Here's some background for ya!

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These are the original BG (background) layouts for the backyard. I photocopied each element at 200% or more as they were traced and cleaned up with a brush pen on a separate piece of animation paper.

Then each element was scanned into photoshop, curved within an inch of its life and vector traced in black and white into Adobe Illustrator. There, the elements were coloured with the Mesh Tool; an amazing invention.

I brought each piece into After Effects and used the layout to size and place the elements in a close approximation to the drawing. Tricky and time consuming when in 3d space.

Every "living" element (tree) had a clean-up of three drawings (with a brush pen) and three colour fills. In AE I made the clean-ups cross dissolve in a loop and dropped them into the main comp.

The final compositing trick was to turn a light on. The default light was a soft sunny yellow, almost white. This worked as a gel, sort of, to bring unity to the colour pallet. I didn't get any time to really play with it. Especially when the storm rolls in. (I hope these gifs work!) (UPDATE: nnnope.)



 Here is another background. The gif shows you the only element I managed to get cleanup and scanned.

And here's the bird's-eye view I used as the establishing shot:


You can see how the whole stage was set up in AE and it's 2.5Dness. One of AE's quirks at the time was to pop the ground plane up and down at a moments notice, especially when trying to place the camera. Good times!!


About the author


Toronto based animation artist. Busy, busy dad. Sheridan grad, class '02. Since then I've worked in almost every discipline in animation. I've worked on Nickelodeon, Disney, and Nelvana programs, to name a few. Prior to animation I worked as a model maker in the special effects industry. I got to…

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