July 31, 2009

Fun Art Fridays: Concert Tickets!

An oldie but goodie! Originally sketched last year when I landed tickets to see one of my rock 'n roll idols, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. I felt it appropriate today too, as I will be seeing Dream Theater tonight. I think this drawing captures the feeling of seeing a favorite band live. I can't wait!

Copyright © Sarah Gencarelli

July 30, 2009

Millimeter Magazine Mentions 2A!

2A! got a sweet listing in the July issue of Millimeter Magazine, in their "Directory of Today's Top Animators" resource report! The magazine will be handed out at the Siggraph 2009 conference in New Orleans next week.

Thanks to Millimeter Magazine and Reel-Exchange for the mention!

Also, here's a link to a PDF version, where you can read the entire article.

Copyright © Two Animators! LLP

July 29, 2009

Character Designs: Even More Kremlin Cats

Seeing Joe’s More Kremlin Cats post last week reminded me that I had a few character design sketches of my own to show. I drew these along with the costume concepts I posted about earlier. Both were so much fun to work on, especially at the same time as it got so many cool ideas flowing in my head.

At first I played around with styles that I felt would fit the characters. I was immediately drawn to the idea of Puss 'n Boots, who is a heroic and cavalier type that I saw many parallels to with The Kremlin Cats. I felt that the silhouette of the characters would play a big role in telling all the cats apart, so naturally I tried to find as many different body shapes and sizes.

I had the most fun playing with Chelsie, the only female cat. I wanted to keep her feminine curves while making her seem like a cool tom boy.

You can also check out the final designs here!

Copyright © Two Animators! LLP

July 28, 2009

KidzChores.com: Sneak Peek!

2A! has been hard at work on Kidz Chores, a brand new avatar-based game that lets both kids and parents interact with each other while earning rewards. The beta is scheduled to launch soon, so be sure to check back for more info about this exciting new project.

Copyright © Kidz Chores, Inc.

July 27, 2009

2A! Sketchbook: Angry Bird

Here's a fun sketch I did recently. We're always designing characters for one project or another, and this particual time we needed to come up with some alien designs for a game. Not sure why, but somehow this angry little bird was born. Not quite the alien I had in mind, but a pretty cool dude nonetheless. :P

Copyright © Two Animators! LLP

July 24, 2009

Fun Art Fridays: The Goon Color v2

Here's my second pass at coloring The Goon illustration I've been working on!

I've never considered myself much of a painter -- I normally leave that up to our very talented background painters -- and have always stuck to my comfort zone of cell shading in Flash, which is what I did with The Goon Color v1. However, I've decided it's time to leave old habits behind and change my attitude towards painting. So here's my first pass at trying a more painterly look in Photoshop.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with how this turned out and definitely feel like I've made some progress. I changed some of the colors a bit from the original and really like the way the shading pops in this version. Especially the foreground Zombie hand! (Check out the WIP paints below to compare...)

Having said that, I'll probably do one more pass to try defining the brush strokes better and possibly lose the ink lines altogether... Mark insists they’re just getting in the way. :P

Until then... Enjoy!

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

July 23, 2009

Character Designs: More Kremlin Cats

As promised, here are some more sketches I drew while working on The Kremlin Cats. While these aren’t the final designs, they definitely helped me work through some possible looks for the characters. Plus, I really dig how they all turned out.

First up is my initial take on Manny and Nikki, done in more of what I would call the "2A! studio" style… cute, short, round-eyed little guys. I’m always amused at the odd times I’m inspired to draw. I can’t remember where I was, but as you can see in the upper left corner, I drew Manny with a pen on some notebook paper. I’m guessing I wasn’t in the studio. ;)

Next up is my second pass on the character designs. While everyone liked the first round, the characters came off as being too young, so I was asked to age them up some more. This time I went for a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, action/adventure feel. The cats are definitely older here and ready to start some trouble.

Below is a sheet of Manny version 2, from pencil sketch to Flash color mock-up.

Again, everyone liked my second round, but thought I may have gone a little too old. So back to the drawing board I went to come up with the final designs which you can check out here.

Also, be sure to check out Sarah’s costume designs here. They're sweet!

Copyright © Two Animators! LLP

July 22, 2009

Production Design: Farewell, Manga Squad Coloring

When 2A! worked on Farewell, Manga Squad for Sony Pictures Entertainment and Camp Chaos, we had lots of techniques to practice so we could get that Anime look. One of the most challenging, and fun, was the detailed color job on each of the characters.

One of the things that sets the Anime style apart from most American cartoons is the level of detail they use in their coloring. Normally we use two colors, a flat base color and a darker shadow color. However, Anime tends to have multiple shadow and highlight layers of color. While this adds to the detail of the piece, it also adds to the difficulty of the overall animation production.

Once the key frames were inked, I went through each one and laid in all of the outlines for the shadows and highlights (pictured above). Working on the key frames first is important to help keep things in focus. Next, I went through and in-betweened all of the outlines for the in-between drawings to make sure the shadows and highlights moved correctly with the character.

Above you can see a final ink and color of Rainbow, the girl on the left. The other character on the right, Rocket, is awaiting a full color job on his key drawing, where the shadows and highlights will be added. While this process was very intricate and time consuming, I really enjoyed myself while doing it. I'm hoping for the opportunity to do this again as it was really fun to flex my coloring muscles in a Japanese-type style. :)

Copyright © Sony Pictures Entertainment

July 21, 2009

Character Designs: Westley & Buttercup

As Joe mentioned in yesterday's post, we were asked to create cartoon versions of The Princess Bride characters for the 20th anniversary DVD. Above are my designs of Westley and Buttercup. I went with a kind of big-headed caricature style, which I've always been a fan of. It can be difficult to get a likeness when trying to do a caricature of anyone, but after some trial and error I was happy with how they came out, especially Cary Elwes.

Copyright © Two Animators! LLP

July 20, 2009

Character Designs: The Princess Bride!

2A! did some work for the 20th anniversary release of The Princess Bride on DVD back in 2007. Our work mainly consisted of conceptual and production art for the DVD extras. Above are some of my sketches for the proposed look of the cartoon version characters. They ended up going with a completely different look in the end, but I'm still pretty happy with how these turned out.


Copyright © Two Animators! LLP

July 17, 2009

Fun Art Fridays: Tonight I Dine On Turtle Soup

As promised, I'm back with the latest addition to my 80's villain sketch.

This week's update is "The Shredder" from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I mostly based my design on his cartoon appearence, but added some details from the comic and the first movie as well. I liked the backstory that the movie had behind why he wears his mask, and the scars on Shredder's face, so I included them here. I also tried to give his face more of an Asian look. Shredder was sorely missed in the last TMNT movie, and I'm hoping to see him again if another one is made.

Next time I'll be adding a certain villain who shared his voice with Starscream from The Transformers cartoon.

Illustration © Mark Pingitore

July 16, 2009

Frederator Studios: Drink & Draw Animation!

Let loose the Bikini Zombies!

It's finally here! Frederator Studios just posted the video from their June 24th Drink & Draw shindig today. The 2A! gang was in attendance to get our party on and contribute to the animation, so be sure to check out the video. I promise our artwork is in there somewhere. :P

You can also check out our lovely wall doodles by clicking here. If you dare... Mwahahahaha! Enjoy!

July 15, 2009

Character Design: Sifaka World Mascot Part II

Inspired by Joe's Monday post, here are my development sketches for Sifaka World's mascot, Kintana!

When we started work on Sifaka World, both Joe and I jumped onto the character design process. We find that working together is very productive as our sketches often serve as an inspiration to push things further and explore better design ideas.

Overall, my designs were a little more realistic than Joe's and his sketches helped me try and be more cartoony with the drawings. Elements of these sketches did influence the original, so even if none of these never made it to the final stage, they served as an important springboard to get to that final piece. My favorite of the bunch is the one wearing the sunglasses. He's so cool!

Copyright © Sifaka Productions, LLC

July 14, 2009

Planned Parenthood Educational Video!

2A! teams up with Flickerlab to help Planned Parenthood educate the masses about pregnancy.

Below are some screenshots from an educational video we animated back in 2005 called, How Pregnancy Happens. The short features Peter and Mina, two comedic hosts who educate viewers about the facts and myths of pregnancy.

2A! animated this 4-minute Flash short for Flickerlab, who wrote and produced. We also designed the backgrounds as well as pitching in to help with character re-designs.

Head over to our YouTube channel to watch the full video. You'll need to sign in to view it. ;)

Copyright © Planned Parenthood

July 13, 2009

Character Design: Sifaka World Mascot

When 2A! started working on Sifaka World, we had to first start by thinking about how the characters would look. After all, it’s the great assortment of wildlife cartoon characters that really brings this MMO to life. Once we nailed the character style, we’d be able to design the rest of the world around it. So here is the very first character we tackled. He is a "Sifaka" named "Kintana" and he’s the official Sifaka World mascot.

Below are a few of the whacky designs I was playing around with. Of these, I really liked the top left and bottom right sketches.

Here are some of the various heads and faces I concocted. Starting from the top left, you can follow the progression to the final head on the bottom right. Sometimes you just have to keep sketching until you get something you’re happy with. Also, if I feel like I hit a road block, I jump around not only with colors, but also mediums (Flash, Sketchbook Pro, good old Pencil & Paper).

This next sheet is funny, because the client originally wanted more “realistic” proportions, which looks a bit whacky to me in hindsight. Luckily, we pitched them going with shorter, stubbier characters.

That brings us to the final mascot design below. I'm very happy with how this little guy turned out. He's definitely one of my favorite Sifaka World characters!

Don't forget to head over to www.sifakaworld.com to see this guy in action!

Copyright © Sifaka Productions, LLC

July 10, 2009

Fun Art Fridays: World of Warcraft Shadow Priest

Ok, I have to come clean here. I am one of the 12 million players of The World of Warcraft. There's little that makes me relax as much after a day at work as going and feeling like a hero in a video game. I'm always really impressed and inspired by the design that goes into WoW, and I often find myself sketching and doodling away on fanart in my free time. This is a sketch of a character I know well, a Night Elf Shadow Priest. I'm hoping to make it into a desktop at some point, as I think it'd look pretty sweet!


Copyright © Sarah Gencarelli

July 09, 2009

Sifaka World Game: Monkey Trouble!

2A! goes bananas designing Monkey Trouble for Sifaka World!

Monkeys are always getting into trouble and that's no different in this fast-paced game based on the arcade classic, Arkanoid. Your job is to help a trio of Vervet Monkeys gather bananas with their new trampoline. Use the arrow keys to guide your monkeys back and forth and bounce your way to collecting all the bananas. Watch out for the Leopard, Eagle, and Snake though, as they'll scare your monkeys into dropping you.

2A! designed and created all of the front-end visuals for Monkey Trouble, as well as animating all of the characters and providing music and sound design for this fun take on a classic game.

Be sure to head over to www.sifakaworld.com to check it out!

Copyright © Sifaka Productions, LLC

July 08, 2009

Costume Designs: The Kremlin Cats

I love doing costume design, so Joe naturally turned to me to help out when 2A! was asked to develop the look of The Kremlin Cats’ costumes. Before diving into concepts though, I had a few interesting dilemmas to overcome.

First, the script called for costumes that looked both futuristic, yet historic at the same time. Second, the descriptions included a mix of styles that seemed to pull from many different cultures. Third, was the functionality of the clothing, as each outfit was supposed to be full of hidden buttons, traps, and gadgets for the cats to use during their adventures. Finally, we wanted to make sure the costumes exuded a cohesive “team” feel that was easily recognizable.

I started by pulling references and inspiration from Russia, Cavalier-era France and Art Deco flight suits. I wanted to capture a sense of romance with the costumes, while making them feel heroic and a bit “steampunk” at the same time. Below are just a few of the concepts I mocked up.

In the end, elements of each of these designs made it to the streamlined finals, but I feel each one stands pretty solidly on its own. Plus, I was really able to play with the costume design for The Kremlin Cats, so it was a total blast for me to work on!

Copyright © Two Animators! LLP

July 07, 2009

Character Designs: The Kremlin Cats

2A! was recently asked to help redesign some of Debby Carman's characters... more specifically the feline characters from her book titled, The Nutcracker Cats of the Kremlin.

Our main goal was to take her colorful, child-friendly style and age it up a bit for a slightly older audience. We also wanted to unify the costumes, making for a more cohesive team, while also pushing the cartoony fun of the character's themselves. Below are my color-mocks of the five main characters: Manny, Chelsie, Rikki, Sox, and Nikki.

As you can see, I first focused on nailing down the individual character personalities and looks. Once that was done I could move onto designing the costumes, which I turned to Sarah for help with. Once costumes were designed, I then started rotating the characters. I did this in the same way, where I turned the characters around first, then went back and overlaid their costumes afterwards.

After all the design work was done with the characters we could have some fun playing around with possible scenes. The rough layout and background paints for this shot were done by Sarah, while the colored character art was done by me.

Be sure to check back tomorrow to see some of Sarah's costume design sketches! Plus, I have more Kremlin Cats development sketches to post in the near future too.

Copyright © Two Animators! LLP

July 06, 2009

Sony Animated Series: Farewell, Manga Squad!

2A! joins the Manga Squad!

Farewell, Manga Squad is an original anime series created for Sony Pictures Entertainment by our friends at Camp Chaos. To date, a total of three episodes have been produced with talks of a possible full series run in the works.

2A! handled all of the 2D animation production, including character, prop and effects animations, and background designs and paints, as well as compositing the 3D robots and space ship exteriors (animated by Huminah Huminah) into the final piece for delivery.

Our fingers are crossed for a full series run, because the episodes look pretty awesome if we don't say so ourselves! ;)

Copyright © Sony Pictures Entertainment

July 03, 2009

Fun Art Fridays: The Goon Color v1

So here's my first pass at coloring The Goon drawing I did a few weeks back.

I drew it in Flash, so I went ahead and colored the characters in Flash too, then exported the image in layers and added some effects in Photoshop. It looks pretty cool, but maybe too "vector" at this point. I definitely want to try a more painterly version of the colors in the near future, so be sure to check back!

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

July 02, 2009

Sifaka World Game: Dr. Fizzlesticks!

2A! saves Sifaka World from crazed critters in the action packed Dr. Fizzlesticks game!

Oh, no! Dr. Fizzlestick’s latest lab experiment has gone horribly wrong, turning Sifaka World’s once friendly forest animals into giant mutant monsters! Playing as Dr. Fizzlestick’s odd lab assistant (an Aye-aye), you must escape the lab, reverse the effects of the doctor’s potions, and eventually rescue the doctor himself from the grips of madness. Complete all three levels in each world, rescuing as many mutated forest creatures as you can along the way.

2A! created all of the front-end visuals for this side-scrolling action game, including character and background designs, animation, music and sound effects.

Check out some more screenshots below, then head over to www.sifakaworld.com to play the game!

Copyright © Sifaka Productions, LLC

July 01, 2009

Character Designs: 1800pools.com Dog

Last but not least, we have the final character design 2A! created for the 1800pools.com commercial spot.

When we started production, we were presented with a rough concept for the story's progression. The client wanted to have a dog that would scare Crazy Legs into the pristine pool (that we all wished was in our own backyards) with his super barks. So I first started by playing with different breeds of dogs since they didn't specify as to one they preferred.

We were all immediately drawn to the funny looking pug dog, so I did a cleaner sketch and color mock-up to make sure he fit into the style of the commercial.

From there we moved directly into the animation where final ink and paints were made for the keys. It was fun playing with the movement and expressions of the dog so close to the design phase, as the idea was still very fresh in my mind.

Also, be sure to check out our designs for Crazy Legs and his Bullfrog buddy!

Copyright © 1 800 Pools, LLC.