Brazilian illustrator and animator Antonio Vicentini has a loose, sketchbook-style of animation that remains slick due to his simple and effective approach.
Most recently Antonio collaborated with The School of Life. The animation came about after Antonio, a big fan of Alain de Botton’s work, emailed “telling him that I am an animator and would to love collaborate”. To his surprise, “he wrote me back and a couple of weeks later I got a script and the voice over,” explains Antonio.
The result, a short entitled How the Right Words Help Us to Feel the Right Things describes and visualise the Portuguese word, Saudade, meaning “a bittersweet, melancholic yearning for something beautiful that is now gone”. This could be a relationship or friendship which culminates in a “blend of pain, loss and pleasure that loveliness that once graced our lives”.
Describing the project, Antonio says: “Alain is a pleasure to work with. He gives total creative freedom to the animators and just asks for a couple of frames to see the initial treatment and after that he leaves you alone. I like having that freedom because I can pretend I know what I’m doing, even though I have no idea.”
Antonio kept a straight forward process to complete the animation. “I was just drawing and animating loosely in Photoshop and then importing the assets into After Effects to create the composition, edit and final adjustments.” Rather than create a complicated narrative, the animator stuck to what he knows. “I didn’t elaborate a storyboard, I’m not good with those things. I was coming up with ideas after finishing the section I was working on at the moment.”
Across the animation, from pitch to process and final outcome, Antonio’s no-nonsense attitude is clear. “I tried to make the scenes as simple as possible. In some parts I’m just simulating things that work great in a live-action format – a single object lying in the centre of the composition, for example. If an idea would take more than a day to be animated I’d rather spend more time thinking about another solution than actually working on the initial concept. Yes, I’m that lazy.”
The final animation is a blend of pastel hues, with unusual but apt visual representations of Alain’s voice over. The whole project showcases the beauty of e-mailing someone you admire and the collaboration which can result.
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