FLIPPED explores the absurdity of a world where the roles of kids and adults are switched. The story follows a day full of bizarrely reversed interactions, unravelling the dynamics of this relationship, tackling topics about maturity and parenting in a comic way.
A film by: Hend Esmat & Lamiaa Diab
Sound Design: Patrick Henchman
Animation: Lamiaa Diab, Hend Esmat, Patrycja Szypula, Melissa Pinto, Wiktoria Filipiak
Color Design: Luisa Cruz
“What if kids and adults switched roles?”
This was the first trail of thought we decided to develop on. We both got drawn to this idea as we realised that the roles inevitably change in real life. It gives us enough room to observe the nature of the relationship between kids and adults, exaggerate and be playful with the situations that can take place in this world.
We started out by roughly sketching different situations that can happen in this world, and ended up with many thumbnails that we filtered and built on throughout the whole process.
The fact that we were exploring the world without following a main character made the story development quite challenging. It rather felt like a puzzle of different situations that we kept re-organising to form the whole. Our aim was to show snippets of this world, so we decided to let the situations form the final frame rather than impose a structure on it. It was not an easy decision to make, as we instinctively kept trying to add a main character to follow, but we felt it was the right thing to do after several trials in the animatic.
Below is an example of what we used to help us filter the options and make sure each shot is clear. Every time we sketched thumbnails we tested them on the timeline, skipping the storyboard step. Thus we ended up with more than 20 versions for the animatic, including many ideas that did not make it to the final cut. We kept tweaking the animatic almost throughout the whole process until the pacing felt right.
“One day” was the only rule we set for the story, a simple solution we adopted to link the different characters of this world. Below are four shots during the different times of the day: Morning kiss, playing at the park during midday, going back home during sunrise, and preparing for bedtime at night.
DESIGN AND VISUAL DEVELOPMENT
We wanted to create a style that complements the idea of the film, combining a mixture of both neat graphical lines with analog textures and child drawing feel. It was also really important to highlight the size difference between both kids and adults, so that the situations would be readable to the viewers.
In the film, the adults act in a childish way, and children are the more mature responsible ones. It was important for us to explore different poses, designs and layouts within each shot, in order to make the story clear.
In the middle of the process, we realised we needed to insert long shots to help make the world more clear and the story easier to follow. We decided to limit the locations to three: Street, Park and Home. So even though we were moving from one character to another, we wanted to give the impression that they are all in the same place, so that the viewers don’t get disconnected.
We usually reach the final layout after several passes, first we layout very roughly the main elements, then we start refining and replacing the characters in order to better lead the eye through the actions.
We wanted colors to enhance the readability of the story and give a better feeling to the sense of timing and light in the film. Starting with monochrome light tones at the beginning of the day, to being very colorful during midday at the park, and then fading back to darker colors to prepare for night time.
PREPARING FOR ANIMATION
It took us several trials to reach a workflow that met both our technical abilities with the analog visual style we wanted to achieve. We realized the importance of prepping well the designs files, with proper layer labeling and replacement layers. Below is an example for the pool scene animation, which was one of the most complicated shots to animate due to the long, dynamic action. We used the wonderful tool Duik for the character rigging, which worked perfectly with the combination of having strokes and filled shapes.
We wanted to have more control over the movements, so we animated using step mode in After Effects (Ae), with a combination of interpolated key frames. This allowed us to nail and tweak each pose the way we wanted, rather than rely on the software to do all the in-betweens. We also made frame by frame references for complex movements in order not to get lost inside Ae with technical issues.
To make the animation more dynamic, we added some frame by frame elements on TV Paint and composited everything later on Ae. So the result was a combination of digital and frame by frame animation.
Thanks for watching!