Alain Gagnol Talks A Cat in Paris
AG: With his painting background, Jean-Loup has a great sense for composition. For us, the picture as a composition is as important as the movement. We are not animation experts and we aren't looking for spectacular animation. The thing is that the animators have to be very sensitive about the graphic design. The movement does not prevail on the composition, except for fights or other fast action. If the picture is strong enough, sometimes you don't have to do a lot of things. We try to be as specific as possible in the direction process. We prepare the editing with the storyboards and, in a more accurate way, with the lay-outs. We don't use models sheets. Most of the drawings in the lay-outs have to be kept for the final shot. Therefore, the preparation means a lot, and Jean-Loup and I did a lot of drawings in order to keep the design as close as possible to the model.
BD: At least you were among friends at Folimage.
AG: At Folimage, we are lucky to have worked with the same people for many years. The movie was a co-production with Belgium. We had six animators at the studio, and six more in Belgium.
BD: What were the challenges?
AG: The kind of animation we asked for was kind of tricky. Most of the time, we wanted simple movements. But, in spite of what it might seem, it's not easy to be simple. The movement has to be very accurate, with good timing. From the storyboards, we thought about the movements that have to be on the screen and, most important, those that don't. It's important to spare time and energy for the main scenes where we can't avoid a lot of animation. The animation is hand-made, on paper, with erasers and pencils. I'm afraid that we are some kind of dinosaurs of animated movies. Hand-drawn animation is kind of a tradition at Folimage. We use computers for the line-tests, the coloring process, the editing, etc. But, until now, we keep on drawing on paper. Even the lights on the characters are hand-drawn, which is demanding a great amount of time and work from the coloring team. It is also an artistic choice. We are very fond of the sensitivity of the hand work. We even enjoy some of the flaws, as long as we can feel that there's is someone behind the drawing on the screen. Life is not perfect, unlike the computers.
All images courtesy of GKIDS.tv.
Bill Desowitz is former senior editor of AWN and editor of VFXWorld. He has a new blog, Immersed in Movies (www.billdesowitz.com), and is currently writing a book about the evolution of James Bond from Connery to Craig, scheduled for publication this year, which is the 50th anniversary of the franchise.-->