A Case Study on Shaun the Sheep ( Full Creation Process from The Concept to It’s Final Animation )

“SHAUN THE SHEEP” Such a realistic cartoon. But how did it look so real? When I came to know about it, all my beliefs turned out to be false. And the same will happen to you when you will come to know about the process of making this show. in this video, we are going to know everything A to Z about Shaun the Sheep.

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You may remember Kishanlal, Captain, Shaun and Shaun’s entire flock. Like Oggy and the Cockroaches, Shaun the Sheep is also a French animation series, Which is specially made to make children laugh. A fun fact is that no dialogues are used in Shaun the sheep, like Oggy. Another interesting thing is that Shaun the Sheep is broadcast in 180 out of all 195 countries in the world.

And the most interesting thing is, there is only 1 out of these 180 countries, where Shaun the Sheep is not broadcast in its original form. But aired on TV after adding commentary in that country’s local language. And that country is none other than our India. Yup! You must have seen this show in Hindi, In which Shaun keeps on explaining everything running on screen in Shahrukh Khan’s style.

Saurav Chakraborty - Behind The Voice of Shaun The Sheep Narrator - By Animation Vibes
Saurav Chakraborty – Behind The Voice of Shaun The Sheep Narrator – By Animation Vibes

And its Hindi dialogues used to be really amazing. Saurav Chakraborty narrated all the episode of Shaun the Sheep in Hindi. And no doubt, he never compromised at all on making us laugh. Whether he did it by giving his voice to all the characters of Oggy, or by giving his voice to all the characters of Motu Patlu and Pakdam Pakdai.

Everytime he made us laugh and made our childhood memorable. And the truth is, when we connect with someone, More than 50%, we attach with his voice. For example – Doraemon, Don’t know about you, but I was deeply attached to the Hindi voice of Doraemon. And later when its Hindi voice changed, that feeling of belonging was over.

Most probably, The same thing would have happened to you as well. Well, here is a fun fact, The French made Oggy and the Cockroaches inspiring from American Animation Tom & Jerry. And India made ‘Pakdam Pakdai‘ inspiring from Oggy and the Cockroaches.

Another fact is, these three shows are aired in many countries without any dialogues. And same scene is with Shaun the Sheep. Shaun the Sheep is also aired as a kids show without any dialogues. Means Shaun the Sheep is also a non dialogue show like these three shows, But a main difference is that, it is based on a intresting concept.

And the process of animating these is a part of that concept. Yes!, while all these 3 are animated using just a computer, but ‘Shaun the Sheep’ is a mixture of stop motion and computer animation. So who had this wonderful idea after all? And what’s the whole process of creating ‘Shaun the Sheep’? Let’s understand that too..

Shaun The Sheep : The Backstory

This scene is of a city located in UK, Priston, Where ‘Nick Park‘ the creator of ‘Shaun the Sheep’ was born. While giving an interview in a BBC radio program in Britain, Nick Park said, According to this audio, we can say that Nik park was fond of drawing and cartoons from his childhood. Not only this, in this interview, Nick Park had told that since he was 13 years old, he made many short films with his Mom’s help.

Nick Park - The Creator of Shaun The Sheep - By Animation Vibes.png
Nick Park – The Creator of Shaun The Sheep – By Animation Vibes

Due to which his interest in the world of film and animation increased a lot. Therefore, later he completed his studies from National Film and Television school of UK. NFTS or National Film & Television School is a educational charity. Where every year students of England produce 150+ films along together with learning animation.

This is because 10% of the courses offered by this school are theories and the rest 90% are practical. And that’s why all the students of this school convert their own created stories into Films and Animation during their studies. And Nick Park also did the same, Nick Park created a amazing show during studying here, And that’s name is ‘Wallece & Gromit’. And the main journey starts from here!

In year 1985, Nick Park started doing a job as a animator in a British studio Aardman Animations. Well, Ardman Animations is a studio that make films using clay animations. Now you may be wondering what is clay animations. Well, there are many types of animations like Traditional Animations, Computer Animations, Sand Animations and Stop motion or Clay Animations etc. Animate means to make movement or motion to something.

So if you want to make a 2D animation having a duration of 1 second, you will need to draw 24 different frames. By running them together with speed in a particular sequence, you see movement in the characters drawn on that drawings. Listen a fun fact here, the more frames you use for a 1 second clip, the smoother your animation becomes. For example, in old American animation, 60 frames were used for a second clip, then the animation ran as smooth as butter.

And the Japanese animators use only 12 to 24 frames for a 1 second clip, So it directly affect the smoothness of their animations. So without explaining all these, let me tell you about stop motion animation. Stop Motion, actually you can call it clay animation too. Because in this Animation technique, instead of drawing the characters, their clay model is made.

And after that, at least 24 photos in different poses are clicked for a 1 second clip. And after that, combining those 24 photos through edition, a 1 second animation is made. So now you must have understood how Aardman Studio makes all its films using stop motion. Now back to Nick Park’s journey. When Nick Park joined the Ardman Studios, for a few starting years, he worked on many small projects like animated ads.

Creature Comforts And A Grand Day Out - By Animation Vibes
Creature Comforts And A Grand Day Out – By Animation Vibes

And between 1985 and 1989, Nick Park worked on two main projects :

1. Creator’s Comforts, Creator’s Comforts was such a short by Nick Park in which each animal was interviewed that how they live in their house, how they spend their life etc.

2. “A Grand day out with Wallece and Gromit” A Grand Day out is also a short film, in which the story of Wallace and his pet dog Gromit is shown.

Now!! These two short film turned later into big franchise and movie series. Creator Comforts was a from a project given to Nick Park by Aarmand Studios Which became a quite big franchise later. And ‘A Grand Day out with Wallece and Gromit’ was a own project of Nick Park on which he was working since 1982.

And even after joining Aarmand Studios, still continued working part time on it. In 1989, after the release of ‘A Grand Day out’, It became so much popular that part 2,3,4,& 5 of this film were made with Wallace and Gromit. No doubt, All the shorts films of Wallace and Gromit brought a lot of popularity to Nick Park.

But another amazing creation Nick Park was yet to be made. And that was Shaun the Sheep. Shaun was appeared for the first time in the third short film of Wallace and Gromit ‘A close shave’ released in 1995. Don’t miss this movie if you a true fan of ‘Shaun the Sheep’. Because one of the main character of this movie is none other than Shaun.

In this movie, a very skinny sheep breaks into Wallace and Gromit’s house and disturbs them by vandalizing the entire house. I will not spoil it by telling the story next to it. But I can say, you will definitely feel great seeing the ending of this movie. You will feel like ‘What a movie it was man!!’ Enjoyed a lot!!!

Shaun the Sheep: The Creation Process

As the spin off series of Chhota Bheem is Mighty Raju, Shin Chan’s spin of series is Super Shiro. Same the spin of series of Wallace and Gromit is Shaun the Sheep. Which was broadcast on a British TV channel ‘CBBC‘ in 2007 for the first time. Since that day till today, its total 170+ episodes 7 minutes each have been made.

And still its new episodes have not stopped being made. It is aired on different channels in different countries. Like in India, Nicklodean channel had aquired the rights of Shaun the Sheep. They aired it on their channel adding commentary to it. Later Shaun the Sheep was aired on Nicklodean’s sister channel ‘Sonic‘ too.

And I watched this show on Sonic for the first time. On which channel you watched this show for the first time?? Do tell us in the comment box. Well, before making this post, I watched many episodes of Shaun the Sheep, Some in Hindi, and some in original language by which I mean, without any dialogues!!

Although I am attached very strongly with the Hindi version of Shaun the Sheep, Still I enjoyed much its original series. You can also try both the versions once to see which version is better. Yes! As always you will get the trick to watch these on my Telegram channel. Wallace and Gromit’s spin-off series i.e. Shaun the Sheep was so successful that a spin off series ‘Timmy Time’ of this series was also made which is made with ‘Timmy‘, the smallest character of Shaun the Sheep.

And the target audience of this show is mainly little kids. Along with this, in 2020, Netflix acquired the rights of Shaun the Sheep and got its sixth season produced. Which they are streaming on their platform. Well, if you are reading this post in 2021, A good news for you is that a new movie of Shaun the Sheep is about to come and will be released on Christmas.

Behind The Scenes of Shaun the Sheep

I have already told you about stop motion, using which Aardman Studio makes its animation shows. Also, Shaun the Sheep is also created using stop motion technique. It takes hours to make a complex clip of 2 seconds using stop motion. And the same is true with Shaun the Sheep. Creating Shaun the Sheep begins with Model Making.

This is the room of Aardman Studio where the models of all the characters of Shaun the Sheep are made and prepared.

Behind The Scenes Of Shaun The Sheep - By Animation Vibes.png
Behind The Scenes Of Shaun The Sheep – By Animation Vibes

After model making comes the Art department. Where construction related things are made. Whether it is a gun or any such material which you see being used by the character of this show. That all things are made in art department.

After Art Department comes Rigging. Well, rigging means, to move something from one place to another with the help of any equipment. In heavy constructions, you may have seen that constructors use some riggers like rope or crane.

Same in the Shaun the Sheep, all the required riggers to move characters are are made by rigging department. And when once Character models, construction models and riggers are prepared. With the help of these, Animators start to animate. Animators clicks lot of pictures of different models in different poses.

Finally the last part is the story and editing!! In this stage, editors do the editing work by assigning all the images according to the storyboard. Also the sounds given by voice actor and background music are added in this stage. Two full feature movies of Shaun the Sheep have been made so far.

And for you kind information, An animator is able to animate only 2 seconds of Shaun the Sheep in a day. And due to this, it took 7 years to make Shaun the Sheep’s movie released in 2015. Ever after when 17 to 20 animators were working together.

Second season of this series was produced under Gareth Owen, who says that although this series has been made for 4 to 7 age group, but in reality it can be enjoyed by 4 to 87 age group. And absolutely if you watch its even a single episode, then you will not feel to leave it at all.

The Learnings

The biggest we can learn from Nick Park story is that :

“Great things are rarely achieved by just one person.”

If you observe Nick Park, you will find that he created an idea or concept, Whether it be the idea of Wallace & Gromit or Shaun the Sheep. And a huge team contributed to make that idea a reality. Means it would have been very tough if Nick Park would have started doing storyboard, model making, rigging, animation, editing and many more by himself only.

Obviously his concept would have remained the concept only. So here teamwork is important. If you try to achieve your goals by making a team, Obviously you can achieve your particular goals with more efficiency in less time. Means if you want to build a house, don’t start it alone and one. But make your own team, assign a specific work to each of them.

And then see, the house you could have build in 50 years, the same will happen in only 5 years through team work. I don’t mean it literally, that I am advising you to build a house. Maybe you want to make a TV show, movie or build an own business, you will be able to do all that only when you have a team.

At the conclusion :

Unity is strength, when there is team work and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.

Mattie Stepanek

If you want to ask something related to this video, You can direct message me on my Instagram ID Animation_Vibes.

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