Monsters are usually designed and created to be scary, but Deluxe’s Method Studios turned them into elegant, mysterious creatures in this 2D Van Gogh inspired short animation. Monsters was created for the Young People’s Poetry Day event held by the Poetry Foundation.

The animation for Motion Poems adapts Dorothea Lasky’s Monsters poem, from her book Awe, which follows a simple narrative told by a 14-year-old girl as her dreams and reality start to blend together. To keep the tone light and open to interpretation, VFX artists created a painterly aesthetic that echoes Van Gogh artwork, alongside a red, purple and dark blue colour palette. VFX artists include Zack Lewis, Jeongyeon Son and Vraja Parra.

Although Method Studios wanted every frame to appear as if it was an illustration, each stroke is fluid and continuous.

Method Studios created the 2D effect by using the type of FX typically used for explosions. After creating the initial 3D animation, artists projected renders onto that geometry. A proprietary stroke system scattered points to define stroke length, flow direction and life span, allowing the colours of the strokes to change over time, and the width to change as the camera moved close or further away.

Using this system, artists had the luxury to customise each shot and art direct how the images moved, so it looked like they were all drawn by the same individual.

For the final render every other frame was dropped to create the stop-motion flickering feel to create the final 2D animation.

This animation is quite different to Method Studios previous VFX work for numerous Oscar-nominated films such as Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Doctor Strange and Captain America: Civil War, the VFX groups’ title sequence for BBC’s TV series Taboo and their incredible work on the Voyage of Time documentary.