Time and budget are so often the vehicles of change. We had a little under a year to go from start to finish and remain within our goal budget as well as finish in time for the following year's animation festival entry requirements. As we entered the lighting/rendering stage we ended up re-examining the lighting. In my previous post, I uploaded the color keys from our original take on Pepe and Lucas. It was an almost noir take on lighting and color. Dark darks with highly saturated pools of light and all sorts of reflections from a recent rain. The unintended result was a huge render time for all of those reflections in a very expansive environment. We also had to put in a ton of unanticipated effort to control and push back/pull forward those lights so we could maintain the proper focal areas around our characters. Sometimes the results were a little noisy. Beautiful for some shots, but hectic for others. As our deadline grew closer, my director, Mo Davoudian, our lighting TD Mario Kim, and myself, got together to discuss how we could still make our deadline but still tell the same story we set out to do in the fall of 2011. We decided to move our lighting in a new direction that wouldn't bog us down at this crucial junction, and so I recreated the color keys I'd done earlier. You can see the results below.
posted, that I created them after we made the change. In my earliest environment designs, you can see that the clouds are very low and oppressive. The new sky was much more open with bigger, gentler clouds. I ended up spending a lot of time creating stylized but still fairly realistic clouds that could hang lazily about. Just enough to break the flatness of a blue background sky.