HOW STUDIO DISTRACT CREATED AN INTERACTIVE UBER RESOURCE FOR SCHOOLS ACROSS THE UK
Using The Resource
Silent City Streets is the result of a requests from Road Safety Officers across the UK for a relevant resource that would appeal to 11-14 year olds with the aim of provoking peer to peer discussion about road safety and social issues.
The group investigate their way through the resource independently to gain their own conclusion about each event. The group then take part in a guided discussion focussing on:
- What happened?
- Why it happened?
- Who could be blamed?
- How it could have been prevented?
For this project we created every element from character designs and scripts, right through to full animation, DVD authoring and distribution.
Before creating any characters in three dimensions we conceptualized a wide range of character designs. These designs formed the basis for the characters as we went forward. As with any development phase, some designs got tossed away, but this process is possibly one of the most important.
Once we have modeled, UV unwrapped, textured and rigged the characters, we fully explore the design from every angle through the rendering of a 3D turntable.
Motion Capture Sessions
The film totalled 80 minutes of animation. In order for us to complete the work in the allotted timeframe we opted to use motion capture for the character animation.
Using our in-house, state of the art motion capture suit we were able to create a massive amount of animation in a fast and efficient way. This was the first project we used the suit with and was quite a learn exercise.
Once the production was completed we felt really comfortable with the full process and how we could use the suit for appropriate projects in the future.
While the body animation was all mo-capped, the eye and hand animation along with facial animation was all hand keyed.
Performance Capture Sessions
Our animators used bespoke facial rigs on the characters to sync the lip and eye movement with the audio captured in these sessions.
We filmed close ups of the actors during the voice recording sessions from two different angles. This footage was then put side by side and the actors used this as reference when working on the facial animation.
It is better for the animators to use video reference rather than looking in the mirror because there is a tendency to over pronounce shapes and actions when using the latter method.
We put together a cast of experienced actors to play the wide range of roles within the resource. We have a great relationship with agents across the UK and are able to cast all our projects in-house.
We developed a gritty visual style as we wanted to create a resource that would sit alongside the kind of videogames that young people in the target age group are used to playing.
All the textures are hand drawn and then mapped onto 3D objects. We then rendered using a mixture of the hand drawn textures and a toon shader which resulted in a faster render time allowing us to spend more of the budget on the content and less on rendering.
The Physical Product
As well as creating the interactive and animation elements of the educational resource we also designed a compact way of delivering it to classes across the UK. The packaging was designed to be space efficient and simple to unpack enabling users to get started without delay.
What’s in the box?
Once you slide open the box you’ll initially fine a Quick Start Guide. This will introduce you to the rest of the contents and how to use them to their maximum potential.
The box includes:
- A Quick Start Guide
- 30 Investigation DVDs
- A Discussion DVD
- 9 Lesson plans
- A road safety discussion guideline
The SCS brand runs throughout every aspect of the product and this needed to appeal to everyone that would come into contact with the resource.
It needed to be smart enough so that road safety officers would feel comfortable taking the resource into schools, and teachers would feel confident delivering to the class.
It also needed to be in keeping with the visual style of content that young people are familiar with. We didn’t want them to feel like they were being shown an educational film but instead something that they would actually be interested to interact with.
DVD Based Interaction
We created an immersive, interactive 3D experience using simple DVD authoring tools and video menus. Play the video below to see a short sample of the interface.
We created a promotional website to display samples of the resource to councils across the UK. The site featured a parallax interface created in the same style as the resource.