Friday, February 18, 2011

Inspiration: Uli Meyer

Students:  if you're not familiar with the work of Uli Meyer and his London animation studio  "Uli Meyer Animation"  you should definitely get to know his work.

In addition to his studio website , Uli has a couple of blogs where he posts his incredible pen & ink drawings :

http://ulimeyeranimation.blogspot.com/
http://umbackagain.blogspot.com/

A few samples of  Uli's work below.  Click on through to those links above to see more of his drawings.





An early show reel of Uli's work from approx. 1987 - 1993 . Commercials and feature films ("Who Framed Roger Rabbit" , "An American Tail 2: Fievel Goes West", "Fern Gully: The Last Rainforest") -




Amazing animation test done in the style of Ronald Searle, based on Searle's St. Trinian's girls :



Totally captured the Searle look in animation. Uli describes the process:

"On September 22nd I presented a 25sec animation test featuring a St. Trinian's schoolgirl to the creator of those classic British characters, Ronald Searle himself. Searle has had a few bad experiences when it comes to animation -his drawing style is extremely difficult to adapt and apart from a few short pieces of animation done by Ivor Woods in the 70s, he hasn't been impressed by any attempts. Nevertheless, I thought I'd give this a go and am delirious to report that he loved it! He even commented that it was the best he'd seen since Ivor: a truly wonderful compliment.


The original St. Trinian's cartoons are spot gags featuring the terrible killer schoolgirls and their teachers at the notorious, albeit fictional, boarding school. They commit murder, blackmail and extraordinary naughtiness against the backdrop of a supposedly more innocent era - 1945 to 1952.


There isn't a story. Searle's anarchic humor works as a single image -- not obviously lending itself to animation. Therefore, I picked one of the cartoons and added a little lead-up story.


Matt Jones and I boarded a sequence which was originally longer than 25 seconds and involved a massive crowd scene in the St. Trinian's dormitory. But I decided to keep it simple - it was meant to be a test after all. Based on the boards, I drew the layouts and posed the shots on 8s and 12s. The wonderful animation is by Sandro Cleuzo, who animated the first shot and Boris Hiestand, who animated the rest.


My job was to keep the whole project in the Searle universe. I drew the BGs onto frosted cel, each one five times to give the environments a slight boil. I then drew the character animation onto frosted cel with a mapping nib and black ink, trying to keep it as loose as possible whilst putting the characters on 'Searle' model. The animation is mostly on ones and I managed to get through 40-50 drawings per day. Helene Leroux, a very talented young French artist, traced the last shot. Loose lines further produced the 'boil' effect, which goes well with the Searle style.


The drawings were then scanned and composited by Michael Schlingmann in After Effects. Michael figured out a complex system of mixes to keep the multiple background drawings alive and in style with the lively lines of the animation drawings. We added a mix of existing music to the edit, hoping the composers won't mind since this is not a commercial project. The little film was great fun to put together - a welcome opportunity to remember those dusty 2D animation skills."

(click image to view it larger)

3 comments:

best animation software said...

wow, nice animation images, really great.

best 3d animation software said...

Your designs are very good, wanted to know if you have any youtube channel where we can see more of your work.

UM said...

Thank you for this post and the kind words, David.
I deleted the "umbackagain" blog a couple of years ago and somebody with a russian name seems to have hi-jacked the blog somehow and reposted some of my old drawings. I tried Blogger to help me close it down but had no response.
My active and only blog is this one http://ulimeyeranimation.blogspot.com

Your blog is terrific by the way...