Watch Surrealist Artist Cleverly Bring Life to Images with Cartoon Animator

Tom Jantol is a professional and seasoned filmmaker/animator specializing in image animation with a particular emphasis on surrealist style, usually consisting of circuses, antique toys, deserted factories, and strange attics. 


Tom believes that discovering invisible stories is a duty for everyone involved in art-making. So like a journalist in pursuit of important news, he looks around for something subtle that can later be the inspiration for a future creation. In this article, we reveal Tom’s latest creation  – “Poem is dreaming” as an example, and an opportunity, to have a closer look behind Tom’s method of animation as he turns the bizarre into a surreal world with the help of Cartoon Animator (CTA).

The Design 

In this amazing creation Tom generated the illusion of a “dream within a dream”, making characters out of different objects to recite a poem. He cleverly composed irrelevant objects and formed talking faces in an unconventional way. The structure of each scene is based on an inner logic that seemingly doesn’t make sense, yet in the end it’s balanced in the overall design.

The Workflow

Composite all the elements in Photoshop

To make the composition visually satisfying, Tom gathers all the graphic materials and arranges them in Photoshop, with every animatable object in a different layer.

Make Images Move in Cartoon Animator

Then Tom sends a PSD file to Cartoon Animator where he applies bones to each part of the graphics he plans to animate. With an optimized pipeline to connect Photoshop to CTA, users can send and update graphics layers back and forth, while preserving layers.

Create a Talking Head in Cartoon Animator

To make object talk like humans, Tom employs a collection of features in Cartoon Animator like: Face Fitting Editor to locate eyes, nose, and mouth on abstract objects. Along with the Face Puppet Tool to animate with a mouse. Next, he applies an automatic lipsync to some parts via TTS, through voice recording or audio file, to animate a talking face.

Post-production in After Effects

When finishing the most crucial part – image animation – in Cartoon Animator, Tom exports the animation as image sequences to AfterEffects via the “Cartoon Animator to After Effects” plug-in. This skips any hassle of cropping out or rearranging layers. In After Effects, he adds filters, effects, particles, and more to give a finished look to the animation. And that’s everything. Job done.

The Software

To handle the structure of a scene and make it come to life; Cartoon Animator immediately becomes the best possible answer. As in Cartoon Animator, creators can make talkable characters out of literally anything, by easily and effortlessly lip-syncing to create an illusionary actor out of the chair, tree, flower or Edgar Allan Poe in no time. 

For beginners, CTA is more approachable as its animation usability and practicality are at the core of the application. No other software can do bone-rigging and lip-syncing so fast and so intuitively. 


“It’s a smooth workflow from Photoshop to Cartoon Animator to After Effects for image animation, as they work well together. “Of all the software I ever used, only Cartoon Animator is intuitive-to-use enough to keep up with the chaotic speed of my newly born ideas, which gives me the freedom and luxury of not thinking about it. So that all my attention goes where it belongs – to the final render. ”

Tom Jantol – 2D / 3D Animator

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