Silvia Panicali is a young 2D Animator and Visual Developer.
Graduated with honour at IIF (Istituto Italiano di Fotografia) in Milan, she proceeded her studies at NABA (Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti), earning a Bachelor’s degree in 2014.
Since 2015 she works for Cicciotun, realizing commercials through various techniques such as motion graphic, traditional animation, stop-motion, cognitive animation and live action.
She currently lives in Milan, where she teaches Motion Design and After Effects at NABA.
We focused our interview on her job: she told us how she can’t identify a specific role for her, as she’s often in charge of different tasks all connected to audiovisual production (compositing, rotoscope, stop motion..).
Being an educated photographer and graphic designer made her craft her own hybrid profession as a “visual developer”, meaning that her different knowledges in one subject or another can always mix together helping her pursuing her job.
We asked her to tell us about some of the projects she worked on:
It’s a commercial for a milanese advertising agency made using the stop motion technique. This project needed several months to be achieved, as it was necessary to design a detailed storyboard, to produce an animatic and to create the objects. After all these steps, it was possible (trough various tests for both the visual style and the framing) to obtain a completed video product.
For this project, Silvia had worked as a stop motion animator (also helping with the creation of the objects) alongside a 5 people team. She also was in charge of the compositing and assisted during the post production.
She also explained us how the use of After Effects was fundamental to modify the shots in order to remove rigs or to fix chromatic errors.
She highlighted how important is the pre production in a stop motion production (may it be a big one or a small one): the storyboard is a huge help during the shooting and the objects have to be created with materials that can endure the heat of the lighs without generating any problematic reflection. It was also fundamental as there was an integration with a 2D traditional animation: the job of the animator and the job of the people working on the set had to be extremely coordinated; a well studied pre production is the best way to drastically reduce the margin of error.
It’s another commercial, made once again using the stop motion technique. It required a very hard work as the whole production was made in an extremely short time (while a stop motion video usually needs months if not years to be completed); what makes this stop motion unique is the coexistence of an actor alongside the still objects: this was for sure a huge complication, but also something that really made the final product unique and valuable.
The actor himself had to deal with an enormous challenge: the holding times were extremely long since several minutes could pass between one shot and the next one and he had to be as static as possible while the animators were moving the object on the set.
In order to make his job a little easier (and try to relief him from some stress) the production tried to find out some solutions to assist him. They gave him an ergonomic chair so that his posture was still and correct, while some stuffed stands helped him to keep is arms in position during the scenes in which they were lifted
Last, but not least, Silvia showed us a rotoscope project made as a teaser for an upcoming short movie whose subject is an African Dancing girl.
Silvia’s task was to analyze the video in order to find the best stylistic mood possible, then she realised the rotoscope itself.
The scene consisted of 353 frames, and for each frame she worked using 7 to 8 Photoshop layers. She showed us the background layer (constantly changing during the video) the outline layers, the monochromatic layer that stands for the skin and the yellow shadow layer that delimits the previous one.
After the rotoscope was created in Photoshop, an After Effect intervention was made: the frames were edited together in a single sequence and simple particle system applied to it was used to create the starry sky. What we end up with is an effect that manage to simulate a traditional 2D animation.