June 30, 2009

Character Designs: Mr. Cha-Ching!

Here’s a fun little guy we designed waaaaaay back in 2005. I know, I know, that’s almost 5 years ago… but we just started this blog in April and I still dig the little bugger. :P

Anyway, the client had the idea to turn an average cash register into a fun SpongeBob-type character that he could use as a mascot for his mortgage company. So he turned to 2A! to help him flesh out his concept and create the final character design. Thus “Mr. Cha-Ching” was born!

Above are the final model sheets in color, including both a rotation sheet and a special poses sheet. Below are my rough sketches. As you can see, the first sketch where I nailed his overall look happened on a piece of notebook paper (top right corner). I love it when that happens!

Last but not least... If you click on the image below you can also check out a .swf of some of the animated rollovers we created for the client’s site. Enjoy!

Copyright © 1st Family, Inc.

June 29, 2009

Animated Short: Tier Drop! Teaser

2A! goes back to the future with our work on the Tier Drop! teaser.

The short, which follows the adventures of Shawn and Cliff -- two friends who love their sneakers more than their own girlfriends -- was animated in Flash and is being used to pitch a full length animated movie.

2A! re-designed the characters and backgrounds, and animated the piece for our friends at Camp Chaos.

Copyright © Supplier-Works

June 26, 2009

Fun Art Fridays: Mumm-ra Lives!!!

Here's round two of my 80's villain mash-up. This time The Thundercats demonic arch-rival "Mumm-ra the Ever-living" decides to join the party. This guy used to seriously creep me out when I was younger. Even so, I still thought he was the coolest character on the show!

Make sure to check back for the next addition. Here's a hint: Though I desperately try to forget it, his cartoon incarnation was voiced by none other than Uncle Phil from the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

Illustration © Mark Pingitore

June 25, 2009

Frederator Studios: Drinking and Drawing!

Last night the 2A! gang took a field trip into New York City to attend Drinking and Drawing hosted by Frederator Studios. The theme of the night was "Bikini Zombies" and we all were ready to make some art, crave some brains, and be the best zombie animators we could be.

The event was extremely fun as we drank, drew and mingled with our fellow animators and artists. We each took turns drawing on the giant flip book and making our mark on the walls with our take on the theme. Above and below are my sketches.

Here's Joe's zombie lady.

And last but not least, Mark's hot zombie chick.

It was great going into the city to get our drawing groove on. Thanks again to Frederator for hosting and Carrie Miller who put it all together. We hope to do it again next time the event comes around and encourage you all to do the same!

June 24, 2009

Character Designs: 1800pools.com Bullfrog

Last week week I touched upon the creation of the frog mascot for 1800pools.com's website. Once his design was complete and the commercial work began, it was time to make him a friend! The client wanted a bullfrog with a crankier, more aloof personality to balance the wistfulness of Crazy Legs.

Since we already had a style pinned down, it was really a play in how we could tweak and play with the form and facial expressions of the character.

In the the end the rounder, more nonchalant-looking bullfrog design won over and took his place next to his crazier amphibian counterpart.

But sure to check them in action in the 1800pools.com commercial!

Copyright © 1 800 Pools, LLC.

June 23, 2009

Bang Zoom! Homepage Sketches

While putting together yesterday’s post about our work on the Bang Zoom! Entertainment website, we came across these killer homepage sketches done by our talented pal, Marc Manalli.

Whenever we jump into a new design, whether for a character, background, etc., we always start with rough sketches or loose mock-ups. This allows us to get our ideas across to the client without spending too much time doing final clean-up illustrations. Marc’s spaceport sketches below are a great example of how this works. The client was able to view the various design options, then cherry pick the aspects of each that he liked and wanted to use in the final.

Copyright © Bang Zoom! Entertainment, Inc.

June 22, 2009

Website Design: Bang Zoom! Entertainment

2A! blasts off for outer space with our design work on the Bang Zoom! Entertainment website!

Originally launched in 2007, the website is the online presence of Bang Zoom! Entertainment, a full-service audio post production studio that is best known for their Japanese to English dubbing of properties like Samurai Champloo, Witch Hunter Robin, Gun Grave, and many more.

2A! brought this sci-fi themed Flash site to life by designing the front-end graphics, animating the fun rollovers, and programming the various navigational tools. Check out some more screen shots below...

Copyright © Bang Zoom! Entertainment, Inc.

June 19, 2009

Fun Art Fridays: Octopus Character Design

Occasionally we are met with the challenge of designing characters from the ground up for new projects. This usually results in brainstorming sessions where we sketch a wide variety of characters in an attempt to come up with something that a client likes. Some of these designs, although good, for whatever reason, may never end up being used. This is an unused octopus character that I drew for a recent project and really liked.

Illustration © Mark Pingitore

June 18, 2009

Promotional Video: Bride & Groom Planner!

2A! helps relieve your wedding day stress with a promotional video for Bride & Groom Planner.

The 12-minute Flash animation was created back in 2007, and was used to promote Bride & Groom Planner's website and network of merchants, offering discounts on tons of bridal products and services.

2A! designed and animated this project, which included a mix of character animation and live-action video compositing. We also handled the voice over recording and provided music and sound design. Go us! :P

Below are some more screen shots from the promotional video. Enjoy!

Copyright © Bride & Groom Planner

June 17, 2009

Character Designs: 1800pools.com Mascot

When 2A! was approached by 1800pools.com to design their website and produce an animated commercial for them, we first had to create a character to represent them. They had an idea of a fun and silly frog named "Crazy Legs" that would act as the mascot of the company and star in the commercial spots.

Starting the design process, we were told that the only characteristics that the client specifically wanted were long legs to enhance the silliness of the frog's nature. Of course, this could have been anything stylistically, so I really tried to explore different looks when I did the first round of sketches.

As you can see in the final design below, out of the many options the client picked something a bit more realistic, yet the design still carries that playful nature they wanted from the beginning. Roughs be me, final ink & paints by Mark Pingitore.

Copyright © 1 800 Pools, LLC.

June 15, 2009

Sifaka World Game: Bonzai & Ned!

2A! saves Sifaka World from being overrun by hungry ants in Bonzai & Ned's Anthill Adventure game!

Bonzai (a coati) and Ned (a baby giant anteater) are best buddies who love having picnics in the rainforest. Unfortunately, the rainforest can be a bad place to sit down for a meal, and their picnic is soon invaded by hungry ants. You guide Bonzai through each level while helping Ned suck up all of these irritating insects before they devour your lunch. Be sure to avoid the red ants though... they bite!

2A! designed and created all of the front-end visuals for Bonzai & Ned's Anthill Adventure, as well as animating all of the characters and providing the music for this tasty treat of a game.

Be sure to head over to www.sifakaworld.com to play the game!

Copyright © Sifaka Productions, LLC

June 12, 2009

Fun Art Fridays: Candy Birthday

I have a birthday coming up...a blog birthday actually. When I'm not drawing, designing and animating at 2A!, I spend a lot of my free time eating, writing and photographing candy for my candy blog: The Candy Enthusiast.

I'm pretty obsessed with keeping up with the latest and greatest in the confectionery world, as anyone in the studio can attest to. The one year mark is the first of July, and that's a full 260 candy articles (one for each weekday). Yikes, that's a lot of sugar!

Copyright © Sarah Gencarelli

June 11, 2009

TikiMon Toy Packaging!

2A!’s artwork lands on TikiMon toy packaging!

We’ve talked about our work on Mezco Toyz’ TikiMon Island here in the past, but forgot to mention that our designs were used on the packaging of TikiMon toys everywhere! Choose from five sweet characters including: Bomboo, Indo, Kali, and our personal favorites, Monsoon and Ungowa (pictured above). Each toy comes individually packaged with cool accessories, and of course, our artwork on the card. Get yours while supplies last at: www.mezcotoyz.com

Also, don't forget to check out www.tikimonisland.com to see all of our hard work in action. SWEET!

Copyright © Mezco Toyz, LLC.

June 10, 2009

Background Design: Sifaka World Jungle Floor

Continuing with 2A!'s work on Sifaka World, the second background we had to tackle was the forest floor that players could access from the tree tops.

This background was fun to do as it needed to have several elements. We have to consider that there needed to be pathways to a game, the beach and the tree elevator to the tree tops, as well as a sitting/picnic area for the players to socialize. Since this was going to be a deep, dark jungle floor we needed to find a way to keep that vibe without making it scary and creepy (which jungles often are!).

I took inspiration from the Redwood Forests of northern California for the solution. The Redwood parks often have glen areas, and I knew that sort of set up would work well here. Adding some sun spots, a few benches and a babbling brook really brought the whole area together.

From there color choices were carefully made to balance the rich blue tones of a wet jungle and the brightness needed for the picnic space. We tweaked it quite a few times, playing around with different tones until we finally felt we got the right "feel" as in the final below.

Voila! A jungle playground for Sifaka players was born. Now get yourself over to www.sifakaworld.com and check out all of our artwork in action.

Copyright © Sifaka Productions, LLC.

June 09, 2009

Character Designs: Superhero Oncologist

Here are some pretty cool character designs we did for a client back in 2007. The idea was a Superhero Oncologist that battled evil Cancer Monsters.

Above you’ll see the concept art and final design for the Oncologist character. First is Sarah’s initial sketch (on the left) and then my sketch and final clean-up (on the right). This is another great example of how we work as a team, building off of one another’s artwork.

Above is our first crack at the Cancer Monsters. Initially we were going for a more human looking design -- which progressively got meaner -- however the client wanted to go with something a bit more abstract. Which brings us to the image below…

Sarah really took this dude into a cool direction. While I like the client’s final choice (on the right) something about the top middle guy, bent over with one arm stuck to the ground, really appeals to me. Probably because I watch too many zombie flicks. :P

Check out our Funk Reel to see a clip of the Superhero Oncologist in action!

Copyright © Two Animators! LLP

June 08, 2009

Animation Book Includes Artwork by 2A!

Want to learn more about animation?

Then be sure to check out The Complete Animation Course by Chris Patmore!

Originally released back in 2003, The Complete Animation Course is a great overview of the animation process from storytelling and basic animation principles to high-end techniques and programs. This book is a valuable resource for anyone interested in becoming an animator and a great source of reference for those interested in learning more about the overall process. Plus, it features artwork by 2A! along with many other talented industry professionals!

Copyright © Quatro Inc.

June 05, 2009

Fun Art Fridays: The Goon

I’ve been really getting into Eric Powell’s The Goon comic book series lately, which is published by Dark Horse Comics. It’s a really fun book about a couple of decent-hearted mobsters who have to protect their turf from the evil zombie priest and his legions of undead monsters. Whether the boys are fighting zombies, fish men or evil scientists, Eric Powell keeps the action coming with his clever writing and AMAZING artwork!

Needless to say I felt compelled to try and draw these guys myself. So here you have it! These are the inks... I’ll be coloring the image to post in the coming weeks so keep an eye out! Drawn in Flash.

Illustration © Joe Costantini
The Goon is Copyright © Eric Powell.

June 04, 2009

Flash Atomic Bomb Explosion

2A! needed to create an explosion for a project recently, but didn’t have the time or budget to draw it by hand. So I turned to Flash’s shape tween technology, which I hadn’t used since my days working on The Ruth Truth webisodes at Oxygen Media. I think we were using Flash 3 back then just to give you an idea how long ago it was. Anyway, if you click on the image below you’ll see a pretty cool .swf of what we were able to achieve using shape tweens.

Below is a peek at the Flash timeline for this effect. When using shape tweens it’s important to keep each shape on a separate layer, otherwise the animation won’t work correctly. When all was said and done it took about 90 layers to create this effect.

I know what you're saying... "All that work for a split second explosion?!" Animation in general is a pretty time consuming endeavor, but also really rewarding when something turns out looking the way you wanted.

Copyright © Two Animators! LLP

June 03, 2009

Character Designs: Colgate Characters

When 2A! started work on Colgate's educational video, we had a few different challenges we needed to tackle in pre-production. This project required a fresh new style that we needed to both translate pre-existing characters into as well as create new characters in.

First we needed to tackle the creation of a mother and daughter character for the piece. Above you can see the design sketches I started off with (on the left), then Joe's pass as he tweaked the designs in Flash (in the middle), and lastly a version with no ink line (on the right). From there we got client feedback and were asked to simplify the designs, making them a bit rougher around the edges to fit the "cut paper" style Colgate was looking for.

The other part of the challenge for this piece was taking two of Colgate's pre-existing characters, Dr. Rabbit and his assistant Dr. Brushwell, and translating them into the cut paper style. This posed the design issue of keeping true to the character's visual "essence" while making it feel fresh and new. Many drawings and comments later, we came out with the above finals which we feel work great.

Copyright © Colgate - Palmolive Company

June 02, 2009

Sprint Mobile Series: The Smallie Biggs Show!

Biggity bam! Check it... episodes of The Smallie Biggs Show are now available to watch on YouTube!

2A! animated a total of 36 episodes of this Flash series -- which brought fans the latest gossip from the world of music and entertainment -- for Camp Chaos back in 2007. The show originally aired on Sprint mobile phones as part of the Sprint Power View series. Brought to you by Pepsi!

More episodes are available on our YouTube channel. Biggity out!

Copyright © Sprint

June 01, 2009

Comedy Central Game: Lil' Bush Iraq Hero!

2A! rocks the house with Flash animation for Comedy Central's Lil' Bush Iraq Hero game!

Help Lil' Bush and his band of White House misfits (Lil' Cheney, Lil' Condi, and Lil' Rummy) rock out in this electric guitar extravaganza. Players keep the crowd excited by using their mouse to click on the Lil’ Bush targets... the better your clicking skills the more fired up the crowd becomes and the crazier the band plays. This rad game was originally released at ComedyCentral.com in 2008, and is now also featured at AddictingGames.com.

2A! created all of the Flash character animations of Lil' Bush and the band for Pop. You can check some of them out by clicking on the image below.

Copyright © Comedy Central