Animate to Harmony: The Independent Animator’s Guide to Toon Boom
Whether you’re a veteran of traditional animation looking to upgrade your skills or a techsavvy independent animator looking to get the most out of your tools, Animate to Harmony is a thorough and definitive reference. Adam Phillips walks readers through the process of creating 2D animation using the Toon Boom programs Animate, Animate Pro and Harmony. Since the user interface is uniform across all three, the book allows users of any of those applications to learn something new, whether they’re trying it out for the first time or looking for tips when transitioning from one to the other. The book is extensively illustrated and offers exercises for readers to test their skills with. This is a no-nonsense book that, for an extremely reasonable price, is worth it for anyone who works — or wants to work — with the increasingly popular Toon Boom software.
Adapting the story also had its challenges, especially since the novel is told in the form of an essay Tip writes to be put in a time capsule and opened a hundred years in the future. Writers Astle and Ember had extensive credits writing and producing TV comedies before teaming up to write the feature film comedies Failure to Launch and Get Smart, as well as Blue Sky Studios’ Epic.
“One of the first big breakthroughs was realizing the entire book takes place in the U.S., and it somewhat limits the scope of what is a worldwide alien invasion,” Johnson says. “The idea that we would take this around-the-world journey was very much imposed upon the book, and it was one of the important things in getting it to screen, too. I think Jeffrey Katzenberg and (former DreamWorks chief creative officer) Bill Damaschke all said it makes more sense for us to make a movie for a global marketplace that takes place on a global scale.”
Coming up with an appealing character design for Oh, as well as the idea of having Ri- Having worked with the real Lopez on Antz, Johnson cast her as Tip’s mother and says she was into the idea the alien would be named after her. But other concerns involving confusion of trademarks and licensing prompted the filmmakers to rename their alien Oh.
Though the idea of contacting Rihanna came first, Parsons was the first voice cast for for the movie. “Jim can handle difficult text,” says Johnson. “If you try to read it yourself, you’ll see how hard it is. Plus, he has this charisma that allows you to forgive the arrogance of the character.”
Together, Parsons and Rihanna had the kind of high-quality chemistry needed to tell a roadtrip story in which their characters would spend a lot of time talking to each other. “The chemistry has to be very rich and we don’t have the easy chemistry of a sexual relationship,” says Johnson.
Though Tip certainly breaks some ground as a female, non-white lead character for an animated film, Soria says she hopes audiences see the reality in her and accept her as a character.
“She’s untypical, but she’s incredibly typical. She’s typical in life,” says Soria. “She looks more like most of us, so I hope she’s embraced.”
Designs Are the Draw Jason Reisig, head of animation on the movie, says the character designs for Oh and Tip — and how different they are — was one of the things that drew him to the project. “They spend a lot of time learning from each other and there are these really great moments for animation that’s really attractive to animate,” he says.
Figuring out the Boov was a big challenge. The aliens have “nostricals,” which are tentacle-like appendages where their ears would be that are actually their smell sensors. They also have six pod-like feet. But Reisig says the real challenge was having Oh stand out as different from but still the same as his fellow Boov.
Tip posed a very different problem, Reisig says. “She wants to be an adult but she’s still a kid, and