You may have seen that we’re currently releasing a new episode each week of our 15 second social media animation series What is A+C? Each episode of the series is created in two days at our studio by a number of our crew, so we thought we’d give you a behind-the-scenes sneak peak on how it all happens!
A+C Creative Director Dan Richards originally thought up the idea to do some shorts with ‘A’ and ‘C’ characters when considering fun things we could create and release to celebrate our 7th birthday. This springboarded into the idea of episodes themed around words beginning with the two letters and What is A+C? was born!
Making Characters and Props
Before we can begin animating on any project, characters and any props need to be made. Creating the A and C characters was Dan’s first chance to get his hands on plasticine in over two years! He originally started in animation as a model maker, but spends most of his time directing now, so he enjoyed this hark back to his early days. A and C are were both made by sculpting solid plasticine into the correct shapes and smoothing them.
A is made purely of sculpted plasticine, however C also has a curved metal skeleton known as an ‘armature’ that sits within the plasticine to support the ‘C’ shape, stopping the top curve of the ‘C’ from collapsing under its weight.
Each episode features different props, mostly related to the words used. These are created on the first day of production, normally by our head model maker Tiffany Monk – ready to be animated.
Our lead animator James Harvey begins by calcuating timings for the actions and expressions required in the episode. He blocks this out using what’s known as a ‘dope sheet’ which guides him when animating. As soon as Tiffany has made the final touches to the props, James takes them and begins to animate.
Creating expressions and actions is done by moving and replacing the characters’s facial elements – particularly the mouths. We have a series of mouths for each character, all in varying shapes and sizes. This allows James to create very specific expressions.
Special Effects, Voices and Sound
The 2D computer animated opening to each episode was created by our computer animator Dayle Sanders. When James has finished animating, he passes the footage to Dayle Sanders who also completes any post production effects that need to be done – this might be removal of any wires to support characters or adding in extra elements like fire, colour changes and anything else that would be an extremely difficult process to shoot directly.
Head of Production Stuart Clark sources and creates a bank of sound effects to be used within each episode before production begins. Whilst Dayle is working on finalising the look of the film, Stuart matches all of the sounds correctly with the animation, he then takes it to our voice recording studio to give the characters voices and bring them to life! Stuart provides the voice for ‘A’ with our Producer Sim Bhachu voicing ‘C’.
When its time to air an episode, our producers Liu Batchelor and Sim Bhachu get on the case with uploads and posts to Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Vimeo and the A+C blog.
New episodes of What is A+C? are released each week at 10am on Fridays, firstly on our Instagram channel @animatecreate. We hope you enjoy watching much as we do making them!