Googlers Nat and Lo like to check out some of Google’s more interesting goings-on and report them publicly, an ongoing initiative that they call the 20% Project. More often than not, the duo takes to YouTube to lay down an elaborate video showing their findings in detail, to give those outside of the company, even those who may not be terribly tech-literate, a good glimpse of what life at Google is really like. The current episode features on the Google Doodle team and features an interview with Olivia, creator of the current Google Doodle, an homage to animation pioneer Lotte Reiniger on her 117th birthday.
With each Google Doodle, a subject or person is deeply researched, and that research is compressed into the doodle, normally lasting less than 5 minutes, when they’re animated; occasionally, they’re a picture with a link to some information, occasionally they’re in the form of a game, but the thing they all have in common is the dedication of the Google Doodle team. In this installment of the 20% Project, Nat and Lo zero in on Olivia to get the inside scoop on the process that went into creating the roughly minute and a half animation for the current doodle, done authentically in the complicated, antiquated and extremely unique style of the late Lotte Reiniger.
Olivia’s setup, like any other Google Doodle, was a labor of love; it’s clear in the video interview and in the actual Doodle that Olivia holds great respect for Lotte Reiniger and enjoys her work. In order to imitate her style, Olivia created a custom multi-level camera setup with a backlight, all by hand, and cut figures and scenery for the doodle. Using the same stop-motion techniques that Lotte Reiniger created, Olivia shot the Doodle frame by frame, movement by tiny movement, manipulating each piece of character and set piece by hand in between shots. The end product is a short film in the exact style of Lotte Reiniger, depicting her working on a flower, passing through some of the films she’s made, and ending by having her characters come to her and personally thank her for creating them by giving her flowers.