I know that I’ve been gearing up to move the site, and said that I wouldn’t be making any new entries until the new site was up. But I would be MAD not to post a link to this.
This new animated promotional short called “Klaus,” created by Sergio Pablos, is perhaps the most stunning leap in hand-drawn traditional animation in decades. It is clearly Sergio’s intent to redefine what hand-drawn animation can look like in the modern age, and make it so seamlessly blend with 3D animation, that you almost can’t tell the difference. And yet, you most certainly can.
The shadows are stunning, the level of detail and shading around the character’s faces and inner creases, the bright highlights from the morning and evening sunlight, and the range of color that engulfs every frame of this 2 minute short is nothing short of miraculous.
I also am very excited to know that my particular fondness for the animation is well-founded, because Sergio Pablos is the animator responsible for creating the movements and manerisms of Doctor Delbert Doppler from Disney’s Treasure Planet: a character whose animation I have been a fan of for over a decade. So I could not be happier to know that his chief animator is aiming to take those skills to new heights in a new and updated production such as “Klaus.”
I can’t say for sure whether or not the technique used here is a quick or efficient one. Although I would assume Mr. Pablos would not try to spear head a new hand-drawn animation project without keeping the cost and time of production in mind. So I’m guessing that elements of this are still automatic, but are created with a very special program designed to create organic paint stroke edges, while also sticking strictly to the line-art of the characters. Or something to that effect. Much like how Disney was able to design the unique approach to “Paperman,” with it’s blend of 2D and 3D animation. Although, THIS short blends the two much better, by retaining the use of 3D graphics for certain objects and items, but leaving the characters entirely hand-drawn save for the way they are colored and shaded. And it is a vastly better technique than the dry and lifeless 3D shading used on the Looney Tunes in Looney Tunes: Back in Action.
I think we are reaching a new age of hand-drawn animation. And I think if you’ve kept up with the thoughts and feelings of plenty of industry movers and shakers, you should sense it too.
Laika Studios, after their brilliant success continuing the art of clay and stop-motion animation, want to do a hand-drawn film next. Brad Bird has stated in Tomorrowland interviews that he wants to return to 2D again for a new project. Hulluabaloo is still going strong and should have its first short out of 4 by the end of the year. And the classic Disney/Fleischer inspired indie video-game “Cuphead and Mugman,” while not having much news as of late, still has the potential to come onto the scene before this year is out.
I sincerely encourage everyone, that if you haven’t watched this short up above yet, please do so right now. You will be blown back in your seat by how stunning it’s design is.