The Responsible Hero - my tragicomedic animation short about Superman and his rescue mission

The whole project was in production for about a year from october 2019 till december 2020. My personal goal was to make a visually cinematic experience and I tried to put maximum effort into animation, camera work and editing. Being the only person responsible for visual part I always tried to find best solutions timewise, so it was crucial to plan ahead during the preproduction stage and smartly cut corners where possible. During the process of trials and errors I managed to establish a workflow which helped me efficiently manage daily routine and make some progress every day even though it was pretty hard at times as it is a passion project done at free from work time.


Some of the behind the scenes stuff.


smoke_sim
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In conclusion I should note that this is the first project where I started to use Blender as my main 3d package in production which was a blessing and a challenge in itself at the same time. All in all, now it became my main software which I am happy with. Everything was rendered in E-cycles with 7-9 minutes of average time per frame on RTX2060. Other softwares used on this project include Substance Painter, After Effects, Premiere Pro, Photoshop.

https://www.behance.net/gallery/100218639/THE-RESPONSIBLE-HERO-short-film

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This is outstanding, you did all the visuals alone? It amazes me the amount of work and dedication. I watched the video before looking at the screenshots, the plot really got me.
My initial reaction was «poor dove», then things just landslided, poor world! With superheros like that who needs villains!
I find this excellent, just wow.

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Thanks!
Yes, I was the only person responsible for visuals. It is pretty hard and takes a lot of time to make animation but if you do a little bit every day you will be surprised how far you managed to progress even if it always felt slow.

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Great work :grinning:

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Awesome work, both the animation and the story, very funny. Hope to see more in the future!

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Outstanding work! It’s incredible that you did all that on your own :clap:

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Thanks! Appreciate it!

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Superb! Congratulations- this is awesome work and your dedication to get it done is admirable!

Brilliant, I love every second of it.

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Thanks, Matt!

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Congrats to a finished project. That looked like a lot of work. Also kudos to Akhmed for a brilliant superman-ish score. Would be intersting to know how you two managed music and animation so well.

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Thanks!
Well, firstly I did a previz using an original John Williams score as a temp music and shared it with Akhmet. The great thing about this approach is that by the time of doing actual renders I already had a somewhat usable score because he already knew all the necessary timings, references and had plenty of time to work on it. I can’t say that there was a lot of intrusion from my side during music writting and, as I remember, the only challenging part was to get the right feeling after the girl’s drop on superman hands. But that was more like a trial and error approach until we eventually found a solution.

Excellent direction. The edits and the timing were superb. I think you achieved your goal of being highly cinematic. Well done.

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I second every single praise others posted here, from the cinematic feel, the music, etc… The overall plot is very good at messing around with audience expectations. The pacing is spot on (how things slow down at the turning point). Loads of nice touches like the clothes dropping, the comical hits, the hero repositioning himself which makes you expect he’s gonna miss, the game of solitaire at work… I really really liked the feet-level handheld shot, super convincing.
Also very smart how a lot isn’t shown but left for the viewer to imagine, like the clothes-change, the lasered street and the intervening destruction. So please don’t take the following tiny criticisms to heart, it’s definitely an amazing achievement and I wish I could produce something so slick and consistent all by myself. The last shot has a great sense of scale, but the first one doesn’t. Maybe it’s the narrow depth of field with the flattening long lens, but it looks like a tiny model of a city. And the only other thing is that at the turning point, it kinda doesn’t feel right, as if a body had been swapped mid-flight by a thin balloon filled with blood. Then again, I can’t see a way around it, since much of the plot revolves around this happening the way it does. Maybe if the hero had been flying up at speed? Maybe a snapped neck? Well, anyway, like I said, those are tiny criticisms of a very good animation!
Keep up the great work, I totally want to see more!

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Hey, Jack! Thanks for your extensive review. Appreciate it!
I am really glad that people notice some of those details and I am definitely not upset by any criticism as it is helping me to understand my weak spots and avoid them in future.
That being said, the opening shot looks exactly as I intented with a very long lens to flatten the space between clouds and city. Funny thing is that there is some perspective trickery going on with the city layout. The further from the camera part is slightly elevated towards the sky to appear even more condensed.
Concerning the turning point. I tested a lot of different styles of it, like making the drop slower, using ragdoll etc. But ended up with a quick and very bloody one for a tragicomedic shock effect. It’s not necesserally “realistic” but plays well for this purpose I guess.
Thanks!

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You’re on the #featured row! :+1:

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Nice!
Thanks Bart!

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I couldn’t put my finger on why the animation felt so… modern. It’s the frame rate isn’t it? It has a silky smooth frame rate. If you want it to feel like classic cinema it needs to be 23.98 fps with motion blur.

The only thing I can’t get over is the woman’s disappearing body at 2:28. I can imagine forearms slicing through flesh at those speeds but not disintegrating entire persons. With other things (like the literal “jelly” donut - that’s actually kind of funny), it’s easy to not pay much mind to. On that note, the 10 second pause post lady-explosion feels like it should be maybe 5 seconds.

This is the Superman for the new world, eh? It’s fitting… the world carried to Hell in a handbasket by our past saviors. Nothing makes sense… Destruction for the sake of destruction.

Really enjoyed the behind-the-leg camera angle at 1:13, would have liked another second of that.

The DOF was used strongly and mostly to good effect, or at least not ill effect, save for the car rolling in at 1:53 where I could imagine the DOF being about 50% less.

Also before he laser blasts the guy, I would expect a more angry face with furrowed brow, tilted eyebrows.

You really did capture the opening movie feeling and symphonic choreographed score, reminiscent of directors like Lucas and Spielberg. Pretty amazing!

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Love the animation. In my opinion I feel like this is a parody of Zack Snyders Superman.There is much manipulation of Superman made by Zack Snyder that made Superman just a regular man with powers. Snyders Superman is more of Mega-mind villain in the end of the movie where ‘Snyder’ thinks what a good Superman should be like.

This is superman if he didn’t go to school. There is a reason he studied til he was 30 in the Arctic. Her terminal velocity would probably slice her in three parts. That is 190km/h through two unmovable relatively thin objects.

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I couldn’t put my finger on why the animation felt so… modern . It’s the frame rate isn’t it? It has a silky smooth frame rate. If you want it to feel like classic cinema it needs to be 23.98 fps with motion blur.

I preferred a bit higher frame rate as there are a lot of fast moving objects in this short and in 30 fps it is registering a bit better than at standart 24 fps.

The only thing I can’t get over is the woman’s disappearing body at 2:28

She’s is not disappearing completely. You may see parts of her body right after hit for a split second.

This is the Superman for the new world, eh? It’s fitting… the world carried to Hell in a handbasket by our past saviors. Nothing makes sense… Destruction for the sake of destruction.

Well, this one is a bit philosophical, isn’t it? I see that some people find it hard to believe in Superman’s motivation for a havoc. But, during the process of writting a script I was mainly inspired by old movies where Superman seemed pure, innocent and rightful in its most radical way. And, in my opinion, having such character not being able to save a girl (a direct reference from the first movie) could simply break his fragile nature of a “savior”. Random witness didn’t help the situation as well.
However, my interpritation of a classical Superman might be different from yours which is totally fine :slight_smile:

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