Jan 15, 2017

VIOLET, a webseries. Pilot Episode

It has been a really really long time since I posted anything on this site. That's sad to me, but, it is what it is. I've been working hard in film, specifically in the live action industry. I haven't had much in the way of drawings to really put up on this site. But I have been working on my craft, specifically, in STORY.

Since I graduated Sheridan, I've been working on a story with my brother. It will be a webseries and I'm putting up the "beta-test" first episode.

We are in the process of writing the entire series, after which we'll shoot it. My goal is to have it done and posted by the end of this year.

Like I said, this was a beta test. The first episode to the show will be different, but this certainly gives you a taste of what we're going for. It's different, and I hope you enjoy it.

VIOLET Episode 01 - A Story About A Girl from Club of Chosen Ones on Vimeo.


Club of Chosen Ones is something I've started with my brother. It's our little playground, an umbrella under which we post our little videos and stories and skits we shoot. I've linked our youtube channel. Everything is in it's early phase, but a journey of a thousand miles....

Jul 9, 2013


Ok, here it is... the culmination of all my efforts. I genuinely believe it is the best work I have ever done. But not the end, just a benchmark. A film is truly a collaborative effort, and there is no chance I could've done it without the help of family, friends, and faculty. So a massive thanks to all.

The link is below, click, and enjoy!!!

Earthshine - Manu Prasad Gopinath


Jun 11, 2013


I reached here about mid April. I had done rendering everything and setting everything up for Mass Compositing in After Effects... the difference it makes when you composite in After Effects is astonishing. Literally, everything that matters in the film and the whole mood and feel all came from After Effects. I cannot post that final version yet, but I will soon. Until then, here is the semi final cut of the film.

Earthshine_BEFORE Compositing from Manu Prasad Gopinath on Vimeo.



Once I knew I could get the look and feel I wanted through the 3D process, I started working through the animation process. I redid the opening Act inside the cave. Across the board, what happened inside the cave in the Storyboard Reel always confused the audience to some extent... So I spent about a week rethinking it, restaging it, and animating that. The result was infinitely better. It was more clear, and was a much better product. I realized that once I took the beats I had created, to a very detailed extent actually in the Storyboard Reel, took much more time on screen than I had planned for. What I mean is, the feeling that I was trying to evoke, and that worked in Still Images, did not work as well in motion. I needed more time on screen. So the film got longer as I gave the character more time on screen to act out the scene and the beat as I envisioned it should feel. The length of the film jumped from 3:00 to 4:30.

Initially, when I finished the entire animation side of things, I was ok with this. I was happy just to have a fully animated film. But I was totally blind to the fact that something was amiss with the film. While the film had gotten longer and was more understandable, it had also lost something, some life or spark that was present in the Storyboard reel. It took a couple weeks but eventually, a close friend in the studio offered to help me re-edit the film. He believed the problem with the film wasn't a story problem, but an editing problem. I do believe he was atleast half right. He cut the film down from 4:30 to 2:45. That is a dramatic cut. He obviously only left in scenes and moments that he felt were absolutely necessary. I took his cuts home and went through them and brought the film back up to 3:15. But that was much closer to the storyboard reel's initial length of 3:00 than the 4:30 that I had. So all in all, the repacing effort did the trick and I felt I had a tight, concise, professional product, and I was ready to start lighting and rendering. Here are the two videos, the first one is my full 4:30 film cut and then a nicely repaced 3:15 cut. The 3:15 ended up being the final cut and a SPECIAL THANKS to Bram Cayne for that!

You can check out his crazy awesome stuff here:


Earthshine_3D_Animatic_01 from Manu Prasad Gopinath on Vimeo.

Earthshine_3D_Animatic_02 from Manu Prasad Gopinath on Vimeo.


Jun 10, 2013


Once I committed to getting the whole thing done in 3D, I dived in quickly. I did up the character, created the environments, and before I went any further than that, I did up 2 major shot tests. I switched to 3D because I needed to know if I could accomplish the look and the feel and the sense of life that I envisioned, in the 3D medium. If I wasn't able to, then I would just stick with 2D and make it work... some how... so here is the character design, and then two shot tests. The MAIN PURPOSE of these tests was to determine STYLE, MOOD, FEEL. .

Earthshine_3D_Shot Test 01 from Manu Prasad Gopinath on Vimeo.

Earthshine_3D_Shot Test 02 from Manu Prasad Gopinath on Vimeo.

By the second shot test, I knew that not only could I do it, but I could achieve a much better result with 3D. The main difference was that I had to do a TON of compositing in After Effects... something I would teach myself over the next few months and would become the backbone of my film.



Once the Storyboard Reels were done, I got to creating the final BG's right away. I was certain the whole time that the entire film was going to be traditional. I would end up changing my mind completely. It took me quite some time to do up these backgrounds... I still hadn't really figured out how I was going to pull off the chalk stairs, but I had spent so much time thinking and thinking and exhausting my brain with the story process, that I just wanted to spend some time doing straightforward art... which is where these backgrounds came from...

They are a combination of oil pastel, pencil crayons, and some digital touch ups. I really really enjoyed doing them but once I cut them into the animatic and looked at them with some test animations in front of it, truth be told, it repulsed me...The whole thing felt lifeless, dull, disappointing... Didn't really seem to be something a 4th year animation student should be pulling off.

So I decided to ditch the 2D completely, and figure out a way to do the film in 3D but somehow still capture the mood, feeling, and texture that I wanted to accomplish. At the time it seemed like the time I spent on these BG's was a complete waste... but I saved them anyways as a memento of the process. Luckily though, I DID end up using them in the final composites of the scenes to help add texture to the skies and ground... so.. time well wasted I would say :)



This stage had to be one of the best moments of this process, guaranteed! With the help of many great people in the studio, and out, I came up with this storyboard reel, which I stuck to very closely for the final film!!!!

It felt fantastic to have a story that I felt invested in enough, and committed enough to realize fully.... I had a ton of fun doing the storyboards in Photoshop and I it saved me a ton of time in the long run as I could avoid doing Color Keys and Tonals because I had already made those decisions at this stage. Furthermore, I really really did my best to get the composition and layout the way I wanted it because it meant a lot less thinking when I moved onto the 3D process.

Plan Ahead... and Panic Early.. as they say!

Earthshine_Storyboard_Reel_Oct 2012 from Manu Prasad Gopinath on Vimeo.

I'd have to say a special thanks to Maury Whyte and Kanako Iwata... a professor and a peer from my year.. their insights were specifically integral to me getting to this stage!



At this stage, Mars was giving me problems of its own. I was back to not able to express any idea cohesively and I just kept boarding and boarding...

these are a selection of some of the many unused board sequences...



Once I got back to Sheridan after the summer, I showed my peers the different storyboard reels I had done.... everything from Mars to the random stuff I had tried. Surprisingly, they all opted for Mars. Everyone felt it was more original, and they said it was more "me".... which was true. I had much more emotional investment and attachment to the Mars story. So from there, I revisited the idea and started reboarding... approaching the story from different angles... here are two slightly varied iterations of the story.

Earthshine_Storyboard_Reel_002 from Manu Gopinath on Vimeo.

Earthshine_Storyboard_Reel_003 from Manu Gopinath on Vimeo.

I can say that after 4.5 months of creative hell with the other ideas, I think I felt good again. It felt really good to be exploring an idea I had such a natural curiosity with and it just grew from there...



I went into the summer with a clear idea of the story that I wanted to tell... but as the summer went on, I had a TON of trouble locking the story down and figuring out exactly what I was trying to say...At one point I painfully tossed the Mars idea and started pursuing completely different ideas in a whole other direction... here are a couple storyboard reels of those ill-conceived, painful, terrible ideas....

A Message from our Sponsors_Storyboard Reel from Manu Gopinath on Vimeo.

Cat & Connor_Storyboard Reel from Manu Gopinath on Vimeo.

Dog & Connor_Storyboard Reel from Manu Gopinath on Vimeo.

This whole period of BEING LOST lasted about 4.5 months... I can say it was useful practice in getting an idea down quick into a video... and it certainly pushed me to try things that I wasn't comfortable with... but I hated it... and thankfully, I didn't end up sticking with it.



Around here.... I did the first storyboard reel for the story I had in mind. Here goes. I did this one back in March or April 2012... really early...and it was a good thing I got it off my chest.. cuz this story certainly doesn't work...

Earthshine_Storyboard_Reel_001 from Manu Gopinath on Vimeo.



Early on, when the film was all 2D, I really wanted to do something with traditional tools like oil pastel and pencil crayons... I loved the texture it gave me and the way it went with the mood I was trying to create... Here are some explorations and I stuck pretty close to the color scheme and style I feel... it OBVIOUSLY evolved... but once I got something that I liked.. I was willing to see it through.



For the past little while, all I have been working on is my Thesis Film @ Sheridan... I finished it a couple weeks ago and I wanted to put some stuff up as a look into the process I took while doing the film... so here goes.

I suppose I will start with what I started... which was... RESEARCH? (lame)

 I knew from the very beginning, (Jan 2012) that I wanted to do a film about space...the initial iteration of the story involved a boy and his father on Mars... sorta trapped.. or stranded... or exiled... I am not quite sure... but with that premise, I started looking everywhere for inspiration on style and story....

There was a ton of stuff; some of these are screencaps from videos.. and some are single pictures from massive albums... I started early because I really wanted to take my time and relish the exploration process.. and... even then it still wasn't enough time but it certainly was a ton of fun... and definitely worthwhile...

Sep 3, 2012

Some Summer Stuff

Oh man, it has been forever since I posted on here.... WELL, thought I would throw some stuff up from my summer apprenticeship! I spent the summer apprenticing under a comic book artist David Finch! It was fantastic! The dude is truly amazing and an excellent teacher! The summer was all about drawing and doing leica's for my 4th year film... here's a couple pages I did over the summer!


Summer Sketchbook Stuff

Did a lotta studies of different comic artists over the summer, especially a lot of frank frazetta... I really wanted to get a better hang on shadow shapes specifically... here's some sketchbook stuff....