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'Loving Vincent:' Artfully Assembling a Feature from 65,000 Frames of Painting

"To paint 65,000 frames of oil paintings the size of two-and-a-half feet wide and one-and-a-half foot high is a crazy undertaking."9/29/2017 12:30 AM Eastern
A fully oil painted feature film, Loving Vincent is written and directed by Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman.

The film brings the paintings of Vincent van Gogh to life to tell his remarkable story: Every one of the 65,000 frames of the film is an oil painting hand-painted by one of the 125 painters who travelled from all across the world to the Loving Vincent studios in Poland and Greece.

First shot as a live action film with actors, and then hand-painted over frame-by-frame in oils, the film is an interaction of the performance of the actors playing Van Gogh's famous portraits, and the performance of the painting animators, bringing these characters into the medium of paint.

"Directors Kobiela and Welchman first shot their story as a live-action film with actors in costume, on sets that look like specific Van Gogh paintings," explains Bob Mondello.  "You'll likely recognize many of the paintings, though they're often modified and elongated to fit the shape of the movie screen. Then the filmmakers employed more than 100 artists to hand-paint each frame's image in oils, matching Van Gogh's style and brush-strokes.



"Once a frame was painted, it was photographed, and then the artist could create the next frame by painting over the parts that needed to move.

"The effect is remarkable, hand-painted animation turning out to be very different from hand-drawn (where lines merge smoothly as figures move). Here, water clots and gushes, a quizzical expression flickers into anger around the eyes, and when a mysterious figure zips through a garden, he leaves a physical imprint — thick oil impasto — on the painted grass." To read the full article, click here.

"To paint 65,000 frames of oil paintings the size of two-and-a-half feet wide and one-and-a-half foot high is a crazy undertaking," Welchman tells Chris O'Falt . "So we had to do a lot of testing beforehand to make sure it was actually possible."

"Vincent's paintings have a certain rhythm to the painted brush strokes," Kobiela adds. "This is not something you just copy from rotoscoping. This had to be creative animation. They had to control every single frame and animate the brush strokes frame by frame." To read the full article on the film's production, click here.



Loving Vincent: How 125 Artists and 65,000 Paintings Made the World’s First Oil-Painted Movie 

Loving Vincent: Interview with Directors Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman

Loving Vincent Paints Van Gogh Into a Murder Mystery

How Two Directors, 125 Artists, and Some Van Gogh Fans Made Loving Vincent the World's First Painted Feature Film

Eye-Boggling Loving Vincent is the World's First Fully Painted film

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