Tidy Town

Tidy Town is a 2D animated graduation film made by Thirza van der Zee and me at the University of the Arts, Utrecht (HKU) – which I directed, wrote, and produced. The film is about a raccoon cub named Joy, she has a plan to get rid of the plastic trash that has overwhelmed her island.

visual development

While figuring out our style, characters, and environment, I also wrote the script. Tidy Town was going to be a fun but serious film, with a virtuous tone. Inspired by animations I loved when I was little. I wanted the visuals to be cute with a hint of realism.

CONCEPT ART

In an earlier version, the story was about three kids. They wanted to expose the damage Wolf\’s water bottle production had done to their island. They did so by making videos for their school, or the Tidy Town version of youtube: Wooftoob. This idea became too complicated for the amount of time that we had, so I rewrote the story. Eventually, we settled on one main character: Joy.

CHARACTER DESIGN

STORYBOARD

I reviewed, gave feedback on, and adjusted the storyboard Thirza created and contributed scenes myself. Here too, a lot of our fun ideas had to be cut. Due to the delicate conflict of the story, it was the most difficult and time-consuming part of the production to get right.

I used vivid colours to accentuate Joy’s childlike innocence and contrasted those with dark clouded backdrops when the story takes on a more melancholic tone. 

After completing the storyboard and the layouts, I worked on the backgrounds. I also created a workflow for incorporating the use of Ebsynth in our project.

Backgrounds & Colour

 

A selection of backgrounds based on layouts by Thirza van der Zee, Charlotte Lemmers, and Myself.

From keys to ebsynth

I have a preference for a painterly style in my animations. Ebsynth became a perfect solution. While the team worked in lightning speed to finish up the flat colours, I painted the keys to render in Ebsynth, and afterwards cleaning them up in Tvpaint, as sampled below.

Animation

During the animation production phase, I worked on both the visual effects and the character animation for Joy and Wolf. When all animation was completed, I adjusted some character shots for Joy, for the sake of consistency.

Characters_Kevin002

Selections & Awards

cinekid

best dutch animated short – nominee

Noordelijk filmfestival

Best student Film – Winner

Netherlands film festival

Student competition – official selection

Giffoni film festival

Elements 6+ – Official selection

FFTG Awards

Quarantine Film – Multiple wins

Canadian cinematography awards

november 2020 animation film – winner

Queen City Film Festival

Animated Short – Official selection

credits

original concept by

Dana Alink & Thirza van der Zee

Written, Directed, & Produced by

Dana Alink & Thirza van der Zee

Componist

Isabella Calmet

Sound Production

Jose Varon

sound effects

Milovan Güich

Final Mix

Geoffrey Cannock

Voice acting

Joy & Mayor – Dana Alink 

Linnaeus Wolf – Jon Adams 

Secretary – Wesley Eagle

CONCEPT ART

Dana Alink & Thirza van der Zee

CHARACTER DESIGN

Dana Alink & Thirza van der Zee

LEAD STORYBOARD DESIGN

Thirza van der Zee

ADDITIONAL STORYBOARD DESIGN

Dana Alink

LAYOUTS

Dana Alink

Cecil Eijgendaal

Charlotte Lemmers

Thirza van der Zee

BACKGROUND ART

Dana Alink

BACKGROUND ART

Dana Alink

LEAD ANIMATION

Dana Alink

Charlotte Lemmers

Thirza van der Zee

ADDITIONAL ANIMATION

Cecil Eijgendaal

Jil Siu

Noémie Bajor

VISUAL EFFECTS

Dana Alink

COLORING

Dana Alink

Dara Dharmaperwira

Cecil Eijgendaal

Tobi Springer

Emelia Waterman

Thirza van der Zee