small choices, big impact [ short promo | staples ]

This project was for a sustainability lab at RIT that was sponsored by Staples. The piece was created to inform consumers of how their small purchases impact the world by showing the impacts that the production industry has on our planet.

All of the 3d work was done in Blender. Blender's Cycles render engine was used to achieve the look, and composting was done in After Effects.

After we worked out the story, Kat drew up a set of storyboards.

I took those boards into After Effects to create an animatic.

Our aim was to create a very picturesque feel early on, which would become darker and more gloomy as the piece moved forward.

Our process in 3d was to start with the environment. I then took those sets and set up the initial camera move. Kat would go in and dress each scene, followed by me adding the animation and finalizing the camera moves.


The rigs I created for the vehicles were slightly more complicated than necessary, however, it was nice to have too much control as opposed to none.


The final shot was the most difficult. It started out flying over land, ultimately pulling out to reveal the entire planet.


Without diving deeper into scripting than I had time for, there was no good way to automate the animation for the hundreds of trees that popped up during the final shot. I ended up manually timing each tree. There were a lot of trees.

Throughout the piece, I used the depth pass to create an atmosphere effect which was instrumental in achieving our look.

Trapcode Horizon worked extremely well for creating the color gradients. Since Horizon is camera-aware, the skies would always match up to the 3d camera.

I used Particular to create most of the smoke effects. While there were some definite limitations I ran into, it was the quickest way to achieve the results I needed.