Mixed Me­dia

Animation Magazine - - Tv - Pearl

PPa­trick Os­borne and Felix Massie test the lim­its of an­i­ma­tion in the bur­geon­ing field of VR with the Google Spotlight Sto­ries and By Tom McLean.

atrick Os­borne’s fol­low up to his Os­car-win­ning Dis­ney an­i­mated short Feast is now play­ing nearer to most peo­ple than any theater. The most-re­cent re­lease from Google Spotlight Sto­ries, Pearl is the tale of a girl and her fa­ther chas­ing their mu­si­cal dreams in a beloved hatch­back, told in an im­mer­sive 360-de­gree VR en­vi­ron­ment most view­ers can ac­cess through their mo­bile phones.

Os­borne says he con­nected with Google on the rec­om­men­da­tion of Glen Keane, who made the short Duet for the out­fit. “They don’t re­ally have a creative agenda other than mak­ing things that are in­ter­est­ing that come from a per­son, a voice that they want to part­ner with,” says Os­borne.

The creative side came from sev­eral dif­fer­ent im­pulses. “I wanted to do a story that takes place over time, I like that kind of story — Feast has sim­i­lar stuff,” says Os­borne. “And then, if you’re go­ing to make cuts in VR or 360, you have to find some kind of an­chor to orient peo­ple. And set­ting it in a lo­ca­tion that doesn’t change seemed to be a good start.”

That at first was a house or a spe­cific room that would change over time, mor­ph­ing into the idea of mak­ing it a car, which al­lowed for mo­tion and dif­fer­ent back­grounds, and the idea of the car be­ing passed down through a fam­ily. “I got one of my dad’s cars,” says Os­borne. “But my dad also drew a lot and he passed on a pas­sion for draw­ing and for art, and — this is sort of a side­step away from that into mu­sic but do­ing the same story.”

Os­borne worked with artist and pro­duc­tion de- signer Tuna Bora on the look of the film and char­ac­ters, as well as the story. “I didn’t want it to be too on the nose about what hap­pens,” he says. “It’s sort of an ab­stract ex­pe­ri­en­tial thing.”

Os­borne tack­led writ­ing Pearl with a tra­di­tional script, which was used to record the ac­tors and cre­ate a sto­ry­boarded ver­sion that the mu­si­cians could com­pose against. It was an­i­mated us­ing Maya with some com­mon Shot­gun plug­ins, and ren­dered with Google’s Spotlight Ren­derer, which is a very slim piece of soft­ware at less than a megabyte.

Com­par­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence to Feast, Os­borne says the process was a bit frus­trat­ing at times be­cause the process is too new to have stan­dards. “The tools don’t re­ally ex­ist to col­lab­o­rate on this stuff yet,” he says.

Pearl will be fol­lowed by Felix Massie’s Rain or Shine, which Google ex­pects to re­lease this sum­mer. Rain or Shine fol­lows a girl named Ella, who re­ceives a pair of sun­glasses in the mail that Pearl. Rain or Shine [

Felix Massie’s Rain or Shine (above); Pa­trick Os­borne’s

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