Vimeo has selected the award-winning animated short “Fox and the Whale” as a Staff Pick, debuting the entire animated short online. The short film was directed by Robin Joseph with his partner Kim Leow, and follows “a curious fox who goes in search of an elusive whale on a journey of longing and discovery.”
The film was made over a course of 16 months from storyboards to final picture and sound, for the most part with a crew of two – Robin Joseph and his partner Kim Leow.
“The inspiration behind Fox and the Whale was the pursuit of curiosity,” said Joseph. “Not so much a primal curiosity behind food, shelter or even play. The grey areas and often abstract pursuits…the drive of wanting to know what lies beyond the abyss. There is something largely conceptual about that drive. It’s a strange compulsion, innately human. There is no promise of reward or assurances of success, yet you take that away, and there is something of inherent value you loose as a species. A lot of it came from being a big fan of exploration and science, especially space exploration. The ambitions at the fringes of it often seem one step beyond reach. The fact that we still try, instills a sense of awe and wonder. At the other end is an idea of failure, or at least what is perceived as failure. The fortitude to move forward and keep searching in spite of it. It’s a fragile state of mind at times, but to me it holds such optimism.”
Joseph continues, “I started playing with the concept with different versions of the story and visuals as far back as 2009. The film was originally conceived as a 2D animated short. Being around my partner Kim, who is a CG animator, gave a window into CG. I really opened up to the short perhaps being a hybrid of 2D & CG. I redesigned the main character for CG and Kim modeled it in Maya. By late 2014 there was enough money saved up to try and attempt making the short. This time around, I decided to take dedicated time off from the industry to make the short film. Production on the short film began in earnest in January, 2015. The first 3½ months was storyboarding and cutting the reel, then another month was spent locking the color script and design so that all the characters could be built in CG. Kim still had a day job in animation production, so I had to be very careful on how best to utilize her time on it. I knew how fast she was as an animator. I also knew I could really push the amount of footage if the performance was based in physicality rather than dialogue. The film, characters were all designed and storyboarded to be non verbal.”
The short was also a technical attempt at trying to accomplish something on an independent scale, but have the ambition to maintain a very high visual quality. All the character animation, modeling and rigs were done by Kim Leow in Maya. Everything else from design, storyboarding, background paintings, 2D animation, visual effects, compositing, editing, foley recording and sound design were done by Joseph. He used the Adobe package of Photoshop, Aftereffects, Premiere and Audition.
The film’s sound design was completed with the incredible support and advice from Tim Nielsen. Tim very generously loaned the field recordings from which majority of the soundscape for the picture was designed.
ROBIN JOSEPH BIOGRAPHY (Director/Producer)
Robin was born and raised in the small coastal town of Kerala, India. He moved to Canada at the age of 17 to pursue his animation studies. He has worked in the industry since 2005 as a production designer and concept artist on such animated features as The Secret Life of Pets, Penguins of Madagascar, Mr. Peabody & Sherman, The Lorax, Rio and Despicable Me. Fox and the Whale is his first short film. It was self-financed and produced independently. In addition to directing and producing the short, he also did all the Designs, Storyboards, Backgrounds, 2D Animation, Effects, Compositing, Editing, and Sound Design. Robin is based in Toronto, Canada.
KIM LEOW BIOGRAPHY (Character Animator, Modeler, Rigger)
Kim Leow was born and raised in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Kim moved to Canada to pursue a career in animation and has been working in the industry since 2006. She started working in the world of advertising in Toronto. At present, she is working as a character animator on an upcoming original animated feature film.
Directed and Produced by Robin Joseph
Character Animation, Models & Rigs by Kim Leow
Character Rig (Fox) by Louis Vottero
Music by John Poon
Design, Storyboards, Backgrounds, 2D Animation, Effects, Compositing, Editing, and Sound Design by Robin Joseph