The French-Irish-Australian Animated Christmas movie “Santa’s Apprentice” that I worked on has finally been released.
For me, to work on this film as an Animator was an opportunity to reunite with some of my ex-Disney colleagues and to extend the Christmas spirit for about six months.
The film achieves a hand-drawn animation look with digital software Toon Boom Harmony so that we were creating paperless animation. This was a new experience for the twenty or so of us Animators who were used to animating pencil on paper now drawing directly onto a tablet monitor. I’d used the software previously at ettamogah but not in the same way. It was a great experience and chance to update the skills- no longer did we have to collect all of our drawings and head over to the linetest machine, we could do it instantly at our desks. Repositioning or adjusting drawings was an ease with instant feedback. The transition from traditional to digital was a relatively smooth one with useful tools available to us in the software.
Whilst most of my colleagues were Sydney-based, and I did spend some time in the studio there to acquaint myself with the project, I was able to work from home with a VPN connection and Skype to communicate regularly. Ahh, the wonders of the internet.
The work-from-home experience was a new one for me, well as a fulltime gig anyway- adjusting to the freedom of working my own hours, not having to commute or be in a studio and dealing with the distractions that come from working at home; and all the while still having to meet a quota. Once I set myself a routine, everything fell into place. It was a fun experience to share with my daughter and see her taking an interest in what I was doing. She would come up into my attic in the morning before school and ask and look over what I was working on. She would come up again at the end of the day and see finished scenes and get a great kick out of seeing these drawings I was making come to life before her eyes. That made it such a special experience. Oh, and she never considered it work for me.
Check out more on the film at the official "Santa's Apprentice" website.
Following are a collection of coloured stills and linetest frame grabs from scenes in the film that I animated.