They can offer financing as a co-production partner, adapting to any animation style or using their own trademark style and original content. 2DLab do character and background design that is, at the same time, highly emotional and very cost effective.
2DLab is currently working on two animated series: My Big Big Friend in co-production with Breakthrough Entertainment (Canada) and Jobi’s Room , using the Toon Boom pipeline to create digital cut-out and full animation.
Key members of the team at 2DLab include 1: Andrés Lieban, Creative Producer/Animation Director/Lead Animator. With nearly 20 years of experience in animation, Andrés has a special talent and instinct for character emotion and his films convey a lot of emotion through small gestures, colours or camera angles. 2: André Koogan Breitman, Executive Producer, is one of the main partners and brings his unique vision to the studio, positioning it at the forefront of animation players in Brazil.
My Big Big Friend is a 52 eleven minute episode series co-produced with Breakthrough Entertainment in Canada. Scheduled to be delivered in Spring 2010, the series will air on Treehouse in Canada as well as on Discovery Kids Latin America and TV Brazil.
My Big Big Friend is 70% digital cut-out animation and 30% full animation, all created within the Toon Boom pipeline, from storyboarding up to final rendering in HD. Animators use WACOM Cintiqs to work completely paperless and gain significant savings using a streamlined workflow.
“The latest Harmony solution is a leap forward to create animation of the highest quality efficiently. As animators in Brazil were closer to Flash, it was easier to train them and bring them up to speed. The migration is immensely easier. As a studio and a producer, I would not be comfortable doing something this big using Flash. So the decision to use the Toon Boom pipeline was validated by the Animation Director but also by the Executive Producer. We feel safer with everything related to Harmony’s back-ups and centralized library,” commented André Breitman.
The production is split between Canada and Brazil: in Canada, the team takes care of project management, scripts, music and sound. In Brazil, the team is in charge of the storyboarding and the animation. “The assistant line producer, the series director and the animation director are [all] Brazilian. We are very proud to say that My Big Big Friend ’s original idea originated from Brazil. It has always been the other way around. This is the first time this has happened. Treehouse has very high standards and high expectancy in terms of quality. To date, they are delighted with the show and openly share how much we are surpassing their expectations,” continued André.
The team in Brazil consists of: 12 people for episodic design, including backgrounds, props and characters; 8 people for storyboarding with 4 storyboarders and their respective assistants in charge of adding sound and cleaning up; 2 animation directors, each one being responsible for 2 of the 4 teams of 6 people: 1 supervisor, 2 senior animators for cut-out, 2 junior animators for cut-out and 1 animator for full animation.
Once scripts are approved on both sides, they are given to the episodic design team. “We have a librarian who acts as an asset manager. He takes each script and looks if thereis anything in the library that can be reused. The episodic design team will only have to create new assets which will then be archived into the right library to make it easy to find by all team members,” explained André.
A series of designs in black and white are sent to the broadcaster in Canada for approval. Once approved, they are given to the storyboarding team.
“The team has one month to go from zero to a finished leica. Because of Storyboard Pro, we gained 2 weeks in the schedule as we do the boards and leica at the same time. The assistants import the sound in the timeline and boarders work in-sync enabling them to easily generate the leica. It is a great gain in time!” stated André.
As this is being done, the design department colour the designs and send them to the Canadian broadcaster for approval. By the time it is approved, the leica is done.
Again, once all is approved, the leica and coloured designs are passed on to the four animation teams. “We felt the way Storyboard Pro and Animate Pro came together made our work a lot easier. Since Storyboard Pro allowed us to produce both the storyboard and the leica at once, we moved ahead faster than we would otherwise.
The Harmony rigging system is great, the 3D camera was a huge plus and the fact that it integrates animation, composition and exporting is fabulous,” commented Andrés Lieban.
Each animator gets one episode and has one month to complete it. “Our performance is 30 second per week per animator. The full animation part of the project is taking longer but plays a critical role to convey the warmth and emotion of the show. Characters hug and play a lot together and these scenes are done traditionally to get the quality we wanted” explained André.
Once the animation is completed, it is sent to Canada to finalize the sound and music. The show is then dubbed in English and French in Canada, in Portuguese in Brazil and in Spanish in Miami by Discovery Kids.
“As a producer, I feel safer to rely on Harmony’s library organization and robust central server” reiterated André. In parallel to My Big Big Friend, 2DLab is working on Jobi’s Room, which is a 52 one minute series. Jobi’s Room is already at the half-way point, the series will be delivered in February 2010. One interesting fact related to Jobi’s Room is the broadcast model 2DLab has set to make it a viable production. The production is fully-financed in Brazil and completely produced in-house, Jobi’s Room will be broadcast on a national open network, on one cable as well as in an online subscription-based netcaster called mondosworld.com.
2DLab is a fully equipped studio bursting with wonderful creative ideas. Brazil has a lot of co-production treaties which lay down great opportunities for studios like 2DLab. Specialized in 2D, it is in this art form that they shine. “We feel we have our own specific style which relies a lot on good emotions. Our concepts are character-driven not action-driven,” concluded André. 2DLab is open to co- production partners who would be a good fit for them. They have other projects in the pipeline, including a feature film of My Big Big Friend which would be released in theatres in Brazil.
2DLab is an award-winning animation studio based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Over the past few years 2DLab has won the Liv Ullman Peace Prize and the 1st prize/TV series award at the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival.