Worlds Shapers in focus: Robert Valley
Published on 21 October, 2019
We’ve met Canadian animator Robert Valley at Animest’s “From Comics to Animation” masterclass, the only festival in Romania dedicated to animated film. He’s best known to the Romanian audience by the “Zima Blue” episode from the animated anthology shorts series Love Death + Robots.
An enthusiast of his art style is our colleague Alex Tiper who invited us all to attend the masterclass. Alex is a 3D artist with a a genuine passion for stories, fairy tales, myths, philosophy, theology, psychoanalysis, all that twists and turns human’s conscience, so Valley’s narratives and visual representations embody all his curiosities.
He’ll try in his exposé below to take you into The Valley‘s work.
As for the rest of us, we were lucky enough to have met this headstrong artist, loyal to his beliefs and a restless explorer of the powers of drawing.
He showed us some never seen before sketches that will remain secret, dating even from his early beginnings as an artist, his childhood.
At the beginning of his career, he used to draw by hand with pencil on paper all shadows, lights, and textures, which was time consuming.
And there came the digital tools. Now he draws a sketch and then he finishes the composition in digital space, an aquired skill. Times are changing and artists get more and more tools to better shape their stories.
As for the economics of resources, he uses characters and ideas from a project to another. I’ve even seen the same woman (frames and animation) both in “Pear Cider and Cigarettes” and in “Shinjuku”, this being his trick in generating an impressive volume of work.
Animation as a senzorial experience
I believe Rob’s a highly sensitive person that reaches to send out sensations through his scenes. I swear I can almost hear the music, feel the crowd, rhythm of his parties, the twists and turns of a broken body, the tobacco smell mixed with the taste of alcohol, and even my eyes hurt by the neon lights of the hospital. To sum up, the Dionysiac desires of life combined with a bearable dose of repulsion.
Most of his stories are inspired from his personal memories. He exaggerates them through an animation that can better send out the core of that feeling, that particular senzation.
He plays with time and space like in Zima’s interview or the adventures of The Beatles.
His search in finding the right proportions for stylized anatomy had as result exaggerated female and male body shapes that are balanced through suppleness, dynamic perspectives with large camera angles with a lot of diagonals, hard shadows (noir) and subtle gradients. Their caricatural structures are built on an optimal raport face – body that for me express more the ways they live their lives at a sensorial level, leaving the emotional more to be discovered.
I’ve found a lot of symbolism in Rob’s artworks – the corporate soldier or the city monster made out of buildings, enriched by perspectives and extraordinary compositions.
He admits still having trouble with awakening a character through its facial expressions. I, for one, am very curious to see his future animations and observe him ever perfecting that public display of affect.
He also confesses saying no to some projects (Superman, Batman) that didn’t fit his art style even though they we’re pretty sexy, money wise.
Rob is a chill dude with a Seinfeld type of humour that gave us a powerful lecture. Thank you very much, maestro, for inspiring and getting us in the right mood for creation!
Alexandru Tiper, 3D Artist at AMC Romania
“We’ve been very happy to work with AMC: from early stages until the end, they always did their best and reached our standards of quality within tough- and sometimes changing- constrains.”
Ahmed BOUKHELIFA, Producer, EDEN Games
“AMC was an excellent partner. Their work was done in a timely manner and to the standard that we were looking for. This included adapting to the unique “Graphic Noir” texture style that The Darkness II maintains. I would highly recommend them based off of my experience on this project.”
Jeff EDWARDS, Production, Digital Extremes
“AMC has shown themselves to be at the highest tier among our outsourcing vendors. Their talent is excellent and their technical expertise shows that they have years of experience working in the game industry. Highly recommended.“
Rodney LUM, Art Outsourcing Manager, Disney/Propaganda Games
“Our experience working with AMC has been excellent… a professional and well managed operation delivering high standards of work on time and to budget.”
Vassos SHIARLIS, Studio Outsource Manager, Disney/Black Rock Studio
“We loved using AMC so much, that we had them working back-to-back schedules starting with Mercenaries 2 and then continuing immediately on Saboteur. They did roughly 60% of our outsource work and their quality was excellent. When the time comes, we won’t hesitate to use them again.”
Carey CHICO, Executive Art Director, Pandemic Studios/EA
“AMC is a great partner! They always achieve our art quality expectations. They are adapting to changes quickly and deliver on time and budget. AMC’s character art team is top notch and we love the cooperation with the whole team!”
MICHAL DRTINA, OUTSOURCING PRODUCER, HANGAR 13
“We had the opportunity to experience the full potential of long-distance cooperation. We are extremely satisfied with the quality and productivity of our joint work on World of Tanks 1.0. AMC has shown that it is ready to challenge the complexity and tight due dates. Great specialists who know their field and are ready to constantly maintain and raise the quality bar.“
Yakov Yaskevich, Vehicle and Environment Art Supervisor, Wargaming.net
“AMC has been a pleasure to work with throughout the duration of our partnership on Scavengers. They always deliver high quality work, are very accommodating to any updates to the production schedule, and continuously seek to improve their craft. They’re a very dedicated team that has performed above and beyond our expectations, and we look forward to continuing our partnership with them.“