We came across this charming animated film created by Italian motion designer Emanuele Colombo a few months ago, and approached him for an interview about it. A family emergency has prevented it taking place until now. The Proof That We Are Soulmates is a film based on an infographic (see the bottom of this interview) created by journalist Drake Martinet to propose to his girlfriend – successfully it seem as he has just married her.
DA: What's your background?
EC: "I completed my degree in audiovisual communication at the University of Milan in 2008, then I started working as intern in a communication agency. [While there] I had the opportunity to deepen my skills in video editing and to work for prestigious clients such as Coca Cola, Allianz Bank, Juventus and Samsung.
"After two years I decided to work as freelancer. Motion design is the biggest part of my work [currently]."
DA: How did you discover Drake Martinet's proposal? What was it about the piece that made you want to animate it?
EC: "I was just browsing some infographics on Visual.ly in search of inspiration to realize a personal project to learn something new and possibly to have a bit of visibility.
I immediately realized that an animated version of that proposal would have easily become a viral video, the idea is just great and it is extremely romantic, so I thought that people would have shared it with their soulmates on facebook and twitter, that was exactly what I was looking for.
DA: How did you develop the visual style used in Drake's piece into your animated piece?
EC: "The first thing I did was to search for some inspiration on the Internet to design the characters. Once I focused on what kind of style I wanted to create, I first drew ten different characters: five women and five men. [In the end] I decided just to use two of them.
"All the other elements of the video were designed while I was already working on the animation, while trying to mantain the style of the characters."
DA: Tell us a bit about creating the storyboard or other preliminary materials for the piece? How did you decide on what visual techniques to use in the piece?
"To create this animation, I followed a quite unusual workflow, I didn’t use any kind of storyboard, and the only preliminary materials I created were the 10 characters I just talked about.
"The greatest thing about personal projects is that you are completely free to go through new techniques – it is one of the few occasions in which you can express your creativity without any restriction and learn something new. So I just started experimenting with the few elements I had drawn – and designing new elements when needed, waiting for something cool to come out. Everytime I was working on a scene, I had no idea of how the next scene would look.
"My goal was to create something that was cool to watch for people who don't work with motion design, but I also wanted the people who work with motion design to ask themselves 'how did he create these effects'. This is why I spent so much time to do something innovative in each scene."
DA: How did you ensure the end result had the charm of the original proposal?
EC: "I just tried to develop a style that strenghtened the message of the original proposal. Once the video was finished, I thought it was a good work but I wasn’t really sure about the appeal it would have. Fortunately, as soon as I put it online, I noticed that a friend shared it with enthusiatic comments. Other friends did the same, and so on.
"In the first few days the video views have grown exponentially. It has become a sort of little viral, and I am really proud of it."