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Trailer Watch: The Peasants

DK and Hugh Welchman are the directors of 2017’s Loving Vincent, a Vincent Van Gogh biopic created entirely from individually painted images. Now they return with the similarly ambitious The Peasants, for which you can watch the trailer above. As the filmmakers write in the press kit of the film’s making:

While The Peasants incorporates the same painting animation technique made popular with our previous film Loving Vincent, our approach to the painting animation for The Peasants varied significantly from Vincent. […] The over 100 painting animators who worked on the film did so on specially designed PAWS units (Painting Animation Work Stations), which Breakthru developed for Loving Vincent, in four studios in Poland, Serbia, Lithuania, and Ukraine.

Despite the film being animated, all of the characters in The Peasants are played by actors. These actors worked either on sets specially constructed to look like real locations, or against green screens, with matte paintings being composited in, along with computer-generated animation, after the shoot. For the purpose of layout, we created the village of Lipce in the Unreal engine to give the actors a sense of location while shooting against the sea of green. […]

The painting animators then use this reference footage and paint over this with reference to the style (brushstrokes, colours, level of detail) set by the design paintings to paint the first frame of their shot on canvas, sized 67cm by 49cm. They then animate the shot by painting the subsequent keyframe, matching the brushstrokes, colour, and impasto of their previous frame, for all parts of the shot that are moving. At the end, they are left with a painting of the last frame of the shot. Each frame is recorded with a Canon 6D digital stills camera at 6k resolution.

The keyframes created by the oil painting animators are then sent to the inbetweening process which takes the style and brushstrokes of the original oil paintings and adding some digital brushstrokes to come up with the inbetweened frames. The amount of oil painting done per shot varied from every frame to every 4 frames at 12 frames per second.

The Peasants enters limited release from Sony Pictures Classics beginning with a New York run on January 26, followed by a Los Angeles rollout on February 2, with national expansion to follow.

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