JMG's Projects

Be City

“Be City” is an experimental concept project that aims to present complex subjects like anthropology, archaeology and linguistics in the form of interactive animations that are accessible to a large audience.

The goals of the “Be City” project are to build a visionary technological platform for transmedia, to test new ideas about storytelling and to create a new online community.

The project Website is at

Link to the main website:animated story

Storytelling, application, digital sketching, drawing, character design, 3D animation, game, mobile device, transmedia, non-linear storytelling.

The story is based on the journal of a tourist that disappeared while visiting small islands in the Pacific. The visuals and the design are inspired by a lost world of steam engines and trains. The space of the island is used as the environment for a scavenger hunt type of game.

Viewers will have the possibility to create their own interactive paths through the episodes of “Be City”. A “Content Manager”, inspired by what has been created for online games, uses HTML5 + CSS and Javascript for the distribution of different versions of a scene over multiple platforms and devices.

A typical scene of “Be City” includes several images with transparencies in the foreground, character animations in the middleground and a painted background. Writers and programmers create scripts that assemble the scene - in real time inside a web browser or on the screen of a device" smartphone or tablet. The “Content Manager” chooses to hide or to show assets, to create basic animations (translate, rotate, scale), to add filters for color, black and white, transparencies, motion blur, etc.

The “Content Manager” is a great asset for the production team. Visual assets and scripts are created only once regardless of the device. Visuals and animations play differently according to the choices of the viewer. Scenes and animations can have a specific “Look and feel” according to the interaction.

In 1977, a group of tourists were lost amid an area between Wellington and the Samoa Islands. Later in time, while someone was exploring, they found a journal from one of the tourists. The journal was so damaged that only fragments of information could be found about the trip; with blurry pictures of some dramatic moments. From reading the first pages of the journal, we understand that the tourists boarded one or several trains that took them further into the mountains of the islands. A set of events leave one of the tourists, a photographer, stranded on a beach with some strange creatures.

Drawings, story, character designs, conceptual design and animations by Jean-Marc Gauthier with the help of Ervin Han, Miro Kiro (modeling), Emil Polyak, Vernice Chua and Sandhya Prabhat and to all the people who helped me during the past twelve months.

presentation at "Digital Anthropology 2014", Le Cube (France).

Links to a few interactive scenes. Best viewed in Chrome or Firefox. Scene 1. Click on the image

Scene 2.

Scene 3.

Scene 4.

Scene 5.

Scene 6.

"Be City" Characters, 3D prints @ Shapeways.COM

animated story