Touted as the networks first rotoscoped animated show, this absurdist comedy series ran for three seasons on Adult Swim. Dream Corp LLC is an unconvential dream therapy facility where patients are cured by having their subconscious state analyzed and manipulated. We watch as Dr. Roberts (Jon Gries) inserts himself into these dreams to help guide patients toward facing and overcoming their psychological fears. This hybrid live-action/animated series brings familiar rotoscope animation to an entirely new visual style.
Filming and Acquisition
Season 3 of the show pivoted to filming the dream sequences against green to help expedite previz in a now heavy 3d workflow. We supervised early camera tests and green cove prep, filming various lighting conditions to test our pipeline. Precise grids were also prepared and given to the camera department to load into the Alexa Mini to properly frame for, and monitor against, 3k capture. The art department was tasked with creating green placeholders for both filming and matchmove purposes. Rather than follow the flat lighting schemes of earlier seasons, these camera/prelight tests ensured we were able to light talent in a more meaningful way to service the story, as well as have more contrast and gradation for the rotomation key frames.
A Fresh Take
The BEMO team lead by ECD Brandon Hirzel, Design/Creative Director Brandon Parvini and Art Director William Mendoza are the real masterminds behind the look and feel of the animated sequences. Rotomation was executed by ArtBelly Productions (of A Scanner Darkly fame), and brought into our hybrid 3d workflow. If A Waking Life is rotoscoped animation 1.0 - Dream Corp LLC takes it to a whole new level. Far from being 1:1 tracing of footage, you can see from the following examples this entirely new take of rotomation which blends 2d/3d methodologies, including 3d environments, camera projections, dynamics, motion capture and motion design.
In addition to the animated dream sequences, we also supervised and executed all visual effects, including 3d modeling, animation, matte paintings, smoke, fire, screen replacements and rig removal. Close planning and collaboration existed between our team and all departments involved for various scripted setups (ie., stunts, practical effects, wardrobe).
That's A Wrap
It was recently announced that the show has officially ended and existing episodes can now be watched on Hulu. This was an amazing experience helmed by director Daniel Stessen and EP Kahlea Baldwin who kept the entire cast and crew working in close union. This short form series certainly showcases the continued possibilities of hybrid execution styles and how it can be further developed using explosive advances in AI-powered animation.
Client: Adult Swim
Director: Daniel Stessen
Executive Producers: John Krasinski,
Stephen Merchant, Kahlea Baldwin
Executive Creative Director: Brandon Hirzel
Design/Creative Director: Brandon Parvini
Art Director: William Mendoza
Senior 3D Artists: William Mendoza, Alex Braddock
Senior Illustrator: Scott Hassell
Post Production Supervisor
TD, Pipeline, Workflow Dev