My main goal for the animation in the film was to be emotion-driven, dramatic and appealing to look at. As the film is not a comedy there was no need to have the exaggerated posted and super fast, snappy animation of a film like Hotel Transylvania (Sony Pictures Animation)
As our film has a much greater focus on drama and emotions I decided to look at animated films and games that focused on creating a dramatic and emotional character.
I was already using live-action footage of rabbits to use as a reference for animating the main character, and despite the apparently obvious comparison, I was not going to use the very dramatic Watership Down as a reference for how I would like to animate the film.
Though the low-budget roughness of the animation is endearing, I understood that the lack of and arcs or overlapping animation would not translate well into a 3-Dimensional medium.
An animation style that I did really love, however, was from the previously mentioned Ori and the Blind Forest (2015). Though it is a video game, it is during the cutscnes where the staging, posing and movement is at its finest. Everything is very simple but fluid and it results in an incredibly stunning visual treat.
It was the simple yet effective animation style of Ori and the Blind Forest that influenced my animation style for the short film more than anything.
As you can see in these two examples I kept the animation as simple as possible, while still trying to convey a lot of emotion and energy. I still took into account the 12 Principles of Animation and implemented them to the best of my ability. In the first example you can see the very clear Squash-and-Stretch of the bunny’s face and brows as he emotes. In the second example there is a very clear portrayal of the Slow-in, Slow-Out and Overlapping Animation with the Chimera’s wings. Ideally there would have been more Secondary Animation and Overlapping Animation with the Chimera’s snake tail but restrictions with the rig meant this was impossible.
The goal in every single shot was for the characters to have a very distinctive and readable silhouette, and I received a lot of feedback for the 2D storyboard telling me I had achieved that, I feel like I succeeded in translating those strong silhouettes into the third dimension.