The Toronto Raccoon.

Work-in-progress photo from my animation project "Toronto Alice" (ETA Spring 2015).

Work-in-progress photo from my animation project “Toronto Alice” (ETA Spring 2015).

Any native of Toronto is well acquainted with our large and active population of urban raccoons. What many Torontonians may not know, however, is that Toronto is unique in Canada for its abundance of these intelligent — though often troublesome — critters.

Unlike cities such as Montreal, Edmonton, and Ottawa, Toronto winters are milder and we typically don’t get buried by the kind of snow that makes it hard for raccoons to forage. The city’s network of ravines also connects neighbourhoods, MacDonald says, which offers raccoons a safe place to retreat, if necessary. And unlike Vancouver (where, historically, there have been more condo buildings in the downtown), Toronto has residential neighbourhoods with leafy backyards, garages, and easy access to garbage. Urban raccoons have flourished here because of their ability to adapt to our environment, forage in our waste, and find shelter in easy-to-break-into older downtown homes.
— from http://www.chfi.com/2013/06/13/why-toronto-has-so-many-raccoons/

While indigenous to North American wooded areas, urban raccoons only exist in large populations in the cities Washington, DC, Chicago, and Toronto (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raccoon#Urban_raccoons).

The gigantic raccoon pictured in the video still above hails from my upcoming animation project Toronto Alice. This creature is loosely based on the raccoon/s who habitually take a large crap on my back porch [grimace].

Walking loop for Toronto Alice

Paper cutouts used in walking loop.

Paper cutouts used in walking loop.

Rough cut of a “walking loop” I created for my upcoming animated film “Toronto Alice”. Using the classical animation technique of a lightbox + peg-bar, I created 26 separate drawings that were then printed, coloured and cut-out. The sequence was then shot using the frame-capture software Dragonframe, swapping in the different cutouts frame-to-frame. The footage was exported into After Effects, where the background was keyed-out, and the walking looped using time remapping. A moving background will eventually be placed behind the walking character.

While all the preliminary work was time-consuming, the advantage is that the “walking loop” can be played infinitely, for as long as I need it in the scene.

“Toronto Alice” is a popular girl, indeed.

alice_indiegogo

Toronto Alice has become a very popular girl, indeed. She’s received some love from the Toronto Film Scene blog, from the Canadian Animation Resources blog, and from the fun-loving culture-geeks at Boing Boing!

Many, many heartfelt thanks to everyone who contributed to my Toronto Alice campaign! In just twelve days, we’ve not only met my goal of $3,000, but surpassed it! If you’d like to get in on the “perks”, there’s still time to do so. You can get a private Vimeo link or Blu-Ray DVD of the completed film, Toronto Alice paper dolls and/or original artwork. This film won’t be released to the general public until after its run in the festival circuit, so this will be your only opportunity to see it till then.

Toronto Alice Indiegogo campaign.