Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Finding a "Happy Place"

Mid-2012 I got call to develop an animated childrens' show based on the New York Times bestselling book 7 Habits for Happy Kids by Sean Covey and Stacy Curtis for Kaleidoscope Pictures.

I was already familiar with Stacy's great watercolor and ink illustrations. He's got amazing sensitivity and humor in his characters - the challenge to mimic his style made me excited about the project. I contacted Stacy to get his blessing and ask if I could use him as a consultant. Here are a few of his personal sketches I love.

My director wanted to remain as faithful to Stacy's style as possible, but ensure that assets could be used effectively in a 2.5D AfterEffects pipeline. After brief experimentation we arrived at a combination of vector drawn linework with high res digital watercolor textures like those at the top of the page. To clarify the character's silhouette against the background we reduced the grain in  the linework - but secretly that's one thing I loved about Stacy's original artwork.

For each of the main characters I created a 6 point turnaround with hand, head and expression variations. Ira Baker created some truly dynamic AE rigs for them.
I also created some art and rigs for secondary characters like this bee. I focused on getting a broad expression range that could also aid in the speech phoneme shapes 

Up next : Establishing an environment, prop and FX library. 


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