“Fable” by Daniel Sousa

Daniel Sousa’s beautifully crafted Fable, a subtle tale of two shape shifters, has been on the festival circuit for a few years and is now online. Sousa tells us of his technique:

“Most of the rough animation was prepared in Flash along with the corresponding color fill layers. The drawings were then printed, traced, and cleaned up on paper to achieve a more organic quality. They were then re-scanned and composited in After Effects. Some of the drawings were etched on acetate and rubbed with ink. The backgrounds were a combination of paintings, collages, and photos. The animation was rendered in HD and transfered to 35mm film.”

Sousa works out of Providence, RI, where he’s also an animation teacher at RISD. You can read about his current animated project, Feral, on his production blog.


  • The Gee

    Jumpin’ Jiminy Johnson!

    I would have thought someone would have commented on this by now. But, it is one of the longest days of the year and most likely few have gotten around to seeing this here.

    Thanks for showing this.
    I was unfamiliar with it before today and am glad I had a chance to watch it.
    I’ll be honest that the story lost me but I was distracted. The look of it is great though. That kept pulling back in. In fact, I almost wish I knew nothing about the production tidbits because it just looks good.

  • http://artnote.blog.com Stephen

    Beautifully done.

  • http://fmhansen.com Frank M Hansen

    Awesome. Love the animation in the wall and tree designs/shapes.

  • TStevens

    It is a very nice looking piece but the story is a bit unconventional. I kept hoping that there would be more of a link between the man and the woman: something that would get me emotionally invested in the characters. I wondered at first if they were lovers? Maybe husband and wife? Was this an allegory about the relationships between men and women? Or, could it just be about revenge? It is hard to get connected to a piece if you can’t feel for the characters or their motivations.

    I’d be curios to see how the original boards and the story reels played with viewers.

    • http://chrisjpianka.blogspot.com Chris

      This piece seems to try to subvert convention, rather than conform to it. Its experimental in its narrative, and allows the viewer to interoperate the relationship and dialoge between the characters through the esoteric visual cues (which allows for a different kind of audience participation than is typical from a standard short narrative animation). Its the semiotics of animation in way: the focus is that story is derived more through the animation, rather than the animation being used to tell a story (because they are two very different things, how you tell a story vs the story itself). I think ultimately if the artist had wanted things to have been more clear, he’d have done it: clearly Dan is skilled enough to know how to tell a story, so his decision not to be straightforward should be an indication that this was an aesthetic decision rather than an oversight. Thats my two cents at least :P

      • http://www.danielsousa.com Daniel

        A very interesting conversation! I made the film so long ago that I don’t even remember all the details and motivations myself. I will say that I was definitely not going for a conventional narrative, but trying to play with the tropes of traditional storytelling and using them more like colors on a palette to weave a film that operates from within its own inner logic. Whether I was successful, I’m not quite sure myself. Part of me feels like there should have been a little bit more of a connection to the characters, without which you run the danger of alienating your audience, so I definitely see TStevens’ point. There were no test audiences or focus groups. I’m not a studio with access to those resources, but a lone independent film-maker, trying to think things through in a different way. Thanks Chris for the response, and thank you both for taking the time to analyze the film!

  • http://kazrocks.blogspot.com kazzer

    one of the most haunting and beautiful animations I have ever seen. very Dave McKean sensibility plus great character designs. excellent silhouettes. I am floored.

  • Tomm

    Just beautiful

  • http://www.frankrause,com Fran Krause

    This is one of my favorites. It’s nice to see that it’s finally online. A good example of bringing many techniques together in a seamless way!