Meindbender - Interview !

Meet Meindbender Animation Studio

Time ago this guys impressed us with "Football Vs Rabbit"'s clip. And now, with their last reel, we can only say: wooW !

We would like to say ( again ) from Arte y Animación Blog: Thank you very much Michael for your time !

How many people are the "brain" of MeindBender? What is their animation background?

There are four core people that founded Meindbender. Olov Burman, Calle Halldin, Tony österlund and myself, Michael Bengtsson. We had the fortune to meet each other when we where studying on the excellent 3D animation at the university in Trollhättan/Sweden a couple of years ago. After that, we founded the company.

Two years ago, we were impressed with the "Football Vs Rabbit"'s clip. We had never seen anything like that. It was the perfect combination of Stop-motion and CGI.How did you get the idea of mixing these techniques?

It came quite natural to us. Olov was into stop motion, Calle and Tony really liked both CG and cel, and I ( Michael ) was, more or less, obsessed with realistic shading :-)

Maybe the Cartoon Network saw it and wanted to do the same to their commercials?

Yes, that is correct. It was kind of funny how they found us though. When we released Football/rabbit our homepage went down after two days, because we over consumed the bandwidth of our web-hotel.

We were all glad, of course, for all the downloads from our site., but the problem was that no one could see the contact information. Luckily for us, Cartoon Network didn´t stop there and finally found one of our animators msn adress, and from there it goes on :-)

We saw that you have another Cartoon Network commercial made in Stop-Motion. And it's very nice. Why don't you always use stop-motion ?

Time and expression. Stop motion is very time consuming , so if we can get the look right in CG, we save time and don't have the common boundaries of traditional stop motion. For us it´s all pixels in the end.

We love original stop motion though, and we have the greatest respect for those who create it.

The character rig seems very complicated. When the character explodes and multiplies it's amazing. Do you use tools like "AniSculpt" to animate? Is the rig as complicated as it seems?

Yes and no. We use a system of partly driven and partly fully controllable blend shapes in Maya. To get those extreme poses we have a master-rig that can switch between different sub-rigs wich are specialized one specific poses. It´s all a pretty straight forward process to set up from a technical standpoint but it gives the artist more or less free hands to do what they do best.
We are always looking to push it further though and now we have our eyes open for a really good rigger to join our team, preferably a little crazy that thinks outside the box, or better yet, doesn't have one :-)

How many animators do you need to finish a piece like "The Duplicators"?

On that specific film we used two animators.

Every Cartoon Network commercial seems to be animated frame by frame. What's the background of the animators, maybe they come from 2d animation?

As I mentioned before, we love traditional Stop motion and cel animation, as well as top quality 3D productions. It´s all animation in the end, a visual language.

When will we see a short film with these "yobs red bugs"?

Cartoon Network are interested in doing more for next year, but I think we have to wait and see how the response from the viewers is before doing something longer with them.

You have set high standards with your last Reel. Do you think you can overcome that?

If I would say no I´d better get out business :-)

What is the next step for Meindbender? How do you see the future?

We are currently in the funding stage of our first fully in house produced short. As soon as we have it fully financed we are going all in on this one. Hopefully, it will be a great 2010!

Thank you very much for participate in Arte y Animación Blog !

Thank you and Christmas wishes from Meindbender.

Meindbender web site

Special thanks to Vincens , Sophie and Dani Lara for the questions and Andrés Lázaro with the translation.