Have you ever wondered where animation starts? Where that first spark begins and how from that spark it evolves into the incredible 3D and hand drawn movies and shows we watch today?
Well, wonder no more. If you are lucky enough to have it travel to your area, Dream Works Entertainmenthas a show that gives you a bit of it all with the Dream Works Animation Exhibit: From Sketch to Screen. This show has audio and video describing all aspects of the animation process, maquettes the animators use for reference (so many of them!), concept art and even a Dragon ride simulator that shows you how each layer is added to the animation.
Initially you progress through the various stages of the animation process with examples from many beloved Dream Works Animationfilms and television shows. There is a huge section for maquettes so you can really get a feel for every angle of your favorite character. Next up is concept art and wow is there a lot of it. The areas that showed the models were amazing and very intricate. From Shrek, to Madagascar, to Rise of the Guardiansand even a few that are rarely heard from (see Road to Eldorado), the show has it all for most any animation lover.
Standing in line to ride a dragon seems ominous but it was both fun and surprisingly educational. Guests sit in beanbag seats (or benches if you prefer) and a wraparound screen takes you on a journey with Toothless (from How to Train your Dragon) that begins with a hand sketched storyboard, frame by frame and escalates to full motion 3D animation. As we progress from scene to scene we see layer upon layer of animation added to finally show us what each scene becomes in the final rendering of the animation. This actually makes the animation even more appealing when you see how much effort is put into what most would assume are relatively simple shots.
As you come to the end of the tour, guests are invited to have a play with Wacom tablets and create their own animation. With a basic step by step you are walked through creating multiple frames and animating them into a movie you can then email to yourself at home as a keepsake. At this location, (Te Papa Museum – Wellington) there was also a small gift shop at the end with souvenirs specifically for the show as well as photo opportunities for you to pose with your favorite Dream Workscharacters.
If you are lucky enough to have this show in your area or if it is visiting you soon, we highly recommend it to everyone. One thing to be aware of is that a large variety of the show is about taking your time, and seeing all of the details and reading/listening to the media and as such small children may get bored after a short period of time.