Introducing MOPALAB – Martin Oetting's Public Animation Lab

Presenting My New Animation Film Project: ‘MOPALAB’

Visual creativity matters a great deal to me. It always has.

I love the drawing style of Hergé. I was also very influenced by the early cover designs of the German youth book series “Die drei ???” by Aiga Rasch. I’ve been drawing all my life, on and off, starting when I was two years old (if my parents can be trusted on this). I also love film and editing. These last few years, I’ve been through an intense experience with documentary filmmaking.

All this time, I’ve never stopped dreaming about combining my love of drawing with my love of film-making: animation. I’ve dabbled and experimented a bit over the years but never found an approach that I could keep doing — animation takes so much time, effort, people, and money. (So does “camera-based” filmmaking, by the way.)

But then I just happened to experiment with my iPad, making a silly and very short hand-drawn film. It takes place in the desert, there’s a building, a bird, and a gun shot. I showed it to two people who are very close to me. And they both laughed. Then they both said: ‘Play it again.’

I was very surprised; this was way too silly a thing to deserve a proper laugh.

Or was it?

It turned out, I can make fully animated films all by myself if I make them short enough. A few seconds. Maybe a minute, or two. Doing everything myself, I get to study and learn animation and film-making holistically. I draw and animate, I design and mix the sound, I edit the film, I voice some of the characters, I make some of the music myself … it’s really 360° filmmaking, but on a tiny scale.

Very fast, it turned into my favourite hobby and past-time. And now it’s on YouTube:

MOPALAB — Martin Oetting’s Public Animation Lab

The first three films are out now, plus the first time-lapse “making-of” film:

Film 1: GAME


“Blue Night” — A Time-Lapse Making-Of


My process and rules:

  • I start with an idea for a setting or a situation, the rest follows as I go. I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about a script. Whatever story or story fragment emerges, emerges.
  • I draw everything by hand, myself, on the iPad. There is no AI in the visual creation process. I decide what every pixel looks like, not a computer programme that rips off other people’s works. (But I may experiment with AI voices.)
  • It’s about the development, not about each individual film. MOPALAB is a lab. I hope my films will be markedly better a year/5 years from now. I don’t expect these films to ‘go viral’. I don’t mind if they do.
  • So far, I have drawn and animated on the iPad with Procreate, then edited with Adobe Premiere Pro on a Mac. The time-lapse films are rendered by Procreate, and I edit them on Premiere and add the sound. I will probably add Procreate Dreams to the mix as I go on, and get more ambitious. None of these companies pay me to say this. I pay them to use their products.
  • Music is either free YouTube stock material, or I make the music myself.
  • Sounds either come from the amazing community, or I make/record them myself. I may rip the odd sound off YouTube, too.
  • I want these to be fun to watch, above all else.

So, enjoy. And do subscribe to my channel!