Well, this project fell on my freaking lap. I don't even know what else I can say about that.
I've been a huge fan of Viceland's Party Legends for a long time. You can imagine my surprise when I woke up one morning to a random email from Galen Pehrson, one of my favorite independent animators/directors asking about working on one of its episodes.
It wasn't just any episode, either. It was in 2D. And we were to animate Big Boi from Outkast talking about an experience on psychedelics. Wait, what?! Is this real life?!?!e
My first shot was basically a test. Galen and his team work with a different program than me...meaning, they work digitally with an actual program. I work on paper, just straight up paper.
It's not that I can't animate in a program, but I'm the fastest on paper. I couldn't believe how lucky I was when I was told that the technique didn't matter, and that I could continue to work with a physical medium. That kind of freedom never happens, but it did this time!
I was given an easy background character to start with. At first, I was going to animate and then digitally clean up my own shots. I did not use a very high quality paper for this shot because I didn't need the detail to clean up my own work.
The test went over so well that instead of doing cleanup afterward which I thought I would, I only did character animation. I completed a total of five shots for the episode despite joining the team very late in production.
I switched to a very high quality ingram after my first shot to ensure that my line quality would hold up, and that I could tie down the drawings better for the cleanup team. I wanted to give Big Boi's hair a bit of a bounce, so I added the FX animation afterward. The finished version of this shot has two very long holds, one for when he is inhaling the cigar, and the second is of the exhale. Luckily for me, the smoke was already animated previously which saved me a ton of time with this one.
I love the way the finished (colored) version came out. It's actually the thumbnail for the episode itself!
Here are two others, short and sweet of Big Boi getting trashed.
I thought the FX in this one were also fun, despite the Ellipses. Ohhhh ellipses! You'd think after animating on Cuphead, they'd be easier. One day I will wake up and they won't phase me.
The most challenging and favorite shot I got to work on was the Deer. This one was my very first transformation / hallucination shot. My only instructions were to turn the deer into a green army man, but aside from that, I had creative control over this one. I thought it would be really cool to have the deer's antlers turn into the gun since technically, antlers and guns are both weapons.
For the most part, it was straight-ahead and was a mixture of 2's and 1's. The final .mov was 8 seconds long!
To cleanup and compositing, whoever you guys were, bless your hearts. Only time can tell if the technique can still hold up for TV production or not. The important part is that it got done on time and it looked great.
I realize that by having a preference to paper animation, it's possible that I could miss some gigs here and there. Yet here we are. It's projects like this that make me realize that traditional animation, even on paper is not close to being dead as some of the suits and jaded people like to say.
When you turn in a shot, and you are met with crazy excitement about how cool the hand drawn technique looks, you can't help but do a validation dance. I have determined that my happy animator dance is more like a spazzy hop in place.
I should probably animate it.
In closing, my director was so rad and I'm more than grateful that I got to work with him.
Here is a small collection of his works:
I hope you all get a chance to watch this episode! It's quite trippy!