Notes from the back of the sofa

Just returned from Hockney's gallery in Salt Mills, nr.
Bradford, and feel thoroughly enthused about drawing again.
Having a rest post-Coldplay has been a good recharge. I've
been spring-cleaning too, which is a huge effort, but very
positive. I've even been backing up. Inconceivable.

Here's some Onwards debrief material I found.

Lots of speculation this "started as drawing, then goes 3D",
"was done in Flash" and so on. In fact it was all 3D, post-
treated to look so much like James' ink drawings that even
his mother couldn't tell them apart.

James is well versed in making technical drawings for his
toys, so he drew up this. I sketched in the joint locations so
this guy would later do exactly what I said.

James is an impressive, competitive runner. The original
plan was to run the marathon in a suit Nike custom made
in Portland. James then proceeded to thoroughly bust up his
leg and that idea evaporated. However some brave chap ran
on his behalf, and here's proof:

"Yellow Thing".
"What is that thing again?"

From the very start I decided that if this was going to be a film
about running then the movement of the run in question ought
to be actually good - not some 'animation' run cycle. Despite
James' injury, it made perfect sense to base the character's
movements on his. I wanted the character to be James.

I shot footage of James at the gym, running on a treadmill,
then working through his stretches. This was the basis of
all the animation. I didn't use motion capture because Andy
Serkis bought up all the ping-pong balls in the world and
extorts a premium.

Instead I painstakingly scrutinised his movements and got
the character to resemble, as close as I could, James' cadence.
Compared to James' other characters this guy is generally of
human proportions so the movement translated quite
naturally. Most of the problems involved ensuring that his
enlarged hands didn't thump himself in the face.

Later, I filmed reference of myself as well, blowing snot.
Finally, my big break.

Mia appears a little too enthusiastic in her role.

While I built a library of movements I also began to build
the world around him. Cubes stood in for trees while I
blocked in the camera moves. I'd render low-quality
movies of the shots and drop them into the edit, replacing
the animatic.

These work in progress movies show it coming together.
See if you can spot the embarrassing mistake.

I was constantly updating and tweaking to ensure that the
movement flowed from one shot to the next alongside the
music. I also had to making sure his feet fell on the beat in
each shot to maintain the synchronised rhythm.

James would come over and eat all my biscuits in exchange
for pages and pages of drawings. I lost count of how many
trees he drew. Every drawing was then scanned and a matte
made. These dressed the scene.

I had to be careful that James drew everything at te right
scale, so there was consistency to the line thickness. Other-
wise the wizard would do us in.

These were rendered out and the running man was done
separately. That was a job all in itself.

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