"All told, the film has 40 main characters, plus variations of each to populate the resort hotela castle. The castle is so immense, we needed to fill the lobby with a lot of variety, says visual effects supervisor Dan Kramer, who joined the project about the same time as Tartakovsky. We couldnt have 100 skeletons and zombies.
"Some poses were so extreme, in fact, they took the characters way off model.
Genndy hated the term on model, Crossley says. He wasnt worried about whether Draculas eyes were different sizes in the same shots. It wasnt important to make sure we didnt pull a mouth corner too high. That was fine. His viewpoint was, Yeah, were changing the design. this is the drawing I want.
Thus, during shot production, the crew often found themselves trying to update characters and make them more pliable. this was Genndys first CG feature, Crossley says. He did hand-drawings. Hed say I dont know if we can get near this, but this is what Im hoping for. Mostly, we never said no.
Tartakovsky gave animators notes via a Wacom tablet and a proprietary, frame-by-frame player with custom plug-ins, by drawing over keyframes exactly the pose he wanted the animator to hit.
For example, the first character Crossley had tested, helped build, and set up for animators was Frankenstein. He had created a performance using the character for a couple of shots. The performance was subtle and natural, Crossley says. And then Genndy came on the show and had an animator do a shot. Genndy did a drawing over the pose when Dracula is screaming. He drew the jaw literally three times more open and broader than we had ever planned to do. If we had tried to do that, we would have broken the character. His jaw would have crashed into his chest."