Phnom Penh has just witnessed a breath-taking addition to its urban landscape. High-traffic boulevards now boast visually-stunning billboards that captivate the attention of passers-by.
This ground-breaking achievement is the result of months of collaboration between Sil Animation Studio and Slekrithfilm, marking the first-ever showcase of 3D anamorphic animation (3DA) in the city. 3DA was shown for the first time after several months of work between Sil Animation Studio and Slekrithfilm.
Yok Chivalry, the founder of Sil Animation Studio, told Kiripost in a recent interview, "This is the first 3DA project collaboration between Sil Animation Studio and Slekrithfilm with a talented team. It demanded several months, from initial research planning to meticulous execution and fine-tuning. Sil Animation helped with the technical aspects while Slekrithfilm was responsible for the concepts."
Crafting the illusion of three-dimensionality
"I am absolutely thrilled about this achievement. It's an incredible feeling to have successfully worked on and introduced the innovative technology of 3DA to my country. This achievement represents a significant milestone in my career and showcases the possibilities of pushing boundaries in the field," said Chivalry.
Working on the 3DA project required a thorough understanding of the equipment, software, and workflows specific to this cutting-edge technology. Additionally, ensuring seamless integration between the 3DA effects and the LED display posed a creative and technical challenge that demanded meticulous attention to detail.
"Exploring the creative possibilities of the 3D medium was an exhilarating experience. It allowed me to push the boundaries of visual storytelling and engage audiences in new and captivating ways. The project provided an opportunity to experiment with depth, perspective, and visual illusions, bringing a whole new dimension to the art form," he underlined.
For designing realistic 3D environments, Chivalry also added that it demands lighting, texturing, modeling, and overall visual composition.
Lighting plays a crucial role in setting the mood and enhancing the realism of a 3D environment. It involves accurately simulating natural or artificial light sources, casting shadows, and creating realistic reflections. Properly executed lighting can bring depth, dimension, and realism to the scene.
Texturing involves applying surface materials and textures to objects within the environment. Realistic texturing takes into account factors including material properties, such as roughness, reflectivity, and translucency. It adds intricate details and helps create a tangible sense of realism.
Modeling refers to the creation of 3D objects and structures within the environment. Attention to accurate proportions, intricate details, and realistic geometry is essential for achieving a convincing 3D representation.
Lastly, visual composition plays a significant role in designing a realistic 3D environment. It involves the arrangement and placement of objects, the use of perspective, and the consideration of overall aesthetics. A well-composed scene guides the viewer's attention and creates a harmonious and visually appealing environment.
Character design process
Chivalry explains that to complete the character design process, a combination of software tools is required. He said, "We started by scanning a real actor using Lidar technology, which captures precise 3D data of the actor's physical form.
"After obtaining the Lidar scan, we imported it into Unreal Engine and used the Metahuman system to convert the scanned mesh into a Metahuman character. Unreal Engine provides powerful tools for character creation and animation," he added.
"When we had the Metahuman character in Unreal Engine, we brought it into Blender for further refinement. In Blender [3D computer graphics software], we utilized sculpting and texturing features to enhance the character's details and appearance. Additionally, Blender's hair system allowed us to create realistic hair for the character.
"Using Blender, we animated the character, bringing it to life through movement and expressions. Blender's animation tools provided the flexibility and control needed to create captivating performances.”
Props and scene setup
Blender was also used to set up props and create the overall scene. This involved placing objects, defining lighting conditions, and establishing the environment in which the character would exist, Chivalry said.
"For cloth simulation and realistic cloth draping, we utilized Marvelous Designer. This software specializes in creating and simulating cloth materials, allowing for accurate and natural-looking cloth behavior,” he added.
"To capture motion data for the character's movements, we utilized Rokoko, a motion capture system. This helped us achieve lifelike and believable animations by capturing the actor's motions and applying them to the character."
Chivalry also noted that his team is preparing to strengthen and expand their services to adapt to new available technologies that they can explore.
He hopes that the next step they try is to produce personal products related to game development.