Feature: Fisher (2011)
Posted on November 6, 2011 by contact
Please tell us about the motivation behind making this piece and explain the development of the story.
Coming from a family with sailors in our ancestry and a deep love of the sea, I was always inspired to do a film where the ocean was a catalyst to a great story.
Fisher was born out of a doodle. A drawing of a somewhat square headed character floating in a square box at sea. It was 2005 and I was looking for an intro for my motion graphics reel. Fisher then was a plain white simple character and the animation test I did with him must have been 7 seconds long.
Fast forward to 2011. Looking to tackle a narrative based passion project, I started to do some research and develop story ideas for an animated short. Coincidentally, I came across my old 2005 reel and this little character drifting at sea. I started asking myself questions I hadn’t asked then, such as where is he going? Why is he in a box? And this is how the project spawned into what it is today. I originally started out with a more complex storyline than what is now involving Fisher’s parents (or adoptive parents), more characters, flashbacks into how Fisher came to be, who is and so forth. The aspect of Fisher being and actual fish was much more literal then but as I was moving forward with the production, I started cutting out what felt overly ambitious given my means and also what was not essential to the story. I ended up a lot happier with the final product and love the openness to interpretation the ending leaves. Fisher is a film about finding yourself and how sometimes we need that extra push to take a leap toward changing our lives, which seems like a timeless subject and also one I always try to live by.
How long did it take to create from concept to completion?
Fisher was a passion project that was worked on during late night in a timespan of around 6 months. The pacing was very sporadic. Some days I would work on it 6 hours and others 2 hours. The one thing I tried to stick with was a deadline of finishing the film before mid- 2011 which I was able to do.
This was the first drawing I ever made of Fisher, back in 2005. He simpler looking and seemed a bit limited in terms of potential for facial expressions.
This is the first sketch I did of Fisher, both face and profile. It was the actual template used to retrace him for character animation.
Sketch of Fisher young and his parents. They never made it in thew actual film, only in the picture in the first shot.
This is the Sketch of Fisher as a fish.
This was the colored tests of Fisher’s sketches.
And finally, this is the colored test of Fisher’s parents.
What tools did you use? Was all the character animation 2d and particles were 3d? What compositing software did you use?
The characters and props were hand drawn on paper and scanned. They were then colored in photoshop using various hand made paint textures to keep an organic feel. I originally intended to do it all in 3D. I know my way around Cinema 4D quite well and use it on almost every commercial project but I haven’t had the chance to delve into character animation in 3D. I didn’t have time to learn character rigging, etc., so I decided to have all the characters in 2D and just the environment 3D.
The characters were retraced and animated in Anime Studio Pro, which I personally found to be much more user friendly than Flash ever was in terms of character animation. The environments were built in Cinema4D using textures that were both hand drawn and digital. Everything was then composited in After Effects.
Tell us about One Eyed Robot? What kind of studio is it, when did it start, where is heading?
One Eyed Robot was founded in the end of 2011 as a life long dream to create a fully sustainable and solar powered studio. After working in both NYC and LA as an animator, motion designer and director for a combined 10 years, I felt compelled to pursue a simpler and more sustainable way of life. My family and I sold our house in Los Angeles, sold our cars and moved to a 3 acre farm in Milton Georgia a few months ago. The studio, One Eyed Robot, was born out of combining my sustainable green living and applying it in my work as well, reducing my carbon footprint and helping my clients reduce theirs by working with me! Right now we are transitioning to growing our own food and solar powering our computers. We just got a flock of chickens which I go and check on between renders. I find this way of life to not only be very fulfilling but also extremely inspiring creatively.
In terms of projects, I have a soft spot for children oriented content. I am currently finishing a children’s book I both wrote and illustrated and am also developing ideas for an animated feature film I will work on using the Fisher formula. Meaning trying to go at it solo and see how far I can take it!