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Nova Seed

Fully hand-drawn animated film is labour of love for Nick DiLiberto

April 22, 2016

The personal touch:

Animators, like many artists, are told that perseverance and a strong belief in oneself are essential elements for success, given how competitive and labour intensive their field can be.

Nick DiLiberto has taken that message to heart and then some. The 2004 animation graduate has devoted the past four years to creating an entirely hand-drawn, 2D feature film which saw its world premiere in Toronto this month. Called Nova Seed, Nick’s sci-fi adventure received a standing ovation at at the 2016 Toronto Animation Arts Festival International (TAAFI) in April. Nick travelled to Toronto for the screening from Japan where he created Nova Seed at his studio, Gorgon Pictures.

Traditional 2D animation has fallen out of favour over the years thanks to the growth of computer generated imaging technology which can create highly detailed and realistic images previously unachievable.

But hand-drawn animation offers something he can’t find in 3D or other animation techniques, says Nick: the personal touch. “2D animation shows the artist’s strengths and imperfections right inside the drawings. This could be considered a flaw but it is something that I desire. You can almost feel the artistry on the part of the animator.”

That sense of connection to the artist adds fuel to Nick’s creative fires. “I like being able to recognize who drew a particular scene. It allows me to admire the individual. That’s how inspiration works for me.”

Nick DilibertoBefore taking the plunge into his feature film passion project Nova Seed, Nick created multiple hand-drawn animated shorts and had acquired an abundance of skills from making video games at Bioware in Edmonton and in Japan (Jade Empire, Mass Effect and Asura’s Wrath).

Although he now makes his home in Japan with his wife (whom he met in Edmonton) and their-year old son, Nick is never far from his Sheridan connections, particularly Ricardo Curtis, 1995 alumnus and owner of Toronto’s House of Cool which produced Nova Seed. “Ricardo taught me how to animate. I was so fortunate to have him as an instructor at Sheridan and have always cherished his guidance.”

Nick, who grew up in Hamilton, Ontario, felt he was living a dream during his time at Sheridan. “When I was young, technology was not where it is today and to make your own cartoon seemed impossible, let alone your own movie. But during my time at Sheridan my view changed,” explains Nick who entered the animation program after earning a certificate in art fundamentals.

“Sometimes it still feels like it’s not real, he says. It’s like being told you can’t fly and one day you wake up and you’ve got wings.”

Nova SeedWatch the Nova Seed trailer here

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