An elemental workshop.

Being from a studio recognized as top-class, few doubted that Hyouka would be equally so – several pages of production phase setting illustrations have been released, showing complex venues amazingly illustrated.

These blueprints nearly embody the word “spectacular” as incredibly intricate backdrops are broken down to sheer wire-frame. The above serving as our example – it exhibits the room which, if not mistaken, is where the Kotenbu assembles on a frequent basis. Anyone can merely glance upon this piece and see that it is ornate – although this visually busy concoction of elements is all drawn according to a certain technique which isn’t nearly as easy to spot when the same scene is seen in color.

A single point perspective is utilized to the create the striking “point-of-view” effect – every line traveling horizontally across the canvas returns to a single dot on the image. Now while that technique does simplify the depth process, brilliant skill comes to shine when one considers what it must have taken to make this room as packed with precisely sketched items as it is.

Consider the overwhelming spectacle which this art piece provides – a collage of lines all over the place, and it clearly must have taken a lot of tedious effort and time. Now realize that Kyoto Animation’s team had to have this same room sketched out again and then some, several times over, and at different angles even, to formulate the necessary frames for the animation – not to mention, those frames need to be colored. Someone had to go through and determine what hue every item must be – and subsequently, another had to actually apply the coloring.

Coloring in this case is not akin to your experiences in kindergarten – realistic shadow had to be applied as well, with thoughtful contemplation taken for how certain items would affect the light acting on others, such as a character standing in the middle of the room. Complicated as that sounds, this is hardly even scratching the surface when it comes to animation production – although that becomes a separate topic entirely.

As a last note of interest, with this sketch serving as a basis for frames which shall take place within this room, one can see that all significant details were labelled – with the illustration itself also being titled and dated accordingly.

All in all, it’s quite apparent why Kyoto Animation is regarded as a studio above all.


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