Saturday, December 22, 2012

Sarah and Mushka


I will be living with these two for a while, since they are the main characters of my animated film.
It is a story of love and sacrifice, set in Russia. I have been working on story and pre-production throughout the year and will go into production next year.
The style will be a sort of like an animated sketchbook. I had been wondering if instead of using digital color I could just use color pencil shading right on the animation drawings. When applied very carefully the flickering will be minimal. 
Here are just a few character studies to give you an idea where I am going with this.
Luckily the LA Zoo had a couple of tiger cubs (they are almost fully grown now), so I did spend some time there to observe and sketch them. 










This is a little teaser I put together. The idea behind the scene is that Sarah, who is raising this tiger cub, realizes for the first time that even at this young age he already has a "killer instinct".



All artwork and video © Andreas Deja

77 comments:

  1. This is great. I loved the colors and the fluidity of the lines. I am really anxious to see the final result, Mr. Deja.

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  2. Waw, looks great! By the way, Mushka will be Мушка in russian.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, can't trust internet translation.
      The word Mushka looks beautiful in Russian.

      Delete
  3. Looks great Andreas! I can't wait to see it!

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  4. I agree about the Мушка comment, and WOW! The characters and the animation look so beautiful! That's the truly classical Disney animation feel, I can't wait to see more of the production art and of course the finished product!

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  5. WOW! Andreas I am so excited and looking forward to see this film!
    It looks amazing and the idea behind is very very good!

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  6. Thanks Andreas for this marvelous christmas present!

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  7. I'm completely amazed with this preview! The characters are very, very appealing and the graphical style of the sketchbook is my ultimate dream about the future style of animation!

    The drawings of the tiger cub also made me feel the deepest respect about the way they capture the spirit of the animal with the minimal amount of lines :)

    As for using pencil shading instead of a digital color - that would be the most wonderful addition to the style of the film! I spent a lot of thinking about this issue myself, trying to figure out the way to do it without flickering. I guess if the color was put on a different layer in digital compositing system, a bit of motion blur or temporal softener filter might be applied on it to minimize the flickering, and then, a constant paper texture might be mixed into a composited frame so it would look like animation were playing on the same sheet of paper.

    If you could later post a small sequence of frames with color shading, I'd like to try this compositing method on them :)

    Good luck in this project, and Merry Christmas :) :)

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    Replies
    1. Tadeusz,
      thanks for your thoughts on the color shading issue. To be honest, the current look doesn't bother me. I saw your test, too,
      but I think I'll keep doing it this way, on paper very carefully.
      Merry Christmas!

      Delete
    2. I also think the raw hand drawn version is the best, but I'd prefer digital filtering of flickering to giving up pencil coloring completely. I'm happy that pencils will stay in final version! It's just gonna be a lot of work - even Disney didn't attempt hand drawn shading (except tiny details in Snow White, Pinocchio and Fantasia) having hundreds of artists at hand, so it's a wonderful challenge.

      But such beautiful, artistic look is something that will help to create a hand drawn animation reinessance :)

      Delete
  8. The film looks amazing, Andreas! I like the rendering style of Colored Pencils. I look forward to the completed film.

    ~John

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  9. I think the colored pencil helps establish a tone and style with the short. Will you be producing all the animation yourself or will there be an assistant animator to help with the in-betweens?

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    Replies
    1. I will eventually need help with rough inbetweening, color pencil shading and layouts and animation, too.
      The film is going to be roughly twenty minutes long.

      Delete
    2. That's cool! Looking forward to seeing it in it's competion!

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  10. Fantastic, Andreas! I am very happy that you are doing this, it's so inspiring to the rest of us only thinking about doing something.
    Can't wait to see it entirely.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Sandro,
      I might hit you up for some animation next year. :)

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    2. It will be my pleasure to participate on it, Andreas!

      Delete
  11. Beautiful I can't wait. How long are you planning it to be?

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    Replies
    1. Yarim,
      it's going to be about twenty minutes long, there will even be a song in it. Great journey ahead.

      Delete
  12. C'est fabuleux Andréas. Fantastic. Which company will produce your movie?

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    Replies
    1. M (as in James Bond?),
      I am producing it myself. I'll worry about distribution later.

      Delete
    2. >>> M (as in James Bond?)

      I am much more glamorous...

      >>>so I will need all kinds of help
      Andreas, How can I send you a link featuring relationships between a lion with humans(which will not appear on this page)?

      Delete
  13. It's been a long time since I've been this intrigued by an animated movie.

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  14. This looks spectacular! Definitely looking forward to it! :D

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  15. -B-
    Masterpiece!
    The face-look of little tiger cab reminds me of Russian style from Soviet era animation in 60's. Did you have that subconsciously in mind during designing it, mr.Deja?

    -Amir

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    Replies
    1. I raise you a little tiger cab: http://i.imgur.com/bi10V.jpg

      Delete
    2. Amir,
      I didn't have that style in mind. Some of the artists and illustrators I introduced on this blog sort of influenced me.
      But I do like many, many Soviet animated films!

      Delete
  16. An animated film using color pencil shading?! I will be looking forward to that.
    Coincidence since Channel 4 here in the UK will be showing the long awaited sequel to 'The Snowman', 'The Snowman And The Snowdog' on Christmas Eve.
    So much lovely traditional animation to look forward to in the near future. I'm all a tingle with delight ^_^

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    Replies
    1. I am a big fan of the UK Snowman films!

      Delete
    2. :D Great to hear. I hope 'The Snowman And The Snowdog'is shown over your way. It went down well over here and I know I enjoyed it.

      And not sure if they ever showed this ad over your way, but it's an Irn Bru drinks ad that parodies the film. It still makes me laugh.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4yZOab5gl-4

      Keep up the good work ^_^

      Delete
  17. Congratulations! I'm so happy for you, and so excited to see the result. These sketches are so much fun; I've always found tigers incredibly appealing visually and I think they lend themselves well to animation. Maybe I just have Shere Khan bias.

    Anyway, congratulations again. Best of luck with the project!

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  18. Good for you Andreas, I like what you have done to the colored pencil style of the animation and its so artistic. I'll look forward to your project and I'll might check it on your blog.

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  19. oooh. this makes me very happy. ever since I first learned of you from some interviews from Lilo & Stitch DVD and started reading your blog, I'd always seen you write about other people's projects you've worked on...but never your own. Which had me thinking for the longest time, what a project of yours would be like. This looks and sounds wonderful, can't wait to see it.

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  20. Andreas! I was really hoping you were going to hook us up with a Christmas surprise like this. So great. The timing is impeccable, and so much life and and energy in such a short clip...Please tell us long we'll have to wait for completion. Oh, and: Merry Christmas!

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    Replies
    1. I would like to share as much as possible along the way about production on the film. I just need to find out how much I can show and still qualify for film festivals later.

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  21. I love it1Its raw and alive and shows the power of your draftsmanship. Yeh go with the color pencils.
    Have you ever tried tom bow color pencils?

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  22. I'm really happy to see you doing this, Andreas. If hand drawn animation is to make a theatrical comeback, I suspect that it is a small personal film like this that could turn out to be the catalyst to generate interest once more. I agree with others who are hoping you'll continue with the coloured pencil style, as digital colour seems lacking in soul when compared to traditional media. If you're concerned about "flickering" (and I'm not sure you should be, as it keeps the image constantly alive), maybe try some rubbed pastel for a softer fill of colour. Anyway, I wish you all the best with this - looks like a lot of us are excited to see the end result!

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  23. Looks amazing! Love the coloring style, love the animation - can't wait to see more!

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  24. Wow, this looks simply amazing! I am especially excited with the style that it will be shown in. Pushing the medium! The story is very edgy but with a beautiful core. Tigers are such fascinating creatures. I fed one over the summer (my cousin is an zookeeper intern) and it is an exhilarating experience. The tiger (named "Tigger") was pretty docile. My cousin said their eyes turn green when they smell testosterone, though and they become aggressive. This reminded me of when Bagheera tells Mowgli that Shere Khan "hates man." When I went to leave with the meat, he jumped on the side of the wall. I think I almost lost my breath when that happened. Dangerous but beautiful animals!

    Hope it gets mass critical acclaim!Where do you hope to generate talent from (geographically and talent wise) to help you with it?

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    Replies
    1. Probably toward the middle of next year. the film will be roughly twenty minutes long, so I will need all kinds of help.

      Delete
  25. Go, go, goooooooo, Andreas!! You're off to a great start!

    This will be a short, right?

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    Replies
    1. Hey Greg,
      Merry Christmas, hope all is well.
      The film will be a featurette, about twenty minutes.
      I'll show more bits and pieces on the blog as I go along.

      Delete
    2. Alles Gute!! Frohe Weihnachten und Ich wunsche dir ein gute rutsch!! Let me know if you ever come to Deutschland in 2013. imdgman@gmail.com

      Delete
  26. Completely outstanding... In this days when everything is done with much a feeling for money-making and each time further from the art it's really nice to watch things like this, full of character and too much more alike an art form. I can't wait to see it.

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  27. Hallo
    Das ist wirklich toll! Ich bin schon ganz gespannt darauf, wie der fertige Film aussieht. Mich würde auch noch interessieren ob es ein Kurzfilm ist und wann man den ganzen Film anschauen kann?

    Ich wünsche Ihnen frohe Weihnachten und ein gutes neues Jahr!

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    Replies
    1. Hallo Little Lion,
      der Film wird etwa zwanzig Minuten lang werden, und ich hoffe,
      gegen Ende 2014 fertig zu werden.
      Frohe Weihnachten nach Deutschland!

      Delete
  28. Thank you for posting this! The pencil test is gorgeous, very clear and full of character. I feel that the message of the text preceding the animation is fully stated by the animation itself. Which is a good thing. Can't wait to see more!

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  29. I like always presence of the nature in the films.
    Thanks for all posts this year, especially for the 'Evolution of Jafar' compilation. Happy Holidays Andreas and good luck for your film!

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  30. this looks wonderful i think pencil colour would look great ! it worked for the snowman :) and it looks beautiful on the trailer youve made cant wait to see more !

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  31. Wow.
    I really love what you did with the cub and the little girl. The style of the film is also really cool. I look forward to following your progress with the film & seeing it once it's done. I wish you the very best with the film.

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  32. That cub is so CUTE. I love her "did anyone just see that reaction".

    Cannot wait to see the full thing.

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  33. This is proof that 2-D animation is still beautiful! If Disney feels like the public is tired of seeing traditionally animated films, then why not try something visually different like this? Studio Ghibli did something similar with My Neighbors the Yamadas and it worked out just fine.
    I'm glad artist like you are still producing 2-D work because I for one am sick of seeing CGI movies about ghetto animals.

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  34. 2d got the power! I don't ask myself if the result will work because it actually does.
    I follow your blog since the beginning and it is nice to recognize what you love in design.
    It is so sad that butterfly dies. I love tigers! Too wild to finish in a zoo, to beautiful to finish as a carpet! I can't wait to see which "message" you will deliver in the movie. Probably sad story

    Good luck, et fais-nous rever!

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  35. Hi Andreas! my name Ivan.I`m animator from Russia. If you need any help (information, animation, inbetween and anythink else)I`m happy to help you))

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  36. This is the germ of a very nice movie, with the girl realizing that her cute tiger cub has certain natural instincts. I think that this scene should start with the girl already sitting with the tiger cub's head in her lap, petting him and rubbing his ears, and he enjoying it in the sensuous way cats do, when the buttfly happens to fly overhead and pause midair, the girl notices it, registers pleasure at its beauty,then she tries to make the cub notice the butterfly by tilting the cub's head upward toward the insect as she points to it, but the cub doesn't seem to notice, then the butterfly lands on her finger, then she moves her finger down to the cub and she smiles as if to say "isn't this lovely?", then the cub sniffs the butterfly tentatively, then he makes a kittenish, halfhearted swipe of his paw at it, and the girl lifts her hand to get the butterfly away from the cub and the butterfly flies upward a few inches but immediately alights on the finger again, then as she holds the butterfly high, the cub goes into a crouch wih its ears back and its eyes narrowed, then sudenly it lunges and more quickly than the girl can react, it snatches the butterfly into its jaws, and lays it head down in her lap again with the butterfly half sticking out of its mouth, the girl registers shock and dismay, the cub looks at her as if he is proud of his prowess and expects more petting as a reward, then the girl gets an uneasy smile with an expression of dismay still in her eyes as she realizes that these are his natural instincts, that he sees the world much differently than she does, and then the buttfly wing flits slightly in the cub's mouth, the cub quickly swallows the insect, the girl reacts with an appealing mixture of bewilderment, disgust, understanding and love, then pets him gingerly on the head. By this we know they will forge a lifelong frindship and he will grow into a powerful creature, relying on her intelligence as she realies on him as her connection to wild nature.
    http://swofford-characters.blogspot.com/

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  37. I was waiting for this since you released the first drawing. The animation looks great (Was sollte man auch sonst erwarten...?). By the way the colored pencils look much better and I expected.

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  38. I hope you don't clean it up, the original drawings look wonderful. I love that you're not hiding that it is made of drawings!

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  39. Very cool. 2D again thank you I so miss seeing it.Can't wait to see all of it.

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  40. Andreas, please post your turnarounds for Sarah. Your drawings are always beautiful!

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  41. This its truly a beautiful work. Left a smile on my face. Can´t wait to see the whole film or more artwork about it. Thanks for sharing.

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  42. Beautifull drawings. Got to see this :)

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  43. Die Zeichnungen sind einfach wundervoll, Andreas Deja! Jedes Mal, wenn ich Ihre Kunstwerke sehe, bin ich hochmotiviert, den Stift in die Hand zu nehmen und loszulegen.
    Sonntag gehe ich wieder in den Berliner Zoo, um Tiere zu zeichnen und werde bei den Tigern bestimmt an Sie denken. ;-)
    Ich wünsche Ihnen weiterhin viel Freude und Erfolg bei der Entstehung dieses bezaubernden Kurzfilms und bis super gespannt auf das Ergebnis!
    Beste Grüße aus Deutschland und alles Gute für das Neue Jahr 2013!

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  44. Andreas, I have been a big fan for a long time. Will this be released independently or will it be distributed via Disney? I love it. This truly displays your superior draftsmanship, knowledge of motion and action-reaction. Can't wait to see the entire movie. Great job sir! Gary

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  45. Sehr geehrter Andreas Deja! Im Rahmen meines Animations-Studiums an der Hochschule für Fernsehen und Film Potsdam würde ich Sie gerne bei der Entstehung von "Sarah and Mushka" ein Stück zu begleiten. Sicherlich wurde Ihnen diese Frage schon öfter gestellt, aber gäbe es die Möglichkeit ein Auslandspraktikum bei Ihnen zu machen?
    Ich möchte, dass traditionelle 2D-Animation erhalten bleibt und all das lernen, was einen guten Zeichentrickkünstler ausmacht. Herzlichst, Sandra Thieme* e-mail: sandra.thieme88@gmx.de

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  46. The way you capture movement in the still sketches is incredible! This is a skill I am desperatly trying to learn.
    I know you will be inundated with offers but I would absolutly love to work on this film. I feel that the only way to learn how to animate with this fluidity and emotion is to do it. I have been listening alot to the Animation Podcast recently and I came across your interview. I know I have the same need to learn and grow as an artist as you do. I try to better myself by drawing from life as often as I can and I sketch all the time.
    I have already attended UWE (a University in the UK) and graduated with a first class. I have a blog on here; robynliebschner.blogspot.com. If there was any chance that I could come and work on any of your films please email me; robyn@liebshner.co.uk

    Even if there is no space for another artist on your film, I just want you to know that your work inspires me to keep trying harder and to inject more emotion into my characters.
    (sorry this is all on here, but I don't know any other way to reach you.)

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  47. Wow! I'm really looking forward to seeing this. What a beautiful tiger cub. I'm not an artist, by any means. Probably couldn't draw more than a stick figure to save my life. I can spot good cat anatomy, and motion, a mile off though. I'm an old cat guy. Been working with big cats for years, and love to see them in art & animation. In fact, the influence of The Lion King & The Jungle Book in my youth had more to do with my career choice than you might imagine. One of my most prized possessions is a signed drawing of Scar, by you.

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  48. Wonderful work Andreas.
    do not change the CGI animation please!

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  49. Oh these are so wonderful! After watching the teaser trailer I really see how full of life and love loose drawing can be! such and inspiration!! I've always thought less lines equal a better drawing although that might be true with certain drawings...but I really love the flow of the tiger! very beautiful work Andreas! Looking forward to more clips!

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  50. You are my hero, Andreas Deja! I remember looking through the credits of The Lion King and doing research on animators back when I first started to get really serious about my animation career. You and Mark Henn are two animators that I can say I love and I will always remember. I love the fact that you are keeping traditional animation alive. I like CGI too, but traditional animation is wonderful and we can't let it die! I would give anything to be an animator on this movie. I know it's an unrealistic expectation to work on this film because I'm in high school and just sent in my first application to CalArts a few weeks ago. I really hope that you continue making movies after you're done with this one, that way I'll have time to go to CalArts and get better and better and hopefully I can make a movie with you one day! I'm really looking forward to this movie!

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  51. You know, my hometown might love to distribute your animated film! Maybe this link can help: http://filmhamilton.com/
    It's just my suggestion you know.

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