A little tree frog is after love, but mother nature designed him to be awkward in every way. This fast paced cartoon done with much eye for detail, refers with its 2D-ish cartoony movement to the good old times of animation, yet in a fresh and original mix.
This film is not a remake of William Golding's dystopian novel. It is something far more lighthearted as the title might suggest. I created this comic short about a little frog who is after love, to show my ambition as a 3d artist and character animator. While researching entertainment through movement in character animation, the emphasis of my animation came to be in the movement. In a production it is tempting to copy classic devices of cartoon movement without thinking about it, because there is simply no time, especially in small productions where visual design and soryboard seem to be most important. Therefore in my research, I analyzed different styles of movement from the Golden Age of American Animation, in order to better understand the classical approach to cartoon animation. Next to that I researched acting theory for animation and I conducted interviews with character animators. The best way to entertain through character, seems to be generating empathy for the character. This is what both Disney's treatment of story and Stanislavski's method acting boil down to. The more the animator is able to engage the audience in how a character feels, the more entertaining the short will become.
Character animation at it's best, relies on stories with big emotional transitions. In the execution of these transitions, for instance from happy to sad, the animator can show original acting. Disney's animators developed subtle acting where many times it's best to not exaggerate the movement to much. In some memorable emotional scenes the accent of the movement is completely carried by what is called secondary action, such as subtle movements of the hands and facial expressions that coincide with the main movement of the body. This is in sharp contrast with the heavily exagerated character movement of Warner Brother's Looney Toons. Here exagerated comic timing and comic escalation where developed, together with the extreme deformations of characters for comic effect invented by Tex Avery. Graphical representation, metamorphosis and defying the physical rules of our universe for purposes of entertainment, were brought back from the beginning times of animation. In the movement style of Avery and Jones, the audience becomes again aware of the artificiality of the medium. For example by temporarily upholding the rules of gravity and disintegrating the body, for comic effect and to display emotion.
This knowledge about entertainment in classical cartoon movement I used in my film in a number of ways. I added contrast and gave each character a distinct way of moving. Trough movement, the impulsive, hyperactive male frog should look as different as possible from the lazy, uninterested female. In the end of the short, right before the kiss, I gave the female some time to think, so we more get the feeling that she is a living human being who makes concious choices. The stretchy eyes and mouth of the frog refer to Avery's exageration, and were a challenge to rig and emulate in 3d animtion software. Overall, using CGI I wanted to bring a fresh and original take on recognizable and familiar cartoon principles.