Two Rivers was an animated teaser for a historical adventure feature being developed at Hammer & Tong Productions, I was tasked with leading the art production on this project. What follows is a breakdown of the process and workflow.

Storyboarding & Animatic

The goal for the teaser was to deliver on the atmosphere and broader themes of the project. At this point in development, only broad strokes of the plot had been locked down by the creative team, so we aimed to deliver on the feeling of the story, rather than a rigid, beat-by-beat narrative.

Early sketches to visualize moments from the teaser.

I quickly threw together an animatic, pitching the idea of a voice over from a key character tying the imagery together in a digestable way. It took a couple of iterations but we got somewhere we were happy with, trimming unnecessary shots to streamline the pacing.

Art Direction

With the animatic locked, I set out to develop a style guide for our modellers and concept artists. I aimed to balance the feeling of adventure with the feeling of age, having the world feel vibrant and alive while simultaneously feeling like legend, drawing from early 1800s Canadian oil paintings.

As production inched forward, I began authoring color keys, providing a visual target for major shots and compositions.

Color Script for the teaser.

Our animatic consisted of mostly subtle animations, so I quickly conducted an animation test to validate if our artstyle was suitable for the task.

Character animation test done in Blender.

As modellers and animators went to work, I balanced my supervision duties with producing backgrounds for the project. Two Rivers had a 2.5D animation pipeline, so we took advantage of 3D tools to projection map 2D illustrations, allowing us to utilize dynamic camera movements without producing fully 3D environments.

Background Illustration for Abu Simbel Sequence
Projection Mapping test done in Blender

Final Result

Despite a tight deadline, our team managed to deliver on our goals with Two Rivers, capturing the atmosphere and spectacle the project hoped to deliver on, and highlights how a precise animatic can streamline the production process. Special shoutout to artists, Zowie Vicente (Modeller), Rene Rebora (Modeller), and Sheedrokh Shadman (Animator), for their stellar work on this project.