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Some b-roll clips have hand-drawn elements animated with dynamic holds to represent either past experiences or aspirational conditions.

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