Lucien, Superstar

Lucien may be a super star, but we think Samantha Leriche-Gionet qualifies too for producing this super sweet student film.

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10 Questions: The Line

First, sorry about the web silence. We were away too long, so it’s good to be back. And even better to be back with a great 10 Questions feature from  Bjorn-Erik Aschim from animation collective The Line.

Bjorn and The Line did the extraordinary WallFlowers animated short.

 

Who are The Line?

The Line is Me, Sam Taylor, TimMccourt, Wesley Louis and James Duveen. We’re also working together with Max Taylor at the moment. The team shrinks and expands depending on the projects we are on. But the 5 of us is at the core. We’re all freelance animators who met on a commercial project. We got on really well together and decided to share a studio space in East London. We eventually decided to give ourselves a name and release our films under a moniker. Now we are producing our own short films and working on advertising projects together with Electric Theatre Collective in Soho.

How did the idea for Wallflowers come about?

A drawing I had done on my blog in april ( http://www.bjornsblog.com/post/48932722682/so-then-friday-again) This was the seed which sparked the idea and it’s the first character in the actual film. There was a point last year where I was so sick of going out clubbing and meeting people that way, I remember doing the drawing on a Friday wondering whether to go down to the pub or just stay home. Somehow I think that dread must have channeled itself into this drawing. It wasn’t until later the idea of other characters came about. All of us at the line pitch film ideas every couple of months, and we vote for the one we think is the best. Then we get together for a few weeks or however long it will take and work on it as uninterrupted as we can. This way we always have a number of projects on the go, we all pitched a few ideas and Wallflowers was an idea which was clear and had a nice easy message to get across, had no complicated narrative or story to wrestle with and seemed like fun thing to do. Everyone was quite keen on doing these little character portraits. Timing wise it seemed pretty good too, we wanted to get something out there pretty quickly after “Easy”

How many people worked on it and who are they?

Everyone in the studio did animation and cleanup on the characters. Jonathan Djob Nkondo and Kristian Antonelli did some great animation on it as well. Max Taylor comped it all in a few weeks together with me as I was doing the backgrounds. Chris, Ben and Magnus of Box of Toys Audio provided us with an amazing original soundtrack with all original music that they created from scratch. Working from a temp-mix of tunes that I put together for the animatic.

How long did it take?

We started in in July, and worked at it on and off between other projects until it was done in December.

Can you take us through the process of how it was made? (I.E software used, stages of production.)

It was pretty simple, animated in flash, cleaned up in flash, then exported to after effects where my photoshop paintings were brought in and the characters put on top. Other effects like lasers , lights etc were added in After Effects by simply painting them and turning them on and off, moving them around. (Max did an amazing job with bringing everything to life, it’s a little more complicated then what I make it out to be, but the principle is as simple as that)

There’s lots of exciting new animation coming out, who are your favourite animators working today?

I find the animation scene in London these days to be super exciting. Things like the Late Night Work Club is really showing some amazing talent, and the fact that it’s all done independently really makes me happy and hopeful. Places like CRCR always blow me away with their stuff, generally all the french animators are killing it these days and there seems to be a whole bunch of people now who are more from an illustration background and not from an animation background but who just seem to “get it” and do amazing animation.

What piece of work do you see and think ‘I wished I’d made that!’

Charles Huettner “The Jump”

What’s next for The Line?

We’re working on a few new ideas. One which has a more live action aspect to it, we’re getting together all the go pro-s we’ve got and will shoot something really silly in London soon. It’s gonna be pretty mental I think, it’s got everyone really excited in the studio. Sam and Tim are doing a Podcast about animation as well. We’ve interviewed quite a lot of people already including Shynola, Animade and a few different top animators. The Peg Bar and Grill will be hosting the podcasts and going live in a few weeks at http://www.pegbarandgrill.com so keep your eyes and ears peeled. I’ve listened to a few of them already and they are so interesting, I don’t think there is anything like this out there for the animation community yet, it’s really important I think! We’re also planning a kickstarter and generally aiming to direct a few more commercial jobs.

What would be your ultimate project?

An animated musical with vampires and prostitutes.

Finally, perfect music for a top night out?

A bit of Whitney always hits the spot.

Thanks for your time.

Sure, no problem!

Pablo

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” Pablo Picasso

First, full disclosure, I mostly share stuff other people have worked on, things are a bit different on this occasion. Pablo was a series developed and conceived by Dan Berlinka and myself. It still feels a very personal piece, and despite being few years old now, has a big place in our hearts. We developed the series with the amazingly talented animator Siri Melchior. The enchanting music was composed by Tanera Dawkins. This animation sample is a short extract, but should give you a pretty good idea of what we had in mind. The whole thing came very close to being produced as a series and everyone involved still hasn’t given up hope that one day they might turn on the TV and see the series playing on Cbeebies or Disney Junior! Well, we can but dream! Anyway, take a look and please tell us what you think. Oh and we’re looking for other neglected or forgotten animations to spotlight, so if you worked on something that you think deserves another look let us know.

At The Ends Of The Earth by Konstantin Bronzit

One of the best things about running Cartoon Food are the chance discoveries…like when Pedro Eboli mentioned the Russian animator Konstantin Bronzit. His work is stunning, endlessly inventive and shot through with a mordant Russian humour.

We featured it in Pedro’s 10 Questions below, but we think it’s worth a post of its own, so here’s At The Ends Of The Earth by Konstantin Bronzit:

10 Questions: Giant Ant – Jay Grandin

We’re starting a new feature called 10 Questions…we ask interesting folk from the world of animation 10 questions about what they do, how they do it and what inspires them. First to take the hot seat is Jay Grandin, Creative Director and founder of Giant Ant, an amazing studio from Vancouver. We were inspired by the wonderful animation they did for TOMS and knew that we wanted to find out more about them.

Before we jump into the questions and answers, we want to say a big thank you to Jay for his generosity and time. Now over to Jay at the studio 😉 :

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1. First up – for anyone who doesn’t already know you can you tell us a bit about Giant Ant? Who are you and what do you do?

JAY: Giant Ant is a creative studio in Vancouver that tells stories through animation and video.

2. Can you tell us about your job and what you do within Giant Ant and also how you got into animation?

JAY: I’m one of the founders of Giant Ant and act as Creative Director on the animation side. Since we’re a small studio, “Creative Director” can mean a lot of things… from script writing and storyboards, to designing and animating. But, the one thing that’s consistent is that I get to learn from my amazing team of art directors and animators every day. I got into animation by just doing it. Giant Ant started out as a live action studio that dabbled in stop motion. As time went on, we began to dip a toe in motion graphics and then slowly built a team dedicated to it. I had the great fortune of hiring talented people that could teach me what they know.

3. What’s the best thing about your job?

JAY: The best part of my job is working with such a talented team that are constantly pushing themselves to make better work. We always say that the best idea wins, so there’s a tremendous amount of pride and empowerment that we all have to make the work the best we can make it.

4. What’s the most frustrating thing?

JAY: The most frustrating part of my job can be fighting for ideas that are uncomfortable because they’re fresh. Or fighting against the desire of some clients to do the same old thing over and over again. It’s also an exciting challenge that’s worth the effort!

5. Do you have any words of wisdom for any visitors to the site starting to take an interest or study animation?

JAY: Animate! Observe! Ask questions! Learn to do by doing. Learn by watching. Learn by surrounding yourself with people who are more experienced and ask questions. Learning is just being curious.

6. Can you take us through your process how you go from an idea all the way through to the final animation?

JAY: We start any process by asking a ton of questions. It’s the most important for us to know what the story is that we’re telling before making any stylistic decisions. We also want to know how the video is meant to affect people. For example, what do we want them to believe, understand and feel… and what do we want them to do with that information. Once we have a grasp on that stuff, we begin crafting a story that’s told in a way that connects with the audience on the level that we intend. Then we get to start the fun stuff: storyboards, style frames in photoshop, complete illustrations for each scene, and then we dive into the animation process. Much of our work combines different techniques and styles, so it becomes a very collaborative process between animators working on different aspects of a project.

7. What piece of work are you most proud of?

JAY: We’re proud of different work for different reasons. I really like our recent work for Target in that it tells an interesting story without “characters” or words. I love the recent work for TOMS because it was a new foray for us into character-driven animation. I also really like the piece we did about us for Pause Fest recently. It’s always hard to tell your own story, and I feel that the script really nails who we are and why we do what we do!

8. If you could pick another animators work that you wished you’d made what would it be?

JAY: Well, I’ve been pretty smitten with a lot of work that Buck has produced in the past couple of years. In particular, their work for Good Books and Child line are really really nice. They both take a lot of risks and have an exquisite attention to detail.

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9. How do you think animation will change in the next 10 years?

JAY: I was hoping you’d know! The past couple of years have given us this incredible collision between motion graphics, traditional animation, 3D animation and VFX. I don’t think that collision has been even close to explored yet, and that there are opportunities for entirely new sub-genres to start popping up that we haven’t even considered yet. I only know for sure that it’s going to keep changing more and more quickly… and that’s pretty exciting.

10. Who or what inspires you? Tell us about specific directors, shorts or animations that you love.

JAY: We all try to be inspired by different things, and I think that helps to keep things fresh. Some of our favourite “artists” are jewelry designers, puppeteers, architects, photographers and writers. But, no matter what, I always visit Wine After Coffee — a channel started by Jorge, one of our Art Directors — for my daily dose of motion inspiration goodness!