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Feature FilmTech

Sergio Pablos Project ‘Klaus’ Is Moving Forward with Toon Boom as Tech Partner

Sergio Pablos, who made waves earlier this year with his game-changing hand-drawn trailer for Klaus, has signed a technology collaboration agreement with Toon Boom Animation for the upcoming feature. The announcement was made by Toon Boom this morning.

For Klaus, which is currently in development and slated for a 2019 release, Pablos’s Madrid-based SPA Studios will work closely with Toon Boom to integrate its flagship product Toon Boom Harmony into SPA’s feature film pipeline. Harmony will be the primary software used for the production, and SPA’s creative and technical teams will build new tools to push the software’s capabilities. The original Klaus trailer was made with TVPaint as well as proprietary tools that Pablos’s team developed in-house.

Klaus, which will be an all-ages holiday comedy, will continue to push in the direction explored in the trailer, with complex, interactive lighting and sophisticated texturing styles.

“The studio is using a hybrid technique to create visuals,” Pablos said in a statement. “We do not see this project as simply another 2D animated film. Our goal was to find solutions to overcome the technical limitations which prevented us from achieving a traditional and classic animated style.”

“We’re just getting started, but the possibilities are very exciting,” Pablos continued. “If your intention is to put something that feels hand-crafted on the screen, there’s no shorter path than starting from a hand-crafted medium.”

  • Congratulations to Sergio Pablos and his team for their project becoming a full length feature! I cannot wait to see how this turns out, and I hope there are a lot of behind the scenes with Toon Boom!

  • Grady Williams

    Wow! How in the world did the people at Toon Boom managed to get this from the TVPaint folks! The visuals on this project is a marketing dream!

    • John K.

      From what I understood TVPaint was used just for the underlying 3D animation. They used another tool for the shading and yet another tool for the texturing, which would track a painted texture from one frame over the entire shot.
      If Toon Boom is up for implementing all these steps into one single software, then it’s a no brainer for SPA!

      • sophie ferry

        No, you are wrong, look here :


        Most of the trailer’s animation was done digitally on TVPaint, according to SPA studio itself.

        • John K

          Well, I was just saying what I heard directly from Sergio Pablos at his talk at Annecy…
          If TVPaint could get those results on its own how come other studios aren’t doing it?

          They used TVPaint for the animation, a tweaked software for lighting/shading that he did’t say much about and a french software for non photorealistic rendering that allowed them to texture only one frame per shot and have it automatically tracked. At least that’s what he said.

          • Ole

            I know that SPA has used TVPaint before on other projects, and it looks like this animation reel from Klaus is animated in TVPaint as well. https://vimeo.com/135202004

          • Benji

            The software applies filters and effects only. The shapes still have to be carefully drawn by hand. They would be multiple layers for the diffferent shadows, highlights gradients etc for each character and the effects. Toonboom (or TVPaint) doesn’t just have some magic button for this, it DOES however have great tools in a durable software package for animation to allow talented artists to bring their production to this level of polish. Other studios aren’t doing it because they don’t have the either the foresight, talent or budget (pick any or all of the three). Disney for instance sure *could* do it, they certainly have the talent and even but it’ll run a budget up considerably.

          • sophie ferry

            I think you are mixing different things and that’s why I misunderstood
            your first post :

            There is no 3D in Klaus teaser (except for props). As Sergio said, the
            animation was made in TVPaint and they used 2 other technologies for the
            lightning / texturing (with another French company – named “Films du
            poisson rouge”).
            You can see on this picture, they are using Nuke to work on the flat colors.

            Toonboom will never ever be able to do this kind of texturing. The
            reason why SPA is not using TVPaint anymore is kind of mystery, but it’s
            not because ToonBoom can finally replace all creation steps. He
            confirmed this at CTN Expo.

        • David

          Sophie – What I think “John K.” meant was that TVPaint was used for the animation and clean-up (he mistakenly writes “underlying 3D animation” but must have meant “2D” animation) . In the interview from CartoonBrew that you link to (and in other interviews about “Klaus”) Sergio Pablos does say that the lighting and texturing was done with their own proprietary software. This isn’t at all unusual for production pipelines to use multiple software … for example , on their website Toonboom will tell you that Disney’s “The Princess & the Frog” was done with Toonboom … which it was , BUT what they don’t mention is that “The Princess and the Frog” also made extensive use of Photoshop and AfterEffects … and Maya … and Houdini (for certain effects shots) . – – – So for whatever reason SPA has decided to use Toonboom as their primary software for the “Klaus” feature . (but I’m sure they will also continue to use other software in production on “Klaus” … no software “does it all” ) . Just for the future record , lest it be erased from the collective memory, TVPaint WAS used for animating the “Klaus” trailer as can be seen in numerous shots in the SPA demo reel – https://vimeo.com/125894516

    • schwarzgrau

      I guess they got more money

  • Great news. I have high hopes for this project!

  • Aaron

    I thought the trailer was animated in TV Paint? Am I mistaken? Did they switch software? Too bad, Toon Boom’s drawing tools and onion skinning are pretty crappy compare to TV Paint. Toon Boom does have a lot of powerful tools, but I feel sorry for the animators.

  • DanK7

    As a ToonBoom Harmony user, I’m interested to see what this will bring to the software. Hope the film is a success as well!

  • andreas wessel-therhorn

    great news. Best of luck to Sergio and his team

  • AnimatedMadness

    Woohoo! This is actually becoming a full-length feature!! 2019 can’t get here soon enough!

  • Metlow Rovenstein

    That’s cool! Good luck to SPA Studios!

  • Carolyn Bates

    Wonderful news! Congrats, Sergio!

  • ShouldBeWorkin’

    I do not know where TvPaint fits in, it is a wonderful program, but ToonBoom’s Harmony can do drawn animation, 4 art layers within each drawing layer, choices of vector or raster within those layers, the drawing substitutes within the drawing layer can be automatically numbered to the frame; there’s an ex-sheet; there’s shift and trace with peg holes, onion skinning etc, etc. For those who think Harmony is crappy, maybe you haven’t used it in a couple years. It tends to change exponentially because they listen to their users. It isn’t just for puppets (as sophisticated as that can be now).
    I surmise and conjecture that TvPaint strikes me as a smaller company and perhaps Harmony’s vector ability work in its favour for whatever reason?