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Bugsbot G: The First Korean TV Animation Series Made with Unity

June 17, 2021 in Entertainment | 6 min. read
Man sat next to a plant and sitting in-front of large wall mounted screen
Man sat next to a plant and sitting in-front of large wall mounted screen
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Cocktail Media is the production force behind Bugsbot, the first Korean TV animation series made with Unity. Min Seok Kang, Lead Art & Technical Director of Cocktail Media with rich game development experience and a history of leading multiple projects made with Unity, introduces the story behind the development of Bugsbot G.

Bugsbot G and Unity

Since the introduction of Unity to Bugsbot series in 2018, Cocktail Media leveraged Unity’s real-time rendering technology to deliver big improvements to their development. They shortened their animation production process by more than 50% and fundamentally improved the production pipeline. As a result, Cocktail Media decreased asset production lead time from 5 weeks to 2 weeks, post-production lead time from 4 weeks to 2 weeks, and rendering time from 30 minutes to just 5 seconds. Kang considers the Bugsbot G project - made with Unity - a successful project that realized the possibility of change in the animation production process.

By leveraging Unity, we were able to shorten the animation production process by more than 50% when creating the Bugsbot series. I think that incorporating the Unity Engine, which is widely used in game production, into our animation production process to achieve innovation was the main reason for being chosen as an investment partner of the Korea Technology Finance Corporation. Cocktail Media strives to be the standard of content technology companies that maximizes its content based on its innovative, robust technology.

 

Min Seok Kang, Art Director, Cocktail Media

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Features that enhanced the animation visuals

UTS (Unity Chan Toon Shader) 2.0

The benefit of UTS (Unity Chan Toon Shader) 2.0 is its speed and the ability to ensure consistent quality. Delicate shadow gradation settings, rim light settings, and stencil mask feature to express animated eyebrows were used to simplify the implementation of 2D animation cell styles. In addition, being able to check results faster and having easier texturing work were significant advantages in animation production.

editor screenshot

Real-time platform

Before leveraging Unity, team members had to focus 100% on applying overall effects to each element, from drawings to backgrounds. Now, the team was able to use the real-time rendering technology to apply effects to scenes and view the results immediately. Simultaneously working on sprites, effects, and backgrounds without having to redraw parts of the scene that needed editing. This simplified many production elements and enhanced the quality of work result by allowing the team to work more efficiently and enabling Cocktail Media to consolidate their animation pipeline from pre-production and post-production phases into one.

Cinemachine

The introduction of Cinemachine enabled the various, dynamic camera moves that were once considered impossible in 2D animations. Even now, rich scenes with simple panning, dollying, character focus cams, and natural shaking can be created. Marvelous Designer improved cloth quality and uses spring bones to enable delicate simulations of details such as hair.

Bugsbot editor screenshot

Shader and Effects

Advanced VFX led to high-quality effects, and the use of the Shader Graph with improved safety enabled the implementation of diverse atmospheres and rich effects to scenes.

We’re planning some short projects such as music videos or projects where various effects can be used. Also, we’re considering developing school curricula to engage college students by providing basic assets made by Cocktail Media’s production team. We’re hoping to see some original results through the collaboration of creative students and expert producers. Cocktail Media aims to connect with the public through these internal & external “toy projects”. Being able to implement such projects would be another benefit of using Unity.

Min Seok Kang, Art Director, Cocktail Media

 
Bugsbot editor screenshot

What possibilities does Unity provide to the animation industry? 

Although Kang expressed his hopes of creating diverse works by leveraging Unity’s new features and assets and emphasized that while Unity can provide unlimited possibilities to the animation industry, the road ahead is still long. Although the introduction of a real-time 3D production pipeline provides many benefits, it still lacks the rich expression of emotions and bombastic effects of 2D. 

Cocktail Media is committed to securing Unity as the foundation for all future projects, leveraging Unity to its limits for the production of Bugsbot Open World, the sequel of Bugsbot G, and in their future IP projects such as Constellation Idol (working title) (PG-15 animation targeting young female viewers) and Galaxy X

The use of Unity is a matter of survival and not a matter of choice in the modern animation industry. Besides budget savings, the fact that work assets can be reused for various purposes is indeed a disruption in the industry. Assets that were only serving animation scenes in the past can now be used in multiple scenes within a project, even expanding their use to games and other various media. We expect that this trait will be very helpful in our internal metaverse projects as well. 

Min Seok Kang, Art Director, Cocktail Media

June 17, 2021 in Entertainment | 6 min. read