Introducing 'Via' - Storytelling at its most beautiful

29 January 2018

VIA from Blue Zoo on Vimeo.

Directed by Concept Artist Izzy, and made in collaboration with a top-team of the Zoo's animators and artists, Via tells one man’s story in defining moments against a backdrop of Izzy’s beautiful, trademark environments. Inspiration comes from a poem by Rachel Cladingbowl about life’s complex journey 'via' the obstacles and events in life we experience and overcome. We hope you love it as much as we do.

Setting the scene

From the early scribbles Via was a visual treat, rich with epic landscapes inspired by Izzy's love of nature and time spent in America. Watching Via, we travel the metaphoric path of life from back porch to canyon, boat yard to forest, mountains to city and more.

Introducing 'Via’: Storytelling at its most beautiful
Introducing 'Via’: Storytelling at its most beautiful

Full of character

A challenge was set when Via was created: to produce an animation and tell a story without showing the characters faces. This means that all feeling and emotion must be expressed through movement and posture alone. There are subtle details that help tell the story, like a change in hair colour to indicate a change in age, or a thickening of the waist.

Introducing 'Via’: Storytelling at its most beautiful
Introducing 'Via’: Storytelling at its most beautiful

Colourways

The colours play an important role in Via, nuanced to help tell the tale; a colour repeated in the most intimate scenes, a brightness when the son is on screen, and muted, sepia-tones as memories fade.

Introducing 'Via’: Storytelling at its most beautiful
Introducing 'Via’: Storytelling at its most beautiful
Introducing 'Via’: Storytelling at its most beautiful

2.5D Production Process

Even though Via's characters look 2D animated, they are in fact all 3D characters built in Maya and animated at a lower frame rate to give a more hand-made feel. This allowed Blue Zoo to use their experienced CG animation team to efficiently create the beautiful performances. These were then rendered with a flat 2D shader to integrate into the painted environments in After Effects.

Introducing 'Via’: Storytelling at its most beautiful


"My work has always been described as whimsical and poetic, and I think that's why I ended up finding a poem to narrate the story. I wanted my love for environment painting to assist the story, and see how we could tell an emotional tale using such small characters with no facial expressions. It was a great challenge and I hope we've managed to make a film that evokes some emotion in the viewer!"
Izzy Burton, Director


Introducing 'Via’: Storytelling at its most beautiful
Introducing 'Via’: Storytelling at its most beautiful
Introducing 'Via’: Storytelling at its most beautiful
Introducing 'Via’: Storytelling at its most beautiful


“For me, it is a poem about the complexities of the human journey; a path both rocky and smooth with unforeseen obstacles to overcome. Indeed, some obstacles can seem so huge that we think we will never cope at all, yet somehow we can still come out the other side, smiling again.”
Rachel Cladingbowl, Poet


Introducing 'Via’: Storytelling at its most beautiful
Soundtrack composed by Vince Webb.