Thursday, June 26, 2014

Cardboard animation for Google!

A few weeks ago, I got a call to work as an animation director on a project for Google and jumped at the chance! Google's got a bit of a legendary status as a cool place to work and I wanted to try out some of the cafeteries on their campus at the Googleplex in Mountainview, CA. Nick Carbonaro, a talented director that I worked with on a series of Ronzoni commercials, would be directing this spot and remembered me from our previous work together.

I brought the incredible Musa Brooker along for the ride to animate with me on the spot. We were total tourists when we got to Google:

We actually shot the spot up in Sonoma with Colin Blackshear & Josh Livingston with a crazy moco camera rig at their production house, Film Country. Director of photography was David Jacobson.

Check out the Cardboard app for Android.

The animation ended up being a demo for Google's Cardboard. The big surprise of Google i/o Conference this week, Cardboard is literally a package made of cardboard that unfolds into VR goggles that will work for your Android phone.

Photo courtesy of @sree_raman

You can scroll down the page HERE to step through the animation.

Musa at work.

Google's gotten the ball rolling and I'm really excited to see where developers are going to take this from here...

Friday, June 13, 2014

WWE Slam City: Brawny Wrestlers vs. Mundane Day Jobs

From October last year through this past April, I got the pleasure to be part of the crew making WWE Slam City. Slam City's a web/TV series based on a series of WWE toys that Mattel has released. In the show, the mysterious Finisher has kidnapped Vince McMahon and fired all of the Superstars, forcing them all to find ridiculous day jobs.

While I remember watching a little of Hulk Hogan's Rock 'N' Wrestling in my youth, I was never a huge wrestling fan. Despite my lack of wrestling knowledge, this series managed to strike a chord with me and I came away really loving my time on it. It turned out to be a great mix of absurdist humor and Looney Tunes style gags and was a lot of fun to animate.

The series was produced by my old friends at Stoopid Buddy Stoodios and directed by Harry Chaskin. It's got a great look to it, using silicone puppets and 3D printed faces with replacement mouths.

Harry and I try on burlesque gloves as a way to avoid fingerprints on puppets.

Kelsey Stillmaker and Harry destory the illusion of forced perspective.

For this season, I took on a new role as a scheduler/problem solver/coordinator type as well as doing a lot of animation for it. Definitely two very different parts of my brain at work, but it was a fun challenge.

As well as appearing on the WWE Network, Hulu, and YouTube, Slam City will also be appearing on JumboTrons at live wrestling events! (After the Orioles and Lions animation, JumboTron stop motion seems to be becoming a bit of a niche!)

Here are a couple of episodes:

Be on the lookout for the second half of the first season, starting back up on August 11th...