Live Action Compositing

In our film we want the Turtle character to watch the TV, we thought it could look nice to have a live action advertisement on the TV, we got the inspiration for this idea from Disney Pixar’s ‘Wall-e‘.


None of the group has done this before, however Nathan says he has a small amount of knowledge and experience with this.

This could be done using Nuke or After Effects, the links below show some tutorials and explanations how this could be done and achieved successfully in our film.

Live Action in Nuke

How to make After Effects Compositing look good.

How To Seamlessly Integrate CG and Live Action

Toon Shader

When making the film we discussed the idea of using Toon Shader, something we have never used before.

What is Toon Shader?

Toon Shader is a form of Cel Shading , it is a type of non-photorealistic rendering designed to make 3D CG appear to be flat by using less shading colour instead of a shade gradient or tints and shades. It is used to mimic the style of ‘cartoons’ or ‘comic books’ to give it a different texture appearance.


As this is something none of our group have ever used before it will be a real learning curve for us all of us.

There is more information about Toon Shader at the links below…

Toon Shader Wiki

Toon Shader in Maya

Maya Toon

Early Apartment Concepts

In the beginning when discussing the look of the house apartment, we said we wanted something clean and glossy but also warm and lived in. Shelley and Niamh looked at some examples as you can see below…


What i like about the image above is the outline work, it reminds me very much of ‘101 Dalmatians‘. I like the cluttered look of all the crockery yet the floor is still very clear and clean.


The two images above are of the same apartment but drawn in slightly different colouring and brightness, although both are lovely i actually prefer the one directly above this text, the rougher line work is something i enjoy.


This image is closer to the style we like in the film mentioned in a previous post “June: Life is better when you share the ride” I enjoy the blunt shapes seen the picture on the wall and the half hazard style of the bring work etc. I plan to use this image as a close reference when designing the apartment.



The two images above are drawings i did earlier in the week before we decided on the stylistic approach. I do still enjoy the style in the top drawing, and plan redesign and develop it in the new style.

Artistic Ambition

As mentioned before, we all like the idea of the film having a ‘toon’ look like “The boy who learned to fly” and “The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker”.


After discussing this, Niamh came across an animated short called “June”. It is a beautiful film that tells a very heart warming story about an elderly woman who becomes a taxi driver and becomes known in her community.

June: Life is better when you share the ride

June: Behind the scenes/ The Making of

The story is irrelevant, however, the design, look and style of this film is something we would love to achieve.

That is not to say that we want to ‘steal’ or ‘rip off’ this style exactly, rather than that we want to pull inspiration from this look and transfer it into our own designs.


What i am most interested in from looking at this film isn’t the character design, but the design on her home. It is built out of a lot of sharp lines and contrasting light and shadow. The shot composition is also something i want to take note of, when it comes to laying out our apartment.

What we need to consider is ‘Why is the camera positioned where it is?’ and ‘Why is each item in the shot? Does it add to the story and narrative? If it doesn’t, should it even be there?’  These are questions i need to keep asking myself throughout the design stages of making our film.


What i also love about this film is the use of light and how it opens up the scene. It leads your eye directly to the character or whatever it is that the audience should be focusing on.  The casting shadow going across Junes body is also something to point out for when applying the same idea to our turtle character.


The shot above is nothing less than beautiful. The first time i saw this shot i immediately said to myself “this is what i want to achieve.” perhaps not in this exact style, but the layout and composition is a great visualisation of what i have been imagining in my head for our film.

After watching “June: Behind the scenes” I found out that Junes apartment is based in the South Side of Chicago, she lives a lonely existence and this is represented from the things around her in her home. The colour is dull and not very vibrant, and there is little to no light.

The style of the film is described as a “moving illustration”  and “Flat and stylised, but fully dimensional”. These are comments i need to take on board when creating our environments.

Keeping Turtles as Pets

Over the years turtles have decreased in popularity, to the extent that i do not know anyone that owns one. This is because turtles spread diseases such as salmonella  which can affect young children, the elderly, pregnant women and those with a lower immune system. Because of this turtles are rarely even sold anymore. Especially if they are under 4 inches in size.

After looking into this further, i have found that if taken care of properly and proper hygiene is carried out, owning a turtle should really cause many problems. The problem is, most homeowners would choose a cat or rabbit or something that won’t have these extra health issues to begin with.

More information can be found in the following link…

Turtles kept as Pets

Reasons not to get a turtle

Time to set all this information aside…

In our story, the homeowner, has a turtle as a pet regardless of the information above. In our film we need to show the turtle in the house but also in a cage/aquarium. This is important to the narrative and story so that the audience knows this a turtle with  a loving owner who gives him the care he needs.





Looking into turtle cages has shown two main point, they need a lot of water space, and only a small amount of land, and they can be personally customised in anyway you want. This will become very interesting once  concepts begin to be produced.

Turtles eat anything from fruit and veg to insects and mice, so it would be a nice touch in the film to show a full fruit bowl in the kitchen, and mini selection placed in the turtles cage for him to nibble on.


Early Character Concepts

We have already discussed the potential to make the turtle character more stylised and ‘boxy’ but below are my first concepts of the turtle, in some i tried to make him do ‘doggish’ poses such as begging, rolling over etc.

I did the most of these roughly in pencil in a sketchbook, this helps explain just how early these sketches are, and i am already working on the next version of the turtles style journey.

Character Movement

As previously mentioned, our character is a turtle, and his goal and dream is to be a dog. This does not change the fact he is a turtle. Therefore, even though he going to be attempt dog actions and poses, it is still a very slow, clunky turtle.

This is were our gags come into play, we want to show the turtle doing many different activities such as…

  • peeing against a flower pot, the joke being that he will begin peeing before he leg is even fully off the ground, and by the time his leg is fully elevated, he will have long finished peeing, then lose his balance and full fall onto his back/shell.


  • Waiting at the front door for the postman, waiting on the post to fall through the letterbox, onto for it to be a small parcel that completely knocks down the turtle


  • Going to play fetch, with very VERY slow movements in ‘running poses’, he will move maybe 1 inch, only for the ball to go flying past him in a split second.

All these gags will be played out whilst we can still hear the voice of the TV Advert saying things like “A dog will get your mail for you….a dog loves nothing more than to play fetch….No need to worry about the dog leaving a mess, they can easily do their business outside!”

We took inspiration for this from one of the first scenes in Disney Pixar’s “Up” When young Carl is pretending to be Charles Muntz, as you can see in the film linked below…

“He goes around Mount Everest”


Due to the fact our turtle is not a dog, and is in fact, a turtle, we need him to have very slow comical actions, the first thing that came to mine and Niamh’s minds is the Sloths from “Zootopia/Zooptropolis” , they are exaggerated in slowness to the point that it is so ridiculous that it is funny, this something we hope to achieve if the timing is thought out and planned correctly.

Zootopia Sloth Scene