where the character driven industries meet

Mrs Peppercorn’s Magical Reading Room

The CGI and VFX boutique Flipbook worked on this short, beautifully shot and magical film by acclaimed director Mike Le Han. The short was created to serve as an appetiser for the trilogy of films that Mike is now moving into production. Flipbook produced most of the VFX shots in-house, totalling around 50. Ben Haworth, Flipbook’s Creative Director, also supervised the production of a number of shots that were produced by 5 other studios and a few freelance artists. The film had its premier screening at BAFTA in London earlier this year and also recently won ‘Best short film’ at HollyShorts Film Festival in Hollywood, a festival well renowned for showcasing the best and brightest short films from around the globe.

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History Cold Case

History Cold Case is a BBC 2 series which sees skeletons of everyday people from across the ages analysed in staggering detail, opening new and somewhat gruesome windows on the history of our forebears. Flipbook was commissioned by Shine TV to produce all the CGI content for the new series and was responsible for bringing these people to life, and producing 6 detailed CGI reconstructions of their faces and bodies, from initial digital scans of skeletons. They also produced the graphical sequences of the burial reconstructions, detailing how and where the skeletons were found during excavations. The whole process involved working closely with the forensic anthropological team at the University of Dundee to make sure the right ethnic look, skin texture and overall facial morphology was captured, as per the scientific evidence.

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About Flipbook…

Flipbook is a CGI Animation and Visual Effects boutique. With a talented and consultative team of Artists, Producers and Creatives, Flipbook produces high end CGI animation and Visual FX for TV commercials, broadcast, film, promotional games trailers, and interactive digital campaigns.

The company's highly skilled team has a wealth of experience and talent within the industry, and over the years has worked on some first class projects for clients such as Sega, Codemasters, Activison, LG, Publicis, TBWA, Dare, Sony, Glue, Leo Burnett, Square Enix and Disney. With this experience, and the dedication and passion of the team, Flipbook aims to help realise their client's visions and turn ideas to reality.

Getting the right mix of creativity, originality and technology is important, and that’s where Flipbook comes in. They know CGI, they know VFX, they know digital, they know film, they know technology and they know how to knead them all together by providing a supportive, creative consultation service.

Thanks to wonderful new projects such as the stunning short film Mrs Peppercorn's Magical Reading Room, and the BBC’s History Cold Case, it’s been an exciting year for the company so far. In addition, the team at Flipbook's HQ are working on further projects which they look forward to announcing in the near future. So be sure to keep checking their website.

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Character Topic

Are ideal transmedia characters possible? What should we look out for when designing such characters, given that the technical requirements differ from format to format? Can we create characters that are designed to work well across all formats? These are questions that were recently asked in our Linkedin group "Characters".

In response to the question someone immediately asked for a definition of the term "transmedia", because according to this group member, the word "is being used quite liberally at the moment".

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The answer was a quote,
* "... unlike crossmedia projects of the past, in which intellectual properties cross media divides to maximize merchandising, "true" transmedia is designed in preproduction with the intent of immersion rather than simply rehashing such properties in post-production for maximum
return on investment."

The contributor who posted the quote went on to say, "In the past characters have had to be adapted to make them fit for different media, as cross platform strategies were implemented for properties that often pre-dated the emergence of many of our current media platforms. Recently two group members told the group about the problems they had to deal with when it came to making The Smurfs work for CG, for example."

He went on to say, "It might therefore be a good idea to start taking all potential design parameters into consideration when embarking on new IPs and character designs, in order to make any transition as easy and therefore as time and cost effective as possible."

One contributor replied by saying that the ideal transmedia character was a mirage, while someone else explained, "If the creator of Sponge Bob was looking to make his art assets as flexible as possible, he would likely have decided to pursue 3D animation. The 2D style he did choose is a major contributor to the quirky, innocent quality of the franchise even though it means that doing something as simple as reposing an asset requires redrawing it. All decisions for building a property must be in service of the narrative... Style consistency is not the goal. Authentic Franchise growth is".

What do you think? Join our discussion and add your thoughts here.

* Dinehart, Stephen Erin (2006). Journey of Jin & Transmedial Play (Thesis). USC Interactive Media. http://interactive.usc.edu/project/journey-of-jin/

Dacosta! is an independent, self-taught, award-winning multifaceted designer who has been creating professionally from his Vancouver based studio, “Chocolate Soop”, for the past 15 years. He has produced designs across various media including print, the web, animation, film, and manufactured toys, and strives to create the highest quality work on every project. His passion and philosophy is grounded in his belief that we should never lose site of those magical things that captured our hearts and imaginations as children. He is deeply passionate about characters and the worlds they inhabit. Not wanting to be pinned down to any particular category like games or toys, his business card simply reads “Character IP Developer”, leaving the door wide open for all forms of character exploration.

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In 2007 he released his first vinyl toy called DCTO (Dreams Come True Object) and In partnership with JAMN (Japanese American National Museum) in LA, Dacosta held the first custom vinyl toy show in a museum entitled, "Dreams to Dreams".

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He has worked for the video game industry doing character designs for companies like Nintendo, Nexon, and most recently the ModNation Racers game from United Front Games, released under Sony. Amongst other elements Dacosta was tasked with designing the lead character ‘TAG’ for the game.

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Dacosta also moonlights as the Art Director of the Vancouver ACM SIGGRAPH chapter, creating branding material for their events SPARK FX and SPARK Animation. His most recent project, available on the App store, is a character based, customizable wallpaper app for the iPad project called Stikalicious™. The app features his work, and the works of a growing list of character designers from around the world.

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Dacosta has many projects in the works including a children’s picture book project for the iPad, and a new IP called 'Botz and Rocs', which features elements in plush, vinyl, and digital forms. Also in the works is a highly successful evergreen property slated for released in 2012.

www.chocolatesoop.com

To suggest books, email...

info@charactersengage.com

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