About this project
'Tharsis Sleeps' is a frame by frame embroidered animation conceived by Director Nicos Livesey.
After 4 years of being in the animation industry and 2 years of being in the band Throne, Nicos has finally made a concept that he feels is perfectly fitting for the music. He has always wanted to combine both his music and animation, but never felt they had crossover appeal... until now!
Nicos and Tom have worked together many times over the years and after the great success of their collaboration on Binary's single G.O.D Nicos felt that teaming up with Tom again would really help bring this project to life.
Following the lyrics and concept of the song 'Tharsis Sleeps' we journey with the band on a mission to terraform Mars and make it habitable for human existence.
Tharsis is a volcanic region on Mars that is home to some of the largest volcanoes in the solar system. Terra forming is the theoretical process of deliberately modifying a planets atmosphere, temperature, surface topography or ecology to be similar to the biosphere of Earth to make if habitable by Earth-like life.
By dropping a nuclear bomb into Mars' volcano Tholus, Throne aim to erupt all the volcanoes on the red planet thus heating up the atmosphere and rising the icy seas that lie beneath it's surface. Making Mars habitable and saving the human race from imminent self-destruction on their home planet, Earth.
When things don't go to plan Throne end up nuking themselves and haunt the red planet as ghosts whilst the planet turns into a psychedelic wonderland.
The idea to embroider the animation has come from years of listening to heavy metal and being in and amongst the army of denim clad fans covered in all their favourite band patches.
Seeing an embroidery machine in action at a boat show when Nicos was 12, the engineering of it always fascinated him. After researching deeper into how embroidery works and producing a small animated test on a friends sewing machine that could embroider 1 colour on a small scale, we knew this was going to be a pretty epic process. Exciting and ideal for visualizing Throne's music.
After pitching the idea to Channel 4 the animation will be aired on their Random Acts show in May. The excitement and sheer ridiculousness of the project has spread and Tom and Nicos have gained support from a variety of companies.
Teaming up with brother Sewing UK, who have fully supported the project by supplying us with 2 incredible industrial machines. This has meant that we were able to actually start thinking of this project as something that really could be possible and was the first hurdle over come. Embroidery machine hire is a huge cost and would have been through the roof for the amount of time we need to run them.
The wonderful Madeira threads have also supported the project by offering to supply a third of the amount of thread needed as well as a discount on the remaining two thirds of thread. Madeira produce threads of amazing quality and have showed us varieties in thread we have never come across. Using their frosted matte colours, the embroidered frame's look better than ever.
We have also had tremendous support from Wilcom Embroidery who have supplied us with their outstanding digitizing software to convert all the animation frames to stitch format. Wilcom have already helped overcome some major issues in converting the files from the animation software, as well as sourcing digitizing houses who have offered very competitive rates to be a part of the animation and help digitize the huge amount of frames.
Throne are a 3 piece heavy metal trio from London who formed 2 years ago. They have rumbled their heavy quake of doom through the UK and US.
Engulfed by towering amps Throne produce booming thick tones that melt faces and change cosmic perceptions.
Along with their single "Tharsis Sleeps" that was the original inspiration and concept to create this cosmic short, Throne also have a new 5 track ep titled "Where Tharsis Sleeps" that will be released later this year.
The process is EPIC!
- Animate the whole video, hand drawn, frame by frame into the computer, totaling 3000 frames
- Export all animation as image sequence
- Import each frame SEPARATELY into embroidery software
- Digitize each animation frame to stitch SEPARATELY as stitch format (3000 frames remember)
- Export each frame as stitch format
- Setup embroidery machine
- Load material into embroidery hoop with backing material
- Load hoop into embroidery machine
- Start machine (each frame can take between 20mins - 90mins to embroider)
- Repeat 3000 times
- Photograph each frame under studio lights with embroidery software
- Take all 3000 frames back into the computer & place in sequence
- ANIMATION COMPLETE!
Extra animated elements
To help with some of the shots in the video, elements will be made in 3D and then rotoscoped into 2D.
The band will also feature in the video as the astronauts, they will be stylized and rotoscoped into certain scenes
Tharsis Sleeps is not only a vast amount of work, but also needs a vast amount of material to produce. Without your funding there is no way to actually bring this piece to life!
The funding will cover:
- 250 square meters of material (most likely denim)
- Embroidery backing material
- Bobbin Thread
- Employ digitizing house
- Exhibition Costs -Displaying all 3000 frames + Screening hire & P.A / equipment for Throne's live show -
- Reward costs
Risks and challenges
Animation itself is a very time consuming process and so is embroidery. Time is not on our side with this project and with a concrete deadline of May 12th to broadcast on Channel 4 this cannot be missed.
And at the moment each step of the process is taking longer than anticipated.
Embroidering each frame can take between 20 minutes and an 90 mins and things don't always go smoothly. Threads can snap, materials can buckle, this means stopping the machines fixing the issue and starting them up again, adding huge amounts of time to the process.
Before even starting up the machine we have to get the animation into a format that they can read. Each animated frame must be converted to stitch format using embroidery software. Each and every frame has it's own challenges when digitizing. It involves a software we have never used before, so resolving issues can be very tedious / time consuming and frustrating.
We have already run in to a huge amount of issues, such as detail from the animation going missing once digitized, as well as frames not exporting as the same size from the digitizing software. But now in contact and working alongside the software developers, issues are getting resolved.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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