Elf Madness!

With the smell of pumpkin pie in the air and the sound of sleigh bells in the distance, we all know the holidays are fast approaching. A great way to spread holiday cheer is with our funny eCards. This season we’ve hyped our traditional eCard by adding the ability to turn up to 20 of your friends, family & co-workers into dancing elves!

With Elf Madness you can add your own background and personalized greeting to make this eCard one of a kind. This ultra unique eCard can easily be shared via email, Facebook, Twitter or just by copying the URL.

Try this interactive card today!

Obama Won the Election!

The results are in and President Barack Obama will remain in office for another four years! At the time national news outlets were projecting his win, we captured this screen shot of our Great American Dance Off which shows Obama in the lead with over 4.9 Million dance moves. That means Obama won with 50.6% of the moves, which is nearly the same 1-2% lead over Mitt in the actual popular vote. Pretty cool, huh?

Didn’t get a chance to dance with the candidates? There’s still time to join the Great American Dance Off!

New eCard – Duck in Your Pants

What better way to celebrate your birthday than doing whatever you want, even if that means stuffing a duck down your pants. In our newest birthday eCard, Duck in Your Pants, one birthday person gets wild with a duck in their pants causing ruckus around town.We talked more about this off-beat eCard with our writer, Scott, who has written a good majority of the content on our site. This was actually his first eCard he ever wrote for us. Can you believe that?

Where did you come up with this idea of putting a duck in your pants?

I just wanted a random image that would be funny. Looking back on it, I can see how I got there. “Pants” is one of the funniest words in the language. A duck is an icon of comedy, from Daffy Duck to the Marx Brothers’ “Why a duck?” to the duck in the witch burning scene from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” Putting anything down your pants is comical, and a duck is extra silly. But I didn’t think it out that way at the time.

Do you write your own music? If yes, what instruments do you play?

I haven’t yet written any of my own music, but I hope to in the future. I was raised as a classical violinist and taught myself to play bluegrass. This year I took up the guitar as a way to learn about chord progressions and basic song structure. Before too long I hope to be doing both words and music.

Was this idea inspired by any real events?

Well, it starts from the reality that birthdays are supposed to be a time to do whatever you want. The rest is exaggeration. I’ve never actually put waterfowl down my pants or ended up in jail for partying too hard.

What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done on a birthday?

Skinny dipping in the Colorado foothills, which wouldn’t have been all that crazy except that my birthday’s in late October.

So if that special birthday someone is feeling quacky on their big day, send them Duck inYour Pants today!

Happy Halloween from the JibJab Team!

We had a ton of fun dressing up in our Halloween costumes at the office yesterday! In the afternoon, we passed around candy & carmel apples, played spooky music and even held a costume contest. One of our artists, Eddie, won for his creative Wallace and Gromit getup.

Did you dress up or did you star in one of our Halloween Starring You eCards? Let us know in the comments below!

New eCard – Pinata Abuse

In our new birthday eCard, Pinata Abuse, the birthday boy takes his own stance against a pinata protester! We talked more with artist, Beto Gomez, about the making of this card.

1) Have you ever had a pinata at your birthday party?

I haven no idea why, but in Brazil we fill balloons with candy and usually the birthday clown blows it, so kids fight their life for the best candies.

2) Have you ever been part of a protest?

I have protested once when I was a kid against having soup for dinner. For obvious reasons my parents won this protest and I had to eat double the soup after all.

3) Where did you come up with the idea for this eCard?

It’s a JibJab idea. I guess someone over there still has some problems with pinatas.

4) How long did it take to animate?

It took me around 3 weeks.

5) Who did the SFX and angry yelling?

I got the animatic with the audio and SFX already, but I would like to meet the person responsible for the angry yelling (not on a protest).

Send this eCard to someone who won’t let anything stand in their way of a good time on their birthday!

Get Funky with Skeleton Dance

In Skeleton Dance, one of our new Halloween eCards, you can turn you & your friends into kooky, bone rattling, dancing skeletons! Our director of eCards, Jeff, thought this eCard would be a great puppet Starring You video and his idea was inspired by a few different sources. First this skeleton marionette street performer really got  his attention with his dance moves, and after watching the SuperGrass “Pump Up Your Stereo” music video, the light bulb went off and the making of Skeleton Dance began.

Mike, our puppet maker, used foam, felt and a lot of time to make the skeleton puppet. To film the puppet without being seen the crew put on black clothes and turned the lights off. Check out the video:

After filming the single puppet, we multiplied it by 5, color corrected, added the head animation and connected the pieces to bring you Skeleton Dance! If you haven’t already, create it today & make your friends crack up with laughter this Halloween.

New eCard – So Sad

In our newest birthday eCard, So Sad, one bunny boohoos about forgetting a birthday. Try not to be too sad if you missed someone’s birthday because you can make it up by sending this cute crying bunny eCard. We got to talk to in house artist, Jeff, more about his card.

1) How did you animate such realistic tears? Did you practice your cries?

I definitely drew upon personal experience to get the crying animation just right. I also slammed my own face into the ground a quite few times to get the realism in there.

2) Who did the crying sound effects?

The crying is a recording of our boss, Evan, reacting to really horrible eCard ideas.

3) How long did this card take to animate?

I think it took me two weeks to animate. Maybe a little more? Two and a half? Projects go by so quickly here that I don’t remember ha-ha.

4) What was your inspiration for the cute bunny?

I decided to try drawing in a style that resembled the work of John Kricfalusi, the creator of Ren and Stimpy. This style is actually completely different from the way I usually draw, but I thought it had the right mixture of cuteness and grossness to make the card more fun.

You can see more of Jeff’s work here: jeffliuart.blogspot.com or jeffliujeffliu.tumblr.com. And if you delayed in wishing that special someone a happy birthday, do not cry, let this little bunny do it for you.

O’Romneybama

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.

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