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Noitom and Trick 3D Bring ‘The Jolliest Elf’ Home for the Holidays

Companies team up, using cutting edge mocap and real-time rendering technology with Unreal Engine to deliver all-new, 12-episode 3D animated series in less than one year.

Just in time for the holidays comes an all-new, festive 3D animated series, The Jolliest Elf. Trick 3D founder and director Chad Eikhoff (The Elf on the Shelf: An Elf's Story) teamed up with Noitom International, Inc. to produce the 12-episode animated series, which was completed in less than one year using an all-new, fast-track production pipeline applying real-time gaming engines and motion capture technologies. The series premieres this December on a number of streaming platforms.

Utilizing Noitom’s NoitomVPS, Trick 3D was able to leverage a faster, cutting-edge production pipeline supporting a workflow that is faster and cheaper than traditional animation workflows. The motion capture system, paired with Notiom’s Perception Neuron Studio suit and Epic Games’ Unreal Engine, delivered final render quality, providing instant results to the director and creative team, allowing them the flexibility to experiment with shots and environments at any point during the production. 

“You can have a real-life motion capture session while also having facial capture being done, and recording audio, and you get to see the scene at render quality in real-time while you're doing it,” explained Noitom International, Inc. technical director Alberto Alvarez. “So, you have an exact idea of what it's going to look like the day you capture with talent.”

The NoitomVPS system enabled the Trick 3D team to set new standards for production time, quality, and efficiency.

“This is all very cool technology,” shared Eikhoff. “That said, what’s this tech let me do exactly? Well, when these technologies are all combined and applied to animation, the main thing we get is creative freedom. And with that creative freedom come all sorts of savings in time and budget. As the director, I can be inside of the animated world thanks to VR. I can direct live performance and capture live cameras all at the same time. And, I can see it all in final quality. These new technologies give me the ability to create quickly and edit frequently, all while being in and seeing the final render quality imagery.”

The successful completion of The Jolliest Elf is as an example of new technologies allowing the creation of animated content in real-time. The state-of-the-art technology requires a smaller crew than traditional productions and is completely portable, making it an optimal tool for remote collaboration and when social distancing protocols are in place.  

“To bring mocap into animation has been a little bit of a challenge,” added Noitom International, Inc. president Roch Nakajima. “But once people see how liberating it is, especially from the animator’s side, then, we're [Noitom and Trick 3D] both in agreement that it has a huge potential for the future.”

Both Nakajima and Eikhoff will share more about this production process at IBC 2021 in Amsterdam on December 4, 2021. Children and families around the world will be able to experience The Jolliest Elf this holiday season on their favorite streaming platforms, including Discovery Kids, Kidoodle.TV, and Amazon Prime.

Source: Noitom International, Inc.