Spike the mouse – Shortfilm

Hello mouse lovers!
Today’s blogpost is one about a lovely clever animal: the mouse.  And especially about one called Spike.  He is the hero of our 3d movie that we produced during our sparetime this summer.

introducing: Spike

The competition
It was part of a competition called Golden Velvet (link FR/DE only) organized by the Swiss Textile federation. On first step (april 2012) teams were invited to send in a short synopsis on a A4 paper. All medias and styles allowed (doc, fiction, anim, stopmo, shooting, papercut etc…) We had to chose one of 6 themes provided. Actually more than themes, it was 6 technological innovation of the Swiss Textile Industry. So at end of May a total of 12 teams were chosen to get a small production funding and start the actual production. Our theme was “schock-absorbant rope” and we had to deliver the movie at the end of august.

The result
Well it seems the jury liked the story as we finished 2nd of the competition :-)

You can see all the other movies on this page. There are some really good ones (much better than Spike in fact…)

Here is a quick-dirty comp of Spike with the trophy :)

Cycles rendering!

Very early in the project I decided to render using Cycles. It was a challenge to self, plus a good opportunity to learn the tool on a production level. So was cycle worth? Yes!  and even more now that all the mango optimizations are in. First of all cycles and viewport render allows instant feedback, which is more than great for lighting. Secondly it needs some time to optimize renders ( more on this on a later post). We had a tight schedule (too many scenes) and I only had 2 computers (with each a gtx 560 ), so basically if we wanted to finish the movie and its 6000+ frames the rendertime per frame had to be at around 1 minute. Some too noisy scenes were allowed to 2 mins. Oh yes, don’t even think of rendering on a non-gpu computer.

As a render farm/management I used brender, little software I created with Francesco Siddi 

Auto-critic.
Coming back from 3 weeks in China with my wife and daughter I thought it would be interesting to make an auto-critic of myself and the movie :)
Many details and problems are still present and animation is often not smooth or polished. It was nevertheless a real challenge to finish the movie on time for the deadline. Most of the animations are a one pass work. No refining, or minimal only. If I had only one mistake to point out is that the movie is too long. We had too many shots. Shorter movie would have allowed us way more time to add details, refine characters (yes Mr. Cat I am looking at you), and perfect the animation.
At one point I was really wanting to redo the most ugly anims, re-render the flickering and noisy scenes (now that I could have infinite time/no deadline), but I thought NO. It was made like this, delivered on a deadline, it is all part of the movie. In 10 years when I’ll show it to my daughter (who inbeetween will be making 5 times better movies in 10 times less time on her iPad 9 HD) there will be stories and explanations to be told :-)

The final movie:

Credits go to :
Character/Set design + rendering + animation : Olivier Amrein
Animation : Andres Bajares
Director+Editing : Luc Walpoth
Sound: Bruce Wuilloud

a making-of might follow if it rains a lot and next sundays are like today: quiet at home.

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1 Response to “Spike the mouse – Shortfilm”



  1. 1 Spike the Mouse | BlenderNation Trackback on November 29, 2012 at 7:06 am

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