A couple years ago, I had a great time working on a series of spots for a very popular (in Korea) game called Lineage. The anthem spot was about a minute long and had lots of action and fun characters, and it’s the subject of this post.
The story goes- we find our hero protagonist “Bugbear” in the middle of a battlefield, who breaks the 4th Wall and calls out to us, the viewer, to witness he and his compatriots, with their powers combined, topple the evil Death Knight! Though victory may be short lived- that’s the law of the land around these parts. Witness!
And, here’s the final spot!
This spot had it all- fun characters, action, humor, sex appeal. I love the sense of escalation, and the the way the final product came out is just really awesome- you can really see the quality in the craftsmanship of the animators and designers. Such a great team! Here’s some cool detail shots before you go:
Here’s a very fun project I did a while back, that I’m excited to share- storyboards for the First 5 California “Brainy Birds” commercial, which was part of their Talk, Read, Sing! campaign. Basically: talk, read, and sing to your kids, and watch their little brains grow! What a fun message. And I can attest (I’m a new dad myself), kids soak up your words pretty quick, and you gotta watch what you say! Lol!!
There were a lot of challenges on this project- very tight timeline, multiple layers of client approval, and of course, character designs and music lyrics all undergoing revisions as I’m drawing the boards- sometimes it’s like trying to hit a moving target! But I’m used to it, so it never phases me. I still had fun with it, and I’m sure that comes through in my drawings. One particular storyboard issue when blending live action with animation, is whether or not the “animated” parts should be drawn differently from the “live action” parts- like how do you make the animated part of a shot look different from live action, when it’s all “drawn” by nature of the fact it’s a drawing to begin with? But in this case, only the bird characters were animated, so it’s wasn’t as much an issue. At some point, people have to use their imaginations.
I really enjoy working on animated projects as well, and drawing happy families for me is a snap, so even with all the known and unknown unknowns, I remember this being a fun project.
You’re a manly man, and you need a manly ATV to help with all your manly tasks. John Deere’s Gator is for you.
I worked on this project late in 2013 as I was moving into my house- I remember that time vividly as it was extremely cold in my workshed studio and I didn’t even have internet access hooked up yet, so I was completely focused on the work at hand.
This project was 3 spots, :30 each. That’s a lot of work. But when projects are grouped together like this, I tend to work at greater efficiency, and get more frames done per day than I normally might if say, I was working on three unrelated spots.
What else… I found the ATV’s very forgiving to draw, on account of their boxy-wireframeish design- not like say, a corvette, which has complex curves and an iconic silhouette. And drawing landscape/wilderness backgrounds are pretty forgiving as well, since you don’t have to worry about perspective as much, and the locations can be much more vague. You can see how I simplify my forests in the background using broad strokes, and even instill a sense of speed into the shot, using strokes that not only describe the product but also its kinetics.
This client (the director) always does a great job of writing detailed shot lists and describing the camera angles and compositions, and even specifies the focal lengths, which I strive to achieve in my storyboards, and the result is a very cinematic feel that most commercial boards wouldn’t quite have. I really appreciate it when the directors I work with are passionate about the shots and the visual storytelling, and recognize the storyboarding process as an important step in realizing their vision. The more precise they can describe what they need, the better the boards will be.
Below, you’ll find the storyboard frames alternating with the final commercial videos, for all 3 spots. Enjoy!
Here’s a cool project- Amazon’s new paperwhite Kindle Reader, the Voyage, is so paper-realistic, you just can’t believe it’s not paper. And thus, the commercial for this device is a kind of paper-craft 3d papery world with classic print text on the paper. Paper.
I did a lot of storyboards/concept frames for this spot- it was kind of a tough job because the turnaround on these frames were very tight, and the client notes would come in late and be due before morning. So that’s kinda stressful when you’ve been working all day on another project and you have another booking the next day. That equals no sleep. BUT you get to do the touchdown dance when the job gets awarded and eventually you see the kick-ass commercial online when you’re just searching youtube for funny Buzzfeed clips.
Stylistically, these boards needed to be spot on- everything’s paper origami, with text on it, with a low depth of field look to it, and so the design and composition of these frames is everything. So loose sketches are not gonna work. Luckily, I have worked on a few papercraft projects in the past, and I know a trick or two to brush on text to an image, so I was able to pull of some pretty involved concepts without taking too long. And, there were a few other artists on the project as well (produced at MIRADA), who were able to clearly establish the look of this world before I came on board, so at least the foundation work was there for me to explore. Here’s the boards (some of these shots didn’t make the final, but they look cool, so I’ve included them):
This spot looks GREAT to me and I’m really proud to be a part of it! Final video below. Enjoy!
Here’s some storyboards I did a few years back- 2011 or thereabouts. Very humorous story- we see a young woman suffering from a sports injury apply a little BENGAY to the site of the pain- and we zoom in and provide a visual explanation of how the product works to cool and numb the affliction: millions of tiny snowmen bombard the sore muscles and knead them to relaxation, as a yeti ice-skates majestically and judges the ice-sculpting competition being held at an arctic research facility. That’s cold!
You’ll notice there’s a spot of color in these boards- that’s not something I’m usually asked to do, but sometimes it helps the boards read a bit better with these far-out concepts. Obviously, I didn’t have much time at all to color them, but did my best in the brief window they provided.
This was a cool project because of all the various artists that got involved to contribute ideas for character and set designs- I was involved very early in the process, and you can tell from the final product that a lot of work went into developing the animation and design work. See the final video below!