Gothenburg, Sweden-based Mindbender has released a short teaser for its next project, The Food Thief, a 90-second short that it will launch online this year.

The film, directed by Olov Burman, was made with the goal “to create a more flexible 3d rig than anything we had done before.” To achieve that, Mindbender developed a rig with sliding body parts that could be turned on or off between the different poses. Here’s a look at the rig, created in collaboration with Kippcase studio:

Mindbender has spent years developing an authentic cartoon language for computer animation, and offering a vision for cg that is completely at odds with mainstream production.

It’s not just that Mindbender’s technical skills are superb, especially their innovative rigs, but it’s also the studio’s intent: they using rigging in the service of achieving a truly wild, mildly disturbing, and slightly grotesque effect. In other words, they’re creating cartoons.

Feature animation studio rigs are at least as sophisticated as what Mindbender uses, and some studios have rigs designed to handle smears and all kinds of distorted character effects. The reason that we don’t see more of this type of work in the mainstream is not for lack of technical skill, but for lack of creative vision. Self-imposed restraint and naturalism have always been the order of the day in cg animation. Even when feature productions contain exaggerated cartoon elements, everything else in the production – the vocal performances, scripts, cinematography, and overall production design – is grounded in the language of live-action filmmaking, and designed to minimize the impact of the cartoon effect.

For more about The Food Thief, check out this behind-the-scenes look posted on Burman’s website.

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