Detective

Mitch Kendall Smith

This submission is not a regular short film. It's an experimental piece that explores a new form of animation technique. The film is a contemporary western that satires cop noir.
We find our protagonist: Detective, as he narrates his miserable life, explaining the case he's been chasing for the last decade. It turns out to be his lucky night, as he finally comes face to face with his nemesis again!

Behind the scenes of Detective

When approaching the project: I wasn't so concerned with the narrative of the piece so much, but rather nailing the visual animation. I'd never seen what I had in my head done before, and thought is could be interesting to put in front of an audience.

I conceptualized and finished the pre-production phase in just a week and invited my actors and voice artists to spend a few hours with me, getting all of the coverage I needed. The photography took just a few hours, plus the trip up the road for the background plates.

This project is truly my baby, and I knew I'd be doing 99% of the work from the outset. After the whole film was complete: I'd tallied around 500 hours of computer work.

The idea was to take 2D stills of characters posing scenes,using Photoshop remove the backgrounds of these images and create depth maps which I can later displace in after effects to give the illusion of three dimensions. I then took them into After Effects and put them in 3D space. Next I mapped the HDRI environment around the character,and added 3D CG environmental objects.
I then created 2D character rigs for the figures and parallaxed the characters within the scene. The 2D rigs allowed me to animate limbs, eyes, etc. I then created full CG lighting and weather to interact with the character and the environment. Next I’ll add visual effects such as muzzle flashes and 3D models such as cars and guns. With all of this composted together, I use visualized cameras to animate the camera movement.
I mixed the film in Audition, and used Audio Network for royalty free music.
It was a lot of work alone, however I’m happy with the result.

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