Reallusion TV

Japanese Anime Studio creates Gundam style Television show with 3D Software

Toei Animation

Toei Animation Company is a publicly listed company in JASDAQ with its HQ based in Tokyo. Toei Animation produces all kinds of animations while marketing various video productions. It also runs licensing businesses for its copyright productions.

Noguchi Koichi is the Associate Department Manager for the Project Development & Production Planning Dept. in Toei Animation.

Japanese Film, Television Production Company

Q: Toei Company is a large, renown TV production company in Japan with it's own animation studio. Please tell us a little more about your background and your work in Toei.

Well, I started my CG career with LINKS (now merged with IMAGICA) around the year 1989. Then I left to the United States in 1995 to did some VFX work for a movie with Boss Film Studios, all while learning from Richard Edlund there. After coming back to Japan I worked as a free lancer for a while up until the point where I joined Polygon Pictures before I finally moved to Toei animation to head its VFX and CG team in Japan.

Q: You direct a show called "Kokaku Fudo Senki Robosan" that is about animated Mechs (warrior robots). The show combines live video footage with CG animations. Tell us a bit about the production process for the show.

For the production of the show, we need to do live shots with real people and at the same time we also work on the CG modeling portion of the show. Then we move to integrating both portions of footage by adjusting the CG's camera angle to make the two parts come together seamlessly.

Q: During production your team would first draw out all the sketches and storyboards prior to the animatics (previsualization) process. Now you have replaced this step with the use of iClone. Why did you and your team, decide to start using iClone and what other areas do you also use it in?

Initially we did use traditional storyboards with sketches to properly visualize our scenes and angles. Now with iClone, I can review the video results together with the director that is shooting the scene. In the past we needed huge and expensive motion capturing equipment inside our studio to properly act out all our motions. Now, thanks to iClone, we can get the same effects that we are after with a minimal amount of physical equipment and crew, allowing our director to make sure that the shots and character motions are what he is looking for, in Realtime. This is the first such trial in a TV program production in Japan, and I am glad that we have taken up this challenge. We also use iClone and its mocap capabilities in our CG production process. From hand drawing, to iClone real-time previz, to animatics and then the final image renders in Maya.

Q: In your opinion, what are the major advantages of using a fast 3D tool like iClone? How did you hear about iClone?

The major advantages with iClone are its low costs and small system requirements for real-time motion capturing. These requirements also extend over into the amount of personnel working on the project since iClone does not require a large number of team members. This puts iClone in a very interesting position when time and costs are essential in quick TV production.

iClone was brought to my attention thanks to the guys over at the Motion Picture & Television Engineering Society of Japan. They had mentioned this interesting product to me and were kind enough to also introduce the Reallusion team to me.

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