Friday, May 23, 2008

Stitch catches a 'plasma ball'

One of my favorite effects elements in the film Lilo & Stitch, was the plasma that shot out of the weapons that were wielded by various characters in the film. We called it P.P.P. for 'propane propelled plasma'. Our goal when creating this propellant was to make it seem almost 'friendly', that is, not too deadly looking. Keeping with the creator Chris Sanders' beautiful rounded and organic style of drawing was also paramount. This had a very practical side to it as well, as these kinds of shapes turned out to be very simple to animate, compared to a more complex or realistic style, thus also keeping the overall production costs down some what.

In the final compositing stage, I made the plasma look like it was glowing from the inside out, as if it contained quite a bit of energy inside it. Each drawing was required to be broken down in to three separate pieces of artwork to create this final look.

Seeing that Stitch could actually catch and play with the plasma from one of these guns served two purposes. It showed the viewers that Stitch was a formidable opponent, and it also took away some of the threatening deadliness of the weapons, making the film more palatable for its younger audiences.

On top of all that, it was really fun to animate this stuff!