• Country: Canada
  • Initial release: January 29, 2016 (United States)
  • Film Director: Cordell Barker
  • Running Time: 8 Minutes
  • IMDB Grade: 6.3

In the world of animation, there are few artists who can capture the imagination and touch the hearts of audiences like Cordell Barker. With his latest creation, “If I Was God,” Barker takes us on a whimsical journey into the mind of a 12-year-old boy who suddenly finds himself endowed with god-like powers. This short film explores the complex transition from childhood to adolescence, where the line between imagination and reality becomes blurred. In this article, we will delve into the creative process behind “If I Was God” and discover the unique techniques that Barker employed to bring his vision to life.

The Inspiration Behind “If I Was God”

Barker’s inspiration for “If I Was God” stems from his own childhood experiences and memories. Drawing from a particularly awkward day in Grade 7, Barker taps into the universal themes of power, identity, and the challenges of growing up. The story follows a Grade 7 boy who, while dissecting a frog in Biology class, allows his mind to wander and imagines the endless possibilities that come with god-like powers. This narrative serves as a metaphor for the confusion and newfound independence that often accompanies adolescence.

Exploring Animation Techniques

One of the defining features of “If I Was God” is the diverse range of animation techniques employed by Barker. From traditional animation to stop-motion puppets and more, each technique adds a layer of depth and texture to the film. Barker wanted to create a film that would stand out visually, so he decided to venture into stereoscopic 3D animation. This allowed him to play with objects in contained depth, creating a diorama-like effect.

The Evolution of the Creative Process

Barker’s creative process for “If I Was God” underwent several iterations before reaching its final form. Initially, he considered using CGI-animated pre-visualization to communicate his animation timing to the stop-motion crew. However, after months of learning Maya and realizing the challenges of this approach, Barker abandoned the idea. Instead, he opted for a pre-viz method that involved filming himself in front of a green screen and compositing the footage in Adobe After Effects. This allowed him to have more control over the timing and flow of the animation.

Creating a Distinctive Visual Style

One of the key aspects of “If I Was God” is its distinctive visual style. Barker wanted to create a film that felt organic and hand-made, embracing imperfections that mirror the imperfectly human world we live in. To achieve this, he combined different forms of animation, including cut-out animation, clay animation, 2D drawn animation, and paper animation. Each technique adds a unique touch to the film, creating a visually rich and captivating experience for the audience.

Collaborating with a Larger Crew

Unlike his previous films, “If I Was God” required a larger crew to bring Barker’s vision to life. This presented new challenges and opportunities for collaboration. Barker worked closely with his stop-motion crew, Dale Hayward and Sylvie Trouvé, to ensure that his specific animation timing was effectively communicated. The collaborative nature of the project allowed Barker to tap into the expertise of his team while maintaining creative control over the overall vision.

The Role of Music and Sound Design

In any animated film, music and sound design play a vital role in enhancing the storytelling experience. For “If I Was God,” Barker collaborated with composer Normand Roger to create a score that perfectly complements the visuals and adds depth to the narrative. The music highlights the emotional beats of the film, evoking a sense of wonder, joy, and nostalgia. Additionally, the sound design enhances the immersive experience, bringing the world of “If I Was God” to life.

The Impact of “If I Was God”

Since its release, “If I Was God” has garnered critical acclaim and resonated with audiences around the world. The film’s exploration of the complexities of adolescence and the power of imagination strikes a chord with viewers of all ages. It serves as a reminder that even in the face of uncertainty and growing pains, the power to shape our own lives lies within our hands.

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