Halloween Film Festival: The Gawper
3D World is celebrating Halloween with some of the best spooky shorts we’ve seen. Early Universal horror films inspired this fun short from A Large Evil Corporation
In our Halloween Film Festival, 3D World presents some of the best spooky animated shorts we’ve seen, including The Gawper from A Large Evil Corporation.
The Gawper was created by Bath-based animation studio A Large Evil Corporation. The film is reminiscent of the early horror movies it pays homage to, such as Frankenstein, but also includes a comedic element. “There are some big nods to Abbot and Costello and Young Frankenstein,” says director Seth Watkins.
An in-house idea, The Gawper was a very organic project. “It started as a doodle of a marionette skeleton whilst listening to Fred Hall singing ‘Taint no sin to take off your skin and dance around in your bones’,” says Watkins. “It morphed and transformed and after watching an awful lot of great, and a few awful, black and white horror films, it gradually began to form into a ‘graverobbers get their comeuppance’ sort of affair. Once the animation team got their hands on it, the emphasis shifted from the skeleton to the grave robber characters.”
With the final idea sussed, the team got to work on production, keeping a specific style at the forefront of their minds. “Much of our work at Evilcorp is influenced by stop-frame animation which has an inherent charm and authenticity, which is rare in CG,” Watkins explains. “In terms of the grade and getting the ‘look’ of an old print, we pulled back a lot on the dust and scratches ‚Äì everything nowadays has been remastered and so it felt too heavy-handed to have over-the-top flickering and defocussing throughout… it’s still there but more subtle than previous ‘homage’ pieces we have worked on.”
▲ The graverobber characters take centre stage in this fun animated short
The team chose Softimage as their primary 3D package and After Effects for compositing, both of which helped to fully achieve the film’s unique style. One of the most technically challenging parts of the project was creating the low-lying mist effect. “We spent a long time trying to get this right,” explains Watkins, “mainly because of the mixed medium we were emulating ‚Äì should the fog be classic live-action dry ice, stop-frame cotton wool balls or puppeted cloth?”
Feeling the other techniques were too intrusive, the team opted for the classic dry ice look, which they achieved using Softimage’s node-based platform ICE. “With multiple emitters the movement of the mist was achieved using a combination of turbulences and condition-based gravity effects,” says Watkins. “Once we were happy with the movement the volume-based particle renderer was used with a fractal multiplier to give the mist the right density and feel.”
As non-commercial work, The Gawper was completed as a sideline project in roughly five months. “When we began making the film, it was really an R&D piece to help hone the skills of our staff, but the more time and effort we invested in it, the better it got,” Watkins explains. “I’m very pleased with the film because it became more than I hoped. Everyone who worked on it brought something to it, from the animation to the lighting and texturing to the musical score.”
Check out more work from A Large Evil Corporation
More shorts in the 3D World Halloween Film Festival
on Wednesday, October 31st, 2012 at 1:00 pm under Shorts, Showcase.
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Tags: A Large Evil Corporation, animated film, The Gawper