Trunk creates charming 'Gelato Go Home' animation for Channel 4's Random Acts

Directors from animation company Trunk have created a short animation that imagines what happens to ice cream vans in the winter.

We spoke with the creators of Gelato Go Home Alasdair & Jock to find out how they came up with the idea behind the animation and how they went about creating it.

"The project was commissioned by Chris Shepherd via the Channels 4 Random Acts. Chris really fell in love with the synopsis we presented him with and was really supportive and enthusiastic from the off," Alasdair told us. Random Acts was set up by Channel 4 in 2011 to commission 3-minute films from established and emerging talent.

"The main advice they gave us was to give the film a real sense of evolving time and geography. We spent ages looking at various arctic and tundra landscapes and how skies added a sense of vastness to a scene to help give what is quite a fantastical film a bit of real world grounding."

"We had always wanted to do something with an ice cream van so several possible ideas had been floating around," said Jock. "We then arrived, during a hungover discussion, at the idea of migrating ice cream vans, and then we knew we had to get it out there."

Alasdair & Jock told us that they first came up with idea when they were having an afternoon pint in a pub opposite the Imperial War Museum in London. "It was one of those crisp winter days but there was just enough weak sunshine to tempt an ice cream van trader to set up outside the museum and try and tempt passers by to a 99 flake," Alsadair explained. "No chance - it was freezing! The sight was so incongruous that we quickly developed the idea over the next couple of pints. It sat in our ideas folder for, I think, the best part of six months until we submitted it for Random Acts."

"The commissioner really liked our idea, so we were lucky enough to get some funding to make the film happen," Jock continued. "It was the sort of thing that had a lot of love, and pain, poured into it - and we're eternally grateful for the funding, especially in this day and age. We made the most of the opportunity and then some, and the proof is in the pudding."

When it came to actually creating the animation, the duo started out on pencil and paper. "Jock's a talented fine artist, and we try and take advantage that skill as much as possible, so everything from the van liveries to the landscapes to the many animals were all initially hand drawn," Alasdair told us.

"Once it's into the digital world I tend to add colour and texture in Photoshop using custom brushes and textures I have gathered over the years from my digital SLR," said Alasdair. "All the 2D animation was done in Flash but the vans were modeled and animated in Cinema 4D which was a bit of a voyage of discovery for us.

"Luckily we had a great animator in Luca Paulli who helped us crack some of the rigging conundrums that Cinema 4D threw up. Finally the whole shebang was composited in After Effects which I still find more intuitive for this style of animation than Nuke."

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