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Miracles First Glimpses

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Miracles First Glimpses

Hello AWN viewers,
If you check the new headline article just posted on , we are showing the first views of a few of the concept style renderings for our 2D Miracle Mouse animated project. We are attempting to capture a style for the film which has not been done before. That being said, we are most interested in knowing if the animation community has seen a film which carries a simular style, or have we hit something new? THAT being said, is it a style that appeals to you for a feature film? Any feed-back is greatly appreciated.
Tom Hignite
The Miracle Companies Inc.

Sorry, man, but two seconds of that website's musical assualt was all I could stand. Go flog your webmaster and try again...

Maybe it's me, but the rounded, 3D characters don't seem to work with the stylized backgrounds. The mother and child hedgehog seem grounded in the scene at the house, while the mouse and beaver don't. Has to do with the way their feet interact with the skewed path they're on.

But again, maybe it's me...

Hello AWNers,
Once again , you are giving a lot of food for thought. To DSBs comments about the 3Dish character designs not really working well with the flater design of some of the backgrounds, I do see your point. Next weeks PART 3 of the production will show you an attempt to redesign the characters into a simular style of the background style that we have not revealed before. Mrs. Mole(sorry not a hedgehog but I do see the simularity) and her kid are an attempt to flatten the characters a bit but Miracle Mouse and Okey Doky are still not flattened. We are still tweaking each illustration in preparation for publishing the book and we will have another pass at this character inconsistancy to background. I would love to show you some footage from our animating sequence so you could see how we think we have overcome the melding of character to background issue. We will premeire a few feet in the next month or two.

Sorry CHEROKEE58 for the few second assualt of music when you open the website. It only lasts about 10 seconds but if you can not take the music, just immediatly either press the music-off button on the right hand column or quickly press the "read more" on the bottom of the main articles first paragraph. I hope the music is not scaring anyone else away.

Lastly to DOUBT , you have opened the door to something that really may need an important clarification. I am glad that you find the style appealing and like the color pallete. We do have a few awesome color stylists on staff, one with Warner Brothers experience and one with Disney experience. I am amazed daily at how good they make us all look. I also understand that many animators (like you for example) would think it great to be able to animate on this film. You state that you have seen our talent line-up(perhaps on our website) which shows almost all of our staff except one ex-Disney experienced staffer, but here's where I think you are misunderstanding our situation. As you ask about how many animation staffers we are planning to hire to complete the film, you insinuate perhaps that this film is somehow a "sure thing". That , I am afraid, is just not so.

I am a businessman who has an artists background and a love of 2D animation storytelling but I am not independently wealthy enough to complete this film without substantial investor assistance. My main business is building and selling new homes. I have a staff of 70(or so) construction workers and 13 in my animation staff. It is a constant struggle to keep home building and animation going when(if) the housing market takes a downturn. We are seeking illustration and animation work to help suppliment the studios existance. My path to finish this film is the "hope and a prayer" method. We are creating 2 childrens books at the same time that we are developing the final version of a scripted story. We are also actively animating a 4.5 minute musical sequence from the film, in hopes that when we seek investor(s) to finance the film, we can show exactly what the unusual styling of the film will look like when it is married to character movement. The effects and timing are very aggressive in scope on a par with a classic Disney film. In short, we are truly a grass roots effort and we move forward each day thrilled in the possibility of what we are doing but always looking for the day when full-speed-ahead will be possible. We have even considered using our 4.5 minute sequence with an accompanying childrens read-along storybook which could be sold with a CD of the making of the sequence.

I am laying this out first because I beleive many who have followed our progress have a misunderstanding of our capability, and second to seek ideas from the animation community(you folks) for ideas on furthering the project in a grass roots way. I see this film as the child of the 2D animation community that does not want to see itself become obsolete. Take it from me, when this film appears on movie screens it will carry a message of MIRACLE in many ways beyond the studios name.
Tom Hignite
The Miracle Companies Inc.

Actually kids love detail, think the Richard Scary books, they check them out over and over again at the library, because each time they see new things.

To me the illustrations were more like that treasure hunting "rabbit charm" book. The guy that had a rabbit charm made by a jeweler and hid it, then published the book with the clues. For the life of me I can't remember the title or author. I wish your characters were a little more stylized, less "Disneyeque" and fit the sets more like the way characters in Samauri Jack fit the stylized backgrounds.

But I like that you guys are going out on a limb and trying something new.

By the way I love the three waterfalls, EXCEPTIONAL!

Pat Hacker, Visit Scooter's World.

Thanks PHACKER. I too think that the details of the linework will keep kids coming back to the book again and again. Hopefully the art will cause the parent to buy the book in the first place. Yes, we are out on a limb and I am much happier to recieve comments on this off-beat style than what we recieved a few months ago when many people thought our studio was only interested in re-hashing old disney films. I too love the 3 waterfalls. Look again this coming Friday for a "sad "illustration of Miracle Mouse in his bedroom done in a way which stylizes the character nicely(in my opinion) to the very graphic background.


i like it. its fresh, it def is different.
this is for a commercial right?

the composition in the first picture has a little too mch going on (im thinking in terms of how much work you have to do) you could tone the detail down a little and still not lose out on the effect.

personally the only thing i dislike is the outlines. i have always had a preference for relatively thicker lines) but thats a personal thing.


Thanks SKINNYLIZARD for the praise. These are however not for commercials but the concept illustrations/style guides for the proposed feature film(one segment of which we are presently animating) AND some of these will be appearing in an illustrated childrens book which the movie is loosely based.

Hello again,
The last(Part 3) "Hignites Reports" article about our conceptual art for our 2D Miracle Mouse proposed feature, has just been posted. You will, as always, find it as the feature article on and it is showing a few more choice pieces of art. Due to timing, one illustration is missing and we will update this posting on this coming Monday. We are also offering pre-orders on our upcoming hardcover illustrated book. I hope my hawking merchandise on that site does not cross the line of taste but this grass-roots project appreciates any support we can get. Thankyou all for your valued input .
Continued Blessings
Tom Hignite

*Do these extra concept AND actual production renderings look like we are still on the right path?

THOSE I like. Really shows that all the guidelines from design class can prove themselves on the ground. When there are two pictures next to each other, the one on the left of the garden? My favorite, because it's got detail like you want, but because of the repetition of elements you only feel the group instead of the pieces -- no clutter. The saturation up front, the atmosphere in back to aid perspective, and the color cast to the image as a whole really gives it a cinematic feel, and really feels more like a usable layout.


In the first picture my eyes don't know where to go. It's cluttered and noisy and everything's competing for my attention.

In the second the actual physical space is opened more, and as one of the few curvy things the character stands out more, but it's actually really disorienting to have everything graphical to such a strong degree and especially to split the floor like that.

Have I seen anything exactly like it in a feature? Not that I can recall. Would I watch 90 minutes of it? I'd like to, but I don't think I could. I have the feeling it'd be like visiting a liquidation book sale and seeing nearly a thousand covers in the span of half an hour. Your brain just sorta melts at the information overload.

Less is more here.

I like the colors and textures in the second picture (with the stork). The gold color and soft lighting give it a nice fantasy feel. I agree though that the first picture is a little crowded--kind of like an illustration in a picture book. A lot of picture book illustrtions are super detailed, because the reader has time to enjoy and examine the scene. But in a motion picture, all the details might be overwhelming.

It's an excellent concept, though. I look forward to learning more about the project!

Best wishes,

Use More of a Focal Point


It's wonderful to see something being produced in 2D.

The first color palette has more of an overall feeling.

The second palette is good for that scene- but its not something that could carry the whole movie,

Both compositions need stronger focal points. You begin with where the animation will be and then build your layouts/and backgrounds around them. You do this by a combination of perspective, lighting and framing devices.

Keep going it looks like a fun project.


I like the style. I look forward to seeing you develop it even more. The skewed perspectives and abundance of detail I think does lend it's self to something fresh. Looks like it's going to be a lot of work though.

Pat Hacker, Visit Scooter's World.

Hey SCATTEREDLOGICAL, which is the illustration you like? The one OF the garden or the one next to that garden picture(on the right), with the bit of waters edge to it? How do you feel about the other pencil background? Thanks for your encouragement>
Tom Hignite

Did anyone read any of what Tom wrote? I didn't read the whole thing, but I did read enough to find out that these are two illustrations for a picture book project. They're not backgrounds for a film.

Presumably, they'll be adapting this style to work for animation. Given that Tom has hired former Disney Florida artists for his studio, I think they've got a pretty good idea of what they're doing.

The style is interesting; the detail and graphic treatment remind me of Dick Williams' "Thief and the Cobbler." The orthographic treatment is unusual; I'd like to see it tested in a short before committing to it for a feature-length film.

Kudos again to you, Tom, for making a commitment to this style and form of animation. I'm behind you all the way.

This is the one I like:

The adjacent picture is very similar, but it's all the same tone so it doesn't feel as full. But that's an observation, not a judgement; you wouldn't want it too colorful if the shot was all about the foreground, I imagine.

The pencil drawing reminds me of wood carvings. The "unity with variety" is working there too. I don't know the use or context, but it's appealing to me.

Thanks SCATTEREDLOGICAL for the clarification. I will pass it along!


Yet More Replys

ScatteredLogical, your comparison to the childrens book "Where The Wild Things Are" is a good example of very detailed illustration. Another is "Jumanji". We were fortunate enough to have a childrens author of some success who lives in our area give us a little advice. She told us something that seems to ring true. When the parent flips through a book in a bookstore she(or he but I will use she)is usually looking for 2 or 3 things. First might be the style of illustrations being different ,attractive ,and capturing attention. Second might be the amount of sentences on each page. A lower number of words(sadly) usually means more sales. You might say the reason for this is that a parent wants to zip through a book before bedtime OR it might be because a parent will usually skim through the book in the store before purchasing and a quick read tells the parent if she likes the book in the first place. Your example of the parent buying the book to self impose her desires apon the child is dead on, in my opinion. Therefore, if we read the book to a test audience of children, we also need to test it with adults. The film AND the book will,as you say, likely mute a lot of the background color and keep the main character colors saturated. You will want to see the PART 2 of this next weekends "Hignite Reports"article in the 4EverDisney website to see if our next illustration unvieling is any better. We will also be showing a few(3) other concept art pieces from the development of our film. If I understand correctly, you do not think the flesh tone on Miracles face is helping to dispell the Mickey comparison factor. You have been the first to bring up this idea so we will give it some thought.
Thankyou Animated Ape for weighing-in on the first 2 illustrations. I am happy that the first thoughts that came to mind were of Sleeping Beauty. I have not conciously tryed to capture that films look but the subconcious can do things we are not even aware of.You are also the first person to notice(or at least say so) the many shapes in the Miracles tree illustration, look like Miracle Mouse ear shapes. This was the intent, but I did not know if it showed. Apparently, a little over the top. As for whether the style of characters will work with the backgrounds very graphic/odd perspectives, that we are just now finding out. We are presently animating and combining these 2 style and we will post them for all to see in a month or 2 time. So far, I think they are working together, but then again, I am very close to the project.
Thanks for the input to all.
More Blessings to all!

Tom Hignite
The Miracle Companies Inc.

Just a breif update to say we have just posted 4 more illusttrations from our Miracle Mouse project on 3 of the illustrations are from our development stage where we were experimenting with a second possible style direction. Which of the 2 directions works best for a feature?

Thanks and blessings
Tom Hignite

It throws me off a little bit that the perspective of the Desks and interior elements seem to to be different than the perspective of the walls etc. maybe that could be toned down a little. It may be that the angles of the selected shots have high horizon lines which makes this a lot more noticeable.(in the last picture it stands out less than the 3rd)
Other than that I find the style very appealing, the color pallet is nice and the landscape shot provides a good atmosphere.
I like the contrast in the first(picturebook) design but agree that this may be too much for a feature. The grafik difference between the characters and the background stands out a lot more in the first pannel as well.

I would have to say that it would be great to animate on this film as well, even if the team roster is more than a little intimidateing.
How many artists will you be hireing when it goes into production? From the site it seems like you may have the key animation crew already. It would be interesting to know the actual number of key, assisting and cleanup animators that will be involved in the production. Although this can vary dramaticly you don't often see this information.

Good luck and I'm looking forward to seeing a bit of animation from that nailed down sequence.