Background Design Process

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.


3. Layouts

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!