The Windshield Wiper, from director Alberto Mielgo, is an animated short that’s set inside a café, where, after lunch and while smoking a whole pack of cigarettes, a middle-aged man asks himself and the audience: What is love? A collection of vignettes and situations lead to a conclusion.
Presented by Pastel, Leo Sanchez Studio and Pinkman.tv, the film made its world premiere as part of the Cannes Film Festival’s Director’s Fortnight, and recently made the Oscars shortlist in the “Animated Short Film” category.
Mielgo is a three-time Emmy winner and served as writer, designer and director. The project was produced by Mielgo and veteran character designer Leo Sanchez (The Croods: A New Age,
Over the Moon,
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,
According to Sanchez (pictured), a total of 20 characters were created for the film, and all of the backgrounds were painted by Mielgo.
“Our primary tool all across the departments was Autodesk Maya, supported by tools such as Zbrush for sculpting; Marvelous Designer for Cloth simulation; and Photoshop, Premiere and After Effects for 2D painting, editing and compositing,” says Sanchez. “In addition to that, we had tools developed to be able to craft and design the characters and their silhouettes for each individual shot to keep the very graphic statements on Alberto's designs.”
The project was a collaboration between Alberto's and Leo's studios, Pinkman.tv and Leo Sanchez Studio.
“In addition to our teams, we were extremely lucky to count on the help of extremely talented and experienced artist from around the world,” Sanchez adds.
While each scene presented its own list of challenges, several aspects stood out.
“There were subtle animations, such as the character at the café, who is on-screen for long periods of time, but still needed to maintain a believable performance with believable effects and deformation,” he explains. “Scenes like the one on the beach were particularly challenging, as the girl was showing her bare body, which is particularly challenging to achieve in CG, particularly with Alberto’s graphic style. Last but not least, the homeless scene was one of the most complex due to his beard, his proportions and the layering of the multiple clothes he wears.”