Is “Klaus”, Netflix’s first original animated film, in 2D or 3D? Difficult to determine as the style of animation of the feature film by Sergio Pablos is unique. Moreover, Sergio Pablos himself did not want to choose, but rather to develop a new technique to give relief to a film designed in 2D…
Klausa very successful animated film
By acquiring the rights to a film in 2017 that no one wanted, Netflix had a hollow nose. Two years later, the animated feature film Klaus indeed became one of the great films of 2019, with worldwide audiences immediately enchanted by this brilliant origin story of Santa Claus. A few months later, the film got the BAFTA for Best Animated Filmthen an Oscar nomination in the same category, after winning everything at the Annie Awards (equivalent to the Oscars for animated films).
His story is beautiful, funny and touching. And perfectly calibrated for a family audience while assuming a certain gravity:
When Jesper happens to be the Postal Academy’s worst student, he’s sent to Smeerensburg, a small village on an icy island in the Arctic Circle, where the grumpy, rowdy locals don’t exchange a word let alone a letter. Jesper is about to give up his postman duties when he meets Alva, the village schoolteacher turned fishmonger, and Klaus, a mysterious carpenter who lives alone in a house full of toys.
To put into images his pretty screenplay, co-written with Zach Lewis and Jim Mahoney, Sergio Pablos has a specific idea. Because it’s about Christmas and the origins of Santa Claus, he wants the film to be animated in 2D. An ideal argument to return to the world of childhood and thrill the nostalgic rope of each viewer. He also wants his style of animation to be modern, unique. That it is based on 2D of course, but a 2D with relief, sublimated to appear unprecedented. He succeeds in his bet, since Klaus has all the appearance of a 3D animation, while keeping the artisanal aspect of 2D. How did he do it?
KLaS, a tailor-made technology for Klaus
The idea of Klaus and its unprecedented animation technology dates back to 2010. At that time, Sergio Pablos wanted to make this film in 2D, while giving it the most advanced appearance possible. As explained in a video ofInsider devoted to the film (below), his idea is as follows: draw the film in 2D, by hand – more than 300 people have worked on Klausincluding 40 animators – and then animate it using lighting techniquesin order to give relief thanks to lights and shadows, and therefore approach 3D appearance, without CGI.
In 2015, a teaser is produced and shows a convincing result, which interests Netflix. But the lighting technique of Sergio Pablos and his animation studio is then still laborious and very time-consuming. He will therefore call on the French company The Red Fish movies, based in Angoulême, which has developed its own tools and software to do both 2D and 3D as well as “mixed” productions. This production company will thus improve Sergio Pablos’ tool to make it more efficient and easier to use for designers. They could indeed draw directly with different lights, rather than drawing first and then lighting. This tool has a name: KLaSto Klaus Light and Shadow.
The objective was to avoid having “sticker-like characters applied on painted backgrounds“. An objective totally fulfilled since it is good a feeling of volume that we can feel. As well as admiring characters who fit perfectly into their environment. Above all, the KLaS tool gives the deeply desired result: to give substance to the powerful nostalgia of childhood emotions.
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Klaus: unique technology for Netflix’s big Christmas movie – CinéSéries