Dreamworks creates cutting-edge animation with new 3D tools

How Dreamworks' new alien animation, Home, was brought to life with Apollo technology.

boov gang

Meet the Boovs: the lovable aliens who just want to make our world a better place!

Home is where the heart of Dreamworks' leading edge lies. Their new animated film is an innovation in style and technology. Distinctive language and imaginative, ambitious design make the films alien species, the Boov, a unique race.

Home turns the alien invasion movie on its head – the aliens are taking over the Earth but in a harmless way, catering to humans enjoyment by building them theme parks. The animation also features a feisty little girl (voiced by pop star Rhianna),with natural afro hair (allowing little girls to embrace their natural locks) and a strong single parent bond.

Cutting-edge technology

boov

It took six months to get the right blend of shading and lighting

But this isn't the only way in which Home is a cutting edge animation. Oh, the lovable Boov blasts onto big screens with the help of Apollo – their new propriety platform.

The second film to use the platform, after How to Train Your Dragon 2, Apollo allows artists to control and manipulate data in an effortless and intuitive way, creating an end result that is visually richer and greater in scope for the audience.

oh the boov

The alien characters change colour depending on their mood, which added complications to the animation techniques

The two core software components of Apollo: Premo and Torch mean Home is a quantum leap forward in the world of animation.

Premo, the core component of Apollo is the animation tool, enabling artists to work with high-res characters in real time on their tablets with a stylus. This allows artists to work at the speed of their imagination sculpting rather than managing a complex web of curves and spreadsheets.

Torch is the lighting tool that enables artists to create imagery through managing files across hundreds of artists and from thousands of iterations.

Don't dream it, be it

rhianna character

Apollo means you can focus on the character, you can push it around and explore how you want it to behave

VFX supervisor, Mahesh Ramasubramanian says: "Apollo is one of the most revolutionary software changes I've been through. Animators can now animate a whole scene in context, they can see what has happened before and what is happening after and it's all in real time. It's really easy to scrub and very hands on, more like animator with marionettes. It's hard to imagine how they worked before."

Head of animation for the movie, Jason Reisig, was privileged enough to be involved in the development of the software (which premiered in How to Train Your Dragon 2). "The aim was to make it as user-friendly as possible and on this movie we pushed the software so hard – the design is simple and clean, light in style but heavy on geometry."

oh and rhianna

Jason enjoyed animating the intimate scenes between Tip and Oh, where the two characters can react to each other in subtle ways and play on their differences

Watch the Trailer

Words: Alice Pattillo

For the full interview with Home's animators, pick up the latest edition of 3D World issue 194.

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