A brief note about some of the terms I use: keys, breakdowns, and inbetweens are names for different drawings in animation. Keys are ‘extreme’ poses that tell the story. Breakdowns show how (slowly, angrily, passionately) the character moves from one key to the next. Inbetweens are ‘in between’ all the others, usually halfway between the drawings on either side.
I cleaned up quite a few shots of Jesper, though, unfortunately, most of the scenes I can show don’t reflect that. He was the character I worked on the most. I was certainly most comfortable cleaning up Jesper. The trickiest things with Jesper were getting the curve of his nose and chin right, and his epaulettes. That’s not to say that the rest of him was much easier!
Karolina Tomaszewska did the keys for this shot. I inbetweened it early on during my time on Klaus, and That Parcel gave me headaches in both this and the shot above. This inbetween I’m particularly proud of as there was no drawing for it in the rough animation. The drawings before and after are quite far apart, so I had to sketch Jesper fully before I could create the clean drawing.
This shot of Jesper and his father is one of my favourites. I love how much is said though nothing is spoken. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find out who animated this one. I cleaned up the keys, breakdowns, and inbetweens for both characters, so this shot’s rare in that I did almost everything in it. Usually I’d do either keys or inbetweens.
I generally preferred working on really subtle shots, like the one above, though aligning each line perfectly could be hard on the eyes. To give an idea of how detailed and accurate the clean up is in Klaus, we would find ourselves working at the maximum zoom. One day Freya asked if it was possible to zoom in further than the maximum zoom as the line could no longer be inbetweened – she had literally run out of pixels to work with. We were told that quantum inbetweening was not necessary. ‘Quantum Klaus’ – what could have been?
I worked on this shot towards the end of my time on Klaus. It’s not my favourite one of Jesper, but I’m glad to have an example of him. I cleaned up keys for Jesper, Alva, and Margu’s father. I think I may have also inbetweened the sack of presents, but that was quite an easy job to do.
The hardest thing I had to do was partially animate and then clean up the rotation of the piece of wood Jesper’s holding, which is barely in shot. Because everything is animated with a safety area in case of reframing, the piece of wood had to be perfectly cleaned up. But no one will ever see it!
This shot was animated by Cécile Carre. You can view it here.
Working on Klaus was a real privilege. I learnt a lot about animation – being able to study animators’ work in depth was wonderful! I certainly learnt a lot about rotating objects.
It’s been so good to see how well the film has been received, and not only among animators. I hope it will inspire more work in 2D animation both now and in the future. I’ve loved being a part of such a fantastic film.