Christmas with the Moonies
Introducing the Moonies; the chaotic couple who won't be getting the Christmas they expected this year!
A company collaboration
Christmas with the Moonies is the result of our 2018 seasonal shorts programme, a company-wide initiative renowned for its output of award-winning shorts that push creative boundaries, allow experimentation and are truly collaborative in process. Individuals have the opportunity to pitch their idea to the studio and the studio votes the most popular idea into production.
This year the collaborative nature of the project went one step further and Blue Zooers were invited to suggest ideas that would make up a sequence of events core to the story.
Directed by Will Cook, who can usually be found working on educational preschool shows, the story follows the cheery Moonies driving to a Christmas party, happily singing carpool karaoke-style, when they hit something/someone in the road. When they realise who they’ve hit, panic sets in and their dark side descends. How to dispose of the evidence? In a series of grisly ideas thought up by resourceful Blue Zooers, that’s how!
“I’m well happy how Christmas with the Moonies came out. The characters have this really shady vibe, and the balance of comedy and gruesomeness is spot on - many of the ideas were crowdsourced which shows what a warped sense of humour we have here! And all of the gross scenes are hilariously juxtaposed with a jaunty, Christmas soundtrack, which is perfect. Worlds apart from the preschool shows I’m usually animating!”
Will Cook, Director
Progression montage: Animatic > layout > animation > final render
Christmas with the Moonies was turned around in an astonishing 6 weeks. This is thanks in part to real-time rendering using Unreal Engine and Alembic pipeline which allows more complicated rigs to be used in real-time, without interfering with the creative vision.
“We embrace making in-house short films to push creative and technical experimentation and cross-company collaboration within our studio, whilst having a lot of silly fun, which very much reflects what Blue Zoo is all about!”
Tom Box, Co-founder & Shorts Producer
Real-time workflow: sculpting landscapes, camera, lighting and post fx all within Unreal engine, with animation alembic'ed in from Maya.
Directed by Will Cook
Storyboarded by Joe Kinch
Lead CG Supervisor: Paul Mitcheson
Lead Lookdev Artist: Athur Tibbett
Unreal Technical Artists: Jack Sainsbury, Phil Stewart, Dane Winn
Character Design: Nelson Atmos
CG Modeling Artists: Pietro Licini, Erika Eguia, Richard Cope, Chris Wright, Jacopo Piccini
Surfacing Artist: Izzy Burton
Animation: Ben Steer, Dane Winn, Benjamin Lane, Chloe Deneuve, Jessica Austin, Joaquin Martinez, Julia Millan, Marcus Taylor, Mark Spokes, Megan Huggins, Philip Ward, Owen Fern, Oleksiy Popov, Sam Webster, Sarah Caisley, Zoe Risser, Valentin Puig
Rigging: Anthony Delliste
Pipeline: Phil Stewart
IT: John Harvey, Alex Cornell, Alan Anderson
Producer: Tom Box
With thanks to: Oli Hyatt, Adam Shaw, Lizzie Hicks, Damian Hook, Epic Games, all @ Blue Zoo.