S4 Studios Llc. has teamed with Sunwoo Ent. to produce six half-hour episodes of WILD ANIMAL BABY, a mixed-media 3D animation, Flash animation and live-action series for the non-profit Washington, D.C.-based National Wildlife Federation. The 12x11 preschooler-targeted series will be distributed on home video via the NWF website (www.nwf.org/wildanimalbaby).
The series is based on the Wildlife Federation characters featured in NWFs popular magazine, WILD ANIMAL BABY, winner of the EDPress Distinguished Achievement Award and the Folio Celebration of Excellence Gold Award. The critters include Sandy the Salamander, Skip the Rabbit, Izzy the Owl and Rosie the Otter. The Wild Animal Baby series will introduce preschoolers to the natural sciences, by promoting literacy, simple math concepts and developing motor skills by imitating real and animated animals through interactive activities, songs and games.
In each episode presents a mystery to the characters a sound they dont recognize, an animal behavior they cant explain. With the show motto of Lets Explore! they set out on an adventure to solve the problem, discovering a lot along the way about the world around them.
The show introduces kids to the idea of deductive reasoning, which the characters use as a logic tool to complete their own adventures," said co-director Larry Le Francis of S4 Studios. "The idea is that kids at home will go out, explore, touch things and wonder about them; thats a very important part of this series. For example, in the first show, the babies have their picnic basket raided and they find some paw prints. In due course, they learn that it was a bear along with some elementary facets of their behavior, using actual bear footage thats intercut with the animation.
S4s art director/storyboard director Dale Hendrickson worked closely with the Sunwoo producers Jae Woo Park and Brian Doell to adapt the print characters for 3D, animated in Maya 7.0. The original vision was for more of a 2D graphic look, but as designs went back and forth, it got pulled more into the 3D world, Hendrickson said. The animation was beautiful and the show really captures a great balance of fun and teaching simple ideas to a preschool audience.
Le Francis adds, WILD ANIMAL BABY is a big step forward in S4 Studios move into longform and original content. Weve always wanted to work with Sunwoo and Anivision because like ourselves, they are looking to be on the front burner and be much more than a service company.
Animal Baby marks S4s second longform project, the other was Cartoon Networks THE GROOVENIANS.
The multi-media content and the way its used to teach preschoolers is what makes Wild Animal Baby stand apart, said Park. When we started working on the show, we contacted S4 Studios because of our previous experience working with Larry at Nickelodeon, and weve always wanted to work together again. We also knew that S4 Studios had the experience and the range of talent we were looking for. They just know how to run shows.
Also onboard for the show at S4 Studios are producer Geoffrey Kater and production coordinator John Evans. For National Wildlife Federation, Tony Summers is production exec. For Sunwoo Ent., Jae Y. Moh is exec producer and Moon Ju Kang is CGI studio gm. Music and additional animation was by Peach Blossom Media, Singapore, exec producer, Lingun Sung. Writers were Adam and Seth Gross along with Bradley Zweig. David Baron of Lightpost in Los Angeles supervises post-production.
Los Angeles-based S4 Studios (www.s4studios.com) is a multidisciplinary production company specializing in design, content development, 3D animation, 2D animation, visual effects and live-action production for television, feature films, commercials and trailers and home video. Founded in 1999, the studio has built a client roster that includes Cartoon Network, Rhythm & Hues commercials, Flyer Ent., The Cimarron Group, Walt Disney Television Animation, Viacom, Warner Bros. sand Winner & Assocs.
Seoul-based Sunwoo Ent. (www.sunwoo.com) offers a wide array of entertainment products and services. Founded in 1974 as a live-action commercial production company called Sunwoo Prods., it has since grown into the multiple facets of Sunwoo Ent., which have animated hundreds of episodes of the most popular television series, including Nickelodeon's ALL GROWN UP, Disney's LILO AND STITCH and Paramount Pictures' RUGRATS IN PARIS and THE WILD THORNBERRYS MOVIE. Sunwoo also creates and delivers 3D animation, online and mobile content, feature films, television advertising and promotional services.