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March 28, 2016

Wakfu

Over the last few months I've been on a huge WAKFU kick, and thought I'd draw up a piece of fan-art based on its main characters:
Wakfu Beach
Percidal, Evangelyne, Amalia, Yugo, and Ruel

But what is WAKFU?

During my travels, teaching animation, WAKFU was the single most asked about animated series, the world over. Naturally, I set out to find out as much as I could, and I'm so glad I did.

WAKFU is a heroic fantasy animated series that follows the quest of an orphan, Yugo, who sets out to discover his origins. It was created by France-based studio Ankama, inspired by their turn-based MMORPGs (also created in-house) called Dofus, and it's sequel, Wakfu.

What makes WAKFU stand out from other animation is that it's heavily made using a cut-out style (characters are like puppets), but the movements in the series are beautifully fluid, and doesn't shy away from strong dynamic poses and camera shots, not normally associated with cut-out style animation. What makes it even more impressive is that it was also created using Adobe's Animate CC (aka: Flash).

Former students of mine have all heard how I've long since parted ways from Flash's use of symbols, and its traditional animator un-friendly interface. Though it has gotten much, much better, proficient Flash users still get a lot of my respect for working with the software, and Ankama ranks the highest up there.

Ankama's secret though is that the animation for WAKFU is actually created traditionally, on paper, first, and then cleaned up in Flash, using cut-out where, and when possible.

Traditionally hand-drawn keys of Yugo
For some of the more complicated shots, creatures, and contraptions, Ankama even utilizes 3D software, helping them to push angles even more.

Suffice it to say, that a lot of hard work has gone into creating the animated series, and it shows, in spades. Not only is the animation amazing, but the story and world-building are also a delight, and I highly recommend it for anyone that hasn't seen it.

Mind you, that's the most upsetting thing, as it's not widely available here, in North America. Thankfully, Netflix does have both Seasons 1 and 2 online, as well as the movie, La Quête des Six Dofus Eliatropes (don't worry, it's in English).

And if you still can't get enough, might I also recommend their board game, Krosmaster Arena (also available as a PC game). It's a turn-based skirmish miniatures game that battles it out using similar mechanics to their video games. And while the game itself is a blast, the physical miniatures you play with are irresistible! (Check out a live Table-Top game play of Krosmaster Arena here).

Enjoy!

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