Making of the Disney XD ident by Blue Zoo
As part of DisneyXD U.S’s on air branding, they ask their favorite animators from around the world to create a bespoke animation for a channel ID. The briefs are completely open, as long as they are a bit off the wall, lots of fun and full of character.
When Disney asked us to make one, we jumped at the chance! Here’s what we made, and how we did it…
Concept / Design
Simone Giampaolo, a Blue Zoo animation director came up with the concept of a frantically eager inky stained sponge whose single mission is to jump into a tank of water, to create the XD logo.
With the help of artist Joe Kinch the character started to take shape, with a very simple but unique shape.
In order to create a 15 second animation which was full of energy and fun, but still told a mini-story, getting the storyboard & animatic right was essential.
Given the tight timescale of just a few weeks for the whole project, we wouldn’t have time to re-do shots and fix them later.
Modelling / Animation / Rigging
To get an anarchic, frenzied animation it was vital to create a sturdy character rig, which the animators could use to really stretch the limbs into a wide range of extreme poses. Our rigging TD extraordinaire Anthony Delliste did a superb job!
Below is an early layout version of the animation, from this we could see that the slapstick trip-up wasn’t over-the-top enough, so we had to crank it up a notch.
Rendering & Compositing
Initially the concept was to create a more abstract mixed-media character style, but we decided to go for a more realistic & tactile sponge texture which played into the story more. This simpler style also gave the piece a much bolder look.
Utilising real footage of ink dispersing in water tanks, Tom Flavelle composited the XD logo swirling into view, this allowed us to get a highly detailed liquid look in a fraction of the time than using CG simulations.
No animation is complete without an awesome bit of sound to complement it. We called on the talents of Zelig Sound, to craft an audio track that mixed organic, liquidy sounds with contemporary, technological feel – and they totally nailed it. And the final animation Above.
Client: Disney XD (US)
Animation Studio: Blue Zoo www.blue-zoo.co.uk
Concept & Direction: Simone Giampaolo
Executive Producers: Tom Box, Damian Hook
Production Manager: Chantal Robbins
Pre-production: Joe Kinch
Modelling: Dave Hunt, Tom Flavelle, Pietro Licini
Rigging: Anthony Delliste
Layout & Animation: Simone Giampaolo
Texturing, Lighting & Compositing: Tom Flavelle
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