As a studio, KITCHEN are dedicated to making time for studio passion shorts as often as possible. It helps us to challenge ourselves, evolve our in-house style, and stretch our creative storytelling muscle.
With the most recent short, it all started with the team’s collective urge to create a piece that was both visually pleasing as well as showcase our storytelling capabilities and involve a fair bit of character development.
“The studio initially came together to bounce around a few plot ideas, when someone asked: “Have you ever seen a baby pigeon?”
It got us thinking… in such a densely pigeon-populated city, who has actually seen a baby pigeon in the wild? So, away we went on our storytelling mission with an aim to answer this burning question.” George Coffey, Director
We settled on the idea that there was a specific person that was tasked with caring for and nurturing baby pigeons, a sort of pigeon nursery.
We asked ourselves who would do such a job? What would they look like? How did they end up raising baby pigeons?
At first we didn’t know if the main character would be a man or a woman so we played with looking at both.
We decided on an elderly lady, because we felt it worked with the story a lot better. We wanted the story to have a lot of feeling and empathy as the subject matter could be quite silly.
After some serious mood boarding and character conception, we had found our leading lady, Elsie.
The narrative takes the audience on a journey through the mysterious world of raising baby pigeons, whilst also revealing a little more about Elsie and her reasons for doing what she does.
Whilst developing the pigeons we realised we wanted to have the pigeons growing up throughout the story.
So we created child, teenage and young adult versions of the characters.
We wanted them to be closer to realistic and not too over characterised, again to add to the juxtaposition of the story concept.
After a few changes and developments, we created the final character designs and a document full of style frames and examples of what the overall look and feel of the animation would be.
The next step was to produce a storyboard which mapped out all of the scenes and shots throughout the animation. From this we produced an animatic which we used as an animation guide.
The KITCHEN team worked together on sketching, colouring and animating each of the scenes; with help from Jelly Lettering artist Alison Carmichael in creating the animation titles.
The animation was created in Photoshop using a cell animation type technique. It was then comped in after effects where all the lighting effects were added.
We then graded the whole thing in after effects to try and get as much contrast and highlights in the piece.
The final touch to bring our baby to life was sound. We worked closely with the talented team over at Mcasso Music to produce an enchanting and tear-jerking track that tied in perfectly with the narrative, they also worked their magic on the all-important sound effects.