New eCard – Race Car Birthday

Screen Shot 2014-03-03 at 4.02.42 PM

Know a Speed Racer with an upcoming birthday? Say it with a race car! Check out Race Car Birthday, made by the incredulous Reza Iman.

They’re perfect for the NASCAR lover in your life, or just the crazy driver.

And as quickly as the greeting began, speed away with your well wishes left behind!

JibJab voiceover extraordinaire, Jim Meskimen, stars in The Impression Guys!

jim_meskimen

Ever wondered who does some of those awesome voices for JibJab’s Year In Reviews and originals? Meet Jim Meskimen, voice-over guy extraordinaire, who’s lent his talents to Bush’s and McCain’s voices, among many others, for JibJab videos. Jim is the voice behind some of our biggest hits, including but not limited to This Land and Time for Some Campaignin’. To see more of Jim’s work, check out this blog post, and his IMDb!

And now, the super-talented Jim is starring in a web series called The Impression Guys, a YouTube original HALF-HOUR series presented by SOULPANCAKE. All New Episodes of Season 1 air every Monday! As if Jim’s presence wasn’t enough, The Impression Guys is also being called the “best online-video series of 2014″ and “one of the freshest concepts to come along lately”.

Screen Shot 2014-02-24 at 1.11.52 PM

Watch it here, subscribe, and be sure to tune in to see new episodes every Monday!

Rapping Leprechauns & The Bustin’ O’ The Rhymes

50cBNOoxSyTuC4YTGgAP_D7g

What better way to celebrate the luck of the Irish than with tiny rapping leprechauns? Check out the latest in the St. Patrick’s Day lineup of JibJab eCards — Leprechaun Rap!

Cast five leprechauns in this Irish hip-hop number and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with the bustin’ o’ the rhymes. It’s the perfect tribute to the Irish tradition, but be sure to keep your hands away from their pots of gold!

Do a river-break-dance with your mischievous crew and send Leprechaun Rap today!

Also check out the St. Pat’s Hats dance to cast your favorite leprechaun sharing a little St. Paddy’s Day spirit, and I am a unicorn for that one friend who always takes St. Patrick’s Day celebrations to the limit.

29QU7HG6GMQea-sYPSCsobww76nUyewifJSRmeMs7QaGrXrQ

New eCard – Sloth Birthday

sloth_birthday

Forget someone’s birthday? Make it better with Sloth Birthday! Let them know that your intentions were pure, but your timing was a little off.

It’s the thought that counts, even if it’s a little late, and show them that you care with an adorable sloth. After all, who could be mad at this face?

Send Sloth Birthday!

Need a last minute Valentine’s Day gift?

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, but never fear! JibJab’s got you covered.

Show how you care by creating a Starring You Video featuring you and your sweetheart, singing popular songs and dancing the night away. Choose your flavor, from the Sexy Strip Tease to the 80s classic Let’s Get Physical to our adorable new video, Higher and Higher. Let your loved one know “You’re The One That I Want!”

physical

youretheone















JibJab videos are the perfect last minute, inexpensive gift for your special someone or that certain someone you’d like to be your valentine. It’s a better approach than some:

Check out the whole collection of JibJab Valentine’s Day videos at www.jibjab.com/valentines.

Behind the Scenes of Higher and Higher

In our newest Starring You Valentine’s Day video, Higher and Higher, our production team took this video to new heights. It was a labor of love to turn this dream into reality!

It all started with an animatic:

To achieve flight, it was suggested that maybe we just wing it, and string ourselves from the ceilings. Fortunately, we decided against that, and ended up hiring a crew to set up a metal frame, a mechanical lift, and harnesses for us. They were on site all day to help with the shoot, constantly raising and lowering our artists playing lovebirds, Jeff and Lauren, between takes. The team had different attachments for the lift, depending on what kinds of shots needed to be done (one or two people, spinning, etc). It was awesome to have such a professional crew helping us!

Screen Shot 2014-01-27 at 3.38.31 PM

It was important to grab two artists without a fear of heights. For Jeff, it was his first time being hooked up to wires. While it was fun he doesn’t think he’ll be doing it again anytime soon — not so much for the fear of heights, but more because of the incredibly uncomfortable harness!

Lauren likes heights, and planes, and climbing things, so it really wasn’t a problem for her. But, after being strung up in a harness for 12 hours, she was pretty sore and bruised. It was manageable, but definitely exhausting. The most difficult part was spinning, as she got pretty nauseous at one point! Overall, it was a pretty awesome experience to be dancing in formal attire and flying from the ceiling. As shooting commenced, both Jeff and Lauren agreed that it was nice to be on ground again.

Screen Shot 2014-01-27 at 3.40.06 PM

After all the shooting had taken place, it was time to animate! The end result is truly lovely and is perfect for your sweetheart! Send Higher and Higher before the big day, or check out JibJab’s entire collection of Valentine’s videos!

Lift love higher and higher — or shoot it down — with new Valentine’s Day eCards!

Roses are being arranged and Cupid is honing his aim, which can only mean one thing — Valentine’s Day is on its way!

Show your special someone that you care this season with our brand new Higher and Higher Starring You Video! It’s the perfect way to show how their love makes you feel as if you’re on cloud nine.

Higher

Celebrating Singles Awareness Day instead? Shoot down Cupid and show your spite with our Anti-Valentines, like with another brand new eCard, Burning Love. After a hard day of showing your VDay disdain, remember to treat yourself, with Chocolates For Youself, celebrating the most important valentine of them all — yourself!

Burning_LoveChocolates









Be sure to check out all of our Valentine’s Day cards.

New eCard – Spacey Birthday

spacey_card

Know a space fanatic with an upcoming birthday? Spacey Birthday is perfect for the astronaut, or wannabe space traveler, in your life! We sat down with the artist behind Spacey Birthday, Amelia, to see what inspired her to create such an out of this world card.

1. Where did the idea for this card come from?
I may or may not have been partially inspired by a certain film that came out last summer about astronauts in space. I also love space, so any excuse to draw stars and I’m there.

2. Have you ever wanted to be an astronaut?
I wanted to be an astronaut when I was in 5th grade. After realizing I probably needed to know more math than basic arithmetic, I quickly shifted my focus to art.

3. What’s the first thing you would do in space?
The first thing I would do in space is PANIC. Then I’d ask myself how I got there. Then I would realize I could do nothing to change my situation, so I’d sit back and enjoy the view.

4. As Gravity is nominated for several Oscars, do you think this deserves the Academy’s attention too?
Yes, in fact maybe people should just watch this card over and over again for 2 and a half hours. Gets as intense and dizzying as CG Sandra Bullock, trust me.

Check out Spacey Birthday today!

New eCard – There’s a Pill for That

It’s a new year, which means it’s time for new eCards! Introducing There’s a Pill For That, perfect for the Aquariuses in your life with upcoming birthdays!

There’s a Pill for That, animated by the awesome Ashlyn, presents the harsh realities of birthdays and aging, using candles as a metaphor. Candles tend to lose their waxy luster over the years. With time, the wick gets smaller, the wax melts, and it’s tougher to light that fire.

Remind your special birthday person to not let their candle sag this year — there’s a pill for that! It might even help with your birthday irritability!

2013: What a Year…in Press!

2013 has been quite the year for JibJab! But don’t just take our word for it — check out this compilation of press clips from throughout the year. From Good Morning America to The Tonight Show, we’re living our mission to make billions of people happy. Just look at those smiling faces!

Many thanks to our friends at these stations for the awesome coverage of what we’ve been up to during the year. We’ve been featured in press in hundreds of cities across the country, from Los Angeles to New York City, Chicago, Philly, and everywhere in between. It’s been our pleasure serving smiles from coast to coast!

Get into the holiday spirit with these eCards!

It’s not too late to send your Christmas cards this year! Send your season’s greetings now — there are a whole slew to choose from:

Christmas Sign Spinner
Who knew Santa had such sign spinning skills?
bg_spinner

Surfing Santa
Not a white Christmas? No problem! There’s Surfing Santa to celebrate the season wherever you are.
surfing_santa

Gangnam Style Christmas
Turn the horse dance into the reindeer dance when you star in our crazy Christmas edition of Gangnam Style!
gangnam

Coal
Our new video Coal shows that even if you haven’t been good this year, you can make lemonade out of coal! (Well, not literally.)
coal

Macareindeer
Heyyy, Macareindeeer! Bring a Latin flair to the holidays by casting five in this timeless international dance hit.
reindeer

Elf Dance
Cast five of your favorite holiday elves in this boogielicious dance video that’s sure to rock the halls!
elf_dance

Santa’s Twerk Shop
When Santa’s away, the elves will twerk! Cast 5 friends as the hardest twerking elves in the North Pole.
twerk

Pug Christmas
Perfect for the animal lover in your life. Let them unleash their canine spirit and jaunt around as an adorable pug!
pugmas

Behind the Scenes of Macareindeer!

You’ve danced as a reindeer — now see the magic that made it all happen!

Our director Jeff took the lead on this project. He wanted to take a song that people know and love and warp it into some sort of Christmas card. We had originally thought of using the macarana as a halloween/zombie track, but when the idea of making it a holiday card with dancing reindeers popped into his head, well…that’s how we ended up here. ;)

If you haven’t seen it, here’s the original video of the macarena.

It would take quite a bit of movie magic to recreate, so using the original as inspiration, we filmed Jefff dancing each part. Here’s a look at the footage before the reindeer heads were added:

You may be asking yourself, is Jeff part of a family of identical quintuplets who all work at JibJab? As awesome as that would be, it was actually a bit of fancy filming footwork! From Jeff:

“Here at JibJab, we have a room called Studio A, which is a magical place filled with props, costumes, fabrics, crafts, and all sorts of stuff to make some creative fun. This is where we rolled out a large sheet of white paper and had me ‘do my thing,’ as it were. (apparently my ‘thing’ is dancing around like an idiot…my mother is so proud).”

Screen Shot 2013-12-12 at 4.39.58 PM

“After doing the macarana over 100 times in different positions and distances from the camera (literally over 100…I counted the footage) we took the video into After Effects and keyed out the white, similar to how they show the giant maps on TV when they talk about the weather. While we could have used 5 dancers for this card, it’s actually easier to get more ‘sync’ movements when you use footage of the same dancer multiple times. Once it was all keyed, it was just a matter then of picking the best takes and aligning the footage to make it seem like we were all dancing at the same time!”

Fun fact: Jeff lost 13 pounds in pure sweat, give or take a bucket, during this process!

Screen Shot 2013-12-12 at 4.40.45 PM

After the last dance, the reindeer reigns were handed off to the rest of the production team to put on the finishing touches, including designing the FIST/mask assets to help frame the face and give it more character, animating the faces overtop of the footage, masking the hand/arm motions and anything that passes over the face, and adding lipsync to make the characters actually sing the song. It’s just that easy!

Hopefully this inside look gives insight into the blood, sweat, and tears (but mostly sweat) behind the production of JibJab videos. Thanks, Jeff, for your sweet moves, and making it far easier for us to dance this holiday season.

Send Macareindeer today!

An inside peek at Santa’s Twerk Shop

Santa’s Twerk Shop has broken new ground for JibJab in many ways. Not only does it feature the hottest dance moves, but it also featured a brand new animation style, and is also its own app in the App Store!

The idea started with JibJab Co-Founders Gregg and Evan, who were pretty inspired by all the attention Miley Cyrus has been getting for her twerking antics. They realized it would be a fun idea to play off of it for a Christmas video. Jeff built an animatic based on the idea, and Evan realized he wanted it to take place in an actual Santa workshop.

It all started off with a simple animatic:

From there, Evan and Jeff flew to Arizona to shoot live action backgrounds for Santa’s workshop at North Pole Experience which ended up looking awesome.

Santa’s Twerk Shop was the first time we’ve done 3D animated characters on a live action background. To achieve this, we discovered and developed new techniques for placing the characters into each scene. Our 3D animator Taylor used Audodesk Maya to model and animate all the 3D characters, which he then rendered in Mental Ray. Once all of this was done, the production team placed the characters into the live action backgrounds using Adobe After Effects. We also developed a way to animate head animation in Maya and export it out to After Effects so that it could work with Flash.

EarlySantaTexture

According to Taylor, “Another exciting development during this project was getting our own render farm set up. This dedicated group of computers allowed us to quickly get our rendered animation back in a timely fashion, which really helped us meet the deadline.”

Originally, Santa was going to be live action but about a week into the project we realized that it would be better to have Santa be a CG character as well. For his reference, we used one of the many Nasty Santa toys we have around the office to model from. Once all the modeling was done, we built a rough layout pass to get all camera moves ready and then we started animating. While all of this was going on we were also working on texturing the characters and lighting them to match the backgrounds. Motion tracking the backgrounds was a bit tricky but luckily new tools in After Effects allowed us to get the desired results fairly quickly.

SantaToyReference

Many late nights later, Santa’s Twerk Shop was born. This project proved to be a very fun and rewarding challenge. We had a pretty short turnaround on this and I’m very happy with what we were able to do in that timeframe. The whole project took about a month starting in early November. Being the only full time 3D guy at JibJab, Taylor was happy to bring in a few freelance artists to work on the prop models and some of the rigging. I think we realized what we can accomplish in a short amount of time given the right opportunity. Not only that, but it provided a lot of fun for the team.

SantaDrawOver

While this animation was finishing off, our technology team was hard at work creating the app. Once the final video was delivered, they dropped it in and sent it off to the App Store, where you can download for a mere 99 cents.

Thanks to the hard-working team behind this video! Cast yourself in Santa’s Twerk Shop and download the app for iPhone and iPad and for Android!

Shake it in Santa’s Twerk Shop!

twerk

When Santa’s away, the elves will twerk! The elves have been left to their own devices, and they’re making sure they end up on the Naughty List. They’ve taken over the workshop, turning it into Santa’s Twerk Shop, JibJab’s newest holiday video.

Cast yourself and four friends as Santa’s twerking elves. Amazing what these elves can get done while dancing! And, you may be surprised who gets in on the twerking action.

Screen Shot 2013-12-20 at 3.11.20 PM

You can twerk wherever you are with the Santa’s Twerkshop app, available at the App Store here AND in the Google Play store for Android here!

This holiday season, just remember — when you get your gifts, think about the elves who made them and where your gifts have been.

Behind the Scenes of 2013 What a Year!

leno_yir

Welcome to the Behind the Scenes blog for 2013′s Year in Review — What a Year! We’re proud to present the ultimate breakdown of how we made our latest short, so click on for photos, videos and stories!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 357 other followers