Denise Dean – Head of Assistant Animation

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Yesterday was the last day for the assist team on Ethel and Ernest.  Head of assistant animation has been Denise Dean who has done an amazing job to finish the project on time within a very tight schedule. Denise has conquered what at times felt like an impossible mountain to climb, working tirelessly to get scenes ready for her team of assistant animators, both in London and at Studio 352 in Luxembourg.

Denise Dean_Head of Assistant Animation

Backing Denise up all the way were John Walsh, the supervisor of assistant animation, and Isobel Stenhouse the animation supervisor. All three knew each other from when they worked together on Sylvain Chomet’s 2010 animated feature ‘The Illusionist’.

Denise Dean and John Walsh

In the foreground are Denise Dean and John Walsh at a Lupus films lunch – April 29th 2016. This was the last day on the film for the assistant animation crew, and a good excuse for a get together for many of the key members of the production team.



Pizza time !

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The animators on Ethel and Ernest finished their scenes a few weeks ago. But that isn’t the end of the process. In order to bring the animators’ scenes to the screen a talented team of assistants and clean up artists have to provide the final line work. The key drawings that the animators do also have to be “in-betweened” by a crew of people and any matte work is also dealt with at this stage.

This is the final week for all the Assist/Clean Up team who have done the most amazing job working all hours and at weekends to get the film finished on time.

A welcome break in the evening’s work load is provided by the delivery of pizzas handed out here by head of assist Denise Dean (on the left) and animation supervisor Isobel Stenhouse.

Denise Dean and Isobel Stenhouse_Ethel and Ernest_April 26th 2016

Clean up workinglate_April 26th 2016

Dominika Brodowska and Patrick Collins at the start of another long evening

Ethel and Ernest Assis department_April 26th 2016

Some of the Clean up/Assist team working late to get the film finished. This was taken at Lupus films’ main studio in north London, while another team are hard at work in the nearby annexe studio.

Cloth Cat studio in Cardiff Bay going flat out to the finishing line…

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Another visit to Wales this week to the Cloth Cat studio where the ink and paint department, CG department, and the compositing department are all working flat out to get the film finished on time.

Cloth Cat are housed in the Gloworks building, which is next to BBC Cymru Wales and the Doctor Who Experience in Porth Teigr, Cardiff Bay.

Gloworks building Cardiff Bay

The Cloth Cat crew on Ethel and Ernest

Cloth Cat’s Ethel and Ernest crew in front of the Gloworks building, Cardiff Bay

The Cloth Cat crew working on Ethel and Ernest_April 2016

The Ethel and Ernest production crew at Cloth Cat.

Compositor working on Ethel and Ernest

George Petkov compositing a shot using Nuke software

Neil Martin and Sam

Head of Compositing Neil Martin (left) and Sam Wright head of the CG team, discuss a shot involving the integration of CG animation with 2D hand drawn animation.

Two of the compositors on Ethel and Ernest_April 2016

Compositors Jay Murray and Alesja Surubkina



Animator Laurent Kircher

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Watch out for some great comedy scenes in Ethel and Ernest courtesy of top animator Laurent Kircher. Ernest dismantling the old cooking range, which is on page 16 of the book,  is one of Laurent’s sequences.

He also animated the ‘outside the ballroom’ sequence which is one section that has been invented for the film and was not in Raymond Briggs’ book .

Laurent also animated the Ernest on his bike shots for the key moment in the film when Ethel and Ernest first meet (page 3 and 4 of the book).

Animator Laurent Kircher with animation director Peter Dodd

Laurent Kircher (centre) talking with Peter Dodd (Ethel and Ernest animation director)

P.16 of the Ethel and Ernest book

One of the scenes in the book that Laurent was given to animate



Raymond’s diary entry for Decemeber 31st 1947

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Below is an entry from Raymond Briggs’ diary that he wrote when he was 13 years (and 11 months ! ) old. It is for the turn of the year from 1947 to 1948.

Part of the entry reads:

“It is 1948 now. Cheerio to poor 1947*. Not a bad year on the whole. Got a bit fed up with school in the Removes. A jolly good Xmas. But no atmosphere. Glad of the money from the paper round. Glad I have dropped Coleman and (?) etc and gone with Pfeff* as we are better suited. R Briggs 13 years 11 mons. “

*1947 had brought a very severe winter, and coming just after the end of the war badly affected public morale with food shortages and a lack of fuel.

*Raymond’s friend Pfeff is mentioned on P.29 of the recently published Notes from the Sofa – a collection of articles that Raymond has written for The Oldie magazine.

Raymond Briggs reading his diary_April 2nd 2016

Raymond Briggs enjoying reading his diary from 1947. Photo taken on April 2nd 2016

Raymond Briggs diary entry for December  31st 1947