In the animated feature Rally Road Racers, a rookie race-car driver squares off against a long-reigning champion while having to overcome treacherous terrain and unexpected obstacles.
ReDefine (https://redefine.co), which is a part of the Dneg group, served as the film’s lead animation partner, assembling a global team to create 1,700 shots for the hour-and-thirty-minute feature. The studio’s work included developing the film from the ground up. This included developing the story and art, building and animating the characters, handling lighting and layouts, and providing creative and production supervision.
VFX supervisor/creative director John Harvey and production designer/VFX supervisor Alexei Nechytaylo led the ReDefine team, which was tasked by director Ross Venokur with creating a unique look that stood out from the work of other studios. The result is a film that balances funny and high-action car chases with authentic Chinese culture and environments.
ReDefine’s John Harvey recently shared insight into the studio’s work and the film’s challenges, as well as its highlights.
John, can you talk about the process of creating a film from scratch?
“We love working on films where we can get involved from an early draft stage. The opportunity to have an influence on the script enables us to offer the most value on screen by sharing our expertise. Building teams of talented designers and storyboard artists is the most crucial stage of a production. Everyone wants that unique look and feel, but without a production designer with vision, it is easy to fall into the more obvious CG looks.
“Not many companies can offer a safe pair of hands that successfully delivers script to screen. It is great for the production to have the whole process under one roof, but it also ensures a more creative collaboration throughout.”
What tools is ReDefine relying on for a project like this?
“We used our proprietary version of Maya for modeling and animation. We have our own bespoke rigging and fur software. Effects were done in Houdini, and rendering was done in Clarisse.”
What would you point to as the most challenging scene?
“All the race sequences were fairly complicated. It’s extremely hard to storyboard an action sequence involving cars, so previs and layout became more involved. If I had to pick, I’d say the end street level chase sequence in Shanghai was particularly in-depth.”
Do you have a favorite sequence?
“I think the whole film is very well thought out, but if i had to pick a favorite, I would choose the first time Zhi meets Vainglorious in his office. It is the first time we meet Vainglorious, who is totally brought to life with John Cleese voicing the character.”
Rally Road Racers is now streaming on Peacock (www.peacocktv.com).
Images courtesy of ReDefine © REP Productions 6 Ltd 2023