How Dreamworks Are Doing The Hand-Drawn Shadows For Me And My Shadow

One of Dreamworks Animation’s upcoming releases will blend CG animation with old-school 2D techniques. The living shadow characters in the film Me and My Shadow are all being hand-drawn.

What will make it pretty tricky is that shadows are two dimensional and they will have to “fall,” mapped onto the 3D surfaces. They’re not the kind of free standing objects that have been hand animated into CG since at least John Lasseter’s Where the Wild Things Are demo reel, almost 30 years ago.

Things will also be made rather more complex on Shadow as this will be a contemporary film with all of the camera movement that implies.

First word of the techniques being used come from a brief report on the blog of The Animation Guild. Here’s a quote from an unnamed Dreamworks staff member on just how the animation is being done, and who is doing it:

We’re doing the rough hand-drawn animation in-house, with several animators from Disney. The computer program molds their animation around tables and chairs. There’s a ‘POV’ software program that enables them to draw over a blocked area of the CG animation, and it works well.

And is there an implication that this rough-drawn work will then be tidied up at an outside studio? I guess so.

We’re probably a long way off from seeing this film in motion, but I’m excited by the possibilities. There’s a lot that they could play with here.

Me and My Shadow is currently set for release on March 14th 2014.

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