The Art of Animation: Behind the Scenes at A+C Studios
In the age of eye-popping visual effects and computer-generated imagery (CGI), one might think that traditional forms of animation have lost their allure. However, a visit to A+C Studios (A+C) will remind you that the magic of animation—whether it’s 2D, 3D, stop-motion, or mixed media—still holds an irreplaceable spot in our hearts and imaginations.
The Philosophy of A+C Studios
Before delving into the intricacies of the animation process at A+C, it’s important to understand the studio’s philosophy: Inspired by stories, driven by creativity. The team believes that animation is more than just a series of moving images; it is a powerful medium that can evoke emotion, inspire change, and bring stories to life in a way that resonates with audiences of all ages.
The Diverse Palette of Techniques
When you walk into the creative space at A+C Studios, nestled away in the heart of Margate, the first thing you’ll notice is the eclectic array of tools and materials at the artists’ disposal—from traditional hand-drawn sketches and painting supplies to state-of-the-art 3D printers, and over 2100sq feet of filming space across our three studios.
The traditional art of 2D animation remains alive and well at A+C. The illustrators and animators work cohesively to sketch, ink, and colour each frame across our storyboards, giving it the attention it deserves. The tactile quality of hand-drawn planning adds a unique element to our process that no computer program can replicate.
The 3D department is where mathematical precision meets artistic ingenuity. Using sophisticated software like ZBrush or Blender, the artists sculpt virtual models and environments. The array of available of textures, lighting, and special effects adds depth and realism to these creations.
Stop-motion has a special place in the heart of A+C. This painstakingly detailed art form requires the physical manipulation of objects, which are photographed one frame at a time. It can take days to create just a few seconds of footage, but the end result— chef’s kiss—it is well worth the effort.
Collaboration is Key
At the core of A+C is its collaborative atmosphere. A hub of writers, illustrators, animators, sound designers, and editors often cross paths in brainstorming sessions, critiques, and reviews. This intermingling of disciplines creates a holistic approach to storytelling, ensuring that the final product is cohesive and impactful.
Spotlight on a Recent Project
One of the studio’s recent triumphs is the recent collaboration between Joseph Lee x Squarespace. This project employed a blend of live-action and stop-motion animation. We were tasked with materialising their creative concept, we went above and beyond. Initially, Squarespace came to us with the idea of designing claymation figures of two Josephs in a wrestling match. After internal discussions, we suggested elevating the concept by using personalised wrestling figures, complete with 3D-printed heads resembling Joseph Lee. Our skilled design crew meticulously crafted the prototypes, and our animation experts brought them to vivid life using state-of-the-art techniques and sheer creativity.
In an era when technology continues to push the boundaries of what’s possible, A+C serves as a reminder that the essence of animation is storytelling. Through a blend of traditional and modern techniques, the studio crafts narratives that touch hearts and provoke thought. A+C does more than make cartoons; it brings stories to life.
So, the next time you find yourself enchanted by the fluidity of a character’s movement or the vibrancy of a fictional world, take a moment to appreciate the artistry and effort that goes into each frame. That’s the magic of animation, and it’s alive and well at A+C Studios.