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"Smurfs: The Lost Village" © 2017 Sony Pictures Animation. All Rights Reserved.

Interview

Smurfs: Imbuing Characters with Life

Smurfs: The Lost Village immerses us in the world of our one-foot-tall fantastical friends. In Part I of our look behind the scenes, we explored how the design process unfolded and influenced all aspects of the film. Now, with the stage set, we sit down with Valerie Morrison, Supervising Animator on the project, to dive deeper into the animation process that brought these characters to life.

Having grown up with the Smurfs, or Les Schtroumpfs as I’m used to calling them, I was really impressed by how well this reboot handled the translation of the property from 2D to 3D. It did a great job of honouring the look and feel of the original comics and TV series. What was involved in making that leap?

We worked very closely with Peyo’s [creator of the Smurfs] daughter Véronique to try and ensure everything felt true to the original comics and cartoon. And we continually referred back to the source material in order to maintain authenticity.

As for how we achieved this in practice, Sony’s been making a lot of movies recently that have more of a graphic, 2D-looking style. Hotel Transylvania is the most obvious example of that, as well as Angry Birds and Storks. A lot of the animators on Smurfs had worked on those movies and as such, were already familiar with the tools and rigs we used to achieve that look.

Did you develop any new animation tools for Smurfs?

Not that I’m aware of. But we did have to develop new approaches for certain items. For example, the Smurf eye design in this film was two eyes touching each other without any separation between them. That’s not something that we had ever done before.

Consequently, we had to figure out how to get the pupils to properly function as they got closer to the invisible centre line. And we needed to re-visit how to pose the nose around the eyes to make it look the most Smurf-appealing as possible. Establishing new rules and approaches for these situations were challenges we faced.

Read more of Jessica’s interview with Valerie Morrison at our website.







Community News

Vancouver Career Fair Happening Saturday

It’s almost upon us! The annual Vancouver Career Fair for VFX, Animation and Video Games is taking place this Saturday, May 6 at the Vancouver Convention Centre (West Building).

Designed to connect top creative talent with Vancouver’s innovative studios, the free event is produced by the Vancouver Economic Commission with contributing partners Visual Effects Society, Spark CG Society, and Vancouver ACM SIGGRAPH.

Larger than ever, this year’s event will bring together 35 exhibitors including a wider range of participants in the Education Expo so whether you’re looking for a job or for information on educational programs, this event is not to be missed!

This event is free to attendees. Be sure to drop by to get more information about SPARK’s upcoming events, find out about volunteer opportunities or simply to say hello!

For additional information and to register for a spot, visit the event website.







Submit to SPARK ANIMATION 2017!

This year, SPARK ANIMATION 2017 runs from October 26th to 29th, and whether you’re an independent filmmaker, a big studio, or a student, we want your projects!

SPARK ANIMATION is proud of the diversity of projects it receives and programs, and every effort is made to ensure a blend of traditional and CG animation. Be it a commercial or PSA, music video or experimental project, personal story or a game cinematic, we want them all!

Regular submission deadline is September 1, 2017 while the extended deadline is September 11, 2017.

For additional submission guidelines, information and to submit your project, visit our FilmFreeway festival page.

In 2016, we received nearly 800 submissions representing over 60 countries. Help us spread SPARK ANIMATION further by sharing the submission page with friends, colleagues and on social media! Don’t forget to hashtag your posts #SPARK2017!




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