This roto-heavy animated feature really slipped in under the radar. The first I heard of Mars was last week when it premiered at SXSW. The film, described as an interplanetary romantic comedy, is directed by Geoff Marslett, who is a teacher at University of Texas at Austin. Marslett described the production process in an indieWIRE interview:
Visually falling somewhere half way between “Sin City” and “Waking Life”…or half way between a graphic novel and a hand colored photograph. Basically we shot the actors in a green screen studio here in Austin. They were there, and had costumesâ€¦but no props or backgrounds–that stuff was all green boxes and walls. The footage of the actors themselves was rotoscoped using a hybrid of line drawing and image processing. We did the bulk of the color work on them by processing the actual colors from the live footage using a program that Tray Duncan and I developed based on my previous program. Then we added the major line details by hand before finishing the final shading work using another automated process. These characters were composited with environments and props that were a combination of hand drawn, 3D animation, and roto-ed over 3D work (all of those made from scratch).