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MoGraph Project Unboxing: Bumble from Bullpen

By Joey Korenman
After EffectsCinema 4D

Learn Some Advanced After Effects and Cinema 4D Techniques by Diving into the Project Files for "Bumble," from Bullpen

If you're not familiar with Holdframe, you should be. The site is an amazing resource for Motion Designers, allowing you to download project files from industry pros to pick apart and learn from. Some of the projects are free, and the more elaborate ones are paid, but everything has been vetted and curated by the site's founder, Joe Donaldson, to meet his stratospheric standards.
In this video, Joey will "unbox" the project files from Bumble, a short film produced by Bullpen. He'll pull out a few of the hundreds of things you can learn by digging around a project like this, and will explain some of the concepts and techniques used in the film's production. Everybody, including Joey, will learn something in this one.
Prepare yourself for some truly awful bee puns.

MoGraph Unboxing: Project Files from the Short Film, "Bumble"

​​Download the Project Files & Assets

If you want to discover dozens of other tips and tricks used in "Bumble," grab the project files over at Holdframe. In addition to every Cinema 4D and After Effects asset used in production, you'll also get a detailed project breakdown from Bullpen with references, moodboards, sketches, animatics and more.

​​What are you going to learn in this tutorial?

Bullpen, the studio behind "Bumble," is amazing. You'll learn some professional workflows that may be new to you, but might just supercharge your creativity. The film uses 3D passes in a way that most beginners have never seen, so listen up!

Using Render Passes to Colorize a film

Bullpen made the bold choice to render the entire film in greyscale, leaving the color choices to be made in composite through the use of render passes and clever After Effects-ery.
Bullpen used the Arnold renderer on this project, and used an army of image and utility passes to create the look of the film. You'll get to see how they used and abused Cinema 4D and After Effects together to achieve total control over the colors of every object.

Using AOVs to keep your options open in composite

Bullpen's use of AOV's (Arbitrary Output Variables) is really brilliant here. Find out how they gave themselves total control over the look of the bee character's stripes.

Creating smooth, appealing animation

Learn how the filmmakers created lifelike, appealing animation in the film. Often, Motion Designers shy away from using brute-force keyframing to achieve their vision, looking instead for clever rigs. You'll find examples of both, here.
The animators used time-worn tricks like "sleight of hand" and editing to get around some potentially very complex challenges. These are the tricks you'll want to have in your toolkit to help you work faster and smarter on your own projects.

Brute force the tricky shots

There are a few shots in the film that look like they could have been done with a complex, technical solution. However, often you'll find that experienced animators aren't afraid to get their hands dirty with lots of manual keyframing, giving them total control over the movement.
While this may seem like working "harder, not smarter," it's often faster and easier to just start animating rather than spending lots of time figuring out a clever rig to animate one shot out of an entire film. Bullpen's work ethic is present in these files.

Use lots of layering and composting to achieve a look

Bullpen used multiple passes, layers, and compositing tricks to get the exact look they were after. You'll get to learn how an experienced 3D artist can plan ahead while building their 3D scenes to give them plenty of options in the compositing phase.

Creating 2D elements that connect with the 3D scene

Bullpen leveraged the flexibility of After Effects to add things to the film that would be trickier to do in 3D. For example, the wings on the Bee were actually created in After Effects via the external compositing tag.
The spiderweb shot also saw plenty of After Effects compositing love, with the animators adding some very subtle details that helped add charm and appeal to the shot.

Never Be Afraid to Fail

The incredible team at Bumble took some big risks to put this awesome movie together. They trusted their experience to guide them through the most difficult shots, and that something you only learn from dozens of past mistakes. But what if you don't have those life lessons just yet?
We've reached out to the industry giants and have cataloged answers to questions we wish we could have asked when we started out.
In our free eBook Experiment. Fail. Repeat. you'll find insight from artists like Ash Thorp, Jorge R. Canedo E., Erin Sarofsky, Jenny Ko and Bee Grandinetti! Download it, add it to your Kindle, dropbox or Apple Books and have it with you anywhere you go!

Download the Free eBook Experiment. Fail. Repeat.

Download Now

Wanna Learn More Compositing Tricks?

If you loved the clever usage of render passes in this film, you might enjoy our compositing masterclass, VFX for Motion. In this 12-week interactive course, industry legend Mark Christiansen will teach you all about roto, tracking, comping, and effects integration in After Effects.
Join the next session of VFX for Motion and let our Teaching Assistants and your fellow students push your work to the next level. Let our staff know if you have any questions, and have an awesome day!