While we decided not to do one of our traditional election videos this year for reasons we talked about here, that doesn’t mean the performers we have worked with on past election videos are sitting this one out.  Here is a link to a video put together by the magical man of a million voices, Jim Meskimen.  Check it out!

Behind the Scenes – The Time Warp – 3D Backgrounds

Over the years we’ve been able to improve our Starring You technology in a number of ways, including head rotation and secondary hair animation. Now we are able to add 3D environments to the list!

While Jump Jive and Wail was the first time we incorporated 3D environments into a Starring You video, Time Warp marks our first attempt at mimicking an actual life-like environment into a computer graphics world. In the past we would typically paint a 2D illustration of each shot, sometimes adding fake camera moves to give the video a hand-held feel. However since the scale of this room was to be a large open dance hall, camera moves would look 10x sexier with subtle indications of parallax, and the best/easiest way to achieve this effect is building in THE THIRD DIMENSION!

Because Rocky Horror is such a well known film (people have LITERALLY seen it hundreds of times), it was extremely important to replicate as much of the set from the original film as possible. So to help us with the creation of the room we enlisted the help of a 3D artist by the name of Lucas Milner. Using only screenshots taken from the film, Lucas was able to design textures, models, and lighting to recreate the same dance hall shown from the original movie. Everything from paintings to sculptures to wall molding had to be taken into consideration, with a lot of attention to detail!

After modeling the geometry of each object, UV maps of the textures were created and assigned. To quicken the amount of render time down the line, shadows were also baked into the textures to imply lighting and focus.

Once the hall was completed, the 3D space was brought into AfterEffects and paired up with our live-action footage of the performers dancing. Horizon lines were matched up,  and scaled according to each shot and 3D motion tracking was used to ensure that feet wouldn’t be ‘slipping.’

Once heads were animated with dynamic hair, actor shadows were cast, color correction took place, masking, converting, and all that other good stuff, this card turned out to be quite the complex process… but if we did it all right, you didn’t notice any of it at all :-)

So check out the awesome 3D backgrounds of The Time Warp today!

Behind the Scenes: The Time Warp – Meet the Actors!

After attending one of the midnight showings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show™ here in Los Angeles we knew that we had to make The Time Warp into an eCard this Halloween. We asked the actors of the show to come into our studio to film and they were thrilled. They even had their own hand made costumes that were almost IDENTICAL to the movie. Check out some of the behind the scenes shots:

Bring your knees in tight!

Our director Jeff getting creative with shooting smoothly.

Cast and crew

Do The Time Warp today; it’s guaranteed to drive you insane!

New eCards – Birthday Rap for Him and Her

The guys at SurfMonkey are at it again! This time they created two fun Starring You eCards tailored for either a girl or a boy so they can bust a rhyme on their birthday! In these cards, the birthday boy gets down with beers and BBQs and the birthday girl has her cake and eats it too. We had the opportunity to chat with the SurfMonkey guys to find out a bit about the creation of these videos.

1) Where did you hire the actors for these eCards and was the process fun?

We had online auditions for the bakery video, and got some pretty hilarious videos in the process.

2) Where did you shoot the Male rap? And can we move in?

The male rap video was shot at a friends parent’s house.  It has a pretty amazing backyard, and we were lucky to find such a cool location.  We’ll ask if there are any rooms available.

3) What is your favorite cake or pastry?

Alex: I like Russian Tea Cakes. My mom always makes them around Christmas time. Max: I really love bread pudding, but that isn’t exactly a cake or pastry.

4) Lastly, do you have any funny stories from either of the shoots? Were their any malfunctions or shenanigans?

Luckily we didn’t have any major malfunctions on this shoot.  We did run into some high school kids doing a 48-hr film festival and they thought we were also involved.  They wanted to borrow our dolly and jib arm, but they were in use at the time.

Send a friend a birthday rap today!

The Great American Dance Off

Election day is quickly approaching & we are really jazzed up about it!  So much so that we decided to make a Starring You app that let’s you get jiggy with the presidential candidates. Pick Mitt Romney or Barack Obama to be your dance partner in the Great American Dance Off…or you can even nominate yourself!

Since Mitt and Obama are a tad bit busy on the campaign trail we had 2 of our artists, Lauren and Jeff, step in as body doubles. Check out this fun behind the scenes video of them busting out some sweet moves.

Pick our next President in the Great American Dance Off today!

New eCard – Cakezilla

What is brown, larger than sky scrapers and enjoys eating cake? Cakezilla! In our newest birthday eCard we see this building busting, cake destroying beast wreak havoc on a tasty birthday treat. We got to talk more with Anna Bron about the woman behind the monster.

-Where did you go to school?

I went to Sheridan College, in Ontario, Canada.

-Did you watch old Godzilla movies for inspiration?

I looked up reference photos from the films, but also other Godzilla interpretations.

-What is your favorite kind of cake?

Cheesecake with lots of fruits on it.

-How long did this card take to animate?

It took a few days to complete from concept to finished animation.

Check out more of Anna’s work here: http://annabron.com and while you’re at it, send Cakezilla to that birthday cake monster today!

Evan and Gregg speaking at Silicon Beach @ USC!

Evan and Gregg (brothers & co-founders of JibJab) will be giving a keynote speech this afternoon at the Silicon Beach Conference @ USC! They will share their insights on technology, entrepreneurism, and introduce our new brand for kids and parents, StoryBots. Their speech is titled “13 Years in The Dumbest Business in the World, and Still Going.” Students & industry peers will learn more about how they built the JibJab brand & what’s next for the company!

To learn more about the conference & Silicon Beach click here. Let us know if you are attending the conference – we’d love to see you there!

New eCard – Hat Jam

In our newest birthday eCard we see 4 little guys who get funky with their hats playing a groovy tune. They sure know how to make a foot go tap in this musical eCard. We got to talk more with former intern Sean Rhodes to find out about his funkadelic inspiration to making this fun card.

1 – Do you play any instruments?

I play the guitar as often as I can – I’m not any good at it yet, but playing is a ton of fun.

2 – Who is your favorite band?

I have a whole lot of favorite bands, because I like a whole lot of music. I’m currently listening to Animal Collective, Divine Fits, Kings of Convenience, and Frank Ocean – I could spend all day listing the bands I love, but I don’t think any individual one takes the cake.

3 – How did you come up with the character design for this card?

I wanted to keep all of the characters simple, while also using the party hat shape everywhere I could. I also had a lot of help from the fantastic Jeff Gill, who helped me with the look of the card.

4 – Who was your inspiration?

I guess it was my love of music (and animating to music) that inspired this card, so I’ll have to go straight to the source on this question – my dad! He played/plays music all the time, and without him I wouldn’t have found my inspiration.

5 – How long did this card take to animate?

I was also working on graduating / finishing up my senior film while I was working on this card, so it took me a little longer than I would have liked. If I factor in all the time I worked on this guy and really got time to focus, I’d say it took me a little under two weeks to animate.

To check out more rocking art go to Sean’s website here: www.sean-rhodes.com and send Hat Jam to that boppin’ birthday someone.

Tech Crawl 2012

Last week TechZulu, a popular technology news site, organized a “tech crawl” where people could sign up to tour neighboring offices in Venice. We participated as a host and about 300 people stopped by throughout the night! In addition to showing off our lounge area, we provided the networkers with a fun drink we dubbed #jibjabjuice, gave away some JibJab swagg &  played games. Check out the slideshow below to see all the fun we had! Special shout out to Erica Hsu for capturing the moments!

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New Starring You eCard – You’re Still Cool

Our new Starring You birthday eCard, You’re Still Cool, takes us back through the decades showing that fashion trends & dancing styles come and go, but coolness is forever! Our director of eCards, Jeff, came up with the animatic for this timely card and artist Dean Heezen animated it into the colorful eCard we see today.

We got to talk more with Dean about his favorite era and more:

-What is your favorite decade?

My favorite era is the 1940s. You just cant beat the boom of Disney animation, the Big Band Jazz and Swing, and MGM musicals.

-How did you choose which decades to feature?

Working with Jeff, he gave me the specific dates to work from.  With his notes, I just thought I’d choose specific iconic markers of those decades to help give a clear visual.

-How long did this card take to animate?

This card took me about 3 weeks to animate.

-Did you come up with the fun costumes each generation is wearing?

The designs were super fun to do. Jeff gave me a clear description of what was needed while still keeping it open for exploration.

-Did you practice each dance move the characters do in the video?

I still practice those dance moves in the video!

To check our more of Dean’s work you can visit his website then let someone celebrating a birthday know how cool they are today!

Goodbye Interns

We sadly said goodbye to our wonderful summer interns last week. To thank them for their three months of hard work on new eCards, eBooks & more, we came together and shared tacos, drinks, and memories. We also awarded them with superlatives! Here’s a selection of some of the best:

Dana: “Are you gonna eat that?”; Most Likely To Animate Like It’s Nobody’s Business. For her unwavering dedication to hand-drawn animation, and also sharks.

Jeremy: Yoga King; Token Canadian Award. For his ability to execute every yoga pose ever, and animate like a champion.

Jason: Town Sheriff; Best Hair Champion Since, Like, Forever. For being a hipster that we totally like, and for his artistic bad-assery.

Jacob:  Mr Tibbles Official Fan Club President; Most Likely To Be Called Jason, Too. For his ability to wear a different Duke shirt every day despite never having gone there, and his ability to stand tall under pressure!

Although we won’t be seeing their faces around the office any longer we will sure keep in touch and admire their creative talents from afar!

New eCard – Bonne Fete

Birthdays come in all different languages. This eCard though helps that special birthday someone learn a few choice words in French, the most important of those being cake. We got to talk to in house artist, Alex, to find out a little more about the beret behind the brush.

-Have you ever been to France?

I have been to France once. I stayed in Annecy and Paris. It was smelly and beautiful. I will retire there one day to sell watercolors I paint of mimes.

-How versed are you in French?

Je parle très bien le français fromage bibliothèque toilette.

-Did you come up with the concept for this eCard? And how long did it take to animate?

This eCard is based on a true story. Ashlyn came up with the animatic and concept. I took a few days to design the look of the card and paint all the characters, then a couple of weeks to animate everything.

-What is your favorite kind of cake?

My favorite type of cake is the Napoleon cake, also known in France as the mille-feuille.

To check out more of Alex’s work here: www.alexchechik.com. And send this eCard today to that someone well versed in birthday!

New eCard – Fun House Mirrors!

Why a mirror that morphs your body is called fun is beyond us, but in our newest birthday eCard, Fun House Mirrors, we see one birthday lady that will let nothing stand in her way of a good birthday. This week’s new birthday eCard comes from the super talented Cheyenne Curtis. She brings some girl power to the table and we were lucky enough to find out a little about her.

-Have you ever looked at yourself in a fun house mirror?

I’ve only installed fun house style mirrors in my house…the kind that always make you look beautiful.

-Has anything ever ruined your birthday?

I’m actually notorious for having bad birthdays. One year I was late for my own party because I was trying to catch a lost dog, then when I finally showed up at the restaurant there was no space for me to sit, and everyone had already sung Happy Birthday to the other guy (it was a double birthday). The evening also ended with me being dumped by this guy. Another time I had to get small surgery on my birthday…one day I’ll have a decent birthday.

-Where do you currently reside?

I travel back and forth from Los Angeles to Montreal.

-Where did you go to school and when did you graduate?

I went to Sheridan College and got my BA in Animation. I graduated in 2011.

-How long did this card take to animate? And did you come up with the concept?

The card took about two weeks in total, from design to final animation. I received an animatic with the concept of this girl going to a fun house and losing control of her emotions, and I filled in the final designs, color and animation. I also worked with Jeff Gill, who did a great job directing me on this awesome card!

So send this eCard today to that special birthday someone to help them make sure nothing gets in the way of a good birthday!

Fruit Wagon

As you know, we have been trying to get healthy here at JibJab with our Wagon Wednesday tradition. We recently incorporated Glenny’s (for our Glennie) into the regular wagon and now we have also added a wheel barrel of fresh fruit! The staff gets a choice of California grown seasonal fruit from the morning farmer’s market in Santa Monica. Check out the group enjoying some fresh grapes, plums, nectarines, plumcots (have you ever heard of such a fruit?) bananas, peaches and many other yummy fruits.

Nom Nom Nom

Fruit is Fantastic!

Do you have a favorite fruit? Let us know in the comments below.

New eCard – Never Ending Fun

As with most birthdays you never want the fun to stop. And in our newest eCard, Never Ending Fun, we see that sometimes the fun really does never seem to end. We got to talk with Art Grootfontein to find out about the artist behind the long dog.

– How long did this card take to animate?

It took about two weeks.

– Where was the picture of grass taken from?

It’s an epic story! It took me six days to find the right park and one more day to shoot the grass with the correct light…Just kidding… I simply found this picture on the internet in a photo bank.

– Do you have a dog of your own?

I have two cartoon dog characters at home. They’re so much more fun than real ones (and they don’t smell)!

– What did you do for never ending fun?

I was in charge of character design and animation. The animatic was already made, so I just had to focus on creating the kid & dog, and giving them life. The ecard animation is pretty close to the animatic, I just proposed to give the kid his “Oh you…” expression at the end.

– Lastly, where did you go to school and when did you graduate?

I studied in the National School of Art & Design in Paris, France, and I graduated in 1999.

To see more of Art’s work check out his site here: http://www.grootfontein.net and send this eCard today!


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