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From Thin Air - Making a Promo (Part 1)

Character Models and a Thumbnail Storyboard

Character Models and a Thumbnail Storyboard

Have you ever wondered what goes into making one of our award winning (ha) promotional videos? No? Oh. Well…would you want to learn anyway? Just keep reading if the answer is “yes” or press the back button on your browser if the answer is “no”.

Thanks for staying!

Step 1

Stand in the shower and waste copious amounts of hot water while your brain muscles start the creative process. Now, it is very important that the water is running. Without the nagging feeling that you’re wasting something so precious to other countries, you won’t feel the pressure to deliver results. Even the smallest kernel of an idea is a good enough start. At this point, feel free to turn off the water.

Step 2

Here, we like to scribble down that tidbit we found in the shower. No, I don’t mean the dried clump of shampoo that squirted against the wall when you tried to use the pump. I mean the idea that the rest of your promo is going to grow from!

Grab a notebook, a Kleenex, or even write on the foggy bathroom mirror (just don’t be angry when the ink evaporates with the steam). Write your idea so it can start to incubate.

A Thumbnail Storyboard.

A Thumbnail Storyboard.

Step 3

Now comes the visualization! We like to grab some graph paper to outline some thumbnails in a grid fashion. The small size of the thumbnails keeps us from focusing on too much detail. You really want to outline the story here. Don’t even focus too much on what the characters are going to look like - just get a working idea!

Step 4

Here’s the point where you can start working out your characters. Sometimes this takes us weeks to do and sometimes we love the first attempt (like what happened here with Tom).

Our Character Model of Tom. It’s rare but we were happy with our first go at this little vegetable. Fruit? Legume? Who even knows?

Our Character Model of Tom. It’s rare but we were happy with our first go at this little vegetable. Fruit? Legume? Who even knows?

Give your character some turnarounds (a front view, a profile view, a 3/4 view, falling out of a spaceship view). Try out different emotions. Stretch him to the limits in case something catches your eye. Hate him entirely? Draw a new character beating the old one mercilessly.

To be Continued…

Hopefully this is a good spot to leave you at for now! Look out for Part 2 where we tackle an Animatic (moving storyboard) to get our timing all set! Then come the backgrounds and the start of our animating!