Little Engine taps Dark Slope as their virtual service production partner for a unique CGI puppet animation workflow

TORONTO, Canada (January 30, 2023) – Dark Slope and Little Engine Moving Pictures are collaborating on a unique virtual production process that integrates Dark Slope’s advanced motion capture techniques into Little Engine’s innovative puppetry/animation hybrid process, developed by creator, showrunner and animator Ben Mazzotta. This workflow is currently in production for an upcoming Little Engine Moving Pictures preschool series.

Dark Slope’s expertise is truly elevating our animated series through virtual production” shares Maria Kennedy, owner and EP at Little Engine Moving Pictures. “Our characters and world evolved significantly, from us puppeteering marionettes against green screen with motion-tracked faces animated in post, to real actors embodying our characters through high quality motion capture. The transformation to 3D animated characters in our 2D animated world is a real game changer.”

This method benefits the quality and speed of the production, while also being more cost effective. It allows for the team to plan and iterate on how the story is told and make dynamic adjustments with the actors as they record the animation in real time. This also allows for near-final looks of the animation’s action to take place far earlier than with traditional productions.

It is such a pleasure to work with the creative team at Little Engine Moving Pictures to help realize their vision,” shares Christine Thompson, Head of Animation Production at Dark Slope. “Dark Slope has a talented team with the know-how to match the right virtual production technology and techniques with the specific vision of the show – from motion capture for animation, to LED volume for live action content.”

Dark Slope is an entertainment company with a singular focus to make the impossible – possible. With advanced motion capture and virtual production technologies, Dark Slope develops genre defining television programs and unforgettable immersive games for their original IP, co-productions and clients. Dark Slope is recognized as a Realscreen Trailblazer for their impact on the scripted and unscripted industries (2023), and as a North America Deloitte Technology Fast 500™ (2022) and Canadian Deloitte Technology Fast 50™ (2022) company. Visit to learn more.

Little Engine Moving Pictures is a Canadian entertainment company that develops, produces and distributes original, innovative TV series and interactive content for an international audience of Kids and Family. Little Engine’s partners include TVO, Knowledge, CBC, Shaw Rocket Fund, Canada Media Fund, Ontario Creates, TFO, Radio-Canada, ABC, Hop TV, SuperRTL, V-Me, Muslim Kids TV, and Daekyo. Little Engine’s distribution library includes Cutie Pugs, Now You Know, Canada Crew, The Picco Incident; The Gumboot Kids, I Love, Baby Baby, Space Kids and Run Jump Play by Imagine Create Media; Dino Powers by Dofala Studios, and Smack Dab In the Middle of the Day Show by Mango Moon Productions. Visit to learn more.