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'Flushed Away' With Supervising Animator Simon Otto

Bill Desowitz talks to supervising animator Simon Otto about marrying the two styles at Aardman and DreamWorks in Flushed Away, which marks the formers first 3D-animated feature.

Flushed Away supervising animator, Simon Otto.

DreamWorks supervising animator Simon Otto expands his horizons on Flushed Away, learning how to adopt more of a stop motion character performance style within a photoreal 3D world. He previously served the same capacity on Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas and was an animator on Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron. He also worked as an animator on The Prince of Egypt and The Road to El Dorado. Otto received animation training during an internship with Walt Disney Feature Animation in Paris. The Swiss native studied animation at CFT Gobélins in Paris.

Bill Desowitz: What was your role on Flushed Away?

Simon Otto: I developed characters, especially Rita [Kate Winslet] in pre-production, and brought it up to a production standard. And we worked very closely with Aardmans Jeff Newitt, who was head of character animation. And, little by little, we were joined by other animators. We kind of developed the style and essence of what we were trying to achieve.

BD: Describe marrying the two styles of Aardman and DreamWorks.

SO: We, of course, studied all the Aardman films, including the shorts. And Ive grown up with Aardman so much that I had a precise idea of what it is. But the big challenge as CG animators is that we are animating on 1s. And in stop motion, of course, you try to animate on 2s to be more efficient. But with the computer, if you animate on 2s, you encounter a lot of other problems. For example, with special effects, you have to make sure that it all works camera movement, things like that so it doesnt make sense to animate on 2s in CG. But since we had time to develop a real face where we could look at all these options, we did some tests to see what it was like to animate on 2s and see if there was a technical way to make it work. But it turned out that you limit yourself working that way in the computer. So we found that we got better results by animating on 1s.

This is a brief excerpt from the interview with Simon Otto. You can view the rest of the interview at the exclusive Flushed Away site.

Bill Desowitz's picture

Bill Desowitz, former editor of VFXWorld, is currently the Crafts Editor of IndieWire.