Major Catholic Animation Project

Greetings all!

This is Del Sydebothom. I’m trying to spearhead the creation of a new Catholic media company called “The Ezra Media Project”. The first major undertaking I want to tackle under the auspices of this company is an adaptation of my book Gan-Aeden. The ultimate goal will be to produce a “early-Ghibli” caliber film or mini-series to be distributed through online stores. Those who wish to collaborate on this project will be working towards the creation of a company, not just a single product. That means you’ll have the chance, should you be interested, to become a long-term legal parter of Ezra Media, sharing in its profits as you collaborate on future productions. The details are worth discussing later, one-on-one.

This project, Gan-Aeden, is a retelling of the life of Adam and Eve, set in the Northeast Africa of approximately 200,000 years ago. Those who contribute must be willing to work on a project that will depict nudity of both genders in a respectful and non-erotic way.

These are the kinds of artists am I looking for right now:

  1. Background painters
  2. Character animators
  3. 3d compositors to put together multi-plane shots.

I’d prefer to direct the voice work locally, here in Kingsport. Nevertheless, if you think you’d be interested in a part, and have the means of professionally recording your voice, let me know. The parts, along with the type of voice needed are:

  1. Adam (adolescent black male)
  2. Eve (adolescent black female)
  3. God (elderly black male)
  4. Satan (indeterminate)
  5. Michael (male, any ethnicity)
  6. Gabriel (male, any ethnicity)
  7. Raphael (male, any ethnicity)
  8. Adamite Principality (deep voiced male, any ethnicity)
  9. Angelic Chorus (mixed)
  10. Demonic Hordes (mixed—will be heavily post-processed anyway)

Over the next year, I will be pitching this project to churches and other communities. I will be willing to use some of the money raised thereby to provide transportation to Kingsport once our recording studio is set up.

Finally, everyone who contributes will receive a free hard-cover copy of Gan-Aeden. It is still in the editing process, but will be published before the month is out. Pax!


I can do a pretty good satan :smiley:

Cool! Here is an early design sketch for Satan’s “serpentine” form:

We’ve tweaked his design a bit since this sketch; the final design is more realistic in the face. Still, that’s the basic form your voice would be emanating from. If you’re really interested and have a mic, I can send you some of his lines for reading.

I was just joking. No offense, but that doesn’t look much like satan as I would imagine him. He doesn’t look very, well… evil. it’s a lot better than just having a snake though.

That’s fine! XD. Although you should (and hopefully* will*) see how this design distorts into something far more horrific during some of the planned sequences. The trick in this case was creating something that could, with a little modification, become horrific, but would generally look something trustworthy. Erin Holloway, the character designer did a fine job, I think. If it weren’t possible for the devil to look semi-pleasant, Eve wouldn’t have been duped.

How long will something like that take?:popcorn:

Depends entirely on the kind of grassroots support this gets. :smiley: This first project is a bit of an experiment, which is why the collaboration structure is so informal. I wouldn’t anticipate finishing it sooner than 2 years from now. Software like Synfig and Blender will still make it cheaper, easier, and quicker; I can convert artists’ sketches (either physical or digital) into vector animation, and the computer can do the “tweening”. That takes a lot of the time and expense out of the process.

On the other hand, the voice work shouldn’t take more than a few weeks to finish, assuming all goes well. :cool:

Oooh, do you have the sketches of other characters? o.O

I think the feminine look is actually fitting. There are a lot of popular villains nowadays with that kind of look.


To the OP, how’s this for a Demonic Horde?

“ADFL23uaiqKJF!*#$#%^*KShd&!@#^!!! D8<”

Jk. :stuck_out_tongue:

Del, are you doing the animation the “old fashioned” way? I mean with acetate cells and inkers and color artists?

If so, I know my way around that type of Snow White style animation. Have done a few myself.

Let me know!:smiley:

Lost Wanderer;5798206]Oooh, do you have the sketches of other characters? o.O

Erin finished the basic design for Eve before art school pressures forced her to devote less time to the project. Here she is (Warning, while this is not erotic or pornographic at all, Eve is nude in this sketch):

To the OP, how’s this for a Demonic Horde?

“ADFL23uaiqKJF!*#$#%^*KShd&!@#^!!! D8<”

Jk. :stuck_out_tongue:

Is that before or after consuming their grog ration? ;p

Well, I don’t really have the equipment for that, though I would certainly love to be able to afford it! The process I’ve thought out would run as follows:

  1. Voices are recorded.
  2. Test animations for selected lines are sketched out on paper.
  3. Sketches are scanned at high-resolution and cleaned up, and inked in the computer.
  4. Inked sketches are run through autotrace, converting them into a vector format.
  5. Vector frames are colored in Inkscape or similar program.
  6. .svg files are imported into Synfig.
  7. Enable auto-tweening at selected frames-per-second.
  8. After discovering the most efficient number of frames that still allows the auto-tweening feature to look natural, the finished vector animation is mapped to a flat plane in a 3-D animation program like Blender.
  9. Animation is composited onto a painted multi-plane background.
  10. Animation is rendered as a series of .pngs

Regarding #9, the backgrounds would be hand-painted and scanned at at least twice the resolution of HD, giving us an extremely high-quality rastor image. These would often be painted in multiple layers, allowing us to digitally simulate the famous multi-plane camera invented by Disney.

So I guess the whole process would be “tradigital”!

btw, Lost Wanderer, I’m following you on DA now!

Speaking of Snow White, I recently saw the Blu-Ray version of that film. Beautifully crafted! There was some off color-shifting here and there, but that might be the fault of the transfer.

Anyway, if you have the equipment to do truly traditional animation, I’d look to learn more about the process! Do you suppose there is a way to produce a traditionally animated film through internet collaboration?

It doesn’t require any special equipment at all, that is the beauty of it. All that is required (besides the artists) are the acetate cells and a movie camera capable of shooting one frame at a time. We used an 8mm Kodak camera back in the 1970s. My Dad used a 16mm camera in the 1950s. A frame for holding the camera above the cells is easily constructed.

One can also use plain paper to draw animation, but it is much harder to do a good smooth action with paper.

Once you have your main characters drawn and a story board, then the background artists get to work. Meanwhile, you would have your animators working out the movements of the characters.

Next, the inkers trace over the characters, frame by frame, onto the acetate cells. This is all done wearing white gloves, because the acetate will pick up fingerprints and you will see this on the screen. When the inkers are done, the color artists come in. They paint the characters, from the back side of the cells. This means, the white dot in the eyes is painted first, then the pupil, the iris, then the whites of the eyes. This goes for the rest of the body, too. This takes patience and a steady hand.

After all the cells are ready, the filming begins. You would have a flat board with raised edges. The edges are for ensuring that all cells are in the exact same place. On a good quality film, such as early Disney or Warner Brothers, or MGM, there is a separate cell for each character, and sometimes separate cells for the movement of an arm or leg. With Snow White and her Seven Companions, you can imagine how many cells are on the board. There is no double exposures needed.

On the bottom of the frame is the background. If you construct the frame right, you can even have a moving background, so your characters can walk across the scene. Lay the first cell on the background, and shoot one frame with the camera. Carefully take the cell off and lay the next cell on the background.

This is a very tim consuming, but absolutely easy project. My friends and I took these classes while we were in high school, and I am still working on my animations. I have two I have been working on for years (kids and earning a living seem to always get in my way).

Xerography was used for some of the Disney films, yes? Although I’m fairly sure that was later on. What I’m thinking of would be more analogous to Disney’s CAPS, adapted for the specific needs of this production.

I watched many animated films before I decided on a “bar” that this production should reach. Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (cf. became that bar. Even though the character designs and environments will be extremely different (that is, far more realistic), the basic “feel” of “early-Ghibli” is something I’m confident we can reproduce on a computer. This is especially true since none of the shots will be as complex as some of Nausicaa’s

Another thing is the resolution; I want what we produce to still look good on a Super Hi-Vision television when those reach retail stores.

This is something of a coventure; I want to form the company on the basis of partnerships. It is a risk, but I believe we can create something wonderful and long-lasting; moving on from this project, the episodic creation of an freshly animated “version” of the entire Old Testament would give the common spiritual heritage of Christians and Jews greater penetration into our culture. Taking up the New Testament and early Church history, we could complete an epic moving painting that would declare our faith beautifully and effectively to the world.

This is all far out into the future, but it is why I don’t want to cut corners now. I think that the ability to tightly control the whole process within the computer will be a must for consistency.

That isn’t to say I’m not willing to experiment with cell animation. I’m a writer and composer, though, not painter or sketch artist. Even if I was, my hands and my head aren’t nearly enough to make this the kind of work of art it should be.

Anyway, I’m rambling…

Whoa that was you!? O.O

checks again

Hmm, good stuff you got there. I’ll be looking around. :smiley:

Oh, I am not expecting that you would have to rely on such old-fashioned and time consuming techniques for your story. I was just letting you know how it works. It is probably easier to use CGI. My son is into that. He has a couple of projects under his belt, and when he graduates from college, this is what he would like to do with his talents.

Disney did use Xeroxography for the first time with 101 Dalmations (and you can tell). Without Xeroxography, there would not have been Saturday morning cartoons in the 1960s as each Bugs Bunny cartoon put out for theater distribution in the 1950s took 6 weeks to produce.

For Snow White, Mr. Disney employed over 750 artists, including the inkers and the color artists, it took three years to produce, and over a million dollars (in 1930s dollars!). It was shot with 24 cells to the second.

I’m a recent drama grad with kind of a deep voice. I’m interested in participating, if possible.

Thanks for the reply. Are you interested in any part in particular?

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