A Filipino 3D film designer helped Sony Pictures Animation design its latest film “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.”
The animation film which features the voices of Anna Faris, Andy Samberg, Benjamin Bratt, Neil Patrick Harris, and Mr. T, himself, conjures all types of food from cream pies, burgers, pancakes, ice creams, and pizza, among many other delectable goodies, falling from the sky.
The movie is a fun and exciting adventure for the entire family. Scenes of meatballs and other delicious foods hurtling towards the town is one spectacular and tempting sight.
John Butiu and his team from 3D Visual Development helped design how the movie will look. He started work on the movie more than three years ago.
“Before the film gets made, the producers and director, working from the storyboard, commissions a two-minute clip of the movie which will be used to decide the look of the movie and sometimes even dictates whether a movie gets green-lit at all,” John said at the Sony Animation Studios inside the Sony lot in Culver City.
“I personally worked on the main characters like Flint, Sam, Brent, Tim, and the character called Mr. T, (who is really based on the famous TV character actor),” he adds.
Thanks to the humungous box-office hit Avatar, 3D animation is now considered a major industry in Hollywood and John is happy to be at the forefront of it.
John comes from Davao City, initially wanted to become a car designer and studied at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena before dropping out due to financial reasons.
Together with some friends he got his start in Hollywood at the Rhythm and Hues Studios in Marina Del Rey where he did character modeling works on the movie Babe and a host of other TV commercials. He later moved to Disney and worked on Chicken Little, among others. From Disney he transferred to Sony where he worked on two high-profile franchises: the Harry Potter series and the Narnia Chronicles.
When 3D started making a comeback in the late ’90s, John was prepared and knew how the technology works. “When I quit school, I taught myself the 3D side of animation because since I didn’t graduate and go to school, I didn’t have a 2D portfolio just yet, so I started workingon character modeling and I just built from there.”
John’s work on this movie and the recent blockbuster 2012 gives him the chance to further improve his craft while enjoying how his art has completely evolved since he started in the business more than 10 years ago.
Will we ever see a Filipino character soon in an animated film? “Of course, yeah, I’d love to do it,” John excitedly declares. “But it really depends on what the director wants. It will be cool to see little Johnny on screen!”