Inside Animation Vertigo and the Studio’s Work in Until Dawn

It’s safe to say now that Supermassive Games’ Until Dawn was a surprise hit, which thankfully, translated to sales even if it didn’t feature guns, explosions and the usual stuff we see in AAA games.

One of the reasons why Until Dawn resonated so well with gamers is due to its visuals and motion-capture performance by the actors. With that said, PlayStation LifeStyle recently had the chance to speak to Animation Vertigo, the studio who “cleaned up” the mo-cap work in Until Dawn, and made sure it’s made to fit Supermassive’s standards. 

Taking part in our quick chat are Marla Rausch, CEO of Animation Vertigo, and Paul Quiambao, VP-Operations and Art Director for the studio’s Asia-based office in Manila, Philippines.

PlayStation LifeStyle: Can you explain what Animation Vertigo’s involvement was with Until Dawn?

Marla Rausch (MR): We collaborated with them on the motion capture animation clean up work, which included making sure props, environments and motions all looked good, and the camera work sufficiently portrayed what it was that the director wanted.

Paul Quiambao (PQ): We received mocap data from client and made sure the work we produced was up to their level of standards.

PSLS:  What challenges cropped up during the studio’s work with Until Dawn?

MR: Animation, unlike mocap cleanup and solving, deals with more than the actor and their motions.  It deals with interactions with props, scenes, as well as camera views.   Interpreting what the director wanted and making sure that we were aligned with that is pretty challenging when you’re separated by time and distance – but we were able to work it out with the studio and we found our rhythm soon after.

PQ: Learning new pipeline and achieving our client’s standard of quality.

Marla Rausch

Marla Rausch

PSLS: Was Animation Vertigo surprised that Until Dawn did as well as it did both commercially and critically?

MR: Not surprised because based on what we saw initially as the idea and cinematics of the game, it was pretty compelling and looked like a fun game.  They took the time to talk with us about the game, where they needed it to be and how they wanted it to feel and look, so that we felt like we were in it together.  With the effort they did to make sure they produced a great game, I wasn’t surprised at all that it did so well.  We’re really happy for them that it did, all that hard work truly paid off.

PQ: We are very glad Until Dawn was a hit both commercially and critically. One of Animation Vertigo’s strengths lies on our ability to reach the standards of all our clients and we’re happy and honored to be part of the whole process.

PSLS:  Is Until Dawn the biggest (in terms of budget and scale) game that you’ve worked on?

MR: It is not, we’ve worked with several studios with various budgets and scales, which ultimately means tighter deadlines and demanding turnaround times, but it’s definitely one of the more interesting ones we’ve done as we felt we dealt more in the artistic side of animation and not just the technical side that motion capture generally feel like.

Left to Right: Lito Jadormeo (Technical Director), Paul Quiambao (VP-Operations and Art Director), Mike Marifosque (Senior Animator)

Left to Right: Lito Jadormeo (Technical Director), Paul Quiambao (VP-Operations and Art Director), Mike Marifosque (Senior Animator)

PSLS: We’ve seen PS4 games come out of other Asian countries like Singapore, do you think local studios have a shot of doing this soon as well?

MR: I believe the Philippines has a great shot of doing something like this, but there needs to be a lot of collaboration, help from the government and game development industry as well to make sure this happens.  We’ve got a lot of talent here, which is one of the reasons why Animation Vertigo is here.

PQ: Filipinos are well known for our creativity.  It will be a challenge but we will eventually get there.

PSLS: Now that Animation Vertigo has finished its work with Until Dawn, are you working on any other PlayStation games? 

MR: We’re working on several things at the moment, some of them might be with PlayStation but we can’t say anything about that at the moment.  Once we could, we’ll be sure to let everyone know.

I’d like to thank Animation Vertigo and its staff for taking time out to chat with PlayStation LifeStyle. You can check out the studio’s website for more info on their upcoming projects and more.

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