Beth G. Kopin
Inches to Metric: Zionism Through Design

The Making of a Movie #9

Animation

Continuing to build the team-#9 Jeffrey Pittle (Animator),  referred to as Pittle. I’m a fan of non-fiction books, learning unique perspectives from each new book/author. One of my favorite authors is a Buddhist Monk Thich Nhat Hanh. He writes about his philosophy of life, I loved reading about the concept beginners mind. Always being in a state of learning, each time as if it were the first.

When I first met our director Marc Bennett (written about in post #5) he said he had never done animation before and wanted to tackle that aspect of film making. Some people might have been scared by that (I was clueless about movie making and absolutely befuddled about animation). I appreciated his honesty and lack of fear about beginning something new. An artist’s life is constantly in flux, learning new concepts and techniques, living a “beginners mind.”

What does the animator do?

Marc reached out to Pittle. Pittle is a rock star in the TV and Film industry specializing in motion graphics, special effects and animation. He jumped on board. First they created a log book documenting/showing rough hand drawn sketches of what was needed for each illustration. The sketches were sent to Martin Lemelman (written about in post # 3) and he turned them into art. The art was scanned high res then transferred digitally to Pittle. As Pittle began “working the magic” of animation he gave Martin valuable tips on how to create/adapt the art which aided in the animation process.

Jeffrey Pittle Animator on left. Marc Bennett Director reviewing sequence of photos.
Sketch by Jeffrey Pittle to Martin Lemelman showing what was needed.

One trick of the animation trade is creating the background of a scene, then layering on top objects/individuals so they could move. The happiest moment early in the film shows people dancing with the Torah in the street as it was introduced to the community. Martin did the backgrounds for that scene, then added in the people. He did the same for many of other scenes, adding in trucks, dogs, etc. all drawn separately.

An additional technique used was drawing various poses for the characters in individual scenes was, some poses had an arm separated so it could move. For scenes where it was too complicated to do just background, Pittle had to painstakingly cut out each figure, fill in the background with photoshop then replace the figures in the scene using different poses all while coordinating the pace of the narrative with the movements.

Background street scene dancing with the Torah.
Complete image of street scene shows dancing with Torah. This hangs proudly in our home.

The job of the artist is to create magic. It is impossible to comprehend all the hours which go into “waving a magic wand”, creating that magic. Pittle did the magic solo for the bulk of the work. Graciously Lisa’s company (written about in post #7) 11 Dollar Bill jumped in for the final round of post/production animation. This seemed like the cavalry arriving and they brought in countless individuals and man hours who aided in the enhanced animation of our film. More about that in a future post (Christian Robins).

Jeffrey Pittle, computer shows opening scene of film.

Life is movement. Jeffrey Pittle you brought our film to life, breathing soul into the art in an extraordinary way. Pittle continues to breathe life into our project, he  reformatted the Spanish version of the film, created our poster, website in both English and Spanish, and is continually updating… You are a master of your craft, and a friend. We are forever bound by The Tattooed Torah film. It is an honor to have you on the team. Pittle established an award winning creative consultancy Pittleworks, Inc. Pittleworks.com.

Poster by Pittle, signed by the team.
Home page of The Tattooed Torah.

With Rosh Hashanah approaching it felt appropriate to write about animation/movement, qualities unique to life. May all who read this and see our film get inspired to start something new or rediscover something as if it were the first time.

To watch the trailer click on top image. Stay tuned… thetattooedtorah.com

Shanah Tovah

About the Author
Beth Kopin is a trained interior architectural designer from the US. She has experience in the design/construction world that spans thirty years, and works and lives in both Chicago and Arnona, Jerusalem. She commutes regularly between the two cities. She brings her work ethic, training and US standards to Israel. Beth has surrounded herself with extremely talented trades. Her design team developed a way to CAD (computer aided design) plans in both US and metric standards. This enables both the US born clients (some of which live in Israel, some as second homes), and Israeli trades to better understand the plans, ensuring a more fluid communication. She is able to help bridge the gap of cultural differences, manage expectations, relate often confusing metric standards, as well as all the basic elements of designing a beautiful and functional home. Beth@KopinInteriors.com, KopinInteriors.com
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