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The Ink Tank Traces Musician's Life Story

New York-based animation studio The Ink Tank has created four minutes of animation for ENCUENTRO, a two-hour documentary produced by Ninguna Ciencia for Puerto Rican television. The documentary features interviews with and music from several well-known Puerto Rican musicians including actor/songwriter Ruben Bladés. The animation is interspersed throughout the program and follows the life of a fictional musician from conception to the afterlife. Working with designer Carlos Aponte and a team of animators under Mary Varn, The Ink Tank used Macromedia Flash and Adobe After Effects to rotoscope live-action footage. Lead animator Mary Varn has collaborated with rotoscoping pioneer Bob Sabiston on several films, including the feature WAKING LIFE. "On WAKING LIFE I designed the characters and the scenes myself, which was so much to deal with on top of the animation," explained Varn. "For this project, I found it easy to adapt Carlos's beautiful character designs and elegant line to the medium, leaving me able to focus on the animation. And when I hit a snag, Carlos was always ready with a simple and working idea that saved the day." Additional credits for The Ink Tank include creative director R. O. Blechman, executive producer/co-creative director Brian OConnell, producer Richard OConnor, production coordinator Kalika Kharkar and editor David Etkin. The animators were Mary Varn, Andy Mastrocinque and Todor Radosz.

WAKING LIFE caused quite a stir in the animationcommunity. Is it really animated? Why is it "animated?" Is this justwhat the animated feature world needs or a sneaky imposter? Greg Singer reports.