Disney’s John Carter may have bombed at the box office, but Andrew Stanton’s film still featured some really impressive visual effects and animation sequences that make it worthy of examination for fans of those mediums. This cool video featuring animator Patrick Giusiano shows how some of the sequences were conceived from the storyboard to finished product.
The video highlights the way keyframe animation techniques were used to create the lush world of the film.
If you’re not familiar with keyframe animation, here’s a definition: Key frame is a technique that “defines the starting and ending points of any smooth transition. The drawings are called "frames" because their position in time is measured in frames on a strip of film. A sequence of keyframes defines which movement the viewer will see, whereas the position of the keyframes on the film, video or animation defines the timing of the movement. Because only two or three keyframes over the span of a second do not create the illusion of movement, the remaining frames are filled with inbetweens.”
That’s pretty technical, but we think it will all make more sense once you see it in action.
Giusiano showcases how he crafted some of the film’s extensive animated sequences in this clip – highlighting how he started with Pixar storyboards (Stanton brought along select members of the Pixar team to help him create John Carter’s distinct visual aesthetic – but was quick to point out that this is not a Pixar production), then filmed real-action reference footage, animated it into the already shot physical footage, then showed it to Stanton, who’d suggest tweaks and changes.
It’s really a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at how modern movie magic is crafted. Sure, the old school purists miss the days of matte paintings, old fashioned creature FX, and miniatures, but there’s still a lot of work and artistry involved in creating these lifelike creatures. Check out the video above and see if you agree.