NPR Visits a Digital Animation Utopia

We have to be honest. Before Jon Kalish‘s report for NPR’s Weekend Edition, we were not familiar with Encyclopedia Pictura, a three-man digital animation operation headquartered in Central California.

The trio of Isaiah Saxon, Darin Rabinovitch, and Sean Hellfritsch have transformed ten acres in Aptos into an environmentally friendly, work-at-home paradise they call “Trout Gulch.” The land is located next to Saxon’s mom’s house:

“We’re building a 21st-century Hobbit village in which things are integrated into nature,” Saxon says, “but we’re harnessing cutting-edge technology and embracing the best of technology…”

Rabinovitch, a tall 33-year-old, lives in a small grass hut with a door that’s four feet tall (pictured). “This is basically a sleeping chamber that is built to last about 10 years and then decay beautifully back into the land and become mulch,” Rabinovitch says.

The rest of the article is equally fantastical, outlining for example how Hellfritsch spends half his time on the Internet searching for and reading DIY manuals. Encyclopedia Pictura has done music videos for Bjork, commercial work, and in just eight years has basically reached the point where they can call their own shots. Impressive, inspirational, and, yes, a little bit kooky.