Nicolas Villarreal’s animated short Pasteurized has been slowly building buzz on the festival circuit over the past few months. The resourceful artist and teacher also launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund an Art of Pasteurized book featuring illustrations and images from his project. We caught up with him recently to find out a little more about this short and innovative book.
What was your inspiration for your short?
Nicolas Villarreal: Pasteurized is my first animated short film, and I got the inspiration for it a long time ago. In 1998 my parents took our family to Europe. One of the destinations was Paris, and in Paris we went to The Museum of Sciences in Le Parc de la Villete, one of the largest museums devoted to science in the world. One of the things that interested me most was the exhibit showing the reaction of both water and fire at zero gravity. In that situation, each of them took the form of a perfect sphere. It’s funny how things can stay with you. It was from my family trip and the experiment where water became a perfect sphere that I got the inspiration for my film, Pasteurized.
How long did it take and how much did it cost to make (ballpark figure)?
Pasteurized is 7 minutes and 33 seconds long. If I start counting from the day I officially decided to do it in 2009, it took me a little over 27 months to complete it, from the first quick storyboard sketch to ejecting the final film from the computer. It took an average of 20 to 40 hours a week…including weekends…but it feels like it took me forever!
In terms of the cost, I spent a long time working on it and it was done on my own time, and the same with all my friends that helped me who were crucial to the project. RedClover Studios is the production company that I have with my family and the funding was from Duxco SA in Argentina. Pasteurized is an independent film and we didn’t have a big studio funding, but I think a film similar to this, based on the time that it took me and the team that I had, a ballpark quote would be close to 400K.
What are you working on now?
I teach at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, and I just finished freelancing for a feature film doing visual development and character designs. In between teaching and freelancing, every time I get the chance, I keep working on adapting my children’s book The Aces to a feature film. I am doing designs, backgrounds, and trying to put together a short trailer story reel.
One of the things that I like about teaching and freelancing or working on my own projects, is that between them, I found a way of being more focused in both activities.
Tell us a bit about your animation background?
I’m originally from La Plata Argentina where I studied classical drawing and painting as well as traditional animation. While studying animation, I was taken under the wing of Miguel Alzugaray, a well-known fine artist from Argentina. He helped me to develop my traditional skills in fine art painting, which helped a lot for my animation studies. When I finished my studies in Argentina, I entered the Master’s Program at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, where I graduated in the spring of 2002. Since then, I have been working as a traditional animator, character designer, maquette sculptor, visual development artist for films and video games for The Walt Disney Studios, Jim Henson Studios, and Digital Domain among others. I love animation and its process. I try to stay updated by reading all the books that come out showing the art of the films and of course Animation Magazine as well.
Why did you decide to produce an Art of book based on your short?
I love the process of making movies. There is something very interesting to me about seeing the conception of the first sketches to the final shots. I think this is one of the coolest things. In The Art of Pasteurized I wanted to show all the steps and visual development that it took to achieve, not only the final look, but the functionality of the designs. I believe this is just as important as how I thought they worked and helped my story. Beginning with early concept art and rough studies of the characters and environments and ending with the final backgrounds and key frames.
One of the most rewarding parts for me, is to watch the pencil test of a particular shot work after several trials, and then compositing it into the final shot. The process from little rough drawings to everything coming together and the fact that several drawings can make a drawing come to life, is still incredible and magical to me. That’s why I wanted to show the process in the book.
We are doing a Kiskstarter campaign, and you can pre-order the book through the like below (as well as original drawings from the film): http://kck.st/TrsEbU.