TVPaint is glad to inaugurate this new section with Madevi Dailly, a young french artist who lives in Scotland and who has directed recently a short movie 'Westi' using only TVPaint Animation for all the 2D animation production. For those who want to know more about her works, several links are available at the end of the interview.
TVPaint: Tell us a little about your background...
Madevi Dailly: I followed a rather convoluted path to animation: it took two years of studying communication at the Sorbonne Nouvelle in Paris, then two years working in IT for me to realize I had to do something more creative with my time.
After a foundation year at Edinburgh College of Art, I specialized in animation, and graduated in 2004 with a BA (Hons) in the subject. While my degree film was doing the festival rounds worldwide, I worked freelance for a while, then as a producer for Red Kite Animations, before getting my first commission to produce mobile video clips through Pocket Shorts Scotland. This led to another commission, this time to direct a short film called 'Westi' for Channel 4 as part of their Raw Cuts series, an NSPCC-sponsored initiative to help teenagers tell stories on the theme of vulnerability. Since completing the film I've returned to being fully self-employed, and have secured funding to develop a multi-platform kids' property based on some of my characters.
TVPaint: How did you discover TV Paint?
Madevi Dailly: I was introduced to TV Paint by Asaf Agranat, a fellow ECA graduate, who made his degree film using Mirage and later starting experimenting with TV Paint. I loved the painterly style of his film, and was excited by the prospect of working in a paperless environment. 'West' seemed like an ideal opportunity to try the software: I wanted a hand-drawn look with colour-pencilled backgrounds, but with a very short production period and a small budget it would have been impossible to do it in the traditional way.
TVPaint: How did you find the learning curve?
Madevi Dailly: Because of the short production period, the animators and I had to learn quickly and efficiently. It took me 2-3 days to come to grip with the basics of drawing and animating, then another few days to develop a style I was happy with. Reading the manual is quite useful, if a little daunting because of its size. Once you've mastered the interface, animating is so intuitive and natural that the animators were up and running in a couple of days! I decided early on not to use TV Paint for compositing as there was no time to come to discover the subtleties of the program (we used familiar After Effects instead), but hope to discover these tools soon...
TVPaint: What do you like about TV Paint? What are the strong points about the software? Did you save a lot of time using it?
Madevi Dailly: The best thing about TV Paint is the seamless animating environment. You can sketch, animate, linetest, fix, cleanup and colour your animation without having to start up another program or lengthy renders. No more punching paper! No fiddling with peg bars! No capturing linetests sheet by sheet, or lengthy scans! TV Paint is a definite time saver. It only took us 8 weeks and 2 animators to animate the 3 minutes of the film. Lip synching was so easy because there was no need to break down the speech, just scrub through the soundtrack to find where each sound starts and stops. What's more, I really feel my animation improved by using TV Paint, because it was so simple to test if keyframes were working, or to try new things and experiment without losing too much precious time.
TVPaint: What do you think is the best tool in TVP?
Madevi Dailly: For me, it has to be the navigation tool. You can zoom in and out, pan across the screen, and rotate the lightbox without having to select another tool. It sounds like an insignificant detail but it makes such a difference. It's like holding a piece of paper in your hands. In fact I loved it so much it became really frustrating to use other software, because I was always trying to use that shortcut when it didn't exist!
Other than that, I really loved the rotating lightbox, which makes it so easy to animate and inbetween.
TVPaint: What would you change about the software?
Madevi Dailly: I'd love to see an X-sheet style way of handling frames, which would allow you to move frames about, reuse cycles and retime your animation in a visual and intuitive way. It would also make the transition easier for traditional animators.
TVPaint: A little word to finish?
I think what really makes TV Paint stand out is that the people behind it have the right idea. It's a great company on a human scale, and a wonderful sense of community (just have a look at the forums to see what I mean!). Nicolas Richard, our contact at TV Paint, was extremely helpful and a joy to work with, and I can't thank him enough for his support. Just give TV Paint a try - you won't be disappointed.
Some links related to my work:
TVPaint: Thank you very much Madevi, we wish you all the best for your future projects !