Bold Visual Narrative

Bold is the creative practice of Leon Butler. We are interested in telling stories and exploring new ways of look at and using technology to help us tell those stories.

email: leon[at]


Dreaming of sleep

Dreaming of sleep is a unique production that combines traditional 2d animation with newly developed machine learning image style transfer algorithms. The film animated and directed by Leon Butler is set on a father and sons first evening alone together, struggling to vocalise their emotions the boy instead turns to drawing to express his emotions. The heart of the premise is reflected in the aesthetic and is achieved by using a Processing sketch that samples the individual frames and paints individual strokes on each adding the random natural of a frame to frame animation style to the piece. The frames are sampled from an animation produced using Toonboom Harmony , the individual frames are then exported as images before being run through the processing sketch before cropped and sequenced. The whole process was inspired by the images being produced by Tensor flow machine leading algorithmic productions and the productions such as Richard Linklater’s A walking life and a Scanner Darkly both of which used illustrators and a propriety piece of software known as Rotoshop to draw each frame on top of the footage of real actors which was edit. This technique known as rotoscoping has been used in many traditional production from early Disney productions to Japanese Anime, but Dreaming of Sleep marks the first time this has been machine learning has been used to automate the process. More recently BreakThru Films & Trademark Films, painted 65,000 oil paintings to make the world’s first feature length painting film, Loving Vincent. The naturalistic style of achieved for the short is completely randomised and the re-processing of the images would deliver a completely different result. Dreaming of Sleep premiered at the Galway Film Fleadh.

Director: Leon Butler
Producer: Sorcha NicAodha
Writer: Leon Butler