One of the very few animation studios in Transylvania, Romania, ReeAnimation started as a subdivision of Reea Interactive Agency - the main firm consisting of over 150 professionals in developing web, mobile and interactive projects, and later developed a local community-oriented online magazine for kids. Initially a two to three person endeavour, the team grew and began working on Luzarii de pe Electrolizei, a very popular national web animation series that went on for about a year. All this provided great experience to the self-taught team of animators, but soon they felt they wanted to move on to bigger and better things. Thus, the idea for a feature length animation came along, and with it a technological leap forward from Flash to Toon Boom Harmony. Within a week-long crash course, it was clear to everyone involved that Harmony would be the best tool to bring the characters of Aetas, ReeAnimation's feature length dream project, to life.
Inspired by both anime and European animation, Aetas is an ambitious project, which tells the tale of an island inhabited by anthropomorphic animals that have been reached in the recent past by a group of humans, and the culture clash that ensued. It's projected to be a marriage of fantasy, sci-fi and renaissance aesthetics, epic adventure, and a laugh or two.
The team has been hard at work on painstakingly detailed background art and was looking for a solution to make the animated actors look as great as possible, knowing a nice and believable digital line is hard to come by. ”And it's exactly what Harmony provided, not to mention multiplane cameras, particle generators which were essential to a scene involving Aetas' confetti-heavy bazaar, and many others,” explained Dan Masca, chief executive officer at ReeAnimation.
“There are many new tools in Harmony that help animators bring their ideas to life. Toon Boom introduced features which were previously only found in video editing and post-production software. Features like palette settings, pegs and the multiplane camera helped the team out greatly, in contrast with Flash's limited capabilities. The network system greatly reduces the difficulty of working with lots of layers. Pegs are more versatile and easier to use than movie clips, the onion-skin implementation is superior, 3D object integration, stereoscopy... plus the 'little things' that matter, such as the canvas rotation,” added Dan.
Currently, ReeAnimation has a strong team of six talented professionals, between ages 22 and 36, all using Wacom Cintiqs. Two of them have over seven years of 2D animation and post-production experience, and one has five years of experience in After Effects and video editing. Given the size of the team, artists take on diverse tasks from concept art to storyboarding, background art, and animation. As far as sound is concerned, there's a fully equipped professional studio on the premises, the idea being that everything creative, from script to sound, can be done as easily as possible.
Animation isn't a big thing in Transylvania... yet. With Toon Boom’s help, the ReeAnimation team is striving to forge a creative community where kids can come over, experience how much fun animation is, and maybe consider it as a career option later in life.
Reea has been providing content for seven years via online education and entertainment projects, such as educatie.inmures.ro and revistatus.ro. Licensed preschool, middle school, and high school teachers are also involved in delivering content that's both fun and engaging, and all of this comes to life via animated lessons, illustrated kids stories and comics series.
“This is what we were doing when we were their age; we loved cartoons, and we'd draw them on the sides of our textbooks and flip them to make them come to life... Now with Toon Boom’s software, the kids will have this great opportunity of breathing life into their creations digitally, and maybe stick around and make a living out of doing what they love, just like we do,” stated Liviu Boar, team leader at ReeAnimation.
ReeAnimation and Reea Interactive Agency are looking for co-producers, collaborators and financing for the feature length Aetas—considering the relatively small size of the team and the scope of the project. They are also looking for different web, mobile and multimedia projects as a subcontractor or partner, including start-ups.