How do PBS shows animate children's books?
July 10, 2006 12:59 PM   Subscribe

How do PBS shows like Reading Rainbow or Between the Lions animate existing children's books?

I'm not talking about the ones where the camera simply pans across the page or zooms in while the narrator reads the story. I'm talking about the ones where the characters in the story will move around the scene and change poses and whatnot, sometimes in ways that were not illustrated in the original book. For example, it seems to me that if they were just cutting and pasting the Tooth-Gnasher Superflash as it zoomed across the car lot, there would be a big Tooth-Gnasher Superflash-shaped hole in the background where the car was in the original picture, but there is not.

Do these shows have their own animators who mimic the style of the original book? Do they work with the book illustrators? Or what?
posted by Nedroid to Media & Arts (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Seems to me like I could probably do that with Photoshop without much effort... though yeah, I imagine the original artists had a lot to do with it simply for the purpose of promoting the book.
posted by borkingchikapa at 1:02 PM on July 10, 2006 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Here's a good explanation of one way it's done, from someone who designed one of the systems that animated books for Reading Rainbow.

And from the wiki:

Feature Book Filming

The photographing of the Feature Book segments were by:

* Centron Films (1983-1987; renamed in 1986 to "Centron Productions Inc.")
* Loren Dolezal (1988-1998; renamed in 1995 to "Dolezal Animation")
* Take Ten Animation (1995-present; Take Ten teamed up with Dolezal from 1995-1998)

So you could google those names for more info.
posted by iconomy at 1:28 PM on July 10, 2006

Best answer: More information by the guy iconomy mentioned.
posted by Gator at 1:32 PM on July 10, 2006

I work at the station that creates "Between the Lions". I'll ask around tomorrow.
posted by Mayor Curley at 1:33 PM on July 10, 2006

I work at the station that creates "Between the Lions". I'll ask around tomorrow.

I love AskMe....
posted by iconomy at 1:35 PM on July 10, 2006

I would imagine it's a combination of clever cut-out and retouching techniques, and After Effects for compositing/animating. But I'd love to hear the official answer...
posted by O9scar at 2:11 PM on July 10, 2006

I used to work at the same company...and now wish I had thought to ask this very same question while I was there. I'm now eagerly awaiting the answer.
posted by Constant Reader at 2:38 PM on July 10, 2006

I work at the station that creates "Between the Lions". I'll ask around tomorrow.

Oooh, can I meet Leona? ;)
posted by IndigoRain at 4:08 PM on July 10, 2006

nowadays they are probably scanning it into photoshop and then putting everything on seperate layers (repainting the backgrounds and props that are obscured in the original) and animating it in after effects.
posted by psychobum at 5:21 PM on July 10, 2006

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