Sydney-based studio Truba Animation has created The Future, an apocalyptic film that depicts what life might be like when all the water is gone and our true nature is revealed. “It’s a common horror that humanity will sink to the depravity of animalistic survival. The Future is a very cynical glimpse of what might be,” says Greg Sharp, one half of Truba Animation.
Together with his wife, Nina Knežević, the pair were inspired by TV talk of nuclear war and acid rain from their childhood, “politicians and bald-faced hypocrisy of modern politics” and HG Wells’ The Time Machine. The film has been created using cut-out stop-motion animation, and uses that strong aesthetic to create something that’s both weirdly funny and grotesque at the same time, using an uncomfortably fleshy colour palette. The short is both absorbing and unnerving, which is magnified by the work of sound designers Skillbard, which adds to the ominous atmosphere. “If we’ve made an enchanting world and characters who seem alive and have their own destinies (even very horrible ones) that’s a great start,” says Greg.
The film adapts Greg’s recent watercolour paintings by putting them into a “digital pipeline, where [he] could retain the undo key and build a workflow that is efficient, flexible and can be scaled up easily”. Using Adobe Animate, Greg was keen to keep the clarity of the original paintings and his one rule was “simple stop-motion, no short-cuts or rigs – this is imperative in keeping the charm and magic of stop-motion”.
“In terms of roles, I was there as a sounding board, talking about the project challenges and creative flows is what matters most to me,” says Nina of her involvement. “In the case of The Future, it was very much Greg’s creative execution. With being so committed to commercial work over the years… this was the first time he really wanted to get back to telling his own stories. I just needed to keep the pressure up and make sure it was plodding along nicely.”
Greg sees stop motion as intuitive and mediative, where an animator needs to have a different kind of confidence than hand-drawn animation requires. “The simplicity of cut-out stop motion places limitations on what you can do, and the challenge is to push those limits, particularly with camera angles in action sequences,” says Greg. “Everything we were doing was for the first time, but we want to do more commercial jobs using this technique, so we had an eye on how we could make it flexible and efficient at each stage of the process.”
Truba Animation is newly formed having only been officially open for three weeks. “I consider Greg my muse, he’s been with me for such a long time, and seen my own progress as an artist. I consider our foundation to be this creative intimacy, on a day-to-day basis it’s simply talking to each other about what we like aesthetically, or dissecting an idea, this is what Truba is or will be built on going forward,” explains Nina. The studio was formed to make space for the pair’s personal projects, and already they’ve had jobs coming in with one of their most recent being part of the Rick and Morty Exquisite Corpse trailer.
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