3D layout and Previsualization are part of the Digital Visual Development and they are often underestimated as a fundamental elements of 3D or CGI productions.
If this attitude can be justified for advertising, considering the limited length of the products and the budget, when we talk about cinema (both feature and short films) this might be a determinental choice, that complicates and extends a production’s costs and schedules.
All the product’s quality depends on that: its working times, its storytelling, as is the outline of the entire film. Even if rough, it already contains all shots, camera movements, sets’ construction, the first elements of set design, the duration of the scenes and the sequences’ pace.
It is actually the first action made to build a camera’s settings and movements, that will be used for animated scenes or others to be combined with “real ones” .
Making a layout requires transversal skills, photography, direction, editing and every kind of animation. The more accurate you can be, the easier it will be to foresee, face and assign all the different steps of a production and post-production in CGI.
The layout artist must be familiar with all production steps and every cinema technique, because there are often direction related decisions to be taken, pertaining to 3D visual scenes.
Moreover, being a draft, the 3D layout is an excellent presentation to a client, prior to a final approval, since it is quite easy to be changed according to the clients’ choices.
Investing in a good 3D layout shows a wise and competent vision of a cinema production.