Wednesday, July 26, 2006


Comic-Con 2006 had a Animation Panel for the feature film I worked 'The Ant Bully'. Here are some highlights of the panel from the article:

John Davis – director
Sarah Mensinga – concept artist
H.B. “Buck” Lewis – character designer
Chris Consani – art director
Bob Eggleton – concept artist

  • At first they tried a realistic design with the protagonist but realized that was too creepy so they skewed his proportions and gave him somewhat of a caricature head.

  • They modeled Paul Giamatti’s exterminator character after Giamatti with initial designs ranging from a more comedic look to a “what would Henry Kissinger look like as Satan?” look.

  • They wanted to strike a balance between the ants having slight human characteristics yet remaining decidedly insect-like.

  • One of the more interesting things they did was after they showed the process of rigging characters, they showed how they test-animated characters by putting them through an actual obstacle course to see how well both the ants’ and human characters’ behavior and movements conformed themselves to their environment.

  • They showed a few sequences where they cycled from the book illustrations to the concept art to the final sequence in the film. The sequences included when the kid first becomes ant size to when he’s sentenced to work in the colony.

  • It was important to Davis to create an alien-looking civilization for the ant colony and for the ants’ biology to be accurate but still be able to function on six legs and two legs.

  • When Davis was asked about whether he was worried about parallels to A BUG’S LIFE or ANTZ, he mentioned that initially he was but realized that there was room for more and used the abundance of “cowboy movies” as an example (where he also managed to sneak in a BROKEBACK reference – what you got against gay cowboys, dude??!)

  • Davis modeled the alien-type of civilization after tribal and aboriginal cultures. He felt that, like aboriginal cultures, ants were connected to Earth and communicated with odor cues.

  • Interesting side note – ants apparently have antibiotics on their bodies so if ever you’re in the jungle, get sick and have no medicine, rub some ants on you and you’ll be set!

  • They differentiated the ants’ world from the humans’ world by spatial cues – for example, things are round and small in the human world but large and cavernous in the ant world.

  • Since the entire film is in IMAX 3D, the production faced more challenges as they had to do everything in real 3D space and couldn’t do any 2D cheats.

CON: WB Animation

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