Question from an aspiring filmmaker (2D/3D Hybrid animated series)?

Hello BlenderArtists.

So, this is my first post here and it’ll probably be a long one, so please bear with me.
I’m new to both Blender and the community - and like many others, I’ve been blown away by the possibilities now at my fingertips.

I have a question that I hope some of you’ll be able to help me with. But before I go into too much detail about my questions, let me just give you some backstory.

I’m a 33-year-old aspiring freelance writer/director from Denmark. I was raised by American TV and movies, so it was only natural that I wanted to build worlds, environments, characters and stories growing up. When I was a kid I initially wanted to become a concept artist, later a storyboard artist, then a 2D animator until I took a huge left turn wanting to become a filmmaker.

Now fast forward a decade or so and I began my studies in physiotherapy – Yes, you read that right, a complete derailing from my initial hopes, dreams and ambitions. I didn’t have the courage or confidence to pursue a career in filmmaking. So instead I found something stable. There were good job opportunities thus more financial security and a couple of my friends were also well into taking their degree in physiotherapy. So I thought; ”Why the hell not?”

3½ years later in 2014 I finished up my bachelor’s degree and became an authorized physio and everything was all fine and dandy. I started working, was happy and wanted to better myself as a therapist. I thought I had found myself a satisfying career. But that only lasted until stress and depression came on knocking and ultimately kicked my door in. I’d strayed so far from my creative passions that it was ripping me apart. I was following someone else’s journey, not my own and I was devastated.

So, in September 2019, I decided to turn everything around and focus all my time and energy on building a career within the film industry.
I reached out like I’m reaching out now within a Facebook group mainly for finding local film crews and with an open and honest approach I wrote my backstory and about my ambitions. I knew it was a long shot, but fast forward a month and I had been both a 2nd Ass. Director, and Production Manager on a few short films. I later ended up being headhunted as 2nd Ass. Director for a feature film and spent the lasts months of 2019 working on a professional film set with well known danish actors. About a month ago I got contacted by the same production company with them asking if I wanted to help them with a danish TV-show which starts shooting in June and premieres next year. I’ve been networking ever since.

As I’m slowly (but finally) building myself a career within the entertainment industry I’m also working on my own projects.

I’m currently writing a script/screenplay that I want to make into an animated series targeting an adult audience. Here’s the logline:

“When a young and drug-addicted girl persuades an older and reserved businessman into helping her free a friend from a human trafficking ring deep within the criminal underbelly of a decaying New York City in the late '70s, they form a controversial relationship with a very dark dilemma.”

I was inspired when I learned the ”I Lost My Body” was made in Blender.
I found this article here:

It showed me that it’s possible but with my minimal knowledge and technical prowess in Blender I have no clue how to achieve this (even though it is stated/shown how in the article)

I’m also inspired by this animated documentary for its dark and beautiful style. Though I’m not too keen on the animation.

Artistically they differ in both style and animation, but in what ways from an “inside Blender Point of View”?

“I Lost My Body” is too simplistic with its strokes and facial animations for what I’m after but other than that I dig the animation style.

“Nowhere Line” has the gritty yet beautiful style I’m looking for, but again, the animation seems off.
Is there any way to make a middle ground between the two?

Could any of you either direct me to a tutorial or help me get a better understanding of what I need to learn within Blender to be able to make a 2D/3D hybrids like above?

Can anyone point me to an artist/animator working with this style?

If you find my idea interesting I would love to hear from you!
It would be cool with more potential collaborators and mentors.

All the best and thanks!

Westfall

Blender is mainly a 3D software.

So, since its beginning, to make a 3D object looks 2D, there was the ability to do it by applying to object, a material using a toon shader, pertinent textures and pertinent lighting.
Blender also has a module for compositing. So, many effects can be done via compositor.

7 years ago, Non-Photorealistic Rendering was extended by introduction of Freestyle Line rendering.
Freestyle is a way to produce stylized lines from contours and reliefs of a 3D Scene.
That sounds great. But that is a very technical part of 3D rendering.
Its use is not very intuitive for most of artists.

Since 4 years, now, grease pencil tool (to create annotations and storyboard in 3D View) has grown to become a complete 2D animation module.
It is very popular since 2.8 series that is, not yet, one year old.

Mixing 3D and 2D requires to have good skills in both domains.
That may explain why you will not find lots of people who had attempted to produce things similar to “I Lost My Body”.

That will be difficult to have a better animation if you don’t have a budget that exceeds the one of those examples.
A smooth animation requires a lot of humans working during a long period.

Of course, more intuitive, new, Blender tools are facilitating a lot, the way to produce that kind of things.
But they are new. You have to let time to artists to get used to them.

There is a large palette of rendering styles that can be achieved with current tools.
But that will not be easy to find good technicians, able to match your desires without letting to them a period of research and testing.
That also requires a good budget.

The Blender Foundation produced 2 short movies in a NPR style : Glass Half and Hero
A third one is in production : Coffee Run
You can download resources of these movies and tutorials by subscribing to Blender Cloud.

But if you want to acquire skills to create this type of movies by yourself ; you have to realize that you will need months of learning and months of training, before being able to deliver a tiny fraction of that.
Animation schools are delivering course of several years to people who are already good drawers before starting.

That being said, youtubers, sharing tips about Blender, flourished with new 2.8 series.
You may easily find tutorials about grease pencil. Problem is that Grease Pencil is evolving very fast.
A tutorial that has more than 3 months, may have been done with a complete different UI.

2.8 series is a refactoring of Blender UI. Many other improvements will happen in next 2.9 series.
UI should be relatively stabilized in 3.0 series that will not happen before 2021.
So, it could be difficult to learn Blender at speed of light or to benefit of an in-depth support from community, this year.
To sum-up, today, everybody is learning Blender : Old users like New users.

I am a long time Moho user, now switching to Blender for my 2D work, here’s my take on an adult 2D animated series.

Adult series don’t require top character design or animation, they require good writing, just look at Big Mouth, South Park, and other adult series, this said, a 20-minute animated episodes can cost up to half a million dollars to produce!

What I would do it is this, I would use Blender for the backdrops and for 3D references, and I would use a tool like Adobe Character Animator or Reallusion Cartoon Animator for the characters.

These applications allow for superfast animation, they even allow facial capture with a regular webcam, many series are done with these, like Final Space.

The word is cheat, cheat, cheat, there are no rules, don’t lock yourself down to one software, use the right tools, the only rule is that you need to cut costs as much as possible!

At the moment I am even looking at digital voice-over solutions, like this one Lovo

Again, there are no rules, just use what works for your style of animation, and develop a workflow that is fast and cheap!

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if you are into style like this you will definitely like this short by Platige Image

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big mouth is actually targeted for teens

Big Mouth is under TV-MA on Netflix, squarely aimed at adults!

Big Mouth - Netflix

…teens… yeah…
My friends 8 year old finds me (35 years old) silly and childish…
The kid plays piano like a champ and plays around with bread boards

That begs some questions…