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Supinfocom animation students show their talents with a walk in the snow.
CGSociety :: CGFilm
28 August 2007

Mikael Lynen, Simon Corbaux, Tristan Urbin and Rémi Certhoux are four French students (just graduated) sharing the same passion for 3D animation and live action film direction. “Supinfocom was for us one of the best schools where we could convert our passion into a professional career,” says Simon Corbeaux. “Today, the movie is finished and we are looking for jobs in the fields of our interest.

‘Cold Rush’ is a cracked spaghetti western, telling the story of the misadventures of a bounty hunter with his frozen prey. The original intention was to make the story about a bounty hunter lost in Alaska, in an inappropriate environment. “We also exaggerated the unsuitability by overloading him with the frozen corpse,” adds Simon.


The inspiration for this film was initially based on the movies of directors like Sergio Leone, Sergio Corbucci, Charlie Chaplin, Jim Jarmush, the Coen Brothers and many others. The exterior settings were based on photographs of natural landscapes.


The main character is dead.  ‘Terence Cracked-Tooth’ is a corpse stiffened by cold so the aim was to create something looking like a statue. “Moreover, we wanted Terence's face to suggest that this dead man was a bandit while avoiding a stereotyped character,” explains Simon. “We also wanted Terence's expression to be multifunctional and adapting to each situation. So we did a lot of sketches and Remi Certhoux finally found his design thanks a model he made in clay. In order not to have a typical 3D character, we decided early on to create faces that were a little out of whack, which gave the cast more personality.”


The objective of the bounty hunter was to show that he was a professional who had hunted for a long time. So he is shown as an experienced man with scars and a grey beard. His silhouette was also very important as his face was often masked.


The bear was an additional chapter in the tale, bringing the whole story into freefall in the white slopes of the Alaskan wilderness.

The Supinfocom crew wanted to keep that exaggerated character form to drive the animation, as it fell in harmony with the surrealism of the situations.
The rendering of the characters was done (with realistic textures, realistic shaders and the Subsurface Scattering Material for the faces) with Mental Ray. This environment was rendered with VRay. The hair & fur was rendered with Scanline. We used 3ds Max, Photoshop, ZBrush, Real Flow, After Effects, Premiere Pro and ProTools.


The production of the short took a year and a half from the first concept to the completion of the project. “We achieved this ‘alone,’” Simon says, “but we had the advice of our teachers and classmates. The objective was to finish the project as initially planned, so we shared out between ourselves the work, above all according to our capability, and our interest.”
[The ‘the ColdRush poster’ series can be interspersed throughout, Mikey]


The first challenge for the team of students was to make sure that the technique was serving the story and the movie and not the contrary. “Technically, every detail was a challenge because we wanted everything to be clear and correct,” he continues.  “And the most difficult challenge was having the strength to say ‘enough’, otherwise we would still be at it!

The only music in the short is a song performed by Tom Waits called “Green Grass”. At the beginning of the project, we already wanted to have a romantic-melancolic song that would work in that kind of buddy movie. Afterall, the voice of Tom Waits was perfect for us because it's so atypical as was our intention generally for ‘The Cold Rush.’”

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