Hopefully everyone has enjoyed Cab Calloway: Sketches on WLIW21. I thought it would be nice to give an inside look at the process involved in creating some of the animation for the film.
Animation is such a wonderful tool because you can bring life to almost anything! Here, we wanted to bring Cab back to life to dance his dance once again. The process I used to animate Cab for his dancing scene with a live action counter part was very similar to the techniques that were used to animate Cab years ago. Old footage of Cab performing was first timed out against our live action dancer. I then roto-scoped keyframes from the Cab Calloway performance footage. With those keyframes set, I have the basic movement for the scene. Next I manually draw in the in-betweens for each keyframe until it’s one fluent piece of animation.
Back in the day, this would have all been done by hand, on paper, and on film. With today’s technology, this process is much faster because it all can be done directly in the computer, all together, and in one place. I was able to use Flash in order to mimic the “inky-roughness” of Steve Brodner’s loose line in which he used to draw Cab throughout the film.
And here you can find a write-up and a few words from the lovely Producer/Director Gail Levin. Always such a pleasure to work with her!