EXPO-2017 as Animated Reality

"Energy of the Future" is the motto of EXPO-2017. This is not just new technologies and scientific discoveries. Energy of the future is, of course, energy of people, their positive aspiration and high emotions joined by collective outburst. It is therefore logical that preparations for EXPO-2017 international exhibition include recourse to our very young compatriots - children's audience. After all, they embodied the future, and they have to turn the opening of the international exhibition into reality.

Soon, one of Kazakhstan TV-channels will open the animated series with the tentative title "Miracles Exhibition" dedicated to the international exhibition upcoming in Astana. Young viewers and their parents will be the first to imagine the exhibition pavilions in the near future during their visit to EXPO-2017 town, created by the animators.

The plot is based on adventures of three first grade pupils in EXPO town. The main characters – Arman, Aliya and Zhomart will travel through all the pavilions in the town of the future and on their way they will tell about the exhibition complex, its infrastructure and new technologies in the construction industry. Inquisitive little boys will “nose into” every corner of the amazing future, they will meet many people from different cultures, face challenges, but the main thing is that they will realize the importance of careful attitude towards nature and our planet.

According to the cartoon creators, it was not easy to make this animation about future exhibition. “It became a real challenge for us to create the EXPO universe, to elaborate the interiors and exteriors of exhibition pavilions. In our work, we based on the concepts of exhibition, provided by the national company Astana EXPO-2017, but we also left the space for imagination of future viewers. One of the priority tasks set before us is to make the cartoon to be educational. We spent a lot of time in learning new technologies and inventions in order to visualize the exhibition stands, to bring across the spirit and atmosphere of  EXPO, and the main thing is to send to young viewers the main message of the exhibition - environmental concern and clean energy use,” – said Timur Dairbaev, an art director of the cartoon.

The series is being created in a 3D-animation format using Motion Capture technology. MoCap (MoCap is short for Motion Capture), as it is named by professionals, this is a system to capture and digitize motions, which allows to record motions of a real actor and transfer them to a character. Practically all of Hollywood blockbusters are created using this technology. In addition, also facial MoCap will be used in the Miracles Exhibition, which allows transferring actor’s mimicry.

The cartoon production involves children, it is they who will animate characters, give them their motions and voice. Participation of children as MoCap actors is few and far between for world practice, since this is associated with work complexity on the set, but  results are impressively realistic. Three young actors are already working on the first series of the cartoon; they were selected after extensive casting, which was carried out in not quite usual way: competitors had to show pantomime, to convey the meaning of the words and so on through body language.

Children that passed the casting are found to be similar to their characters by emotion and even some touches of nature. The following distinguished adult voice-over actors are also engaged in the cartoon production: Berik Aitzhanov, Kunsulu Shayakhmetova and Dinara Abikeyeva. A large team was working on the script; it included the artists, fashion designers and animators.

Kazakhstan Computer Graphics, the Kazakhstani studio, is engaged in the cartoon’s production, the company already has experience in creating children's animated series ("Batyrlar"), and visual effects of the trilogy-movie "The Leader’s Way".

Duration of each series is 7 minutes, and this format was specially chosen. According to the series’ general producer Ernar Kurmashev, this time is optimal for holding attention of children’s audience, which is confirmed by the psychological studies, as well as being an international standard for the animated series with an audience of 3+.

"Our spectators are children of primary school age, that’s why we face a challenging task. In order to draw attention of a child to the domestic product, to interest him, to bring him to wait for new series, you have to be modern, to share his language. This product must be very beautiful and of high-quality, be highly competitive with contemporary Western comparable ones. That is why we had such a long pre-production period, we've been looking for appropriate forms, went through many variants until finally came to these characters," – said Ainur Temirkhankyzy, the Director of the Kazakhstan Computer Graphics studio.

It is planned to release three series of the cartoon until the end of 2014. The creators assure that it will not be of demonstration nature, the spectators will see a kaleidoscope of characters, and the main thing is to captivate children and young audience by creative atmosphere of the forthcoming major event that will open Kazakhstan with its resource, culture, and people to the world.

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