BRAIN ZOO STUDIOS - THE MARVELOUS VOYAGES OF MO DAVOUDIAN

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Brain Zoo Studios Logo
A month or so ago I was given the privilege of posting a 'news-release' relating to Marvels new hit animated-adventure, 'Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United'. Today I've been given yet another privilege, my friends. Today I've had the opportunity to talk to the founder and president of 'Brain Zoo Studios', Mo Davoudian. Here. Check this out.


Iron Man and Hulk: Heroes United


1) What are your own origins, Mo? Plus what path did you take in life prior to getting to where you are today?   It was the cartoon, '7 voyages of Sinbad', that sparked my interest in animation. After seeing the cartoon when I was 7 years old, I was obsessed, wanting to understand how it was made. Then 'Empire Strikes Back' came out and I would go to see it in the movie theatre every weekend, Saturday and Sunday, all day long, as back then there was no Netflix or DVDs. During the week I would read comics and build models.

7 voyages of Sinbad
When it came time for college, I studied industrial design at Arts Center (Pasadena, CA) since it was the basis for design methodologies used in Star Wars. How to break into film, however, remained elusive to me.

Furthermore, 3D software was still very new on the curriculum. During my semester abroad in Switzerland, where the pace was much slower, I got bored and started spending time in the computer lab to self-teach myself on the software that was big then, 'Alias v3.0', and the software that the first Jurassic Park was created on.

When I got back the US, a bit frustrated that entertainment applications were not integrated in my program, I contacted a former teacher who had started a game company, Fantasmigoria, to ask for an internship. I spent a lot of time building backgrounds. A key project I got to work on was a Spiderman TV show, which was a great experience.

Jurassic Park
I knew I wanted to work in entertainment, so with another good friend and designer, Farzad Varahramyan, we produced our own CG animated short film. That sci fi film with CG backgrounds, entitled 'Persopolis 2', was the start of our careers. We actually got major studios to come watch the screening! For our second short film we chose to do something different, a live action background with CG compositing. 

Farzad and I then asked ourselves, how can we continue developing CG techniques and get noticed? So we got a booth at the E3 conference -- this was the launch of Brain Zoo Studios.

2) What inspired the development of ‘Marvel’s Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United’?   Well, how can one not love the Avengers franchise?

3) In your own words how would you describe this animated adventure?   Working with Marvel on “Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United” has been one of the greatest experiences so far working with a client. They are wonderful, trusting collaborators because they are able to recognize the strengths that each party brings to the table.

Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United
4) Out of all the surprises that came your way during production, what do you think you learnt from the most?   Having been in the business for almost 2 decades now we have integrated a lot of best practices, notably from the gaming world, nonetheless, during this project we had a “wow” moment as it became evident just how quickly we are able to get things done.

A lot of the collaborators here at Brain Zoo have been working together since the early days, so we have a streamlined process in place.

Over the years we have been taking the benefits of different animation methodologies and they all came together on this project to create a really smooth flow. We were able to push our pipeline further than we might have realized in the past to produce a full feature length film with wall to wall action. The more action, the more cuts, the more shots and effects, and thus the longer the process. Time is one of the most valuable assets to clients and being able to provide focus, which for us is composed of speed, efficiency, and quality, is what we strive for.




5) If your movie omitted a smell, what odor would it be and why?   There are a lot of effects in “Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United”, so I’ll say the smell of explosions or of incendiaries.

Robert Downey Jr
6) If you could get a known celebrity – either living or dead – to promote your flick, who would you chose, and why would you want this particular person?   Who better than Robert Downey Jr., himself?

7) What were the main obstacles you had to contend with?   As I mentioned before, the volume of shots and effects, which consequently increases the volume that needs to be rendered.

There was also the challenge during 'look development' to respect a comic book, cartoonier look and still do justice to the current design trends of characters. There is a unique cross over between western style and anime.

8) Do you have any other projects on the horizon?    We have an in-house short film in production. After our first short, 'Pepe & Lucas' garnished awards, we are working on a second one in a different register taking me back to my roots. It’s a boys’ actions sci-fi fantasy due out in mid to late 2014.

We're also finishing up an animated pilot for Amazon that incorporates the unique use of puppets and motion capture along with CG animation, and a second feature film for Marvel.

Pepe & Lucas
As part of continual development, Brain Zoo always looks for ways to stay ahead of the curve. For example, one technical area of development is how to produce the same beauty quality of action sequences with fewer layers, relying more on camera angles and eliminating the pre-rendering step. If the image is beautiful, the audience cannot tell how many layers were involved. We can get the same results with less overhead and better efficiency.

9) If ‘Heroes United’ had a motto, what do you think it would be?   'Heroes Unite' seems fitting. Collaboration, unity, and trust are great actions for success.

Wow! How on earth can I top that, dear readers? I can't, can I? All I can really say is thank's to Mo for spending some time with us, and urge you to check out the Brain Zoo Studio websitefacebook page, and YouTube channel

Iron Man and Hulk: Heroes United
Iron Man and Hulk: Heroes United