In each of the Action for Children films to date, I have employed a different animation style to convey the children’s stories in a visually interesting way. Emily’s story was animated with models of a young girl created using 3D printing techniques.
Whereas the production method involved the traditional stages of 2D design, storyboard and animatic, the model was then built and animated in CG. At this point the animated frames were exported for 3D printing as stereo lithograph models in a process by which digital information is used to determine the shaping of resin using lasers.
Around eighty one inch models were produced for the outdoor shots and fifteen six inch versions made for the closing sequence. These were then hand painted and shot in a live action environment during an intensive outdoor night shoot and a further studio based session. The animation, although initially made in CG, was created on fours to create a genuine stop frame feel.
‘Emily’ in its use of a tiny model of a child, presents a metaphorical vision of the real child out in an environment where she shouldn’t be, left feeling vulnerable, invisible and worthless. The model is so small that one could walk right past it without even noticing it was there, implying that we are all to some extent responsible for the neglect of children, just like the shadowy background figures in the film who pass by unaware.
As with the previous commercials in the AFC campaign, the use of stop frame and real physical materials echoes the truth of the stories being recounted.
I wanted to create both the smallest scale stop frame piece and the world’s first full character rapid prototype animation. It’s a technique I’d be extremely interested to explore further, the smooth CG animation taking on the imperfect feel of stop motion when physically placed and animated, resulting in a new style.
You can view the TV commercial here
The 'Making of' here