Into the Woods

 Posted by at 11:57 pm
Jun 282011

I recently wrote and animated a music video for Cilla Jane’s new song “Into the Woods“. I completed the animation entirely in Toonboom Animate Pro 2 and it took me 46 days (~1 scene per day). As the schedule was tight, it’s not quite as fully animated as a Brackenwood short but I spent a lot of time setting up the atmosphere in each shot. I’ve spent time alone in forests at night and I really wanted to capture that sparkly clear night forest feel.

Cilla had seen my work before and gave me free rein to do “something foresty, preferably with a girl in a spotted dress, an owl, fox and deer“. After hearing the song, I came up with the story for the video. Yes it’s metaphoric, but I’m interested in reading your interpretation.

update: if you’d like to see the clip screened on ‘Rage’ (a weekend all-night Australian music program), you can request it here. Just type “into the woods by Cilla Jane” in the request field

  49 Responses to “Into the Woods”

Comments (49)
  1. this is so beautiful, good job man!

  2. Your animation is great as always. The song fits right into a style you know very well. If it wasn’t for the video the song would be god awful though…

    p.s. still waiting for more on ‘the last of the dashkin’

    • yeah thanks Dan, though I don’t see why some people feel the need to insult the songwriter. Just like me she’s an independent artist, releasing new work and hoping it’s well received. Not to mention reading these comments :/

    • I thought the song was really ethereal and haunting… It matches perfectly with Adam’s style.

    • The song is beautiful as is Cilla Jane’s voice. I love how pure and crisp she sounds. The song brings on so many feelings. Both are captivating and I don’t see how you could consider anything about it awful. I had to share her with some friends of mine she gained a new fan here πŸ˜€

  3. thank you… this was a deeply moving piece. It rendered me to tears-the music was a perfect companion, as well as the deer πŸ˜‰

    • Thanks for dropping by, I’m glad the video had that effect! Always a victory when someone is genuinely moved πŸ™‚

  4. Amazing work as always, Adam. The whole thing came together beautifully at the end. I especially love the scene with the deer… lovely! Well done.

  5. Just beautiful! The song is amazing and the animation smooth and stream lined! i am an instant fan!! keep up the good work!! (literally brought tears to my eyes) πŸ˜€

  6. Gee-beasties that is some awesome animation! I think you did a great job on the part where the camera tracks her head but her body turns as she watches the fox. A little detail but it was really cool to watch.

    Awesome job sir. You continue to inspire me with your awesome animations.

  7. Really nice Adam – in particular how the pace and lighting work together to create the right atmosphere for the feel of the song. Love the track through the forest tunnel too – and nice pallete.

  8. Great video and great song. πŸ˜€

    The only critique I could offer is that in the song, when the artist hits those really high notes it sounds a little out of place. I dunno, it just seems like it would fit better if she’d stayed near the lower end of the range. Still a good song though.

  9. Great work Adam! The animation is fantastic as usual. The Forrest scenes have a great sense of depth and the colors are wonderful and really suit a dark Forrest. The scenes with the girl and the fox came out really good. The part where they were running thru the woods looked brilliant. It looked like it would be challenging to animate as well. The use of shading and light on the characters worked really well to give them less of a 2D feel.

    I thought the song was fine. It had a little bit of a Sarah McLachlan, Tori Amos feel to it and I liked it. I’m also not sure why some ppl felt the need to bash the song. Oh well, that’s the internet for you. As long as she liked making the song and that it came out the way she intended that’s all that really matters.

    Have you gotten any feedback from the artist on the video?

    Were you happy with the way it turned out?

    • Thanks Jim. Yes it’s the official video, so the artist has approved it all and likes what I’ve come up with. I’m pretty happy with the end result, it’s probably as good as I could do in the time I had. I’m just glad it wasn’t a longer song otherwise I would have needed to decline the work.

  10. Hey Adam! Been a fan of yours for years. I am now working in the FLASH games field and hoping to start working with Toon Boom. Love your tutorials. It really has gotten me up to speed. I really appreciate your dedication as an artist and animator and helping the community…especially after leaving such a “cushy” job at Disney to do your own thing. Question: could you discuss in a video how you approach “running” scenes and also how you go about getting work as a freelance artist? I hope you can and like you I have my own stories to tell. I just don’t know what is the best form yet: book, novel, screenplay, animation or comic. Thanks for all your hard work and lovely animation for the song. You are awesome!

  11. I like the song and the animation. This type of music fits very well with your style, actually. Well, one thing I did think was that the song itself was a bit anticlimatic, with no real conclusion in the lyrics, so the responsibility for making a conclusion to it fell upon you.

    I can’t really give my “interpretation” of it because I don’t think it really has an accurate one – I think it will be quite different depending on the life experience of the person watching it.

    My single favourite scene is the one with the mushrooms growing and dying.

  12. It’s good to see some new animation from you, especially a music video since the “Transdermal Celebration” vid is a particular favorite of mine. Good stuff. That “time lapse” of the mushrooms growing is one of my favorite shots by you, ever.

    The song suits your style. Hope it leads to some more music videos in the near future.

  13. I’m a bit miffed that people feel they need to insult Cilla Jane – if they don’t care for the song, couldn’t they just keep quiet about it? I understand that someone’s mileage may vary on the music, but there is that old adage about not saying anything…

    Ah well, I shouldn’t be surprise. The internet is the internet.

    That said, I’m a longtime lurker, and this is a beautiful video. I adore the animation and how it completely clicks with the song – which I also love, by the way. There’s just something about how you portray the forest – the scene as sunlight pours in and the grass grows takes my breath away, as does the way you show time passing. The fox’s entrance and the owl’s movement… all smooth and amazing.

    I am never disappointed by anything you do.

  14. Hauntingly beautiful; both the music and the video are entrancing and I dare say I got chills when I played it the first time. I can’t stop watching it, and each time I play it I pick up a new meaning and a new way to look at it. Thank you both for this beautiful feeling.

  15. About the interpretation, I think that the fox was right, she should have “run and hide” instead of staying with the deer. Why ? Because she’s lost her entire youth with the deer, looking for a dream, an abstract concept, “freedom”, and she finally chose the easier way, “staying a while” whereas she might have find her freedom through her life path. Huh, sorry for my awfull (awful ? =’S ) english, i’m French.

    • interesting, it makes sense, my thoughts on that is if she had gone and hidden she would be chained to her fear and never grow up. We all shed our childhoods at some point; I know looking back it seemed like time passed quickly, as if I were asleep.

      BTW, your English is great, I could probably take a few more lessons.

  16. Man i love this song. When i like a song it gets stuck in my head for days or weeks, i can tell im gunna be singing this one for a while. I love all of the animations but this is by far my favorite one. The song and animation clips together so well.

  17. beautifully animated and the song was brilliant too.
    Epic work Adam and i take me hat off to Cilla Jane πŸ˜€

  18. Thanks everyone for the kind words! Glad you liked it and very interesting to read your interpretations πŸ™‚

  19. I think that the forest that the girl went into was actually her own mind. She gained wisdom, felt fear and became an individual when she finally stayed with the dear as she ascended into adulthood. I love this song, I love Adam’s work and I love the many interpretations here πŸ™‚

  20. This is just absolutely amazing! I can’t believe it took me this long to watch the video! The animation is so beautiful I literally got chills during some parts. Did you use reverse kinematics with this or was it all drawn out, frame-by-frame? I’d love to know! I’m currently learning 2D animation with Toon Boom Animate 2.

  21. Excellent video … Very well done. Toon Boom forever.
    I’m from Russia and therefore use the Google translator. And I’m not really a know about your projects.
    I would like to know something. Later …

  22. damn, each time i watch your new video I’m trying to improve myself to become better than you in animation πŸ˜‰ but it gets harder each time you release something πŸ˜‰

    Watching this one I’ve lost my faith in “12 principles” ._.

    You are one of the greatest animators of all time Adam.


  23. This is lovely. The mushroom scene gave me flashbacks to Fantasia.

  24. long time lurker first time poster cause i love good music of all forms(i dont care what i listen to so long as the artist is good) and the song and video built around it are amazing loved it an i might just definitly look up this artist. as for why i like it, meh it just works i dont know how to explain it its a feeling not a fact. id say something bout the animation but youve heard anything id say a thousand times, a testament to your skill in itself . . . so how bout that dashkin?

  25. Oh my goodness, everything was lovely. The song coupled with the video gave me such a nice feeling. Like I just finished reading a sad book with a happy ending. It’s one of my favorite emotions, better than happiness if you ask me.

    Adam, I’ve always loved your work and Cilla, if you do indeed read these comments, I’ll definitely be looking into your music. I adore your sound.

  26. Epic, great forever…

  27. The song and animation are really beautiful and well made! πŸ˜€ Im interested in making animations but Im just too lazy and inpatient…

  28. I’ve been a fan of your work for ages. Its been a while since I’ve come back to see any of your newer work, but its great to see you’re still producing awesome animations like this

  29. I’m blown away that you were able to do such amazing work so quickly. I hope you’ll show us how you did those clouds someday.

  30. I was touched by the beauty of this video..
    It is very deep and awe-inspiring..

  31. really compliment to the skill of the video … you’ve been very good with the fantasy and animation … I am an Italian student who attends a school of graphic design … and I came to this video with a friend of mine silvio arlenghi:)
    The background music is beautiful and gives them well with the video … has managed well the effect she wants to give this video because I did move thanks to the song in the background

  32. I lost count of how many times I watched this video! It’s just PERFECT! I love that kind of music, kinda folk, mysterious, but cute. And I think the animation is really fantastic!!! It fit perfectly with the song. You were able to get the “mystery” of the music. I almost cried all the times I watched this, it’s beautiful. If possible I would like to know what is the real meaning of all the metaphors *-* And sorry about my English I’m Brazilian xD. By the way, I’m studying Design and aiming for Animation too (concept art, but I think it’s still animation xD), so I hope one day I’ll be as good as you!! GOOD LUCK WITH UPCOMING PROJECTS!!! =D

  33. My friend, who I never expected to be one to view this site showed me this. Not only did I love this video, but i’m envious of how you tamed Toon Boom Animate.

  34. Tgat was amazing !! I loved the song and thr animation to it was great!!!!!!!

  35. I’ve made the request!

    For me, the little girl is facing a problem, but she doesn’t know what to do, so she fears it. When she realizes that the problem is just an opportunity for learning something, she grows up.

  36. Awesome creation all around , love the animation. Great song !!! πŸ™‚

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