A More Animated Hoodwinked Too!
BD: What were some of the biggest challenges?
PK: We definitely tried to amp up the quality while staying in tune with the original. Overall, though, it went pretty quickly. In a sequel you get a pretty good idea of the characters so there wasn't too much time that needed to be devoted to development.
MT: The characters are established and they're on a mission [to find Hansel and Gretel and rescue Granny from her arch-rival, Verushka].
PK: The characters are now part of this crime fighting organization so we have a little bit more to work with in that sense. We're allowed to go a little deeper with these characters.
BD: You created all new assets?
PK: Yes, along with new animation rigs, but they were almost a carbon copy of the original ones. I don't know that we ever saw the original animation rigs. But we used our proprietary rigs that were able to do pretty much anything.
MT: Yes, we use Maya and more proprietary stuff for our pose panels, and we render in mental ray, composite in Fusion; and Photoshop is always used for matte paintings. We have a proprietary tracking system that we use for managing this stuff called Starfish. For effects, we used Houdini for some of the explosions and Maya.
BD: There's definitely a lot more action.
MT: Yes, it was very big in scope, and they wanted to parody Michael Bay. So there's lots of action and explosions and set pieces that differentiate it from the first one.
PK: We had a trailer explosion, which is the Die Hard 2 parody. That was a long, planned out sequence. There's a chase through a bunch of windmills and we definitely had some challenges there. I think we ended up doing something along the lines of a conveyor belt -- akin to a rolling ball -- with windmills placed on it and recycling it throughout the shot. So we had to stage a very large set in a small space.
BD: What was it like working with director Mike Disa?
PK: Mike is a 2D guy and wanted to get a little more squashy-and-stretchy. I specifically remember spending a lot of time on Hansel and Gretel's faces because they were brand new characters, and we had more of an opportunity to play with the 2D feel. A lot of the texture work, too, was made more uniform across the characters than on the first show.
BD: Did you work on the 3-D?
MT: That was done somewhere else. It was definitely discussed early on, but was a budgetary thing. Mike was keen on it. But it never manifested itself while we were working on it.
Bill Desowitz is senior editor of AWN & VFXWorld.