Paradise Awaits: Zhu

A Darkly Animated and Twisted Paradise Awaits in Zhu’s Latest Video

‘Zhu’s profile is quite mysterious,’ animator Tomek Ducki explained to us. ‘To reflect this in the visuals, we used different methods, continuously allowing the eye to discover new shapes and objects in the dark.’

The visual language in Paradise Awaits, inspired largely by poster design, makes use of the Old Testament’s paradisiacal symbols and motifs. Tomek also uses Titian’s “The Fall of Man” picture, which appears in the cover art for the song, as a visual starting point.

The video uses images as an exploration into various aspects of the biblical story, including how the eating of the fruit of the knowledge changed the vision. Notice also the use of the fig leaf symbol, an archaic form of censorship now replaced by Tomek, with the use of pixellation.

‘We had to actually paint it on paper!’ Tomek told The Plus of his use of pixellation. ‘So we invented a few tools, like square stamps with different sizes and textures for every phase.’

We found out more about Tomek’s version of Paradise.

The Plus: Does the rolling singing head represent Zhu?
Tomek Ducki:
Personally, the music and the lyrics created an impression of a stream of thoughts, which rotate in the mind. So to mirror this, I designed the “constantly-rotating-chimney-like-singer-head.” We let the elements of the animation appear from his head as a smoke.
I thought I’d turn it into a real installation, but his role in the video became smaller once the cartoon lady appeared in the project.

TP: The video seems quite experimental- did you do anything out of the ordinary to achieve this look?
The actual process is something I’ve experimented with for a while, and I like to call “manual rendering”. We animate most of the things digitally, both 2d and 3d, and then paint over it on paper frame by frame. Rotoscoping over animation- if you like. The result is an unrepeatable picture in each frame.

TP: How does this video compare to your usual style?
My style as an animation direction is much more about a certain vision and usage of visual tools rather than a definition of some animation technique or illustrational style. As an animation designer, I am inspired by motion and my choice of colours is very functionalist. So I think it is very much my usual style, only now I had the proper amount of time and a very nice team to take it one step further.

TP: Are you working on any other music videos currently?
I had a very busy year, at the moment I am trying to get back my social and private life. The most exciting project is the development of my animated series right now, but I have plenty of big plans for the future.