MIKE ROUSH / The Hidden Life of the Burrowing Owl / 5:16
I have always been fascinated by wildlife documentaries. As a kid I would take my mom’s camera and try and get as close to the neighborhood animals as I could. Most of the time this would mean long hours sitting motionless on the back deck with bird seed sprinkled on my lap and shoulders. I never got the shot I wanted, so when Chris and Shannon asked me if I wanted to make an animated film for Titmouse, I said yes before they finished asking.
Chris and Shannon Prynoski, Dik Pose, and I Line up a shot in the middle of nowhere. photo by Steve Kellener.
Early thumbnails of the burrowing owl.
"Owl" was animated in Flash. I used a technique where I would animate traditionally very rough, then I would take a second pass cleaning up symbols that I would be able to reuse later. Most of the final animation you see in "Owl" is puppeted symbol animation with hundreds of symbols and a different puppet for each shot. This way I could get the detail and animation quality I wanted.
The Flash break-down on one of the owl puppets. Lots of feathers!
One of my favorite parts of making this film was having to get out of the studio and go on location. I found an amazing place in central California called The Carrizo Plain using google maps. I spent the weekends driving all around taking pictures and exploring. Fun fact: The burrow used in the short was an actual owl burrow. On one of the days I was taking photos of the burrow one hissed at me from inside the burrow with it’s rattlesnake like call. It scared me nearly to death.
This is how I made all the “live action” backgrounds. I drew a storyboard of what I wanted and photo collaged lots of pictures together to make it look like what I drew. Unfortunately these places don’t exist in real life.
Whenever the owl had to touch the flower or fork, I took hundreds of photos, cut them out in photoshop and animated them. Fun.
On location I used a couple stand-in models to get the lighting right and a maquette when animating for inspiration.
I had a great time making this film and when I was done we were lucky enough to show it at festivals around the world. After 4 years the “Owl” showed at more than 40 festivals, in over 25 countries.
Can’t wait to do another one.
Mike Roush’s incredible short film is now online!!! Don’t miss this one, folks! It’ll stick to your ribs likes delicious cartoon BBQ!
I was lucky enough to catch this at an animation festival a while back and it blows my mind as much now as it did then
WOAH, I thought this was just gonna be a cute little animated documentary, but I did NOT expect so many feels and twists.
Well that was unexpected.
The Endless Emotions In A Random Run Cycle
In this music video, a character run cycle is repeated over and over again. Everything else in the frame — the backgrounds, effects, etc. — is completely redesigned each time the run cycle resets. It’s amazing how swapping out these seemingly secondary elements can completely change the emotion of the animation. It’s also a great reminder that EVERY part of the animation process is equally important!
Somr dumb drawings.
drawing in class is such a religious experience
This is fucking better water bending than the entire last air bender movie
Played 41772 times.
I can not for the life of me remember what rough patch in my life this was for before, but reading it now still makes me feel better. ;v; <3
This is the quote that has kept me going ever since I started to really struggle with my artwork. An artist I looked up to said these words to me when I asked for help and they have been practically inked into my soul ever since. When I am in doubt, shame, and even feeling helpless about my work… I say these words to myself.
Then I pick up a pen, and I doodle. Because that’s what I need to do.
Don’t give up. Keep drawing.
I needed to remind myself of this today.