BlizzCon 2016 Overwatch Animated Shorts Panel Transcript

Production Concept

BEN: Production concepts basically are the list of all the ideas that need a concept. That includes: main characters, secondary characters, crowds, props, sets, even all the posters, the books, and the photographs that the character interact with in the movie. All needs to be concepted out.

Concept Workflow

For Last Bastion, we did something a little different. We have been challenged with the unique task of creating a forest. So here is a little bit of a workflow that that we have gone through for Bastion. First, we have our blue sky painting that looks beautiful. It is pretty much our opening shot, or the inspirational opening shot, and our modeler will take a stab at creating this beautiful painting into a 3D environment. It looks really good, but it just feels a little busy.

So our art director Mathias came up with a style guide to help you understand what we try to do, what kind of story we are trying to tell, or kind of guide your eyes to what we want you to see. The concept artist redid another painting incorporating some of the philosophy from the style guide, and the modeler did another pass which looks much, much better; and that is our final shot.


BEN: Storyboarding is basically taking all the beats and drawing them on a piece of paper, or on computer, and that is a version of a beat boards that we did for Sombra episodes in INFILTRATION. It is a little bit more fleshed out than the one that I showed you earlier.


And at this point, we also involve our editorial department. We have two super talented editors working for the episodes. On the left we have Jake Patton, and on the right we have Nathan Schauf. I gave my art editor a nickname: The Master of Time and Space, because they control the entire edit from the beginning of the episode, all the way to the end.

Back on the storyboard side, the storyboard artist start drawing all these storyboards in a rough path that we call the rough storyboards. It is just as it sounds.

It is draw as fast as you can making sure all the ideas came across, and then we turned these boards over to our editor who then starts a 2D animatic.

Basically, it is kind of like a movie that we incorporate all our storyboards in. With the edit, we start noticing there are certain parts that need to be cleaned up a little bit better, what idea needs to be fleshed out a little bit better, so we start doing a clean-up boards.

Sometimes the artist would use color, sometimes grey shade. Basically, trying to get the idea across as clearly as we can, and as fast as we can.

These new boards will eventually replace the rough boards in our animatic, and this time our editor will also include temporary sound effects, temporary dialogue, and temporary music so that eventually our storyboard edit will look like this.

There is a lot of work that went into making these storyboard edits, and a lot of drawings involved. So I did a rough count of how many boards that we actually did for each of the episodes, and it totaled 21,028 storyboards.

That is a lot of storyboards, and just in case you were wondering what that looks like, that is 50 boards across. So that is a lot of storyboards.


BEN: Once we finish our storyboard edit, now we can start Previz. Previz is basically taking two of these storyboards and translating them into 3D space. We try to stay as close to the storyboards as we can, and depending on the sequence we might cut out a shot, add a shot, or maybe combine two or three shots together, and making one big monster shot.

We try to capture the essence that we tried to create in 2D storyboards in 3D. All our previz artists are camera experts, they are what we call the cinematographers. They are creating composition 3Ds. That is going to try to match the storyboards. If not, they will come up with even better ones. They will use different lenses for characters.

For example, Widowmaker. You don’t want to shoot her with a wide lens. You want to shoot her with a long lens. You would use a wide lens for showcasing crazy action sequences.

During previz, we encounter what we call the real world problem. For example, sometime the set is too small to stage the fight, or the prop and the character doesn’t match. Sometimes it is too big or too small. Maybe one character is too short compared to the other one and so it’s a great place for us to find out these problems early on we can solve them in previz. It is a much cheaper process than actually trying to solve it in production. So with that it’s pretty much the end of our production of preproduction and I’m going to turn this back to Kevin.

Next: 3D Modeling

StoryProduction Concept3D ModelingAnimationFX TeamTechnology
LightningSound Design

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BlizzCon 2019 Panel Transcripts

Tomas Hernandez is owner of since 2003. I post news about World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III, Hearthstone, Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm, Blizzard Careers, and the Warcraft film.

Blizzplanet is a leading fansite covering news about upcoming Blizzard Entertainment licensed products. I also post previews and reviews. I have interviewed book writers and Blizzard game developers.

I was previously an employee of the OGaming Network (2003), and IncGamers (2008-2010). I was a guest newsposter for GosuGamers (World of Warcraft) a few years ago and for (formerly

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BlizzCon 2019 Panel Transcripts

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