The second season of The Mandalorian has come to an end. Before the finale hit though, Kite & Lighting shared an interesting animated short video called “The Child Strikes Back” where Grogu is talking to his agent and even presents a teaser for the third season of the show. All of the acting, animation, and voice work was done by Cory Strassburger, who created this with “an iPhone, Epic Games’ Unreal Engine and inexpensive pre-built digital environments and characters purchased online.”
In the comedic short film, Baby Yoda (Grogu) finds his voice and makes his opinions clear in a behind-the-scenes negotiation with his agent. All of the sets (Baby Yoda’s apartment, the desert environment), the stormtroopers and agent character were low-cost assets purchased via the Unreal Marketplace and CG Trader and modified to fit the storyline as needed. Strassburger performed and voiced all of the characters from the comfort of his living room using a head mounted iPhone camera rig, and Unreal Live Link Face iOS app to map his performances directly onto characters in Unreal Engine.
Talking about creating this short animation, Strassburger said:
The agent was a character I found on the Unreal Marketplace which I modified, adding a series of facial expression poses so the iPhone could puppet his face with my face performance. This whole project was about not trying to spend time doing anything elaborate or any custom builds—most everything was art directed from what I could find online, or plug-and-play from existing assets. A major studio feature has armies of creative teams to build fantastical sets. On a project like this, there was no budget to custom build the perfect settings but nowadays virtual filmmakers have vast libraries of marketplace props and environments at their fingertips, which are easily customized. All you need is a story to tell!