(Source: ny1.com) The animated movie “Metropia,” which screens this week at the Tribeca Film Festival, has an eerie combination of photography and imagination. NY1’s Technology reporter Adam Balkin filed the following report.

“Metropia,” screening this week at the Tribeca Film Festival, is a new kind of animated film that could fool actors into believing that they’re watching live actors. The creators of the film take photographs, mix and match parts and then allow the still images to move.

“What we wanted to do was create something almost like a moving painting,” says Tarik Saleh, the director of “Metropia.” “We had very experienced animators come in, but they had never worked with this technique, because we developed it. So it took a month of training before they could even animate a frame.”

From conception to release, “Metropia” took about six years to make. The movie’s creators say the software they used is a common animation tool that any movie maker has access to. What they did differently was use a very old, almost outdated software plug-in, and then manipulate and update that plug-in to suit their needs.

“The only way I could explain it simple is to say we take, like, two-dimensional puppets that we then manipulate,” says Saleh. “For example, if I would be the main character, Roger, we would deform my head to create the illusion of me turning and then moving the ears in different speeds, moving the nose and eyes in different speeds and the mouth to create the illusion of me moving…. [T]he eyes are built out of, I think, 20 layers.”

For many of the real-world actors involved, it’s the unique look that piqued their interest.

“That’s what drew me to the project, is that the animation style has real human eyes mixed with animated stuff,” says actor Juliette Lewis. “It’s very strange and eerie, but there’s a frailty to the characters.”

“Metropia” is playing now in just a few select theaters in New York and Los Angeles, and it is one of the Tribeca films available via the Movies On Demand channel.

Video – Take a look: ny1.com

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