Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg graduate Johannes Schiehsl uses Autodesk Maya, Chaos Group’s V-Ray, and Adobe After Effects and Premiere to create his award-winning diploma film, ‘366 Days.’
Austrian director, animator and producer Johannes Schiehsl, co-founder of Viennese animation studio Neuer Österreichischer Trickfilm, created the multi-award winning short film 366 Days as his graduation project for renowned German animation and visual effects school Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg.
The 12-minute animated short focuses on a young, energetic rookie paramedic who’s teamed with an experienced and detached old-timer, and their differences in in attitude provides the basis for the plot. Schiehsl found his inspiration for the film from his time spent working as a paramedic in Vienna, during which he quickly learned that getting too emotionally involved with patients risked his own health and affected his ability to function on the job. Developing a balance of empathy and apathy was necessary for him to do his work, and the rookie and old-timer in the film embody this dynamic:
“Since it was my graduation film, I knew we had to stay pretty economic,” Schiehsl comments on the Stash YouTube page. “I wanted a look that combines stylized, reduced characters and an authentic impression of light and colors. But it was also important that the look itself did not become too fancy, since it must not distract from the core of the film: the characters and their emotions.”
Produced over a period of 18 months, Schiehsl employed Autodesk Maya to create 3D elements for the short, with compositing chores handled using Adobe After Effects and editing within Premiere Pro. Chaos Group’s V-Ray was used for rendering, which Schiehsl calls a risky choice in an interview on the RenderDigimania site: “[Using V-Ray] was a bit risky because it was still in its beta-testing phase for Maya at the time,” he says. “But I really wanted to use its powerful abilities for indirect illumination, which played a key role for creating the desired look.”
366 Days has screened at more than 70 film festivals, and was an official selection at Annecy and FMX 2012, picking up a slew of awards along the way. Firefighters, medics and doctors from around the world have also responded positively to the film, and several medic schools in Austria have even begun using it as part of their paramedic training.