Production I.G> WORK LIST> Oblivion Island> SPECIAL FEATURE> Interview with Naoyoshi Shiotani (4)

Interview with Naoyoshi Shiotani (4)

Naoyoshi Shiotani
Born in 1977, Shiotani is one of Japan's most promising young animation creators. His early works include TV series Windy Tales (key animation supervisor, 2004) and Blood+ (2005), for which he also directed the kaleidoscopic third opening film, Colors of the Heart (check our special feature here), selected in competition for the 11th Holland Animation Film Festival. His directorial debut, Tokyo Marble Chocolate (2007) was awarded with the Grand Prize in the Feature Films Section of SICAF 2008. Shiotani joined the staff of Production I.G's first 3DCG animated feature film, Oblivion Island: Haruka and the Magic Mirror as storyboard artist an animation director, but also contributed the island design concept and designed Cotton, the sheep-shaped plush doll that belongs to the protagonist, Haruka.


The director, Shinsuke Sato, works in the live-action movie industry. Did you find anything different, or particularly interesting in his approach in directing this movie, compared to an animation production?
I realized there is a big difference between live action and animation in the editing process. This time, the editing was made "live-action style," so we spent more time then usual and it was a really valuable experience for me. In live-action, you usually have a large amount of footage you can choose from, giving you a great variety of combinations in the editing phase. However, in animation you are not allowed such a luxury as you cannot just leave the camera roll, but you have to physically create any frame of motion picture. But for this movie, we first completed the storyboard, then we made some experiments by editing the various scenes in different ways, and I would amend the storyboard should any better idea have come up in the process. It was a new way of working for me, and I think I'll make good use this experience in my future projects.

You are a 2D animator. What challenges did you face in a 3DCG production like Oblivion Island? And what kind of know-how sharing did you experience?
I did not face any difficulty I could specifically mention in working with 3DCG animation.
Of course, there were many technical details I was not very familiar with, but what's really important in this job is to have a clear image of what you want to do, and have your staff understand it. This is true regardless the animation technique, 2D or 3D.
But I can say I have learnt a lot from this experience. Now the animation producer is going around telling that I'm the most experienced 3D animation director in Japan... (lol) Definitely not true!

What makes Oblivion Island most memorable for you?
The day we checked the last cut with all the staff, I finally shouted, "OK!" and at that very moment we all burst into tears and hugged each other filled with a kind of happiness words could not describe. I'll remember that day as long as I live!
Also, when I saw the children enjoying the movie at the premiere in Tokyo, the reward was priceless.

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