Dec 21, 2010

Martian Marc

This is a big one.

I regularly listen to a podcast called 'WTF', hosted by comedian Marc Maron. I'd go as far as to say it's my favorite podcast on the whole darn internet. I love it mainly for its host, Mr. Marc Maron himself. He's got a wonderful rapport with all his guests and I appreciate his perspective on the world and his way with words.

A while back I was listening to an episode that really caught my attention: The beginning features Marc reading off psychological symptoms from a lengthy checklist. What made this bit soar is that he would fire off little improvised reactions to EACH ITEM on that list. It was rapid-fire, witty, and charming. I daydreamed about what it would be like to construct a bit of animation based on that audio.

Fast-forward to a few weeks later, where I've got a sparkling new piece of animation to show you all. I ran with the idea of a character reading off a checklist of conditions and quickly reacting to each one. I took the idea a step further and had him pop to a new environment for every reaction. I wanted to make this feel pretty manic overall, while still anchoring the 'reading' sections so the audience still knows what's going on. So here's how it all came together:

First up, here's the actual piece:

(YouTube is cutting off the right side off this video. To see the full thing, go here)

Here's the initial character comp:

Here's a sampling of the rough pose sketches:

After I chose my favorite poses, I scanned them in, popped them into AfterEffects, and edited them with the dialogue. Here's the final rough pose test:

(Again, to see the full-frame version, go here)

Here are some of the mouth shapes made to match those poses:

A sampling of the different backgrounds I used:

After that was all compiled I popped it back into AfterEffects for some final text/effects work (mainly on the jetpack). Overall it was a lengthy process, but also a very important learning experience. Thanks to my buddies Bob and Ian for giving me so much support and invaluable tips along the way.

Until next time.


Melisa Des Rosiers said...

Awesome lil animation. The movement of the mouth with the words seemed pretty spot on and I really enjoyed the movement and reactions of the little character. ^^

winscdo said...

I like the feeling of emptiness face. I think Mark Maron said he doesn't like animation so I would like to see his reaction to a martian cartoon of himself.

boob said...

Right on. Great to see you work this out on your own with a real sense of structure. Listen, design, pose, board, animatic, animate scene by scene, etc. There's a blueprint for animation and ya just don't get to see it executed in this way all the time. AND, more than that, knowing what you're getting into, knowing your limits, and seeing a project through to completion. With the hang ups we run into at work and at any studio, it's relieving that something got made without any real hitch. And prioritizing things and comments, getting something out of it for yourself, there was a lot that inspired me just from a distance here.

I hadn't seen it with the little title card here and that adds a lot actually. It's packaging for the schmoes (like me) who hardly know what a "podcast" is. This is something based on audio from something in a series. Got it.

Animation is fun. Time for bed.

winscdo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
winscdo said...

I just listened to the episode this came from. I think you should add the part with the diagnosis machine at the end that says "You're fucked up". Based on seeing the steps of your process it seems like it would be pretty painless.