David Shrigley Swan Thing Animation
by Nicola Mitchell·
In celebration of David Shrigley's birthday, we have teamed up with amazing animator extraordinaire Jimi Newport and David Shrigley himself to create a real-life talking Swan Thing! We spoke to Jimi Newport, to find out how Swan Thingy came to life and the process behind this work of art!
How did you become an animator and what's the best part about doing what you do?
I decided Animation was the route I wanted to take at Art College, after graduating I was fortunate enough to get a work placement at Bermuda Shorts (Animation Company) that lead to being a runner then onto freelancing as an Animator & Compositor with them. Then I got opportunities to work with lots of different studios, designers & artists.
The best part for me is the problem-solving challenge of visualising (in my head) how to make the idea a reality, then where the process takes you while your on that journey.
Tell us a little bit about the process when it comes to animating something like a Ridiculous Inflatable Swan-Thing?
The process for this project was slightly different as it was a mixed media & stop frame approach. So there were more elements to fit together. Initially, it was shooting the inflatable swan-thing to create photographic stills, rotated ever so slightly so it can be animated (see rotate gif) then shooting live action footage of a small lake/pond to superimpose that onto. The next stage was to animate the drawn version of the mouth and eyes to fit the voiceover track and bring the swan to life (see the lipsync gif). Then it was putting that all together in Adobe After Effects to construct the final film (see gif below).
And tell us about David Shrigley! How do you two know each other?
I have had worked with David for about 12 years or so now. We initially met on a project at Slinky Pictures in London, from that I started to work directly for him on animated pieces for different exhibitions and events.
I always look forward to seeing David's next idea for a film and chatting to him. David's take on the world is often quite different to mine, often with a comic edge but always thought-provoking
Who would you choose as a female voice for the Ridiculous Inflatable Swan-Thing?
This is a tough one...something similar to Marge Simpson, not sure why - maybe the gravelly tones.
Random one - do you dream in Animation?
I have very vivid dreams, ever since I was a kid. Not sure they have ever been animated as such but I did dream once about trying to create an animation using a pocket calculator...I woke up frustrated, confused and stressed!
And Last one. We know you have recently adopted a dog - Trevor! What did Trevor think of Swan-Thing and is there a Trevor animation in the works?
Trevor was pretty bemused by the Swan-Thing, He wasn't too sure what to make of it and backed away when I showed it to him but he did stand guard while I photographed the inflatable.
I haven't yet put pencil to paper but do think a SuperTrevor animation would be fun. He is quite a character with great eyebrows and a love of headrests - the inflatable collar to stop him scratching is a general favourite as he likes to use it as a pillow and wags his tail furiously when it goes on (think he might be a fan of dress up and Halloween may well be the first chance to test that)
So without further ado, we unveil the Swan Thing Animation!
Exclusively for David's birthday we have created the Opening Hours + SHIT Tea Towel bundle!! Limited stock so don't miss out!