3DLuVr: Who was financing the project? How much budget did you have?
Michael: "Back to Gaya" was partially financed out of private pockets. Furthermore we received some solid funding by the State of Lower Saxony and the Nordmedia corporation. It all sums up to a double-digit million Euro amount.
Gildas: We also received some help from AMD. They supplied us with as many CPUs as necessary for the required render power.
3DLuVr: Resulting from the tight schedule and the restricted budget, were there any massive limitations to deal with throughout the production?
Toby: Basically we always encountered some limitations, especially with regards to the Gaya scenery, for which we were quickly running out of time, as the production was nearing its end. But nevertheless we are very satisfied with the outcome!
Manuel: I think most of the restrictions mainly originated from the circumstance, that, of course, many of the people involved had never been working on a project even remotely as complex as BtG before. And it was a novelty for Ambient Entertainment, too.
The learning curve for people who were new to the business, as I had been, was vastly steep. Today I'd be able to do the same amount of work in maybe half the time than it has been yet the case just one year ago. In general, the project has rendered many of us to real pros on their respective field of responsibility. But getting to that point in the first place has often been a bit of a stumbling block for the whole production.
Michael: I think there always will be limitations of one kind or another. Somehow you never have enough time or budget for a project. In addition, there was no experience with a project that size to benefit from. Often you found yourself doing things over and over again, if you did not succeed at first.
Gildas: I'm certain that even on Hollywood's multi-million-dollar productions you will sooner or later come to a point, where you need to slam the break and restrain yourself, as even those budgets do not allow for a limitless creativity, even though that's not nearly as often the case as on a German production. Of course we also had to make compromises, but, in my opinion, we were able to compensate a lot of what was missing in terms of money and manpower, compared to a US production, with commitment to the project and our heart's blood. This way we were still able to deliver quality on a high level.
3DLuVr: Which software and plug-ins did you primarily use? Were there any important proprietary in-house tools you'd like to mention?
Gildas: 90 per cent of the picture were realized using Maya 4, but we also made use of Lightwave, Kaydara Motion Builder and, for the hair set-up, 3ds max of course. So since our production pipeline was generally based on Maya, a lot of tools had to be written to get a connection as seamless as possible to MAX, for example. It already has its own import module for polygon objects from Maya by default, but we had to develop new tools from scratch to also transfer the character animation, the camera data, the lighting etc.. Everything that was necessary to render the characters in Maya was also needed in MAX for adding the hair and fur layers there. [continued on the next page]
Gildas' hair-setup in 3ds max, using Shag:Hair