Tuesday, March 02, 2010

The Secret of ... Success

You want to make hand-drawn animation, this might be the way to do it.

Tomm Moore is the director of the animated film “The Secret of Kells” ... Set in a remote abbey in medieval Ireland, [the film] follows the adventures of a boy — a young monk in training — as he works with an illuminator to finish the Book of Kells, the Latin manuscript transcribed by Celtic monks around A.D. 800 ...

... The film arrived with strong buzz from animation fans, earned when it won the top audience prize at the Edinburgh Film Festival in July, the first animated film to do so ... [Mr. Moore] said he hoped the attention from the Oscar race would propel the film to greater success at home ...

Mr. Moore and Mr. Beckman both said they didn’t believe “The Secret of Kells” had a chance of winning an Oscar. But in their case just being nominated really does pay dividends: in audience awareness, DVD sales and future financing ....

Ralph Bakshi says that animation artists should go do their own films. So here's an artist from a small town in Ireland who's actually done just that. Kudos to him.


Dorseytunes said...

Here's to an indie with a vision!

Anonymous said...

"So here's an artist from a small town in Ireland who's actually done just that."

And by the way it was an international production, with participating satellite studios in France, Belgium, Hungary, and Brazil , as well as the parent studio, Cartoon Saloon, in Eire.

Recent article in Variety says that Cartoon Saloon is now at work on a second 2D feature (working title: "Song of the Sea") which will also be an international co-production , this time all paperless using Cintiq tablets and TVPaint Animation software.


Scribe Ellen Wolff in Variety writes --

"But today's 2D animators don't need the deep pockets of a major studio to benefit from digital developments. At Ireland's Cartoon Saloon, headquarters for "The Secret of Kells," director Tomm Moore used affordable off-the-shelf software to create his Oscar nominee. Wrangling the work of 200 artists spread over five countries might have been impossible without the production management system called HoBSoft, he observes. "It's a great way for teams that are not all under one roof to coordinate with the supervisors and the director."

The Cartoon Saloon team is using Cintiq tablets and the French software TVPaint on its next production, the 2D "Song of the Sea."

"I am very happy with how close to paper and pencil we can make our animation," says Moore, who will again collaborate with artists in several countries. "It's a very efficient way for small studios with limited budgets to create full hand-drawn animation in a multi-site way."


Anonymous said...

With a crew of 200 and multiple financing partners, this is hardly the kind of individual production Bakshi was talking about, but it's a notable accomplishment all the same. And it's a fine film. Congratulations to all involved.

Steve Hulett said...

Regarding animating on Cintiqs:

Disney flirted with doing this on The Princess and the Frog, but discovered that sub-contracting studios quoted the Mouse a lower price for jobbing if it was done on paper.

That, and the fact that some of the in-house animators liked paper, told the tale.

But I think that paperless, hand-drawn animated features will happen with greater frequency as we move along.

Steven said...

The Ellen Wolff quote is the kind that drives me up the wall; the premise that somehow the computer or the software "does" the animation. (Unfortunately, some of our producers seem to believe the same thing). The elements of the production process that are facilitated by computers have largely been removed from the domestic pipeline years ago. "Paperless" 2-D is still 2-D.

The striking design concept of "Kells" is one that could ONLY have been executed in 2-D. Ultimately, that, if anything, will be what saves 2-D.

Anonymous said...

I have a Cintiq that I use for non-animated work, and while it removes the tedium of paper-based art (the ease of erasing alone makes the thing worth its $2,500 price tag, at least for me :D), it in no way replaces the basic talents required to turn out professional-level work. So it's a grand tool, but nothing more. Still, it has potential to make good 2D animation cheaper to produce, and that too may help save 2D.

Anonymous said...

I have worked on this film and I can tell you that for a European animation feature, this production was pretty big. Animation was split over three studios and there were several other studios involved for other parts of the production process. I think it only partly suits what Bakshi means, especially since the production pipeline is a completely traditional pipeline for handdrawn animation.

The software mentioned, 'hobsoft', is an adminstrative online tool for (animation) production studios that work with other studios at long distance. It's not an application for creating animation.

Pencil or Cintiq, It's Still Hand-Drawn to me said...

"The software mentioned, 'hobsoft', is an adminstrative online tool for (animation) production studios that work with other studios at long distance. It's not an application for creating animation."


True enough about HoBSoft , but it was a key component in being able to coordinate the far-flung work on Kells.

The application for creating animation which is mentioned in the Variety article is TVP Animation, which is an application for doing paperless hand-drawn animation , which apparently Cartoon Saloon is going to use for making their next feature "Song of the Sea".

TVP Animation software has already been used to make at least two paperless feature films: "My Dog Tulip" by independent filmmaker's Paul and Sandra Fierlinger (who are presently at work on a second hand-drawn paperless feature) and "The Apple & the Worm" an animated feature film made by the Danish animation studio Copenhagen Bombay, directed by Anders Morgenthaler.

The TVP Animation website has an extensive interview with the animation director on "The Apple and the Worm" , Mads Juul , which goes into detail on how they used TVP's paperless pipeline to animate the film with a relatively small crew of 25 artists.

Anonymous said...

It would be really great for this little film to win the oscar.

hcjehg said...

Hello All

I thought I would bring a bit of trivia about the production to the forum.

The film was produced in 7 studios around Europe and Brazil with a work split approximately like this:

Pre production and Story up to Layout was done in Kilkenny-Ireland.
Backgrounds: Kilkenny-Ireland and Angoulême-France
Animation: Kilkenny, Brussels-Belgium, Sao Paolo-Brazil and Kecskemet-Hungary
Cleanup: Sao Paolo and Kecskemet, and the odd one in Kilkenny
Ink & Paint: Liege-Belgium
Compositing: Brussels and Angoulême
3D: Brussels
Final editing: Paris-France

All being directed and edited (except for final editing) from Kilkenny, the main base of the director Tomm Moore (His blog: http://theblogofkells.blogspot.com/", and the teaser for the next film from Tomm and Cartoon Saloon http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VdCabgJQpbA)

The film was drawn on paper, with a few sequences in Flash and 3D integrated with 2D. A few scenes incorporated flash elements.

Photoshop for Layouts and BG's
Good old pencils and paper for animation and cleanup
Linetest in Animo
Ink and paint in proprietary software (SoftAnim) in Digital Graphics (http://www.digitalgraphics.be)
3D: 3DSMax by "Walking The Dog" (http://www.walkingthedog.be)
Composite: Combustion, Shake and SoftAnim by Digital Graphics
Misc: A little bit of flash (Italy, and Ireland)
Editing: 4 Avid systems automatically kept up to date with latest footage (HoBSoft is also integrated with FCP)
Production system: HoBSoft (http://www.hobsoft.net)

Here is an early clip of video featuring some early artwork, and some clips from the studio in Brussels, it is in French, but interesting even if you do not understand.

Here is an article more or less about the same

As a last tid-bit of info I would like to add that the production Manager Camille Leganza(Now DreamWorks Redwood), who at the time was living in Turkey did about 50/50 of her time at home and in Kilkenny, however... once production had finished in Ireland (Except for direction and editing), (so only 6 studios producing), Camille worked almost 100% from home in Turkey.

Imagine keeping the reins on 6 studios "From the comfort of your own home"

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