"Paper Animals" is a charming student film project by Michelle D. Reese, who graduated from California State University Northridge a few weeks ago. We first saw the cut-out animation short on her laptop in the exhibit hall at Rock n' Comic Con last Saturday. She has since posted it on YouTube.
"Paper Animals" is the story of a young girl and her father who are spending a Sunday morning making a paper lion. The lion, though, comes to life. It's based on an art project that Reese used to do with her own father.
The film started out as a class assignment, but Reese continued to work on it well after the semester ended. She used cutout animation and mixed it with computer technologies and tells us that Lotte Reiniger (The Adventures of Prince Achmed) was a major influence.
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Reese relied on glossy card stock paper to create the cutouts, using black ink and paint for the coloring.
"I watered it down in little porcelain dishes so that it would be a wash," she says of the hand-painting process.
She used a combination of Photoshop and Maya to complete her work, which is what South Park's animation team uses to replicate the cut-out animation look of the pilot.
"Paper Animals" screened at Rock 'n Comic Con's film festival. Prior to that, she took the short to Chicago Comic Con. Reese says that she plans to take it to a few more festivals and conventions this year.