Cartoon Brew TV #11: The Shoebox (De Kijkdoos)

The Shoebox is a graduation film created at the Art Academy in Rotterdam by Joost van den Bosch and Erik Verkerk, better known as Ka-Ching Cartoons nowadays. The film’s original Dutch title de Kijkdoos translates literally to “the looking box” and comes from an old tradition in Holland in which children create elaborate dioramas inside shoeboxes.

Since graduating from school in 2006, Verkerk and van den Bosch have worked on the animated series Skunk Fu! and created more short films of their own. The directors will be participating in the comments section so please forward any questions to them. Here are some additional details they’ve provided us about the film:

We wrote this film as a concept for a series, where we always would start with live-action, then a problem would appear the main live action character would find a ‘magic’-shoebox, and when they look inside it they’ll see a story with a similar problem and a solution (animated). This solution would help the live-action character solve their problem.

This film was made with this concept, we’ve got a lot of help from very talented students from the Film Academy to support us with the live-action. They even arranged really good and professional actors for the film. All the animation was created in Maya where we tried to simulate a real paper feeling. We originally tried to do it in stop motion, but the deadline for graduation made that impossible. We animated facial expressions in Flash, then we put it as an animated texture on our paper-3D model to achieve the result we wanted.

The music was all composed for this film and then live recorded by the musicians who were playing and watching the film at the same time. This film was in many ways challenging. We had never done live action before and never done 3D animation before. We also had to do this all in a very short time. We were very happy with the result and it allowed us to graduate with honors.

This film was the start of our company Ka-Ching Cartoons and the start of series of very special projects, we just finished a monster movie (with 3D glasses) called The 3D Machine and we’re currently working on a 25-minute opera about cockroaches.


  • Pete

    It’s a nice sweet short. I grew a little impatient at times but maybe thats because I’ve watched too many Michael Bay films :P

  • http://beesbuzz.biz/ fluffy

    Pretty good, but I feel that there’s a few spots where they let the technology get in the way of the visuals – they have the glare and light bloom from the paper cranked WAY high up, which makes it impossible to actually see what’s going on a lot of the time since there’s just a big white blob.

    Anyway, aside from that, this seems like a pretty neat project, and it’ll be interesting to see how it develops (although I can’t really see how the animated segment relates to the live-action segment aside from the vague hair connection).

  • amid

    Fluffy: Don’t blame the filmmakers for that. That’s a fault of our encoding process. I’m going to try and see if I can’t tweak it to get a better version up tonight.

  • http://bytesmouse.blogspot.com Jyreme

    I think it was a great short and would definately make for a great series if you guys ever decided to do so. Maybe even, make it with problems that little boys and girls have in their lives so that they could relate to the stories. I especially like the fact that you didn’t misuse the technology..You had a desired look and stuck with it, rather than take advantage of something just because it was there like photoshop filters. Overall, great job!

  • Corey K.

    Bastard hairdressers never want anybody to find true love! Is there no end to their tonsorial evil?

  • http://dekku.blogspot.com/ DeK

    > Don’t blame the filmmakers for that. That’s a fault of our encoding process.

    Looks like you’re using “Apple MPEG-4″ AKA The Worst MPEG-4 Codec Ever. (Also, bitrate is too low.)

  • http://dekku.blogspot.com/ DeK

    Ah, the color thing, by the way.
    That is usually the fault of encoder (rather than the codec) and occurs in the RGB->YV12 conversion.

  • http://www.segaltoons.com Steve Segal

    This is a clever and charming film, but the pacing is too slow (I don’t care for Michael Bay, but I do like Tex Avery). Even though both stories are about hair, the connection seems strained. The main character seems borrowed from Ub Iwerks’ Simple Simon.

  • http://www.JohnTallacksen.blogspot.com John T

    I think this is a great film with a brilliant concept. I really enjoyed the 1930′s- 40′s throw-back style in the character design, and some of the animation.

    Amid,
    Not to be impatient, but I’m wondering what the status is on the new version of this film. I’m sure you have a lot going on, but I’m just curious.

  • BobT

    Hm, I’m not sure why my comment didn’t register, another try then.

    I’ve seen this thing at school (I also go to the art academy in Rotterdam). fun film. I hope something can be done with the encoding ’cause it’s too bad some things can’t be seen because of the saturation

    I just found out that their other film; “The 3d Machine”, that they entered in a contest organized by NBC Universal, can be found here); http://www.shockingshorts.nl/watch/watch.htm

  • Punctillious1

    The animation is absolutely beautiful.

  • Punctillious1

    I should mention, that should any of you have an old pair of the red/blue 3D glasses lying around, “The 3d Machine” is REALLY, REALLY cool.

  • http://www.filmick.co.uk Brendon Connelly

    Paceless. Needed a good trim with a ruthless pair of scissors. This story could have sustained a five minute short with a lot of extra incident – as it stands, I’d say four minutes would be a push.

    Shame the live action lets the side down so much too.