Polygon Pictures Goes Digital with Toon Boom

"I can hardly believe we were still doing all of this on paper only a few years ago! Now that we’ve experienced the ease and speed of using Storyboard Pro, we could never go back." — Hiroyuki Seshita, Head of Direction Department, Polygon Pictures

Polygon Pictures Goes Digital with Toon Boom

Polygon Pictures(PPI), established in 1983, is one of the oldest and most recognized computer graphics studios in the world. This Japanese production studio brings together over 300 creators of which 50 are based in Malaysia, devoting their time to producing cutting-edge digital content. In addition to long form, fully CG television series such as Transformers Prime (Daytime Emmy® Award winner), Tron: Uprising, and Star Wars: The Clone Wars, PPI creates digital animation for films, video games, exhibitions, websites, and smartphones. PPI also manages licensing for their studio's original character properties like the popular penguin duo Rocky & Hopper.

PPI'score team consists of five heads of production in charge of Assets, Animation, Lighting/Composite/FX, Directors, and CG Supervision - all directly reporting to Shuzo John Shiota, President and CEO. This allows key members to oversee all leads, supervise various projects and see things from a top-down view so they can provide insight and advice on multiple aspects of production as they're a large studio and can sometimes run multiple productions simultaneously.

PPI has recently adopted Toon Boom Storyboard Pro for the pre-production of their domestic projects and ran a Harmony test to researchdigital 2D animation workflow.

At PPI, theDirection Department plans and administers the direction and processes, as well as oversees quality for creative planning, designs, animatics, and post-production of their digital animation projects. In this department, the directors are enthusiastically using Toon Boom Storyboard Pro.

"The ease of redrawing shots, reusing, and changing compositions to quickly create a story reel movie file is a huge advantage. Handing out editing information to and from the editors is also very simple, and has greatly improved efficiency in this regard. It's also really great to see how multiple storyboard artists can share images, such as frequently-used backgrounds.

Minoru Okamoto

In the storyboarding of our new television series Knights of Sidonia, we have been able to elaborate attractive shot compositions while combining 3D data for complicated robot models and sci-fi sets within Storyboard Pro. This ability to directly handle 3D data is another big plus," shared Hiroyuki Seshita, Head of Direction Department at PPI.

"I can hardly believe we were still doing all of this on paper only a few years ago! Now that we've experienced the ease and speed of using Storyboard Pro, we could never go back," he concluded.

Moving on to 2D animation, Jack Liang, Head of International Business Development and Producer, explained that PPI, being such a CG powerhouse, is well positioned to become a pioneer in Japan by transitioning from paper-based to digital 2D animation production. "Our studio is already equipped with Wacom Cintiqs and Harmony offers a lot of similarities with 3D technology, which will facilitate the shift and open up opportunities for new generations of Japanese animators," stated Jack.

Minoru Okamoto, Animation Director, spearheaded the Harmony test at PPI. Originally trained as a traditional animator, Okamoto-san has led an impressive 30-year career in the Japanese animation industry of which 16 were at PPI as Animation Supervisor for their domestic and international projects. His overall feedback is very positive and as a seasoned animator, he knew exactly which Harmony features he wanted to experiment with. "It's very convenient to check your timing in real time and playyour digital drawings to check the flow and pace. It's also very useful to be able to add as many layers as you need and adjust each layer's transparency level. I enjoyed the onionskin feature a lot. I particularly liked the copy and paste feature as you obviously can't do that on paper! All of these features help reduce the work time significantly," explained Okamoto-san. "I would definitely recommend Harmony to Japanese animators as you can do everything within the software. Harmony gives much more power to animators," he added.

With such a conclusive test, PPI is determined to include Harmony in its arsenal and progressively implement digital 2D processes in-house. As a highly respected entertainment and storytelling studio, PPI definitely holds the expertise and know-how to lead the way in Japan!

Team Jack Liang, Minoru Okamoto and Hiroyuki Seshita

About Polygon Pictures

Polygon Pictures (PPI), established in 1983, is one of the oldest and most recognized computer graphics studios in the world. This Japanese production studio brings together over 300 creators of which 50 are based in Malaysia, devoting their time to producing cutting-edge digital content. In addition to long form, fully CG television series such as Transformers Prime (Daytime Emmy® Award winner), Tron: Uprising, and Star Wars: The Clone Wars, PPI creates digital animation for films, video games, exhibitions, websites, and smartphones. PPI also manages licensing for their studio's original character properties like the popular penguin duo Rocky & Hopper.