Film design students at the Filmakademie Baden-Würtemberg (Germany) are eventually all confronted with the task of creating their own film. Students are increasingly taking advantage of the possibilities offered by 3D animation software for the creation of their films to expand their creative freedom.
Cynthia Collins and Kyra Buschor also chose this path, which makes it possible for artists to let their imagination roam free and not have the pearls of their inspiration be crushed by tight budgets.
The idea for ZING! evolved from a previous project that revolved around a mean clown. In ZING!, the clown was transformed into an incarnation of Godfather Death (grim reaper), who pursues his work in a church-like structure severing lifelines. The lifelines hang by the thousands throughout the great, gloomy hall and are arranged and sorted by a machine. Godfather Death sits at a desk that looks like a cross between an organ and a piano, which presents photos of those whose lifelines must be severed. The machine clatters and hums and then moves the curtain-like bundles of lifelines past the desk. As soon as the bundle containing the lifeline of the next person whose turn it is to demise, Godfather Death takes the lifeline and severs it with a small sickle. ZING, just like that!
Then the machine creaks and clatters again and the next image is presented: a kitten. This lifeline, too, is quickly found and severed. Next, the machine produces the image of a little girl. But before the grim reaper can carry out his dark duty the doorbell rings and he decides to interrupt his work and see who is at the door. He opens the door and before him stands just the little girl whose lifeline he was about to sever. She looks up at him with sad eyes, holding a picture - a picture of a kitten whose lifeline had just been severed…
When Cynthia and Kyra began with the realization of this project, Cynthia had only limited knowledge of CINEMA 4D and animation. Kyra, on the other hand, had already completed her own animation film several years earlier. With a lot of logistical preparation, rigorous structuring of the project and with the help of the production planning software Shotgun, both filmmakers went to work. Several problems had to be solved and new techniques had to be developed in the course of production to achieve the desired result. The lifelines that hung throughout the great hall, for example, had to be animated like a curtain and also had to be severed into several parts. This was solved by the project's technical director Clemens Sielaff using an XPresso Expression, which first attached both parts of a given lifeline to a hidden Spline and released them at a defined point in the animation.
Another challenge were the lifelines hanging from the ceiling. Instead of creating these as individual elements, each with their own geometry, it was decided to use CINEMA 4D's Hair system, which let the desired look of the lifelines be achieved without bogging down system resources.
After set design and character design had been completed, and production planning was done, Buschor and Collins worked feverishly to complete the project within the tight 16-week schedule that had been allowed. And with the help of fellow students, the deadline was met afterall.
Zing! Website www.zing-movie.com