Honey Boo Boo and Psy are two of the most animated people of 2012 – there is so much personality in these two that it was no easy task to bring them to life!
Step 1 – The Animatic:
The talented Scott and Jeff had been refining the song and rough animation for quite some time before Kurt got involved. He knew the camera moves and basic gestures represented in the animatic below were the key moments to match.
Little known fact: The animatic stage represents when the animator finds out which short section of lyrics they get to listen to 1,000+ times.
Step 2 – Opening the Illustration File and Research:
Before Kurt could begin animating, an illustrator had to create the environment and characters in Photoshop based on the animatic. In this instance, drawer-designer extraodinare, Nik, created the file shown below.
Step 3 – Reseach and Character Setup:
Having already studied the animatic before looking at the Photoshop file, Kurt had an idea of what the characters needed to do. At this point he also started doing some research to get into the “Honey Boo Boo mindset”. This involves watching clips of her on YouTube for a bit (yes, watching clips of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo is part of the job). He noticed Alana has a lot of sass, and that she likes to do that head swivel move a lot, so he knew he was going to try to fit that in. Kurt also learned the Gangnam Style dance so he could figure out the footwork and rhythm. (He’s got moves)
He then started merging, deleting, duplicating, renaming, and separating layers of the Photoshop file. This is like the grocery shopping before you cook your recipe – you want to know you have everything you’re going to need so you don’t have to find out you forgot something when you’ve already started chopping up your onions.
Speaking of chopping up, he likes to make sure all the different body parts of the characters are separated so he can manipulate them easily when brought into After Effects…
Step 4 – Bringing It Into After Effects:
Now that all the ingredients were ready, it was time to preheat the oven! Kurt started by importing all the pieces into the Adobe After Effects files set up for the scene. Next, he took those layers, cleaned up in Photoshop, and start using them in the animation timeline.
Step 5 – Rough Animation:
After all the pieces were imported and organized, he began working from general to specifics on the animation. Since the “broadest strokes” of the scene are Honey Boo Boo’s arm gesture and the camera move, those were done first, matching them to the animatic.
Step 6 – Honey Boo Boo Animation:
Focusing on Honey Boo Boo first, he started refining her animation even more. Remember that “head swivel” he noticed during the YouTube video research session? Here is where that comes in handy.
Step 7 – Gangnam Style!
After Alana’s animation started to work well, he moved onto Psy to start getting him to do the Gangnam Style dance. This was by far the most challenging part of the whole scene. It is a lot easier to learn how to do the dance than it is animate it convincingly. After several attempts, the footwork and the timing started to feel correct.
Step 8 – Background Characters:
Now that the main characters in the shot were fully animated, Kurt went back and worked on the beauty pageant girls in the background. The key there was to animate them enough that they look “alive,” but not so much that they distract from the main actions. After animating a little “sigh” here, a quivering lip there and a temper tantrum, the scene was all done! Jeff, the creative director, had some advice and small tweaks, but those changes were just the icing on the cake!