When cutting a massive tree deep inside the Amazon jungle, a logger contemplates an unexpected reaction of nature.
A view about the irreversible consequences of deforestation and subjugation by human to the rest of Earth’s beings.
Story, Direction and Animations by Guilherme Gehr
Sound Design and Mixing by Breno Furtado
Executive Production by Fernando Gehr
Production Support by Ariane Romanha Melato
Songs by Ludovico Einaudi and Alexandra Streliski
The esthetic conception has not always been the same.
The drawing production has taken 14 months and many things have changed over this time.
It has been shown that there could have been always something more arduous and completely different that could improve the animation proposal.
At first, animations had been extremely simple, colorless and drawing with no shading fill. It was similar to pen sketching on paper, white background and black lines.
My challenge has been completely changed when I realized forest has a lot to tells with its nuances, shadows and movement.
Therefore, the final esthetic was created where each detail has its value and has to be shown, which require a more sophisticated and richer sound design as well.
Plantae is a short movie made in 2D animation using the traditional process with still images sequenced.
Composed in a virtual tridimensional way, the drawings rebuild the biggest forest of the world with attention to the hidden details inside the woods.
There is no script for the film, only a decoupage with more than 50 shots that have built a narrative idea. They had to be careful chosen before being made. In this process, a lot of interesting imagens had to be left out not only to keep the film with a short duration, but also to have an appropriate rhythm suiting the songs.
The character animation was made through different techniques.
Many times, man’s movement was drawn on live action shoot frames, wich is called rotoscopy.
For this, the head of a clay model constructed according to the man's conception was inserted on the video so this video could be used as base to the draw.
Even so, most of the body parts on video where not copied strictly because of the divergency between the character's conception and the animator, with is the one who acted in the videos (this is a fun method quite common to animators). The facial expressions was always drawn trough a free stile. In a way, the amplitude of the movements and the way the face deforms in each expression, for exemple, build a little of the character's personality.
All the other characters were always animated trough a free style, and also sometimes, the logger.
The challenges were quite varied, for exemple, the frequency of a butterfly wing-beat and the extension of the inicial movement of a pink river dolphin, that needed to be included after the plan was considered finished. In this case, the animation needed to be done backwards, that is, before the pose 1, needed to be made the pose 0, then the pose -1, -2, and so on until the movement was long enough to cover the gap that the shot presented in the editing.
Finally, the characters and the paintings of the scenarios, were arranged neatly in the final composition. Effects like reflexes, for exemple, totally hand made, were inserted on the result of this composition.
Plantae sound environment has been made with sounds taken from amazon rainforest mixed with isolatedly noises of birds, amphibians, bugs, effects and random elements.
With each singing and buzzing that was inserted to the images, a new view of the facts arose, since the drawings - that came alive with the movements - began to communicate with their noises. A wonderful and exciting process. The phase of choosing the environments took a few weeks. From time to time, it was necessary to construct the sonority in different ways to discard attempts and select the result that best constructed the intended realism of the woods and the events of the film.
Special sounds, which enrich the events of the story, were carefully constructed with a rich array of unimaginable sounds, such as the snoring of an old sleeping dog, giving a thrilling atmosphere in part of the film.
Listen to the sound of the forest!
Once the sound of the film was chosen, the mixing was started to modify and adjust the spatiality of the environments and effects. For instance, the sound of a bird that sings close to the microphone is very clean and preferential as isolated as possible. At the mixing process, it should receive effects to be fragmented multiple times in order to generate in the viewer the sensation of distance, as if its voice came out scattered among the hundreds of trunks of the forest.
The theme of Plantae was not only an opportunity to debate a current issue, but also as an expression of a latent and constant concern about the consequences of the expansion of deforested areas, which occurs in practically the entire equatorial strip of the planet. On this occasion, in the vastness of the forest hides the pain of beings who do not succeed in their biological functions, victimized and decimated by a series of factors completely veiled to most people. Systematic disequilibrium of entire ecosystems, habitat devastation of species of restricted occurrence, and contaminations may be putting in place a processes of irreversible non-natural degradation.
Some objects are often used as reference to the study of movements.
In the film, a bicycle wall hanger glued to a piece of wood was used as a reference for a chainsaw.