Warner Bros.’ has revamped the appearance of its classic Looney Tunes characters for a new generation. For those anticipating the launch of the new animated series the Looney Tunes Show, three animated shorts featuring Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner have been playing in movie theaters preceding films like Yogi Bear and Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore over the past few months. The most recent theatrical short, “Coyote Falls” which debuted in theaters on December 17, has been nominated for an Annie Award, and also shortlisted for an Academy Award, according to Reel FX Entertainment who are credited with the shorts’ animation and stereo 3-D development.
The Website AWN: Animation World Network features two interviews about the cartoon series’ makeover, one with director Matt O’Callaghan who talks about his commitment to maintaining the integrity of the original look of the characters.
“The biggest challenge taking it into the computer was keeping the graphic nature of the original designs, even though you have all the tools for fur and feathers … and special lighting treatments. But the thing was we never put down those model sheets from the original shorts. And even when we were in animation, we were constantly looking at the old animation to capture certain expressions and mimic certain timing” says O’Callaghan in an interview by Animation World Network’s Bill Desowitz. “We just wanted it to look believable within this world that we created. We wanted it to feel the same, but take some of those shape and design sensibilities that we remember so well and give them rock texture (including the imperfections) and sand texture and give dimension to the cactus in 3-D space.”
The site also features an article with supervising producers Tony Cervone and Spike Brandt who discuss the groundbreaking techniques implemented by Reel FX (Dallas) to translate the traditional 2D cartoon into a 3D format.
“They really broke a lot of the CG rules in order to create the Road Runner and the Coyote for these shorts,” say the producers. “The rigging that they’ve done with these models is breaking some new ground as far as trying to bring a traditional 2D cartoony character into this CG world.”
- Have you ever considered pursuing a career in graphic design or digital media? Check out FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising’s program for Graphic Design where you can learn all aspects of print media, including typography, digital photography and publication/layout design, and FIDM’s Digital Media program where you can learn editing, digital composition, motion graphics, 3-D modeling & animation, and sound design.