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).”

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“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!

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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.


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.


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.


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!


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.

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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!


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!

JibJabbers get festive for the holidays!

Recently, the JibJab team celebrated the closing of an awesome year, full of hundreds of brand new eCards, hilarious new dances, and plenty of delicious food. It’s been a lot of work — and it was time to commemorate all of the smiles shared!

The night was off to an awesome start, thanks to our friends at Uber! They provided free rides to and from the party, ensuring that we could have a good time and be safe! It was a great night full of food, music, and laughter…at least we think so. The details are a little fuzzy.

The JibJab guys look snappy, while the girls were off having their own holiday dance party.

The JibJab guys look snappy, while the girls were off having their own holiday dance party.

Many thanks to you for supporting us throughout the year, and to Uber for the great service! You can take Uber to your holiday festivities, too! Just use the ‘JibJab’ promo code for $20 off an uberX ride for new users.

But we’re not done yet — stay tuned for a Year In Review worth twerking over. #WhatAYear

Cast your friends doing the Macareindeer + new birthday eCard!


Add some Latin flair into your holiday season! Check out JibJab’s take on a classic song, turning the macarena into the Macareindeer. It’s a holiday dance sensation sweeping the nation!

In fact, the entire cast of Good Morning America recently got in on the craze, featuring Macareindeer during their show! Who knew they had such good moves?

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Start doing the macareindeer today, or send any JibJab holiday card to celebrate the season.

Don’t forget that it’s new birthday eCard day, and we’ve got a great one for the big softy in your life. Our newest eCard, Tattoo Birthday, created by the talented Robert Lobel, shows that puns are loved by everyone, but this biker in particular takes his commitment to puns to the next level — getting them tattooed!

Celebrate a JibJab holiday tradition with chart-topping app, Elf Dance!


Adding to our extensive collection of elf madness, we’ve just released a new Elf Dance Starring You video! Cast 1-5 friends as Santa’s helpers, groovin’ away at the North Pole.

For the first time in JibJab history, we’ve made this video available as an app, for free! Create and send elf videos on the go — doing so guarantees your place on the nice list.

Elf Dance home screen

What’s more, the Elf Dance app has become a smash hit of the holiday season, featured as a top rated free app in the App Store!

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Check out the video here, and download the free app on the App Store. Celebrate the most elf-tastic season of the year with the hottest dance moves this side of the North Pole!

New eCard – You Rock


We’ve just released a brand new eCard for the birthday boy/girl who rocks, called You Rock! This extra special card also comes in his and hers versions. To find out more about its creation, check out this interview with the rockin’ artist of this card, Ashlyn!

1. What was your inspiration for creating this card?
My inspiration started with a terrible pun, like most things that I make. I like it when you remove commas from sentences, and you’re left with things like “You rock!”, accusing someone of being a rock. Or, alternatively, accusing them of being Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. After that, I settled on a rough, sketchy style, because I love working with that sort of energy.

2. Have you ever done sculpting yourself? If so, was it as easy as this little guy makes it look?
I’ve never sculpted anything in marble, but I can only assume it’s very very easy. I mean, there are like, piles of them in Rome so… Must be a snap. That being said, once, I tripped over a rock and chipped it. Modern art.

3. What was the best birthday you ever had?
My very favourite birthday was my 14th. A friend got me a twenty dollar bill taped to a potato, and nothing’s ever really topped it gift-wise.

Don’t forget to tell your best birthday sculpter that they rock with You Rock!

Wear your Ugly Sweater with Stand Up To Cancer!

JibJab is happy to support our friends at Stand Up To Cancer as we all don our kitschiest couture this holiday season! For the second year in a row, Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) is asking celebrators around the world to proudly rock their hideous holiday-themed sweaters as a way to raise critical funds for innovative, translational cancer research. SU2C’s “Ugly Sweater” Holiday Campaign has officially begun and promises to be even “uglier” than last year.

You can get involved by pledging to wear your ugly sweater day after day to raise funds, hosting an ugly sweater party, or sending a very special Ugly Sweater themed JibJab eCard!

This eCard is free to send this holiday season, so spread the word and get ugly!

New eCard – Cake Party

Cake Party is JibJab’s newest birthday eCard! Take a journey with a shell of a cake, who’s caught in the monotony of his cake life. That is, until he realizes it’s his birthday, and the party begins! How could it get any batter than that? I just hope the cake doesn’t get too emotional or he’ll end up in tiers.

All puns aside, this card begs a terrifying question: What does a cake eat during his birthday celebration?

While you ponder that, don’t forget to remind your special birthday boy/girl to break the cake mold and frost it up on their big day with Cake Party!

New eCard – Birthday Kazoo Guy

Looking for that perfect way to give a rousing happy birthday song to the birthday boy/girl? Look no further than Birthday Kazoo Guy! This festive take on a classic song features a beautiful arrangement of kazoo and beatbox, courtesy of Mr. Tim! After all, what’s more soothing than a quartet of kazoo? This card is so ridiculous, it’s guaranteed to cause some smiles.

Want more kazoo? The holidays are quickly approaching, which means it’ll be soon time to kazoo to the tune of Jingle Bells and rock out!

New Thanksgiving eCards!

Thanksgiving will soon be here, and we have two new eCards to kick off the season — Cook A Turkey and Biker Thanksgiving!

We’ve all had that first-time-cooking-a-turkey moment. Hopefully yours went better than it did in our new eCard, Cook A Turkey! Send this card starring the chef of your Thanksgiving dinner to show them what not to do.

Remember that the most important part of Thanksgiving is being around friends and family, so make sure to spend it with those people at your favorite spot — even if that’s the roughest bar in town. You might even learn a surprising new fact about someone at the table! Check out this biker’s secret in Biker Thanksgiving.

And it wouldn’t be a week at JibJab without a new birthday card! Birthday Joker is for the real joker in your life — the one willing to do anything for a laugh.

JibJab staff wears dresses for Halloween, in support of Sierra Leone education!

This Halloween, the JibJab staff are dressed in…Australian school dresses! Why, you ask? We’re participating in Do It In A Dress, an initiative that aims to provide girls in Sierra Leone with an education. Funds donated to the Do It In A Dress campaign go towards scholarships, improved classrooms and sanitation, and business training.

Some staffers are even giving extra incentives for donations, including custom artwork and riding 20 miles on a bike in full Australian school dress. Together, we raised over $3,000, helping 11 girls in Sierra Leone have the chance to wear their very own school dress and receive an education!

Not only is it a great cause, but we look good, too. Check out our class photo below!


Don’t forget that we have a ton of scare-tastic Starring You videos to celebrate Halloween day, like I Will Survive, Monster Rap, and Monster Mash!

New eCard – Celebrating You!

In our latest eCard, Celebrating You, remind that birthday boy/girl that it’s their special day and they deserve to be celebrated! Here are some additional ways that you can shower them with celebration:

Load their house with balloons

Have a bubble party

Make them the star of their own fancy parade float

And don’t forget to send them Celebrating You, to kick off the celebration!

New eCard – Exploding Cake

Pass along our newest eCard, Exploding Cake, to wish someone special a bomb birthday. But could one card really blow up their inbox? Send them a few of our most explosive eCards, so you can bombard your birthday boy or girl with birthday wishes!

Birthday Blast

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Bomb Defusal

Dynamite Birthday