Giraffe On A Bicycle by Julia Woolf Book Trailer!

We’re so excited to share with you the trailer for the fantastic debut picturebook by author/illustrator Julia Woolf!

Giraffe On A Bicycle is published by Macmillan Children’s Books and will be hitting bookshelves on 28th January!

Julia has given us a fascinating insight into the making of this trailer and we’re delighted to share it with you, over to you Julia!

‘Having worked in animation for 20 years, I always knew that I wanted to make an animated trailer for my first picture book as both author and illustrator. It was something I thought of almost right from the start, when I first had the idea for the book.

Having an animation background highly influences me when writing my story ideas – I tend to think of each spread as a scene for a film. When it was time to start the trailer, the first step was a storyboard for the animatic. [An animatic is the storyboard edited together with limited movement and rough sound, to test the timings and to see if it’s all working together.] This consisted of about 15 rough sketches.

I am very lucky as my husband, Sim Evan-Jones, is a film editor. He has edited, to name a few, Shrek, the ‘Narnia’ films, Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang, Pompeii, Shaun the Sheep and is currently working with Nick Park at Aardman on his latest film.

Having already discussed my idea for the trailer with Sim, I was able to give him the sketches so that he could put them together, timing out the scenes and adding sound effects.

I had already decided that the trailer would be limited animation – more like cut-out animation – as this style of movement suited my character designs and illustrations. I decided to do this in After Effects, but at that point I had yet to learn the computer program…

Luckily an old friend and excellent animator, Uli Meyer, offered to help me.  Uli had run his own animation studio for many years, where he had directed well over 450 commercials, and had worked on many animated feature films; I had often worked with him as his assistant animator.

I sent the animatic and timings to Uli and he told me everything that I wanted animated should be sent to him as a separate layer in a Photoshop file. This was perfect, for when I had done the illustrations for the book I had scanned my artwork into Photoshop, keeping many elements in separate layers. So I was able to approach the artwork for the trailer exactly as I had done for the book.

For example, in the first scene for the trailer with the lizard, there were four separate layers of background plants. Then there was the plant that the lizard is on. I did three different bodies for the lizard as he moves along and raises his head. The tongue had its own layer, as did the legs and then there were several different eyes.

Then I sent the artwork to Uli. As he had the animatic and timings he knew what I wanted and went ahead and animated it in After Effects.  I did all new artwork for every scene, apart from the one where the giraffe and monkey are on the bicycle, where I was able to adapt artwork from the book.

For a few of the scenes, I did some simple drawn animation, as I needed to know the movement before I could do the artwork. For example, in the tiger scene I needed several tails, and in the flamingo scene I had to do quite a few wing shapes and two bodies. Once the scenes were finished, they were sent to Sim so he could cut them in and refine the sound effects and timing.

I am really pleased with how the trailer has turned out, and extremely grateful to Sim and Uli for their fantastic help, as I know I couldn’t have done it without them.  It amazes me how just three of us have made this trailer, because about 20 years ago it would probably have taken about 20 people to make it.

So now I am going to take classes in After Effects as I just love seeing my own characters move and I love making trailers!’

To find out more about Julia and what she’s currently working on, take a look at her website here or follow her on twitter @Juliawoolf

giraffeonabicycle smallmb from Julia Woolf on Vimeo.