Originally posted on the MA Character animation course blog, published May 29th 2016.

After finishing my rough animation last week I started the task of finishing up all the backgrounds for the movie. Something I really hoped wouldn’t be a very time consuming task, and luckily, for once I managed to schedule it just right and finished all of them in a weeks time. My first year helpers, Juliette and Tyrone, worked on a good chunk of the backgrounds for me earlier in the production and even though I had to go in and change them a bit so that all the backgrounds fitted each other, their work still gave me a head start.

I have done a blog post on this site before about the style of the backgrounds, here is a link to that. Back then I was more concerned with the general style, this time when finishing them up I went on a lookout for artist that was good with colours and textures for inspiration.

I don’t work too much in colours and don’t feel that I’m very good at it, but this time it didn’t go too bad at all. I have been using photo references to pick colours for each background rather than guess what will work and that gave an overall better look.  This is a tip I’ve got from a friend of mine from the bachelor degree which I’m probably still going to send all the backgrounds to this weekend to see if she wants me to do some adjustments. She is basically on a whole other level than me colour wise and she is the reason I have picked up some tips on colours over the years. She was also one of my inspirations for the backgrounds as I love her use of natural colours and her amazing skills at capturing nature and natural light, ahh it’s so amazing! She has a DeviantArt that you can check outhere. And her are some of my favourite art pieces from her:

An other colour inspiration that I looked at was the work of Pascal Campion. I can’t match his style of drawing, but I was really inspired by his use of colours which are often very bright and limited.

With this in mind I started working on the backgrounds on Monday and finished in the evening on Friday after intensive work. And to be honest, I’m so proud of these backgrounds. I feel they really display the Scandinavian nature and the world of an Arctic fox just the way I wanted.

Here are some of the before and after versions of the backgrounds that both I and/or Juliette and Tyrone worked on. As you can see I didn’t need to do any major changes, I mainly worked on the lighting and textures.

Before & after:

Before & after:

Before & after:

Before & after:

And here are some completely new backgrounds.

After finishing the backgrounds I started the cleanup on Saturday. We’ve had a clean up workshop on Thursdays the last couple of weeks with Isobel Stenhouse from Lupus Films and I asked her to take a look at my movie to give me some tips on what to start with and what to look out for. She was really helpful at pointing out small tweaks in the animation that I needed to fix in clean up and she also advised me to start with cleaning up the animations that my first year helpers Judit and Shiny had inbetweened as these where the only ones that stood out as less consistent with the rest of the movie. Judit had the time to learn to draw the foxes properly as she worked with me longer and you can see her progression throughout the movie. Her last scene that she inbetweened for me was so similar to my line that Isobel couldn’t even tell it wasn’t me who had inbetweened it. But the rest are a little all over the place as expected so those are first priority now. On Saturday the first of five shots from my helpers where cleaned up. This is the first time I’ve seen any of the shots completely clean and I’m happy to say that Isobel’s workshop helped as I don’t feel that the character lost it’s appeal and charm, as I can sometimes feel that they do when cleaned up. From here it’s going to be consistent work on cleaning up and colouring, but at least the movie is starting to look more and more finished. I can almost not believe that it’s coming to an end!


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