Wednesday, 16 January 2013


Pocoyo is the first animation that came to mind when we were given this brief, and Mat even mentioned it in our briefing (I'm glad I am thinking on the same lines!). This Spanish animation series has an impressive 52 episodes, and counting. One of my favourite things about this program is the limited amount of speech used, concentrating mainly on the narrators voice and how the characters react visually through their body language and their occasional reply in speech. This clever idea means that the program is easily transferable into different languages, and currently has an English, Italian and Spanish version. To keep the episodes interesting, good sound effects and a bit of music is always used, but not too much to detract from the story line. As Pocoyo is quite musical and often has the characters dancing, I thought that that it would be perfect to look at, especially as I know that I want my piece to be a 'dance off' between two toys.

This video is one of their latest pieces, which really made me laugh and smile. It is their version of the popular Korean song 'Gangnam Style', where the characters all take on the roles of the lead dancers and mimic their routines. With a clever reuse of animation, and a slight change in their normal costume (each wears a pair of signature sunglasses). The animation is really well done, and looks really similar to the original dancing, but still has Ponyo, Elly and Pato's characters shining through.

POCOYO: COOKIES Animatic made by Luis Zamora Pueyo from luis zamora on Vimeo.
Here is one of their animatic's I managed to find, with the actual 3D animation footage in the corner, showing how they have stuck to the plot given, and if anything enhanced the performances.

Pocoyo Rigging Reel from David Cuéllar on Vimeo.
Here is another little behind the scenes video I came across, of the rigging done for Pocoyo's character. As I have not learnt rigging yet, I am unsure on how difficult this would be to recreate, but I am impressed by the fluidity of movement (especially in the foot and ankle).

As I am a concept art maniac, I adore this piece put together of the concept art on the left and the modelled characters on the right. It just shows the simplicity in design and the distinctiveness of each of their characters. I love the smoothness and amount of curves used, making the animation look soft and welcoming, especially it being aimed at pre-schoolers. There are also a very limited amount of characters, which makes the designing even more important, as we get to know each one personally rather than having loads of background or one off characters. This is also a very clever decision by the animation team, as it means that there is less modelling for them to do, and potentially less animating too, which is helpful when the animations are so short (averaging 7 minutes long each). Like most animation companies, they also save money by reusing different pre-modelled actions/poses, but by placing it into a different context narrative wise, you are unable to easily tell. To keep the viewer constantly interested, as well as keeping the episodes length down, they also make it very quick paced rather than dragging the scenes out. However, this said, they do include some really well timed pauses for thought, and don't rush these moments. Another way they keep the focus on the main characters, is that they don't use any background environments and use only a plain white plate with props. This keeps the animation clean and not over cluttered, and also saves time and money which would be spent modelling them as well as the colouring/texturing. In the latest series, they did however break this aesthetic to let the characters visit different environments, which has been criticised by many animators, as this was the main distinctive thing which made Pocoyo different, as it doesn't rely on mimics and concentrates solely on the characters and the narrative.