Godmothered


 
Seven minutes of feature quality 2D animation created for the Disney+ film GODMOTHERED,

Directed by Sharon Maguire.
 

Animation Credits.

Creative Supervisor
Marc Craste

Producer
Nikki Kefford-White

Shotgun Coordinator
Beverly Yeang
Ren Pesci, Ellie Goffe

Art Director
Gergely Wootsch

Production Design
Dermot Flynn

Character Design
Nikolas Ilic

Storyboard
Zhihuang Dong
Yi Shen

Supervising Animator
Aya Suzuki

2D Animation
Uli Meyer, Michael Schlingmann, Andrea Simonti, Thierry Torres, Andy Powell, Andrew Brooks, Peter Dodd, Slaven Reese, Victor Ens, Jorge Duran, Allan Fernando

FX animation
Duncan Gist

Production Coordinator
Justine Waldie

Assistant Coordinator
Jonathan Wren

Assistant Animation
Simon Swales, Alan Henry, Matthew Armitage, Denise Dean, Kay Sales, Ryan Fairbanks, Martin Dray, David Leick-Burns, Judit Boor, Dominika Brodowska, Alison Oxborrow, Katerina Kremasioti, Helena Bonastre, Marion Boisrond, Andrea Freidrich, Janina Putzker, Sasha Balan, Alejandra Guevara

3D Supervisor
James Gaillard

CGI/Compositing
Jerome Ferra, Clarisse Valeix, Will Eagar, Daniel Garnerone, Adam O’Sullivan Avery, Kristian Fjellerup Olesen, Joshua Crew, Vincent Husset

Editing
Nic Gill

Technical support
Fabrice Altman

 

Once Upon a Pandemic...


In the summer of 2020, with the studio building closed and all staff working remotely, Studio AKA was commissioned by Disney to create 7 minutes of feature quality 2D animation to complement existing shots in the Disney+ film GODMOTHERED. The film had lost the last weeks of shooting to lockdown, and a crucial sequence setting up the story was missing. Working with Director Sharon Maguire, AKA had to devise a world that would feel integral to the film, feel very much in the tradition of Disney animation, but have its own unique identity...
 

Meet ELEANOR...


Godmothered tells the story of Eleanor, an enthusiastic but inexperienced fairy godmother-in-training, who sets out to prove people still need fairy godmothers. Despite the story’s modern twist, when we first meet Eleanor, she firmly believes all that’s required for living happily ever after is a glittery gown and finding true love.


 

Classic...


So it only felt right to reflect her good-natured, wide-eyed naivety in a style that for so long was associated with just those aspirations. We opted for classic traditional 2D animation, using CG backgrounds to add depth. The colour, staging and lighting drew heavily from those early Disney features.
 

...but with a twist.


As we would be entering this world through the pages of a live-action book, layers of texture were added to the animation to give it more of a storybook, illustrated feel. Along with slightly edgy character designs, the result is something that feels both familiar and new.

 

Play Intro Sequence clip...

Pre PRODUCTION


Coming to a project late in the day presents unique challenges. Not being part of the team’s journey up to that point brings with it the risk of not ‘getting’ it, of being way off the mark with ideas, or offering up solutions that have long been discounted. But coming late also means a looming deadline and little time for indecision or holding back. Fortunately, the amazing team already on the film coped well with the deluge of storyboards and layouts.

 

Designing MOTHERLAND


Art Director Gergely Wootsch and production designer Dermot Flynn were tasked with reimagining the existing live-action world as a stylised animated environment, rooted firmly in the tradition of storybook illustration with nods to Disney classics like 101 Dalmations. It was essential to keep a graphic quality to the artwork that would be consistent throughout the sets, most of which were CG, and the characters that would be animated in traditional 2D.

 

Finding ELEANOR


Designing characters is challenging, more so when they have to bear a resemblance to real life counterparts. In the case of the world-weary older fairy godmothers with their crazy hair and gothic attire, this was relatively easy to crack. Eleanor was more of a challenge. Designer Nikolas Ilic had created a richly textured style for the character design. Eleanor would need to fit into this world, while still bearing some resemblance to the star of  the movie - Jillian Bell. Jillian has such a sunny disposition in the story that we knew in large part her personality would be captured in the animated performance. Nonetheless, we needed to resolve the look up front. From cartoony origins to the final design she went through a number of iterations before the director was satisfied we’d found Eleanor.

 

Character MODEL


StudioAKA assembled a stellar team of animators, all of them working remotely, to deliver this ambitious project. Led by supervising animator Aya Suzuki, the 40 strong animation crew made use of detailed models and expression sheets to help breathe life into the various characters. Rough animation was created firstly for approval of performance. The animation was then cleaned up for colour and texturing. The level of detail often required a team of clean-up artists on a single shot.

Living HAPPILY


By the end of the movie, Eleanor has learnt that happiness doesn’t have to last forever, and that it comes in all different shapes and sizes. This slightly less rigid, more open and accepting view of life is reflected in the pupils she’s seen teaching in the animated epilogue. The future of Fairy Godmothering is in safe hands...