Thursday, March 18, 2010

Flashy Animation

We had initially planned on animating this sequence traditionally.

Steve Brodner did the character design. He drew Cab Calloway on a wall sized paper, he steps out of frame and Cab walks off the wall into a scene with a live action dancer.

The live action was edited and we printed and registered every frame -spending a few hundred dollars on ink in the process. We then started to pull Cab footage as reference, his movements are strange and idiosyncratic.

It made sense at this point, after planning out the film in the old fashioned way, to try to animate digitally.

Here Christina has rotoscoped key frames which had been timed out against the live action dancer.  The next step is a normal inbetween process.

Essentially Flash is a simplification of a complicated process. Instead of layering paper over print outs on a lightbox, then scanning the drawings -each step a little further removed from the source footage -we're able to keep them all together. The animator can scroll through the live footage with the animation, test the composite, layer multiple images ("onion skin" to see the movement), and draw frame by frame art.

The style here is loose, and we've developed a good brush/pen line to mimic Brodner's line. Sometimes it requires extra clean up. Here these are a pretty quick cuts and he's animating on ones (because the live action is on ones) so the line doesn't need the perfect detailing we'd give some of the other Brodner work, like the Infor "Down With Big ERP" campaign.

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