From comics to feature film, how Asterix was brought to life by Mikros Image

Released back in 2014, ‘Asterix & The Mansion of Gods’ had got fairly decent response from the critics and the public as well. It sold more than three million tickets in France and another three million worldwide in 34 countries where it was distributed. Another movie from the franchise is already in production. Mikros Image, executive producer and co-head of animation studio, Nicolas Trout took to the GAFX 2017 stage on the second day to give the attendees a glimpse on what went into the making of the movie. Crowned as the most successful French comic licence ever and having sold 350 million copies, translating Uderzo’s piece into an animated form was not an easy one, according to Trout as the expectations were pretty steep. According to the stats that he presented, it took around 700 days for production, about 233,000 final pictures were rendered (stereo), and about 390,000 lines of Python code was written for the final pipeline. The project took about 1,700,000 hours of rendering where around 4,000,000 images were rendered. One of the major challenges as the speaker explained was to remain faithful to the artistic universe of the comics and thus they were not sure what render style to use. The first 3D test was made five years back. The characters and all their aspects had to be localised to bring in the feel, that included French acting over French voices and a unique choice of album and its adaptation had to be put in place. On the technical aspect, character density was a challenge faced by the makers. Most of the work was outsourced to a studio in Belgium owing to its close proximity. The vegetation was reportedly complex as well. We were also informed that the whole village set-up for the film had to be made afresh as each one of the comics has a different look. Thus, adapting from each of the books, an entirely new model of the village was made. But at some parts the makers bent some rules and custom made their own and the speaker encourages it. Something we in this country are pretty familiar with, that is ‘jugaad’. The makers only modelled a few characters and made changes to the assets of the same model to multiply the crown in several scenes. Addressing the problem of the work pipeline, Trout asserted how complex it was and how they changed the entire designated pipeline for creating the feature. The future challenges he said include adapting to the future industry as well as to the pipeline. He also showed his concerns about adapting to the new production model. The studio is currently working on a few features like Sherlock Gnomes, another Asterix movie and also Sgt. Stubby.