Merging modern sports action with traditional Japanese art, director Geoffroy Barbet-Massin and the Mikros MPC crew in Paris unleash a finely drafted promo for France Television’s coverage of the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

Geoffroy Barbet-Massin: “Throughout the project, we tried to respect the codes of 18th-century Japanese prints, both from a narrative and an aesthetic standpoint. The environments and the characters are full of details, drawn with thick and bold lines, strong shapes, audacious concept designs.

“We were always looking for the right balance between the scenery and the sumotori and adapted the character’s line drawing according to its size in the frame, and in constant relation with the treatment of the backgrounds.

“That was particularly challenging as we worked in flat perspectives, without any vanishing point, which limited the camera movements to left, right, or up and down but also created constraints to bring a character from background to front.

“We also applied a specific finish on the image so we could render the style of aged paper. All our choices, whether creative or technical, were driven by our care to develop a project that would mix a highly stylized aesthetic and storytelling.”

Mikros MPC VFX Supervisor Vincent Venchiarutti: “The previz work was crucial to allow the greatest optimization at all levels. Our lead animator, Antoine Antin, worked closely with Geoffroy Barbet-Massin to adapt the initial character design of the sumotori, made by Stephane Levallois.

“We had to find a ‘dry’ style of animation to respect the static approach of the Japanese prints. The result is a stepped animation on 3’s and 4’s that contributed to the hand-drawn aesthetic and allowed us to focus on the richness of FX and details in the characters and environment for each image.”

First published on StashMedia.