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BBC Post London creates characters for new CBBC drama ‘Shoebox Zoo’

Paul Kavanagh from BBC Post Production’s 3D animation and digital team has designed CGI animated characters for the new CBBC Scotland family drama series ‘Shoebox Zoo’.
A UK - Canada Co-Production between CBBC Scotland and LA based Canadian company, Blueprint Entertainment, Shoebox Zoo is executive produced by Claire Mundell, written by Brian Ward and directed by Justin Molotnikov and James Henry. The 13 part series was shot on location in Scotland during summer 2003 and is a mix of live action, cg effects and character animation.
Newcomer Vivien Endicott-Douglas stars as Marnie McBride, an American teenager displaced to Edinburgh, where she discovers four ancient celtic animal carvings (Edwin the Eagle, Bruno the Bear, Wolfgang the Wolf and Ailsa the Adder) in an old Shoebox… When the animals spring magically to life, they enlist Marnie on an epic quest to find Legendary Alchemist Michael Scot's lost Book of Forbidden Knowledge. The series also features Peter Mullan, Rik Mayall, Simon Callow, Siobhan Redmond and Alan Cumming.
Paul Kavangh from BBC Post Production’s 3D animation and digital effects team was the Design and Animation consultant for the project and was closely involved from the beginning. Paul was responsible for character design and graphics, working in collaboration with production designer Tom Sayer and costume designer Ali Mitchell to create a coherent visual style for the show. Paul designed three cg characters for series one - Bruno, Hunter and Ailsa and adjusted Calibre's design for Edwin so that it worked in harmony with the others. The characters and graphics needed to combine celtic authenticity with visual appeal.
Kavanagh said: “The animals had to possess a certain darkness to be believable, but they also needed to be likeable as characters. I had to maintain the right balance for the characters and graphics and keep faithful to the story in Brian’s head.”
Kavanagh's job involved working closely with Toronto animation house Calibre Digital to develop his designs into the animated characters in the show. He also oversaw creation of identical SL prop versions of the characters.
Graphic design for the show involved titles, credits and emblems and illustrations of the animals used within the production design. Work on the show involved liasing with an international team, spread across Scotland, England, Canada and the US.
Series Two, shot on location in Alberta Canada has begun postproduction and is scheduled to hit UK screens in Autumn 2005. Paul has designed a fresh character - Hunter the Horse - which will feature throughout the second series, and has also created designs for merchandising and the forthcoming Shoebox Zoo DVD release from BBC Worldwide.
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