A Collaborative Film
Creator, Director, Art director, writer, animator, head compositor
Welcome to the Ravenscroft Express! The one and only commuter train for creatures of myth, horror, and legend. From the deep forests to the Greek Underworld, you can rely on the Ravenscroft Express to take you there in a flash. However, who is responsible for keeping this train running? Join Thaddeus Ichabod III, the one-and-only train conductor of the Ravenscroft Express as he walks you through his busy daily routine.
This was the original concept I pitched to my class. Originally, I aimed to create an animated tour of a ghost train; I was inspired by the Haunted Mansion at Disney parks and wanted to replicate that sort of atmosphere in the short film. I drew the concept art of the train, which was originally designed to be an old-school steam train. I also drew various monsters and mythical creatures I imagined that would use the train. My favorite concept art would be the very last image that showcases the possibilities this concept would bring as I drew the various stops that the train would pass by.
Around this time, my team and I decided to have a main character that would be the center of the short. We all agreed that having a train conductor would be the best fit to be the center of the short as they are in charge of maintaining, cleaning, and tending to the passengers. They just have such busy lives!
As we were figuring out what's the best creature for our main character, we all thought it would be interesting for him to be a headless horseman. With that, I was put in charge of designing the train conductor and I am proud to introduce to you Thaddeus Ichabod III! During this stage, I also drew various props and key moments for this short film.
For the film, I made the decision to go for a lineless animation style as it would combine the cleanup and coloring stage in one step. Below are the shots I was in charge of and since I was the original designer of Thaddeus, I made it a point to animate the harder shots that would feature him in which they are done using Toon Boom Harmony.
When it came to animating, I made sure to understand the personality of Thaddeus. He is polite and diligent but sometimes he can be caught off guard as we can see throughout the film.
As the main compositor of the film, I did most of the shots using Adobe After Effects. In this stage, we handled the lighting, color correction, and overall polishing of the film.
A great challenge I encountered was compositing the final shots as I wanted to try adding some swing to the train handles.