I can finally reveal that the Warner Brothers project we were working on at Crew 972 was the first season of Road Runner and Wild E. Coyote in full CGI.
WB has relaunched the Looney Tunes brand, which is now showing fresh new episodes on Cartoon Network. Most of the characters just got new 2D cell animation treatments – such as new Bugs Bunny and Duffy Duck episodes. But for Road Runner, WB wanted to give something extra. With all the chases and potential for high quality action sequences, they decided for the first time ever (as a whole series at least) to go the CGI route, and Crew 972 was chosen to take that on.
We were very lucky to get a chance to work on this. It’s definitely a first for Israel to do something so close to the core of animation. We were honoured, and we treated the work as such – with utmost respect. We tried to leave the cartoon as 2D looking as possible, without being tempted with the ease at which things can look realistic when using CG software. I hope you’ll agree that we succeeded.
Overall we did 19 episodes of 2.5 minutes, plus the pilot which was 1.5 minutes long. This took roughly 18 months to do. I was heading the comp and editorial teams, as well as building (and coding) the pipeline with head of 3D Menashe Morobuse. For the first six episodes I was working with one other compositor – Michal Boico. The other 13 episodes we did with a larger team: lead comper Itay Greenberg, and compers Yanir Kleiman and Arik Klein. Towards the end, when the lighting team had less to do, two of them joined us as well: Irena Tsibulka and Paul Wolf.
Hopefully one day soon I’ll make a breakdown of how we approached the production and how we built a shot in Nuke. The budget was very tight and we used a combination of a good methodology augmented by a pipeline that made that speed possible.
For now though, here are two episodes for you to watch.