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Last week at Unite LA 2018, Unity hosted our first Film and Animation Summit and welcomed creators across film and entertainment into our Unity community. Read on for highlights from our first-ever Shorts Program, news from the keynote, insights from our summit session lineup, and more.

There is no better time for storytellers in film and television to begin harnessing Unity because it empowers production teams to craft their narratives in a much faster and more intuitive way than traditional workflows do.

Digital Monarch Media on the Shorts Program red carpet.

We’re committed to enabling success for creators in the industry, a mission we share with many pioneers in real-time filmmaking — like Digital Monarch Media, whose virtual cinematography tools and techniques are being used by award-winning directors in Hollywood. This is why we are delighted that DMM is joining the Unity family! The team is led by Wes Potter and Habib Zargarpour, and both of them have a deep background in cinematics across gaming and film.

Also at Unite was our new workshop, Unity for Film: Tools for Linear Storytelling, which uses the Film Sample Project that launched earlier this month on the Asset Store (available for free for any creator looking to get more familiar with tools like Cinemachine and Timeline). We’ll be doing a repeat of this workshop online, so join Unity Connect or follow us on social for upcoming dates for film webinars!

Shorts Program guest speaker Jeff Gipson (Walt Disney Animation Studio), director of Cycles.

In a very special event — our first-ever Unity Shorts Program — 10 short films made with Unity were screened at the Regal Cinemas L.A. LIVE. For most of the directors and teams, it was the first time they had seen their Unity projects on a big screen.

The night’s guest speaker was Jeff Gipson from Walt Disney Animation Studios, who directed Disney’s first-ever VR experience, Cycles: a beautiful short VR film made in Unity. Jeff offered a sneak peek at the creation of the piece and how his family and personal stories influenced the creation of this one-of-a-kind project.

From left: Jeff Gipson, Michael Bolufer, Larry Cutler, Igor Simic, Neth Nom.

The evening screening included four episodes of Mr. Carton, all three Baymax Dreams shorts, the 2D render version of Baobab’s Crow: The Legend (based off their cinematic VR experience), a music video called “Take My Hand” from the world of Golf Club Wasteland (a mobile game), and the emotional short film Sonder, a piece already accepted to over 20 film festivals and winner of several awards.

Michael Bolufer and Mathieu Muller on the Shorts Program red carpet.

After the 53-minute program was a Q&A with some of the directors and creative leads. Neth Nom, director of Sonder, talked about creating a distinct look for the film, in which his team combined two-dimensional animation with 3D environments. Larry Cutler, CTO and co-founder of Baobab, shared the approach of turning a VR experience into a 2D rendered short film. Igor Simic of Demagog Studio unpacked the narrative behind his game world and how extending it into a set of linear stories, set to music, deepened the environmental storytelling. Michael Bolufer, co-director of Mr. Carton, shared the process of creating this clever series and how all the audio and sounds were done exclusively by mouth over the animatic.

Pixar and Magnopus after their panel at the Film and Animation Summit (from right): Isabelle Riva (Unity), John Halstead (Pixar), Luke Schloemer (Magnopus), Kalan Ray (Magnopus).

Lastly, our Film and Animation summit itself included a day-long lineup of speakers from Pixar, Magnopus, Digital Monarch Media, Baobab, Sonder, and many crew members who worked on Baymax Dreams. The energy in the room was palpable. We were humbled to see just how many Unity creators, from brand-new to power-user, showed up with their real-time filmmaking caps on to learn more about how this technology is fundamentally changing the industry’s approach to storytelling — whether for episodic series, short films, or virtual production.

Our Sr. Technical Product Manager for Film and TV, Mathieu Muller, also shared the product roadmap and plan of intent for Unity when it comes to animated storytelling. If you missed it, don’t worry! The presentation will be published on our YouTube channel along with some of the other recorded sessions from Unite LA 2018.

We can’t thank our community enough for joining us for such a special week. Learn more about Unity for Film, our new Unity Training Workshops for animation studios, and the philosophy behind real-time filmmaking. We encourage any animation professionals or studios interested in adopting Unity into their pipeline to get in touch for a consultation on what real-time can do for your workflow.

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