The CloudKid crew is bubbling with excitement over the launch of our latest project with Sesame Workshop: Ernie’s Dinosaur Day Care! Dinosaurs are so in right now, (thanks in part to Jurassic World), and this mobile-friendly game takes you straight into the prehistoric lands of these friendly giants. Join Ernie as he imagines going back in time to take care of dinosaurs in his very own day care, and help him to feed the dinosaurs, stomp with them in the mud, wash them up until they’re squeaky clean, jump rope, and even tuck them into bed! There are five different dinosaurs and five activities, with unlimited possibilities for fun and engaging play. Head over to the Sesame Street website and check it out!
High five! Last week CloudKid was notified that we have been nominated for a 2015 Daytime Emmy in the Outstanding New Approaches – Enhancement To a Daytime Program or Series category for our work on Peg + Cat. While we have been nominated three other times for Fizzy’s Lunch Lab, it’s especially exciting because this is the first nomination for a client project. We have been so fortunate to work on the Peg + Cat interactive content alongside our awesome partners at The Fred Rogers Company, 9ate7, and PBS KIDS. They’ve created a show with so much heart and vision and it has been inspiring to watch it unfold and contribute.
A huge thank you goes out to our awesome team at CloudKid. Over the last three years, we’ve produced A LOT of Peg + Cat content: a responsive website, 18 HTML5 games and activities, and the Big Gig app. It’s the result of countless hours by our artists, designers, animators, producers, and last but not least, our developers. Shout out!
The 2015 Daytime Emmys take place on April 24th in Los Angeles. Hopefully, we’ll have some good news to report though it will require taking down Elmo and Ellen. Not an easy task. In the meantime, our fingers are crossed.
We’re pretty psyched to announce that Nickelodeon has released our second digital pilot, Earth to Allen: Hunger Pains. The short follows 12-year-old Matty Mota as he tries to feed Allen (a tremendously incompetent intergalactic assistant) enough metal to stop his growling stomach from destroying the town. So many talented artists contributed to the development and production of the pilot, and we had an awesome time bringing the characters and world to life. Grab some popcorn and watch short HERE!
We’re super excited to announce Detective Elmo, our latest collaboration with Sesame Workshop and PBS KIDS. Connected to Sesame Street’s hour-long TV special, Cookie Thief, this mobile-friendly HTML5 game picks up where the TV special left off—a string of copycat thieves have begun stealing more art from The Museum of Modern Cookie Art. These cookie crooks must be stopped, and Elmo takes it upon himself to solve the crime! Help Elmo navigate through the museum at night, search for clues at the scene of the crime, and catch the art thieves. Check it out here!
Oh pickle juice! We’re excited to announce that Nickelodeon has launched BroDuel, our Nick Digital short that we produced last summer. The short follows hyper-competitive brothers Dennis and Tad as their sibling rivalry leaves a wake of destruction at their new job. So many talented people helped out and we all had such a great time making it. We’re super proud of everyone who lent a hand! Stop what you’re doing and watch it HERE!
As huge fans of The Muppets, Forgetting Sarah Marshall and almost everything Jason Segel-related, we were thrilled when Random House asked us to produce four animated trailers for his upcoming book series, Nightmares!. Co-authored with New York Times Bestselling author, Kirsten Miller, the series follows Charlie and the bizarre nightmares that haunt him after moving into his stepmother’s house.
The trailers were a blast to produce and gave us the opportunity to translate the gorgeous art of Karl Kwansy into animation. The art style also challenged us to ditch our usual symbol-based Flash animation process and experiment with a more traditional style of “redraw” animation. The first trailer was released in August and the remaining three will rollout before Halloween.
Be sure to pick up a copy of Nightmares! at your local or online bookstore!
Professor Fizzy’s website just got a major reboot! When PBS Kids first launched Fizzy’s Lunch Lab in 2009, Flash was still widely used, and it enabled us to include animation-rich menus and an engaging character presence. But with more and more kids, parents and teachers trying to access the Lunch Lab content from phones and tablets, it was high time to ditch Flash for HTML5. Redesigned to accommodate a range of screens, the new responsive Lunch Lab site ensures that everyone can access the videos, songs, recipes as well as current and future mobile web games at home and on the go.
We’re also incredibly excited to announce the very first Lunch Lab HTML5 web game. With the food truck craze that’s sweeping the nation, how could Fizzy not be part of the action? In Fizzy’s Food Truck, kids are challenged to use systems thinking to juggle a myriad of tasks. Whether they’re making sure the black bean burgers don’t burn, that customers get exactly what they order or that Fast Food Freddy doesn’t lure customers away, players need to keep Fizzy’s customers happy. We’re still trying to push the boundaries of HTML5 and Fizzy’s Food Truck is another step toward creating more complicated games with fantastic animation and audio.
So hop on your mobile phones and tablets to check out the new site and be sure to sling some burgers in the addictive game (don’t say we didn’t warn you!).
Over the past month, we’ve received almost two hundred portfolio submissions and reviewed dozens of student portfolios at four art schools. And while there have been a handful of gems, we’re still in the process of hiring an in-house, salaried animator. Why haven’t most portfolios and reels been up to snuff? Well, we have been wrestling with this question for the last week, so we decided to share what we think is missing from student and recent grad portfolios (and share some portfolios that wowed us).
1) Not enough drawing
Drawing is the fundamental vehicle for visual communication and storytelling. If you’re applying for an animation or design position, we want to see portfolios with endless amounts of sketches that demonstrate a solid understanding of “construction” and anatomy. We’re not interested in seeing a handful of figure drawings from class or a few sketchbooks pages…we’re interested in seeing dozens of pages of sketches and concept drawings (kids, adults, monsters, animals, vehicles, locations, etc) with a range of emotions in variety of poses. We’d rather see fifty loose, energetic character studies than one very detailed character turnaround.
2) Not enough character animation
If you’re applying for an animation position, we want to see how you can bring objects and characters (people, animals, coffee cups) to life. Animation reels should include a range of beautiful character motion studies that demonstrate a solid knowledge of acting, emotion, weight, space, and timing. We’d rather see a dozen loose hand-drawn character studies with beautiful motion and timing than one half-baked three-minute film (though stellar films always help). Also, we don’t produce experimental animation, so please don’t submit reels that contain more than 50% non-narrative mixed media techniques (stop-motion, sand, paint on glass, etc). We’re a character animation studio, so it’ll be difficult to gauge how you’ll handle the type of animation we do.
3) Not enough digital
While we always value artists and concept designers with tremendous traditional media skills (watercolor, pen and ink), we’re a digital studio that works almost exclusively in Photoshop and Flash. It’s not mandatory that you have these skills, but if you have a portfolio that shows a mastery of traditional AND digital tools (specifically Photoshop and digital color), you’ll have a leg up on the competition, especially for art and design positions. If you don’t know the ins and outs of Photoshop (blending modes, adjustment layers, custom brushes, HSB color, etc.) or don’t have digital samples in your portfolio, we encourage you to find online tutorials and experiment.
4) Not enough personal exploration
We want to see work that you do outside of class assignments. While work is work, you should feel a sense of excitement, curiosity, and love for character-driven storytelling and/or gaming. We hire curious artists who love to make things even when not prompted. Be it animated gifs, written stories, comics, paintings, music, or more drawings—side projects and personal experiments are often the best way to gauge a candidate’s passion and artistic voice. If you haven’t filled two sketchbooks in the last year or created side projects outside of school or work, it’s usually a red flag. We live by the saying: You can’t fake passion.
As HUGE fans of Grover, we’re excited to announce the launch of our latest Sesame Street game: Grover’s Winter Games! Launched this week to coincide with the start of the Olympics, the advanced HTML5 experience features ice skating, skiing and snowboarding mini-games. After choosing who they want to play as, kids are guided through each sport with funny cinematics and voiceover from Grover. Each mini-game features a unique curriculum, multiple levels of difficulty and an open-ended free-play experience to increase replay-ability.
We’re super proud of the finished product and are excited to keep pushing the limits to create the highest quality HTML5 games possible. Hope everyone near and far enjoys playing!
It’s that time of year again… you know, the time for complaining about how much snow we’ve already gotten, for recovering from holiday food comas, and, yup, you guessed it: for the annual CloudKid Year-in-Review! We know we say this every year, but seriously guys, this was a crazy year! Check out some of the highlights:
- Produced 2 pilots for Nick Digital, slated to launch in their app in early 2014!
- Created the transmedia suite for Peg + Cat.
- Launched our first original web series, OZMAT.
- Produced three games for Sesame Workshop: Jessica’s Joyride, Let’s Build It, and Grover’s Winter Games (launching early 2014).
- Redesigned and animated Romo, everyone’s favorite iPhone robot, .
- The App Store featured two of our apps: Hectic Harvest and The Big Gig.
- LA Unified School District chose Fresh Pick to be installed on student tablets.
- Helped kick off a Boston chapter of the Children’s Media Association.
- Landed our first TV development deal (stay tuned!).
- Landed our next big transmedia suite gig for an upcoming PBS KIDS show.
- And last but not least, our greatest accomplishment of 2013: Donut Thursday.
As always, we’re proud of everything we accomplished in 2013, and we can’t wait to see what this year brings! Stay tuned, and Happy New Year to all!