Isaac Gilich is a student animator from Auckland, New Zealand. Shelldon was a CGI/3D submission to the 2018 Florida Animation Festival.
FAF: Can you talk about the color palette for Shelldon?
IG: For a lot of this film I was inspired by Wes Anderson, as well as using him for the color palette I used some of his camera movements and the way the name of his movie is shot in film. For the color palette we decided early we wanted to do a colorful film, I followed a Triadic color scheme. Our Art Director Guy Glasson and one of the compers Jennifer Farr worked together to keep the colors within the palette and the final grade matching. Because of this color scheme and the style of the film we had to match everything else to the style so it would fit in. We spent a lot of time working the film around the vibrant cartoony style we chose.
FAF: Shelldon's eyes are very expressive. Did you have a specific vision for his eyes? What's it like conveying emotion in CGI?
IG: We were inspired by Wall-E and loved the character and emotion you could get from just the eyes. Initially I wanted Shelldon's eyes to be all black with just the white spec to be closer to real crab eyes. But they were not expressive
enough with Shelldon not having a mouth. Once we started doing more concept art it was apparent we needed more human style eyes as they were far more expressive in the concepts. When It came to animating the eye stalks, we copied the emotion from the 2D drawings and translated them into 3D shapes that the animator can use. Because of our long render times and many render layers we decided we would animate the eyeballs in comp. Using Nuke we were able to animate his eye ball movements in the final render, this sped up iterations and versions of renders an saved time on animation. Conveying emotion in CGI gets more difficult when doing humans and realism, for us working with a 2D style animation and a hermit crab we pushed his emotion to be more 'cartoony'. it took us a couple of tries to get the right emotion thought his animation but once we got it we knew and it made animating other shots easier.