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Punch Pants

A Ghostbot blog.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Method to the Animation Madness

We’ve received a lot of requests on our work methodology since we’ve started Ghostbot. Hopefully this post will shed some light on it. Here's a rough step by step process in producing a single scene for an Esurance spot.

Step 1: Rough Thumbnail Story Board

Upon receiving the script, we get to work on story boards. For this phase we don’t worry too much about model, but more about how the spot flows, how to convey all the ideas within the time frame, and how to make things readable. This drawing is pretty shameful, but luckily I have the other Ghostbots to pick up my slack.

Step 2: Tighten Story Board

Once we’re happy, we all tighten them up for presentation for Phil Robinson at Wildbrain and the client. For this phase, we work on the character’s attitudes and expressions a bit more as well as background, lighting, and possible color.

Step 3: Pencil Layout

After everyone is happy, we move into layout. Here is a drawing done by Brad where he focused on making Erin and Erik as appealing as possible.

Step 4: Flash Clean Up and Assembly

We send this off to powerhouse Kris Toscanini. She cleans up the art and separates them into elements to be animated in flash.

Step 5: Animation and Final Tweak

When we animate, we spend a lot of time trying to get everything to flow between each scene. We vary our timing and motion and angles, so things stay fresh and lively. For Esurance we tend to animated very subtley because of the nature of their designs. If you move them too much, it tends to look very “flashy” or if you over do it, it can easily look like a bunch of midgets in an Erin suit.

The final touch.... Roque adds bg, color tweaks, lighting effects and anything else we can think of to punch up the spot as much as possible.

Viola! You can check out the final product here.

Hopefully this sheds some light on how we do things at Ghostbot. Either that or I've totally confused all of you!


Blogger Ridd Sorensen said...

great post! thanks for the behind-the-scenes look.

9:46 PM  
Blogger Biggedy said...

Love the spot! The color scheme's great! I do like that step by step stuff! I think I want more!
I like the expression on her face when she gets had! Is this the first time Erin actually gets one upped by Erik?
You guys just keep getting better and better!

10:43 PM  
Blogger Clio said...

Thanks for this post!! Great to see the process - the Esurance commercials are always such a blast to watch.

2:05 AM  
Blogger Ward Jenkins said...

This is a fascinating post, guys! Thanks for allowing us a small glimpse into your animated madness. I've been wanting to do some posts on my methods to spots I've done at Primal Screen, and only have posted a two-parter on an Animania show open. I plan on doing more, but I never have enough time. Rats!

I agree about the subtely to Flash animation—the more detailed, the more likely it'll look horrible if animated too much. You guys do an EXCELLENT job of making the Esurance spots look top-notch. The execution is amazing.

Keep up the great work!

9:00 AM  
Blogger Chris Battle said...

Thnaks for sharing! I gotta do one of those "process" posts one of these days...

5:03 PM  
Blogger roque said...

Is that how we do it?? Dang...

9:17 PM  
Blogger Alan said...

ridd1... thanks for visiting!

biggedy...yes, I believe this is the first time Erik gets the upper hand. Will it be the last time? Only the fine folks at Esurance know for sure!

clio... thanks for visiting. Sorry you missed the San Diego Comic-con. It was quite a blast.

ward...yeah, I think artists really love seeing "behind the scenes" postings. I know I do. Thanks for backing up my opinion regarding subtleness in certain types of animation. Just because one can move things around like crazy doesn't mean one necessarily has to.

chris... you're too busy kicking butt and taking names to do one of these posts. I'm just sitting around the GB office taking naps on the couch.


1:00 PM  
Blogger Ben Balistreri said...

These spots are fantastic! And I can only echo the thoughts posted here that this is a great post!

8:10 PM  
Blogger Marmax said...

Always love to see these commercials!

1:33 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Coool, nice to see the progress at different stage!! Great post!

9:51 PM  
Blogger paublo said...

AMAZING! i'm exhausted just looking at it..beautiful work

8:41 PM  
Blogger PotatoFarmGirl said...

Now we know your secrets!!

5:25 PM  
Blogger Sho said...

that's a great breakdown :)
excellent work , great final results !
did u guys get the invites ?

12:13 AM  
Blogger Jared Chapman said...

Once again, this post is soaked with GhostBotty goodness. Fantastic! There are very few commercials that I actually take the time to watch, but the Esurance spots are some of them. They're wonderful... design, animation, timing, blagh! You GhostBotters are too good... and that's never a bad thing!

5:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"or if you over do it, it can easily look like a bunch of midgets in an Erin suit."

Know exactly what you mean.

6:38 AM  
Blogger Alan said...

Ben... holy heck! We love your stuff. Thanks for visiting.

Marmax.... welcome and thanks for the compliments.

Alina... thanks for the continual support!

Paublo... we're "exhausted" working on it. It's definitely not the easy way to do flash.

Potato Farm Girl... whua? They're secrets??!!

Sho... No invites yet. Is there a Maveriffic party coming up?!

Jared...Thanks! You think you'd be sick of us by now. Your stuff always continue to amaze.

Bentos...Thanks for visiting. Nice Spidey on your site.

11:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there. I realy like the shorts, those ads dont run this side the pond. Anyhow I have a dull process related query. I was just wondering whether you folks plan out the 'boards before or after you get the audio/dialogue track.

9:25 AM  
Blogger Alan said...

jc...Thanks for visiting. It depends on the project, but we normally do the board with no VO.

Usually, the voice actors use the board as a visual reference point to how they are suppose to act in a given scene.

1:28 PM  
Blogger Stephen M. Levinson said...

do you guys have turn around charts and on model built characters with symbols? Or you just make them with the storyboard? If so, how do you know if its on key or not?


10:53 PM  
Blogger Alan said...

Stephen... you definitely need model sheets to do animation. You can do it without them, but expect some headaches in the end.

8:38 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Man, I am totally confussed. What the heck is "animation?"

4:30 PM  
Blogger dizzlesauce said...

great work ! love the colors and designs...very inspiring

10:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did the music and languages spoken just change? I thought it was in russian the first time I saw it. Am I hearing things?

2:06 PM  
Blogger Mike Manley said...

The last couple of ads have been really great! I wish you guys could make a series like this!

1:07 PM  
Blogger Darryl Young said...

These are some of my favorite spots on the tube, great work! And thanks for the step-by-step.

9:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cartoons today are far more different a few years ago. Technology seems to have made a lot of changes in this world.

2:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you keep a set of shapes for each angle and reuse them or do you redraw the characters every time you make a new commercial? I wish I knew how you know exactly how to draw the shapes of the head, eyes, etc. I am a fairly good artist when it comes to realistic portraits, but I was never good at cartoon characters because they always turned out looking goofy and childish.

7:45 PM  

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