KZ: Hi Simon! How did working on Peter Rabbit 2 compare to working on the first film?
S: We were very lucky to work with Director Will Gluck again on Peter Rabbit 2 and build on our working relationship from the first movie. It allowed us to hit the ground running knowing what he'd wanted to see from the characters. As with many sequels the film is more complex as the Director wanted to expand Peter's world, and I too wanted to push the quality of the animation higher from the first film.
KZ: What is your favourite scene or moment to animate?
S: That's like asking 'Who's your favourite child?' I'm very proud of all the scenes of course! Having said that I do love the shots where Peter and Barnabas become pets. Those were some of the hardest shots in the film and I had many sleepless nights wondering how we'd get through them - I’m glad to say we did! The animators did an amazing job on those.
KZ: There’s so much attention to detail with these characters! What are some pieces of Peter Rabbit animation trivia that K-Zoners would be surprised to know?
- If we complete three seconds of animation per animator per WEEK we're happy! That's how long it takes to bring these characters to life.
- Each of those seconds has 24 images or frames. So, in a good week an animator has to make 72 images come to life with fully polished animation.
- Animators are actors, we film almost everything we do before trying to animate it on the computer. There are hundreds of hours of acting work we use for reference where we hop around and behave like rabbits.
- It would take 17,123 years for a single computer to render the whole film – luckily, we had more than one!
KZ: What advice would you give to K-Zoners who are interested in working in animation?
S: There's never been a better time to learn. Nowadays you can pick up computers and software for a few hundred dollars that would have cost tens of thousands a few years ago. There's also an amazing amount of advice online to get you started. After practising and doing some tests on your own, there are great schools that mimic the big studios and train you to be ready to join teams on big projects. Most major cities now have courses, and there are great online schools as well. What I love about our industry is that everyone loves helping each other and it’s very close-knit. People move around all over the world to work on these films... London, Canada, Australia, the US, etc. You bump into people you've worked with in the past all the time. If there's a question you have, or something you want feedback on, there's always people on hand to help and give advice.
Peter Rabbit 2 will now hit cinemas September 10!
Want more of our interview with Simon Pickard, or other movie news? Grab the April 2020 issue of K-Zone, on sale now!