A Netflix film using 3D animation to animate special-modeled handcraft-style characters on purpose

About Jingle Jangle film

Jingle Jangle is a Christmas musical fantasy film of 122 minutes length. The film was distributed by Netflix and released on November 13, 2020.

Written and directed by David E. Talbert. The film started with the story of a toymaker – Jeronicus Jangle – and also the owner of Jangles and Things just finish the invention of Don Juan Diego, a sentient matador doll. Jeronicus leaving Diego and the store under the care of his apprentice Gustafson to go celebrate the good news that the newly invented toys – Diego – would be mass-produced. However, Diego would not accept being mass produced to lose his uniqueness. From that root, the story begins to evolve around the toy journey.

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film review rating is 90% based on 71 reviews, with an average rating of 7/10. On Metacritic, the film was indicated as favorable with an average score of 69/100.

 

The animated characters and animation making little secrets

All the sequences were storyboarded multiple times. Then the making of drawn boardamatics which would later be switched over to 3D previs.

The modeling was the same for all characters, buildings and environments; they all had to feel they were handcrafted by the film’s character Jeronicus Jangle, genius toy maker inventor. Everything has to be tactile, believable and real to the grandchildren being read the story in the film as well as to the screen audience. So the purpose for modeling was to avoid creating things that feel modern, or CG.

 

The approach to make it feel real to screen audience was also key in the making of these characters’ movement. Avoid to behave like modern CG animated films at its best. The production team devoted to create the illusion of special handcrafted toys in real world and tell a story via his journey. Everything from buildings to sets would be designed to build up, assemble and move in a mechanical clockwork fashion. So the appearance of gears, levers, pulleys and wires was to create such illusion. And most importantly, the modeling was made in parts. Every prop, building and character with visible hinges and gaps and moving parts. They all went through this modeling approach and process, from design to final execution.

 

The animation of lead characters contributing to the 3D animation handcrafted-style movie success

The film based Don Juan’s look on 19th century toys made of wood, ceramic, brass and metal. So the aim was to make Don Juan to feel real and a great deal of time devoted on the textures and shaders in order to achieve the hand painted look. A large reference was made to antique hand painted tin toys for lead character’s metal costume, ceramic and clay dolls for skin, old watches for all nternal gear mechanisms, and carved wooden toys for hair. Lighting references was the chrome and grey ball…

 

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Don Juan’s animation performance was entirely keyframed. The goal was to create an over-dramatic character performance, such as with the springy accordion mid-section and the floppy shoulder pads. And the animators would go through many special motions. And there was lots of reference pulled from so many different places. All of that was averaged together into hand animated performances.

 

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The animation and production requested for an actor in a Xsens Motion Capture suit combined with an Ncam capture system. The purpose was to get a first pass of pre-viz with Don Juan in real-time!

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This allowed the actors to visualize and act out as if he was the main character that was interacting with the other characters of objects in the film. And also supply the editorial team with a rough first pass of the animation for post edit.

Animost – Vietnam 3D Animation Studio

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Reference Sources:

  1. Animation World Network: https://www.awn.com/
  2. Cartoon Brew – Technology: https://www.cartoonbrew.com/tech
  3. Befores & Afters – Visual effects and animation journalist: https://beforesandafters.com/
  4. Bloomberg News: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/
  5. Insider: https://www.insider.com/