Saturday, 25 June 2011

Richard Taylor's Swimsong

Swimsong is a 1982 public information film directed by Richard Taylor; it's one of his most stylish pieces. Animator's Newsletter ran a feature on the short:

Directed by Richard Taylor for the C.O.I. A film to encourage people to learn to swim. This film was presented at last years Cambridge Animation Festival as a fine example of British animation. It uses the innovative technique of colour without outline.

Richard Taylor says: “It is a difficult film to find monochrome or line art-work for because the concept was entirely one of using colour to define form without outline. There were virtually no line model sheets done, each scene was worked out as a complete image and evolved by evolved by interchange between my conception and Roger McIntosh’s execution of the scenes (although there was execution by me and conception by him as well).

Of the drawings shown, the pair from Sc. 5 are perhaps the most illuminating since the shadow tone was separated out into another drawing and the tracer was instructed to omit the line detail in executing the cel. The shadow tone was not of course a single colour but there were two tones for each of the areas to be coloured – flesh, hair, swimming costume etc. By working out a range of colours at the beginning we were able to manage this light and shadow system throughout the film without proliferation of colours although no scene featured the same character or background more than once.

The other drawings come from scenes when the technique had settled down more and, by using coloured crayon, we defined the tonal separation on the one drawing.

In the case of the old woman in Sc. 11 the figure had to be separated into two levels of cel so that the under water parts were on the level below the surface glitter animation.”
























Drawings taken from the Animator Magazine website

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