Myths and Monsters takes its audience on a journey through the mythic landscape of Europe, revealing the origins of the most famous legends this continent has produced and exploring why they have endured so long.
Using original animations and a vast array of concept art, each episode uniquely tells the story featuring a number of characters and locations. The series is presented by Nicholas Day and features expert analysis from a range of contributors.
Episode themes include ‘War’ which has been a constant in human history, and stories of conflict often lie at the root of a society’s values, ideals and identity. As well as ‘Love & Betrayal’ where jealousy, betrayal and other dark emotions born out of romantic desire have inspired some of the most enduring stories known to humankind.
Everything was edited in Adobe Premiere and the shared concept art animations in After Effects. This was a good workflow for graphic integration across the series. We were continually illustrating the myths by bringing to life existing artwork or had artists design imagery which Green Rock and external animators would add movement to.
One example is Spring-heeled Jack where the artist created 6 images to illustrate the story we were telling. The animators would then take the Photoshop file and animate each individual layer in After Effects to give the sense of Spring-heeled Jack coming towards us breathing fire from his mouth, jumping from rooftops or attacking his victim. The animation enabled a flat image to now exist in a 3D environment adding perspective and movement and was applied to various other stories involving Thor, Robin Hood, Achilles and many more.
After adding a 3D camera with a 50mm lens, we animated camera movement which really brings the scene to life. Then using a combination of cut-out puppetry animation subtle layer movements we were able to animate the illustrations. Finally adding extra texture such as smoke, lighting, particles or fire, before adding depth of field and keyframe the focus as the camera moves through the scene.
This process really created the sense of a storybook coming to life as opposed to a straightforward cartoon animation and suited the incredible artwork that featured across the series.
Myths & Monsters – Season 1, Episode 2: The Wild Unknown