The Forgotten Game: A Chess Animation
This is a 3D animation that I created to showcase the skills and techniques I’ve developed over the past few years. One of my main focusses was to incorporate professional/industry standard software and practices into my workflow in preparation for leaving collage.
The idea for this project comes from another chess animation I did approximately 5 years ago called “The Secret Life of a Pawn”. At that point in time, I was still relatively new to 3D software and animation which gave it a few rough edges. When the opportunity arose with my senior project, I wanted to take another crack at it, using the skills I had developed since that time.
When it came to this new video, I wanted most to give it more of an atmosphere, something I felt the previous one lacked. This would be communicated mostly through the visuals and music. However, unlike the 2018 version, this one wouldn’t contain any dialogue and as such the story would be a little less forward.
The next step was then to actually make the video. The entire process from start to finish took about 90 hours, with that time being split between modeling, scene setup and rendering/exporting. The models were created using a 3D software called Blender, this is also where the animating and rendering took place. The compositing was done in a software called NukeX which ended up handling things such as the depth of field and dust. It was then edited together with the music using DaVinci Resolve Studio, which is also where the final coloring was done.
The most difficult part of the process was the modeling of the assets and the building of the environment. On top of the modeling, I also used custom textures for nearly everything in the environment. The chess pieces themselves each had to have a custom texture created and applied. This was done using Adobe’s Substance Painter, which gave me more control of edge ware and grunge.
What ended up being the most time consuming part of the project was the rendering and exporting, which made up more than 60% of the total project’s creation time. This process included setting up the cameras, exporting the scene, compositing and finally color and editing. A single shot would take about 2 hours, with several of them having different variations.
This is a closer look at the behind-the-scenes of the project, including a look at the models, the composting and the building of the environment.