How'd They Do That? Innovative Animators


In honor of International Animation Day on Oct. 28, we've got four very distinct kinds of animation on the homepage. We caught up with the creatives behind two of these videos to find out the stories behind their techniques.

First up, Arthur Metcalf, who will single-handedly change the way you think about plastic packaging in "Fantasie in Bubblewrap":

"I made a very rough breakdown of scene ideas, then improvised the dialogue at my computer and pitch shifted it up by different octaves for different characters. I cut that into an animatic and my brother Sam and I then shot standard definition DV footage of me popping the bubblewrap. The faces were drawn flat in Flash, speaking and blinking, then tracked and bent onto the faces in After Effects."

Next, Nina Paley, who is responsible for the vibrant "Sita Sings the Blues":

"I designed, colored, and animated "Sita Sings the Blue" mostly using Flash, and edited in Final Cut Pro. I also used After Effects for the barely-animated paintings -- which I painted by hand -- and Synthetik Studio Artist for the colorful explosions at the beginning. The project started on a Mac laptop in 2002, then migrated to a desktop in 2005, when I committed to making it feature length. (It started as a short, "Trial by Fire," which I incorporated into the feature -- it's the part with Hanshaw singing "Mean to Me.") The whole thing took three years of work spread over five years of time, mostly between 2005 and 2008. I designed, colored, and animated everything myself, with the exception of apprentice Jake Friedman who contributed some excellent monkey-on-demon violence during summer 2005. (Jake wanted to learn Flash; I handed him monkey and demon 'puppets,' he practiced with them in Flash, I cleaned 'em up and incorporated them into the "Battle of Lanka" scene.) Of course, I found excellent collaborators for the audio: Greg Sextro was the sound designer and audio engineer, and the voice talent reads like a who's who of New York Desi actors: Sanjiv Jhaveri, Reena Shah, Debargo Sanyal, Aladdin Ullah, Nitya Vidyasagar, and many more. New music was contributed by Todd Michaelsen, Rohan, Masala Dosa, Nik Phelps, and Rudresh Mahanthappa. Just as important has been the dazzling support of the audience, who continue to fund, promote, and distribute the film. The credits at the end are woefully incomplete, since so many more have contributed since they locked."

You can read more about "Sita Sings the Blues" here, from Wired magazine.

25 Responses on "How'd They Do That? Innovative Animators"

  1. Jeremiah says:

    Wow, some very good work. Very impressed.


    aww. cute! bubble wraps! hehe

    brinkka says:

    I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I think I will leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.
    By :

    i salute you man. the technique is way beyond amazing than those what i've read thus far. thanks for sharing this. i also stumbled on this article "Animation" which i think is interesting too.

    Anonymous says:

    Nowadays, there are a lot of ready made animations available in the internet but if you want to make one, you can download IllusionMage and it's really a great software that produces stunning animations.

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