Thursday, November 02, 2006

Class of 3000 : Funkbox

This great project we did with Ham In The Fridge just launched. "Class of 3000" is a new Cartoon Network show featuring Andre 3000 of Outkast that aires this Friday. We've had a sneak peek and it has great and infectious music, fun character design, and really cool animation. They're also doing a lot cross-media projects...and they're doing it RIGHT.

"In Class of 3000, we have a show that is perfectly suited to a massive multimedia rollout, and that's exactly what we'll be doing," Jim Samples, evp and gm, Cartoon Network stated. "From exclusive behind-the-scenes footage of the show to streaming full-length episodes, not to mention downloadable songs, ringtones and podcasts, we're making sure that Class of 3000 has compelling offerings on every available platform."

Big Time Attic was responsible for the art and animation in the project, our PUNY games partner Steve Killingbeck programmed a bunch of it and built the sound engine, Ham In The Fridge was in charge and did all the producing, project management concepting, and design, and Mark Greenberg was the master of sound. Go play it..I dare you to try to make a bad song.

Hopefully this blazes trails for more music shows..because we have one in our pitch packet :) Anyway, now that we can talk about Cartoon Network projects, we thought we'd give you a look at some of the production art that went into it.

Early pencil sketches. These were made before we could do anything else to get to know the characters and design their instruments that would be used in the game.

More pencils

The pencils were then scanned into the computer and inked/colored with Adobe Illustrator and Flash.

Here is a sequence of Kim's playing animation. Each character was given two instruments and a resting and playing animation cycle needed to be created for each. The programmers will then loop and speed up or slow down the cycles with code. It's important for us to get naming conventions and build templates for characters to make it easier for the programmers. The pieces in game animation has to be a lot cleaner and more precise than story animation.

Here's a complete cycle for Lil D. The backgrounds take so long to digitally paint (plus we were neck deep in other illustrations at this point) that the animations had to be done against a preliminary drawing. The backgrounds were almost the last things made everyone nervous.

Almost the last thing! The animation, design, and development was happening simultaneously over three suites here in Minneapolis, the music design was happening in Chicago, and Andre 3000 was down in Atlanta recording his vocal instruction track. The instructions are the final elements to a game, as gameplay may have changed at some point along the way. That means there was a lot of character animation and lip synching to do right before the gold deadline. Seth made an animatic and sent it over here for Julia to make a rough stick-figure gesture version of the instructions:

Once the gestures look good, the final animation is laid in...and then it's off to the developers to wrap up. You can compare the gesture animation to the final by:

Playing the game.


Matt Schuster said...

This looks really cool, I'll give it a try when I'm done with work. Good luck on your pitches!

Kevin Cannon said...

Sheesh, I was a little late on the backgrounds ONE TIME... maybe I'll do a post to show how complicated (and gorgeous) the C3K backgrounds were. Process note on backgrounds: for most of the television work we have done, we are given lo-res flat images (production art or stills) and asked recreate the work in hi-res, extend the art to allow for panning and zooming, and create the art in layers to allow for parallax motion. Just like with animation, it's a lot of work that is not often noticed. Check out the Squirrel Boy game "Mow 'Em Cowboy" -- during the introduction there's a split-second intro where you can see the full house, neighborhood, and neighbor's lawns.

Shad Petosky said...

Awww..Kevin. I wasn't trying to rag on you...I was trying to create a sense of tension and drama to the process!


Matt Schuster said...

By all means post the backgrounds!

Shad's Mom said...

There was a comment in my local paper which said that the reviewer didn't like the cartoon show, but loved the backgrounds and art. Did you work on the show too?

Shad Petosky said...

No...we didn't work on the show.

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