NYP students create stereo animation short for Youth Olympic Games

By AMRITA VALECHA | 24 September, 2010 - 17:39

Students of Nanyang Polytechnic have created a 3 minute stereoscopic animation short for Youth Olympic Games whose inaugral edition was held in Singapore. A team of 9 worked on the short for 4 months along side their regular course work. The film has been aired on TV and was the most viewed video on the Youth Olympic website.

The students were given a brief to create a 3D-stereo movie on the theme of the journey of the Youth Olympic Flame. The Youth Olympic Games is a new competition created by the Olympic Committee. The games featured 26 sports, with 2 weeks of competition with 3600 young athletes (14 to 18 year old) from 205 countries.
The first day the Olympic flag arrived in Singapore, it stopped at Nanyang Polytechnic where the Youth Olympic Games Committee and NYP organized a ceremony with the illumination of a cauldron and a screening of the short where the guests included the Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and ministers.

Speaking to Animation Xpress Asia Pacific Jacques Frety said, "We asked the students to create a movie for the ceremony organized by the Youth Olympic Committee in our school. Like for the Olympic Games, the Olympic Flame started from Greece, crossed the 5 continents to arrive finally in Singapore. The objective was to create a 3D-stereo movie on the theme of the journey of the Youth Olympic Flame."

The students working on this film had attended the 3D-stereo workshop at NYP in March and were keen to create a stereo movie. So when the director asked Jacques if the school could create a 3D stereo film he asked the students, who immediately answered yes.

This project was very challenging for the students since it was their first short movie in addition to being their first work in stereo and that too in a tight time line that could not be postponed. Jacques Frety helped the students to get better organized, plan their work, to communicate and manage data. The students generally work with PAL images, but this time they had to create HD images for both eyes. Depending on the number of layers, one frame represented between 16Mb and 96Mb.

Jacques said "For movie concept and creation I like to let the students completely free. But this project had a lot of constraints: deadline, subject, representation of the Olympic symbols as the mascots, torch, cauldron… This is why I changed my habits and checked their work almost every day. I acted more like a director of production which I was before getting into education. I checked the planning, helped to dispatch the tasks, and I wanted to check everything: storyboard, design, modeling, rendering, animation, compositing. But a very important point is that even if I guided them, the movie is still a 100% students' movie. The staff didn't model, render or animate anything."

To make sure that the students would have a good environment to work in, Jacques proposed to the school to buy complete 3D-stereo equipment: PC with 64bits, a lot of memory, 3D vision system with HD screens. And for the software they decided to switch from Shake to Nuke which provided tools for stereo.

Jacques added, "After our first stereo workshop and our first stereo movie, NYP's school SIDM is at present a leader in stereo animation. We will do a new workshop in October and invite our students to create more stereo movies. I feel very proud of this group of students. I'm already very impatient to see what they will do for their final year project in November. This time they will work 3 months full time to create a movie. And apparently they planned already to do it in stereo."