Animal Logic, the Australian visual effects, animation and production studio who brought the groundbreaking (those feathers!) Legend of the Guardians (2010) and the Academy Award winning best animated feature film, Happy Feet (2007) onto the silver screen is back with another fantastic achievement to add to the list! Everyone’s favourite black and yellow clad hero is back and ready for adventure in The LEGO Batman Movie (2017).
While Animal Logic is an Australian company with a head office in Sydney (pictured is their staff outside the Sydney studio at Fox Studios, and below the actual building itself), it also has studios in Los Angeles and Vancouver. Work on The LEGO Batman Movie story and its editing happened in both Sydney and Los Angeles, while all of the production design including the animation, production of shots and asset creation all the way to the final grade and output happened in the Sydney Animal Logic studio.
The director of The Lego Batman Movie, Chris McKay who was Animation Director and Co-editor of The LEGO Movie back in 2013/14 was very excited to work with Animal Logic on this project. “Sydney’s a great town to make a movie…they have such a deep bench of animators, illustrators and artists.”
McKay also spared no praise for production designer, Grant Freckelton who has worked on the visual effects of numerous films since 2000 including Moulin Rouge and Rabbit-Proof Fence. “I think the biggest reason to go with Animal Logic was to work with Grant,” McKay said. “Grant Freckelton is an amazing production designer. He did Legend of the Guardians and if you look at that movie, it’s pretty incredible. What he and Craig Welsh, the lighting supervisor, are able to do with computers is unbelievable.”
Dan Lin, the producer of the film emphasised Animal Logic’s hard-working attitude and dedication. “I view them as not only an animation studio but real filmmakers. LEGO Corporate’s mantra is only the best is good enough and these guys go 110% for us. AL’s editors David Burrows and Matt Villa worked 24/7. I gave them a deadline of when to deliver the movie and they pushed it back by a week because they just wanted to make the movie the best movie possible. Animal Logic never say to us, ‘hey, we can’t do it guys’. They say, ‘you know what? We are going to figure it out. We have to bring in more animators, we are going to figure it out with our technology’. People are citing their artistry of animation so I think you can really feel the passion of those people’s hearts in the final result.”
Chris McKay cultivated an environment that allowed for collaboration. He welcomed input of all staff from the artists to the editors. McKay described the making of The LEGO Batman Movie to be a very natural and organic process. They didn’t work with a screenplay but instead had a treatment and ran to meet deadlines.
The director was open to trying different things in order to ensure the success of the final product. “We were having lots of laughs with the Joker’s facial expression,” said Lin. This was because the animators were able to experiment and try out different looks and designs on their own. “We have hired people from start to finish that are all creators in their own right…[by] adding their own bits…[we are] constantly improving upon the underlying material.”
The LEGO Batman Movie is in cinemas from March 30.