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Claynosaurz Releases ‘Claynos’ Teaser Trailer

The 3DCG short tells the origin story of the colorful stylized dinosaurs inhabiting the studio’s IP; following 2 months of concept development, the team tapped Autodesk Maya and Arnold, using the Conductor cloud-based rendering service, to complete the film.

Independent creative studio Claynosaurz has released an animated short teasing the origin story of its original characters. Veteran artists Nic Cabana and Dan Cabral founded the studio in late 2021 to develop and promote their IP, building a universe around Claynos, a stylized version of recognizable dinosaur species. After introducing various characters and environments as a stream of digital collectibles, the teaser/first concept trailer is a first look at the imaginative Clayno world (watch it below).

After two months of concept and development, CG production for the Clayno trailer kicked off in June 2023. While the team had built a lookdev and production pipeline for creating and rendering digital collectible assets, the trailer required a more robust setup.

“We couldn’t ask for a better stress test,” explained Cabana. “Not only were we further refining our characters and rigs, but we also had to hire more artists to bolster the team. Moving from creating two three-second animation cycles to a close to two-minute short – on the timeline and at the quality we wanted – required that we make our production cycle airtight.”

The cinematics’ story, comprised of two parts, is partially inspired by the nostalgia of 90s toy commercials, which transported kids into the world of the advertised item. The first part of the trailer features a grounded, realistic aesthetic, providing a striking contrast to the fantasy Clayno world, which is more painterly. Artists drew from various styles to determine how the Clayno characters would emote. Through social media, they shared animation tests with the Claynosaurz community to solicit feedback.

A core team of 12 globally dispersed artists, with additional support from 25 freelancers, created the short in Autodesk Maya and Arnold using the Conductor cloud-based rendering service.

“Having all our artists working in different time zones was surprisingly easy with Conductor,” noted Claynosaurz Lighting and Compositing Lead William Liu. “It was super easy for them to install and start rendering with CPUs or GPUs. There was no adjustment period; we had lighters sending content on the farm from day one, and jobs were picked up and then returned super quick. We could focus on the creative 100 percent and know that our shots would render on time.”

“Rendering can be one of the biggest stresses on a project because one task can cannibalize resources and limit creatives in their jobs,” added Cabana. “As a lean startup, the cost of rendering can be a barrier to success; you can’t afford to make mistakes. With Conductor, we can render shots as many times as we need to get the look we want, and we don’t even think about render times. We don’t have to be cautious in the amount of iteration, and that keeps us flexible through the creative process. Also, the APIs are really simple to understand, and it’s easy to manage a team remotely.”

In crafting two distinct looks for the cinematic, Claynosaurz animation director Sebastien Bruneau shared, “We wanted to stay true to the look and feel of what’s already been built in the Clayno realm but take it to the next level in terms of character design. Each dino’s shape informs how they move, but we experimented with variations, like how squishy they seem or how Rex swings his tiny arms. Humor is a big part of the style, and our intent here is to excite people for future Clayno adventures. Fortunately, we had the ability and render power to make changes quickly, up until the last minute. Also, we could work in parallel. With on-prem farms, bottlenecks inevitably form around lighting and comp, making those artists feel pressure to work overtime so that there’s sufficient time to render.”

The cinematic release marks the next evolution for the Clayno IP, with the Claynosaurz team building on a beloved character brand on their own terms.

“For artists, I can’t think of a better model than how we’ve done it so far,” concluded Cabral. “We can work faster with less risk, all the while creating a special experience for fans that makes them feel like a part of production. Conductor and CoreWeave are part of the Claynosaurz DNA; they provide us with speed and flexibility in our pipeline so that we can focus on creative. We couldn’t have created Claynos or our animated cinematic trailer without them.”

Watch: Claynosaurz Official Trailer “The Adventure Begins:”

Source: Claynosaurz

Debbie Diamond Sarto's picture

Debbie Diamond Sarto is news editor at Animation World Network.