Inspired by the beloved classic, Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet is a richly-animated story and celebration of Gibran’s book, created by artists, animators and musicians from around the world, written and directed by Roger Allers (The Lion King). Starring Liam Neeson, Salma Hayek-Pinault, John Krasinski, Frank Langella, Alfred Molina, John Rhys-Davies and Quvenzhané Wallis.
The layout is a translation of the 2D animatic build in CGI, including characters, props, and sound. To build a layout scene we first had to match the background painting. Previz was done, allowing us to put a camera in the scene to match perspective. Additionally, we had to build props to interact with the characters. This was based on the “launch sequence” animatic we had to follow as well as the direction from Roger Allers. The big challenge? Seamlessly integrating CGI into a hand painted world.
At this stage, the 1st day of acting commences. Animation, staging, blocking key poses for characters, major body acting and timing. The artist churned out 12 secs of animation a week. This is an important phase of work, getting everything dialed in to the directors vision, be then approved by the director to ensure that we are going in the right direction 1st approval, polish, details, smooth out and finesse poses, facial expressions, clothing and lip syncing.
After the 1st approval of Primary Animation, Secondary Animation begins. This is where all the details are worked on. Smoothing out and finessing poses, facial expressions, clothing and lip syncing. Typically, the lip syncing portion takes up to 70% of the work load. Which is no except in this case.
Lighting Render Comp (LRC) & FX integrate CGI into the painting, rendering passes to control overall look. A ramp shader reads light values, eg: red=bright, green=mid tone, blue=shade and a basic colour pass depicts flat colors of the characters and set elements. Separate Toon lines render Pass to control Profile Lines and Permanent Detail Lines. Each layer composites like the integration of live-action film FX, yet designed and controlled for a 2d graphic look. The 2D touch team adds wrinkles, clothing, and facial lines to increase authenticity, detail of key moments.
Working at Bardel has been amazing. I’m so impressed with the animators at that studio, and with everybody really, not just the animators. They were an incredible crew and they were also directed and run by incredible people. There was so much creative intelligence that went into this project and working under the pressure. I’m just so proud of what we all put together.