Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Hard Times Animation Process

I really enjoyed working on The Hard Times of RJ Berger. The main challenge was to create 25 different styles of animation over 2 seasons of the show. The way the styles were decided usually depended on the context of what the animation meant to each episode. For example in episode 1 of season 2, RJ has the classic dilemma of choosing between two loves; his long time friend Lily or his dream girl Jenny Swanson. RJ's pal Miles is trying to get RJ to see the gravity of his choices. Going with Lily is a sentence to a life of white trash livin' while on the other hand if RJ went with Jenny Swanson, he'd be living the life of a suave playboy.

Both situations that Miles describes are spectrally opposing, so what we wanted to do with this episode was find the styles that epitomize each of these situations.  So we went with a Fox Primetime sort of style, referencing The Simpsons and King of the Hill for the Lily sequence and a Shag/Tiki style for the Jenny Swanson Sequence.

Budget and deadlines being what the were on the show, I tried to impliment a solid base level of design in the boards and then cut an animatic from those boards to get the timing of each cut right. Once the animatic was created and approved, we went into a final design stage where a crew of mega talented people created the elements: Characters, Backgrounds, and Layouts. From there the animation process began. Once the first takes of animation came in, we'd cut it into a rough edit to see how it flowed. If any adjustments were needed, they would be handled in the retake stage. Once we locked picture, it would be sent to MTV for final audio and color adjustments. 

Below are the boards with my direction and the final animation from the show.


Until next time...


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