Morevna animation project launches new crowdfunding campaign

Morevna animation project launches new crowdfunding campaign

Three years after releasing a community-funded teaser, Morevna project returns to crowdfunding with a revamped story line and entirely new visuals.

Morevna project is a Russia-based open animation project that has been driving the development of 2D vector animation package Synfig for the past several years.

The story is loosely based on a Russian fairy-tale that features a kick-ass female protagonist, an evil wizard, crazy horse chases, getting physical over a woman, dismembering and resurrecting the male protagonist, an epic final battle—and it's all inevitably twisted around a damsel in distress situation. Your average bedtime story for the kiddies, really.

The updated plot is taking place in the future, where robot overlords are just as bad as the wizards of old (with the exception of womanizing, for obvious reasons), and distressed damsels handle samurai swords like nobody's business. Ouch.

Both Morevna and Synfig have the same project leader, Konstantin Dmitriev. Both projects have benefitted from crowdfunding in the past, especially Synfig. But with a new concept artist and, in fact, a new team, it was time for Morevna to get to the next stage.

Last week, Konstantin launched a new campaign to fund the dubbing of the first episode in the first ever Morevna series. The work would be done by Reanimedia Ltd., a Moscow-based dubbing studio that specializes on anime movies and has a bit of a cult following due to high quality of the localization they provide.

And here's an unexpected turn of events: the dubbing will be in Russian only. Moreover, the campaign was launched on that makes it somewhat difficult for non-Russian users to contribute. So LGW had no choice but to interview Konstantin.

(Disclaimer: the interview was originally published a week ago in Russian. This is its shorter version.)

The promotional video left some questions unaswered. Like a very basic one: how many episodes are planned?

So far we are planning 8 episodes.

You are deliberately focusing on the Russian audience instead of a wider international one. Why?

It's our primary goal to create an anime movie in Russian. It only stands to reason that the campaign would be interesting mostly to the Russian community.

Will there be another campaign to make the series available in English?

No, we are taking an entirely different approach here. We'd have to search for the right team and the right studio, so instead we'll release a fan dubber kit—basically, original video track and stem-exported audio records of music, sounds effects, and voiceovers, as well as the dialogs' text in English.

Anyone then would be able to create his/her own dubbing and release localized video. It's all to be released under terms of Creative Commons license, after all.

Does it bother you at all that the quality of some fan dubs could be subpar? Or is it just the reality that you choose to accept?

It's really not our responsibility. We'll just publish the fan dubber kit and see how it goes. We are really curious about how this will turn out.

We could launch some sort of a competition, but it's something I really hate to do. It's hard enough to tell someone his/her work wasn't good enough even when you see the person did his/her best. So we take the Creative Commons remix way. which you chose for the crowdfunding platform isn't even available in English. Is there a way for people to support your project somehow?

Sure, we are on Patreon.

The visuals have considerably changed in comparison to the demo from three years ago. What made the major impact?

When we finished the demo, we realized that our resources depleted. We weren't happy with the outcome. We spent too much time doing technical things like vectorization and too little time being creative.

The way things were going, we couldn't possibly succeed completing all of the movie. So we needed a new approach. A way to keep the visuals enjoyable while relying on technology that we could realistically handle.

Another major factor is the arrival of Anastasia Majzhegisheva, our new art director. She's only 16 years old, but she's very talented and she gets Japanese animation.

Have there been any other changes in the team?

Nikolai Mamashev, who was one of the major contributors to the demo, is still part of the team, but now he mostly does concept art and he's extremely busy in commercial projects.

At certain production stages, like colouring, we started getting kids from school involved, to mutual benefit.

How much has your workflow and toolchain changed?

A lot. It's now more of a cutout animation. We still use elements of frame-based animation, but we don't do any morphing whatsoever.

It's a deliberate change we made after releasing the demo three years ago, and we significantly improved Synfig in that respect. The software now has skeletal animation which also greatly simplifies our workflow.

Basic sound support in Synfig is beneficial too, although, frankly, it could have been better.

As for digital painting, it's Krita all the way now. We barely use anything else.

More than that, we rewrote from scratch Remake, our smart rendering manager. The new project is called RenderChan. It's far more capable and supports free/libre Afanasy renderfarm.

We still use Blender VSE for video editing, but that's pretty much it. We have just a few 3D elements in shots.

Production pipeline is still a work in progress though. We hope to be able to switch to Cobra soon—it's a new rendering engine in Synfig. That means we really, really need to make Cobra usable ASAP.

Have you already succumbed to the international Natron craze? :)

Not really, no. As a matter of fact, I haven't even had a chance to try it. We do all compositing inside Synfig. For now, it's more than enough.

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3 Responses. Comments closed for this entry.

  1. А можно ссылку на интервью на русском?

  2. Alexandre Prokoudine 07 December 2015 at 10:55 am

    @Shnatsel, post updated to include the URL :)

  3. Been a fan of what they’ve been doing with Synfig for a long time. The software has grown leaps and bounds since Morevna has started pushing the boundaries in this animation software. Great work!