Local animation soars


A group of graduates from Cape Town-based The Animation School are gaining local
and international acclaim for their 2011 final year project, Wing It.

The animated short film won Best Short, Best Technical Achievement and Best
Animation at the Animation SA Awards and is a finalist in the International Animayo
Competition. It also featured in 3D World Magazine’s print and online publications and
on numerous blogs across the world.

The story of inventor Sherman, who tries to achieve the first flight aided by a race
of well-intentioned aliens, was created using Autodesk Maya, Autodesk Mudbox,
Adobe Photoshop, Autodesk Composite, Adobe After Effects and Adobe Illustrator.

According to co-writer and art director Shani Campbell, their first challenge was to
cut a potentially full feature idea into a short script suitable for a team of six people.
“We finally managed to get the gist of our story told in eight minutes,’ says

The team consisted of Campbell, co-writer and director Jeanelize de Nys, technical
director Shane Marks and fellow animators Barry de Jager, Thea de Klerk and Kelly

Walker explains that they did extensive research and pulled inspiration from a wide
pool of reference materials. “Our primary concern, however, was capturing a period
aesthetic in our work, while at the same time keeping it unique by injecting a certain
eccentricity into that aesthetic. We wanted to contrast the different environments
and characters in an interesting and refreshing way,’ she explains.

Marks notes that, from a technical perspective, the most interesting shot to develop
was a close-up of the flying machine starting up. “We needed to create the sense of
a functioning machine built out of impossible parts. A lot of thought went into the rig
to make all the parts work collectively. The amount of times we sat and debated
which way the propeller should rotate was hilarious. With the camera being so very
close, the modelling and texturing had to be highly detailed,’ explains Marks.

According to De Nys most of their team have started to work for a new production
company called Magic Motion Media on a production currently in script development.

By Linda Loubser

Screen Africa magazine- May 2012


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