Mark Borgions offers perspective on animating illustrations in Harmony

For the launch of Toon Boom Harmony 20, we hired seven artists and teams around the world to participate in a demo video highlighting the features and capabilities of our new animation software. These artists were drawn from both the Toon Boom Ambassador Program and our international community of artists, who were given total creative freedom to construct their scenes.

We previously highlighted Mark Borgions on the Toon Boom blog, along with his work animating illustrations with Master Controllers using Harmony Premium. Mark runs his design studio, HandMade Monsters, in Antwerp, Belgium. His illustrations have been published in advertising, editorial, reference books and galleries around the world. We interviewed Mark about his scene from the Harmony 20 demo pack and his professional practice.

Final render of  In Our World, Mark Borgions’ scene from the Harmony 20 demo video.

What was the prompt that you were given, and how did you interpret it for this project?

We had a Skype call with everybody involved. The only thing on the table at that moment was the voiceover text. During the call everybody got to pick a few sentences they felt comfortable working with and we discussed the technical focus of each piece of animation. As it turned out, I had the opening, something about a world full of possibility.

So to me, those were the two elements: 1) It being the beginning, 2) it being about wonder.

Was there anything about this project that surprised you?

To just say, “go do what you think works best,” was a bold move from you guys. Everybody on the project had a certain technical aspect they had to focus on, but that was it. To have that kind of freedom also allowed me to dig a little deeper in little details. Maybe they are things that nobody will pick up, but I know there’s little things here and there I could try because of that freedom.

The drum-playing giant featured in Mark Borgions’ scene from the Harmony 20 demo video.

Your scene escalates quickly, from a squirrel climbing a tree to giants towering over the forest. How did you plan out this transition?

Because this is the opening of the movie, I felt it needed a bit of an ease-in. Yet, as it’s only a couple of seconds, I needed to find a way to get to some sort of action fast.

I liked the idea of ‘tree people’. It’s something I once stumbled upon while doing an illustration, and I’ve always felt an urge to explore more. So you have these trees, and a pedestal camera movement reveals that some of them are actually giants. Moving the camera up in the trees gave me a way to switch from one way of looking at the scene to another in very little time. From there, I looked for a way to bring some action to the giants.

What was the most technically or artistically challenging element of your scene?

The idea of scale was the tricky part. How fast would the giants move, again keeping in mind the very limited time I had to tell the story. The way the drummer giant approaches took quite some tweaking because of that. One thing I had never used before

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