Sunday, May 22, 2011


Christmas, New Year and other festivitas is over and slowly, ever so slowly, my little film comes along. Most design decisions have been finalized by now I guess, and hopefully all the strange technical glitches have been ironed out. So now I've begun frame at a time.
As a stop motion animator once said: It's like dancing ballet, just very, very, very slowly.

In the woods

In the last act of the story the script calls for an interior and an exterior of the circus truck on its way to the next town. I started with a stage design that came up far to realistic. I even put in “real” rain using all the wonders of computer simulated wind, rain drops etc.

But the more I tried the more the scene died. Eventually I realized that I had fallen into a trap, concentrating on making the scene look good, not allowing it to be the fakery it really is. Thus the dramatic content of the scene was held back instead of being revealed.
After resketching,and a lot of changes, replacements and simplifications based on this realisation, the scene now have gotten its “voice” back.

The audience

Representing the indifference of the art critic and the art audience, the audience in the circus had to be anonymous without being too somber or even scary. It turned out to be quite a difficult balance, to find the right expression for this "character".

Nothing really seemed to work, until it struck me that the audience had to be faceless and I came to think of these painted masonite things in travelling tivolies, where you can stick your head through a hole and have your photograph taken. And that was it!

Simulated stop motion

In Trapez I'm experimenting with what could be called "simulated stop motion". Instead of letting the software determine the inbetweening of any given motion, I prefer to do the animation manually frame by frame, limb by limb, moving the characters parts, as I would if it was a real puppet. Instead of taking a picture every 1/12 or 1/8 of a second (as in stop motion) the keyframes are automatically set by the software, and I furthermore have the advantage over tradtional stop motion, that I can turn on "onion skinning", thus being able to look forward and backwards in time.
By using this technique, I want to achieve an organic feel that is very far from the bland slickness of normal computer animation. And hopefully the unavoidable jerkiness and roughness of the resulting animation will by far be outweighed by the amount of life and personality.

The circus manager

The spline geometry:

 Face mask...

...and the finished character:

The acrobat

Spline modelling:

The acrobat head has been through several versions:

The final decaled character:


Mostly I do my sketches (as well as finished drawings) digitally. Here are some early sketches of The Acrobat, comparing him to a bird in structure.

Sketches for the second main character, The Circus Director / Agent

And misc drawings for the sets

Friday, May 20, 2011