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.
This summer, we collaborated with the folks at Sesame Workshop on our first game for their older-audience show, The Electric Company. The show’s site, which relaunched last week, underwent a full redesign to highlight Prankster Planet, the animated/interactive spinoff of the hit live-action TV series. We were thrilled to create an advanced HTML5 game, Jessica’s Joyride, as part of this work. The game is a side-scrolling, chasing adventure that takes place across four worlds and reinforces a rhyming curriculum.
Using the existing Prankster Planet style as a jumping off point, CloudKid produced all artwork, UI design, animation and programming for this experience. As always, we loved tackling creative challenges throughout the production process, which included pushing animation and sound potential in an HTLM5 experience, creating comic-book inspired cinematics to tell the game’s story, and producing a tie-in activity where kids can make mixes with the rhyming word they’ve collected. We’re super proud of the results, and are excited for you all to finally play the game! Hope you enjoy!
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.
Over the past year, we’ve mentioned lots of exciting projects we’ve been hard at work on, most of which have included loads of animation. We’re excited to finally show you some highlights in our updated reel. The revamped cut includes new clips from our client work as well as more from our own original properties. Check it out!
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!
We’re so excited to announce the launch of the website and app we produced for PBS Kids’ latest show: Peg + Cat. We’ve been hard at work producing the transmedia suite for this math-focused preschool series for almost a year and had previously created a pilot site and games in 2011 for the property. It was a pleasure working with our partners at 9ate7 Productions, PBS and the Fred Rogers Company on this project, for which we created the Big Gig app, an HTML5 website, and 11 games and activities (a mix of Flash and HTML5). We hope you all enjoy checking them out! Stay tuned for more behind-the-scenes posts on our interactive production process, and make sure to tune in for the show’s premiere on Monday October 7th!
This summer we have been in the thick of production on our two Nickelodeon digital pilots, and while we can’t spill the beans quite yet, we wanted to give y’all a sneak peek into our environment and background design process:
1. Reference Field Trip
Back in May, we took a field trip to the sunny shores of Marblehead and Swampscott. We walked around, took pictures, ate local cuisine… we immersed ourselves in a setting we were hoping to bring to life.
2. Concept Sketches
After the trip, a couple artists spent some time exploring concept sketches so we could get a better feel for the setting and key locations.
In the thumbnail phase, our writers and director planned out the shots that were needed to tell the story. Background sketches were built out based on the rough storyboard.
4. Color Script and Keys
A color script was created to give the directors and background artists a sense of the lighting and mood for the entire short. Once completed, the colorist did a series of “color keys” that locked down the color and lighting for each shot.
5. Final Backgrounds
The background artists referenced the sketches and the color keys and worked their wonders to digitally paint the final polished backgrounds.
It’s a labor-intensive process, but we think the results are worth it in the end!
We know we always say we’re busy with exciting work, but this time, we REALLY mean it. It’s been a crazy packed spring here at CloudKid HQ, and it’s shaping up to be an even busier summer. We’re thrilled to announce that one of many exciting projects we’re working on is our first short pilot for Nickelodeon Digital. With all of the exciting coverage recently about Nick’s app and shorts, we’re pumped to be working on our first project with them at such an innovative time.
We wish we could share more about the project, but just trust us that it’s going to be worth the wait! Stay tuned!
Last fall, we teased our work with Romotive and told you a little bit about Romo — the amazing smartphone robot whose character we helped bring to life. We’re excited to announce that Romo’s latest app hit the app store this week! This new update includes a lot of awesome work that we were proud to be a part of: Romo’s redesign, fun character animations, and a cool interface for seeing when other Romos are nearby.
If you haven’t already invested in a Romo, you can pre-order one now. We hope you have as much fun playing with the app as we did helping create it!