Zapovednik: TV show rendered in Unity
For last several months, I had the chance to work on a quite revolutionary 3d animated TV series called Zapovednik (in Russian) for the German television channel Deutsche Welle . It is a satirical show about word politics – making fun of world leaders and turning latest political events into fun stories. What makes the show very special is that is is a 10-15 minutes long fully animated 3D cartoon that comes out every week (usually 4-5 days per episode in total). All thanks to very efficient pipeline – combining high precision motion capture, facial capture and real time rendering using game engine Unity. All scenes were built in 3-4 days by a small team of artists (usually one artist per scene). A lot of assets from different asset stores were used for architecture and different props, but often a lot of new assets were modeled and many purchased assets were completely reworked for use in real time engine. It is quite impressive what can be done by small, experienced team and efficient pipeline in such a short time.
Here is unofficial compilcation of some scenes and moments from first 16 episodes.
Initially project was planned and started using Unreal Engine, but after first couple episodes we run into so many technical problems with the UE, that decision was made to switch to Unity.
My tasks in this project could be described as 3D generalist + Technical director.
1. As a TD, I was responsible for doing the transition from UE to Unity – working out the pipeline and creating internal tools, writing shaders and doing R&D for different rendering challenges. Also big part of the job was supporting other artists – helping with technical problems in their scenes and fixing different errors, introducing new tools and techniques.
2. On top of that, I was also working as a 3D artist – creating complete scenes for each episode, assembling animation sequences and preparing for rendering.