GRAPHICS DIRECTOR: KID'S STORY
How did you
get into animation?
MURAKAMI-SAN: About 10 years
ago I saw a public television special on computer graphics. I always
liked to draw, and thought computer graphics
might be a way to go a step further than drawing. I went to art school
for a couple of years to learn computer graphics, and after I finished
I started working in a commercial production house. One thing I was dissatisfied
with at the commercial house was they always wanted pieces that looked
very realistic. Given my drawing background, love for Japanese animation,
and desire to learn more about the actual work of animation — as
opposed to always drawing realistic images — I decided to apply
for a job at Studio 4°C [Animation and Production Design studio
for: SECOND RENAISSANCE: PARTS 1 & 2, BEYOND, KID'S STORY, A DETECTIVE
MATRIX: What are some of
the projects you’ve worked on at Studio 4°C?
only been here for about three years, so I’ve
missed out on a couple of the big projects they’ve done here. Since
I’ve been here I’ve worked on some music projects, and I
was computer graphics director on one short film that was part of a
of four short films by four different animation directors. Aside from
that, I’ve worked on some commercials and a mixture of other
MATRIX: What was the name of the short film?
It's out on DVD now [only in Japan, and Takeshi
Koike - director of WORLD RECORD - did a couple of pieces for this DVD
you can buy copies all over. They're interesting films.
MATRIX: At what point in
the process did you join the KID’S STORY project?
MURAKAMI-SAN: Once the storyboards
were finished, the studio approached me to work with the director, [Shinichiro]
Watanabe-san, to figure out how
to actually pull off the images that he was envisioning.
MATRIX: Has working
on this project been challenging?
has a very strong vision of what kind of animation he wants to make.
In this case, a lot of it had to do with bringing a
live action hand held camera feel to cel animated flat images, so we’ve
been going for something a little rougher than plain animation. Watanabe-san
will describe what kind of images he wants to see, and then I’ll
take the hand drawn parts and assemble them in a way that I think meets
his request. Then we work together through a couple of rounds of revisions
to get a final image.
MATRIX: What is unique
about this production?
MURAKAMI-SAN: One thing
that’s unique about the animation for KID’S
STORY is that unlike most cel animation, where the drawings are cleaned
up before they’re scanned and the lines are very sharp and well
defined, our direction on this production has been to leave in the
the artists’ sketch marks and not do any clean up. To really go
for a rough, freehand style, where the lines are extremely expressive,
than cleaned up and sharpened. We’re working with one artist, [Shinji]
Hashimoto, who has a really strong feeling for that style of imagery.
is what really makes KID’S STORY look unique.
MATRIX: Talk about the
process of working with the key animator?
the only time I get to talk to Hashimoto-san is if there’s a problem
with one of his drawings and I have to ask for some clarification or
changes. Watanabe-san and Hashimoto-san work
together on Hashimoto’s drawings, so when the drawings end
up on my desk, I’ll get together with Watanabe-san to make sure
they are consistent with the rest of the work in KID’S STORY.
MATRIX: How does your average
work day go on this production?
MURAKAMI-SAN: On an average
day I have a meeting with Watanabe-san and Hashimoto-san to decide how
to approach each shot, and then wait for Hashimoto-san
to finish the next set of drawings. Once I get the drawings, the first
thing I do is scan them in and color the cels using computer software.
Then, working with the art director and the background artist, I get
the background elements and any photographic reference together, scan
into the computer and combine the colored cels with the background. Then
it’s just a matter of balancing all the parts, applying any filters
and doing the camerawork. Once I record the final sequences I show
to Watanabe-san, andif there are any changes, I’ll go back through
MATRIX: Has working with an actor as a reference point for the principal
character presented any unique challenges?
MURAKAMI-SAN: The other
animators have been working a lot with the reference footage, but it
hasn’t had an influence on my work. I’m mostly
concerned with bringing the best out of the finished drawn artwork.
MATRIX: Do you have a favorite
shot in KID’S STORY?
very short, so I like all of it. It’s
a lot of fun to work on.
MATRIX: Thank you, Murakami-san.
Interview by REDPILL
Translated by Mike Arias