We are excited to introduce the OZMAT Creature Tumblr! Now that OZMAT has officially rolled out, we wanted to highlight all of the awesome creature-related content in one place. Animated creature tests? Got ‘em. Top secret dossier files and photos? You betcha! Unreleased animated GIFs? Bonus! We’ll be rolling out all of this content on the Tumblr over the next few weeks, so be sure to share, follow, and reblog with your peeps.
A major component in the OZMAT world is the underground government facility where the series takes place. During the development process, we wanted to make sure the OZMAT testing chamber (where the creature tests take place) felt as real as the world we were bringing to life (as well as the live-action sets we built). The only way to achieve this realism was to build a 3D model, something we had never done before. We rolled up our sleeves, teamed up with Vando in Barcelona, and figured out the process as we went. Everything went according to plan and we learned so much from the experience, that we wanted to share the design process with y’all.
Throughout the OZMAT story, we meet a handful of bizarre creatures who live at the underground facility. Our team was tasked with bringing these lovable specimens to life through a series of “Creature Tests”. The animation process was challenging and laborious, proving to be a different “beast” than our usual straight-forward Flash pipeline. Some of the challenges included combining photo/live action elements, using 3D/CG backgrounds, and working with non-speaking animated characters. Moreover, these segments were storyboard driven and didn’t rely on scripts like most of our other animated content. In the end, though, we think the results were well worth the demanding process that we’ve outlined below.
1. Boards: Since the physical comedy of each character is at the heart of our creature tests, we wanted the gags to be driven by the artists rather than scripts. To start, each artist created and pitched a handful of rough storyboards of different creature tests that highlighted the creatures’ personalities and powers. We then chose which boards were working best (and got the most laughs) and started to tie them into the overall OZMAT narrative.
2. Animatics: Once the storyboards were polished, we moved into the animatic phase. In this stage, we locked down timing, pushed acting and the character poses, and started adding rough photographic props and temporary CG background renders.
3. Animation: Once the animatics were finalized, our team moved onto character animation. The animators used the character model-sheets and began animating the characters, using as much traditional animation and “redraw” as possible. We really wanted these characters to come to life, so the animators pushed themselves and each other to make the comedy and personalities shine through.
4. Effects/Post: Finally, animators made a props and “effects pass” in Flash, adding and animating all the photographic items as well as effects such as electricity, water, smoke, fire, etc. This final animation step was a laborious one as all the creature tests had lots of photo props and complicated effects. Once all the animation work was completed, the tests were finally ready for another complicated process – post production. Stay tuned for a complete article on post production where we added several effects passes and audio design. In the meantime, check out the final product below! You can also check out the rest of the content from this report here.
Last week, we gave you a sneak peek from OZMAT, our upcoming web series. Now, it’s time for us to divulge even more info about this exciting project. While the 1981 Informational Video answered “What is OZMAT?” in the fictional sense, we wanted to give you all some intel about OZMAT the web series.
Back in the summer of 2012, we were in the process of wrapping several long-term client projects and Negative Nimbus. We decided to scale back client work and focus on a large internal project that would provide creative freedom and new storytelling/ technical challenges. After many brainstorm sessions, the idea of producing a web series that utilizes a variety of media formats (live action videos, animations, documents, audio clips and photos) emerged. OZMAT, the story of a lone researcher who must save his top-secret government agency, was born, and we’ve been excited about our mission to push the boundaries of storytelling ever since.
It’s been a long ride, and we can’t wait to finally share OZMAT with the world. Leading up to the October 23rd launch, and as we roll out content, we’ll be giving you more behind-the-scenes looks into the production process. In the meantime, be sure to check out the teaser above and help spread the word by liking and sharing our Save OZMAT Facebook page.
We’ve been subtly teasing our self-produced web series, OZMAT, for a while now, and we’re so excited to finally share a sneak peek. Check out the “1981 History Video” above for some general info on the top-secret government agency we created for this narrative. The web series will officially kickoff on 10/23, but stay tuned for more previews and behind-the scenes posts here. In the meantime, you can also follow our social campaigns on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, and share with your networks. We can’t wait to show you more!