In the book the dog describes himself as 'keen' and the frog as 'clean'. The bird however states that she is 'as green as can be' . While we were looking for a way to connect the green colour to her personality, we noticed one of Axel Scheffler's illustration that showed the bird peeking out from a tree hole as the bow comes flying by.
We thought it would be nice to explain how the bird ended up alone in this tree hole and came up with her little backstory.
For set extension and super wide shots we created matte paintings from tiny miniature sets. Most of these miniature scenes were built by Gottfried Mentor, who had already worked on the sets for 'The Gruffalo.' Here you can see the miniature version of the 'Reeds' set.
Gottfried and I studied together at the Filmakademie Baden Wuerttemberg. In addition to being an incredible set builder he's also a great filmmaker. Check out his work!
Some more impressions from the build of the frog's home. All the animals are lonely in their own way before they join the witch and the cat on their flying broomstick. But while the dog and the bird are missing company, the frog has too much of it. His isolation comes from the inside. The clean frog wants to get out of his home because he can't identify with the other frogs and their filthy way of life. He jumps from one moss patch to the other to avoid any contact with the mud.
Here you can see some look tests for the muddy surface in the Frog's home. To find the right texture for the set's ground is always a challenge. You don't want it to be too repetitive and boring but also not too distracting. Because the sets were built on a very small scale, even a tiny pebble can turn out to be very big once you see the CG characters next to it. Another challenge for this particular set was to avoid the association with either Nutella or poop as much as possible...