Style and look development

After looking at the public safety announcements we were all thinking similar things on how we wanted the animation to look like and move like.

2D Animation and are film

we drew a lot of inspiration from 2D animation in terms of how we wanted the characters and environment to look swell as how we wanted them to be animated. Although we were keen to develop are story in 3D and make it look like a 2D animated piece.

We drew a lot of inspiration from the likes of Tex Avery and the exaggeration of expression on his animations.

Another artist that we drew inspiration from was Max Fleischer. His work on popeye and olive oil gave us a lot of ideas for gags and ways in which Kimmy could move in order to create crazy animations

The Style Of the short

As we were developing a cartoon public safety announcement based on a character from the 1950s we thought it was a great idea to try and make are film look like it was filmed on a vintage camera. We looked at a lot of old vintage footage but also studied how modern adaptations were developed in order for us to see how they achieve what we wanted.

A few examples of things we looked at were the Fallout cartoons which is a animated piece and a live action piece from the film DodgeBall

After looking at these we began developing tests to see if we could recreate the vintage look ourselves in 3D and post production. Hannah Turkington was the lead in render and post production developing her own custom filters to be placed over are rendered images to give it that scratchy old film feel we were going for.

artwork: Matt McDyre

Character and environment style

Having Matt McDyre on the team was a great leader in this department, his own drawing style fitted perfectly for what we were all thinking of doing. Matt has a great eye for visuals and is the teams Art Director.



Design: Hannah Loughridge             Concept art: Matt McDyre

Alarm Clock



Design: Matt McDyre             Concept art: Matt McDyre

steven_jerry_greg_rufus_bob_rusty_dug_simon_poop1Design: Hannah Turkington             Concept art: Matt McDyre

During this period in the project i was as heavily involved as the rest of the team in this area although i was around to give feed back on designs it was more the rest of team that really pushed this side of the short film.

Rig Development

While the team was developing the visual style of the animation i was creating some test rigs to see what was achievable in terms of animation. As we were relying on the animation to help push are visuals early tests were essential while the character was being designed.

This allowed for great team feedback on all areas of the design process. The feedback allowed me to cater rigs for certain types of animation such as having a character have noodle arms or extreme poses. For example how olive oils arms and legs are able to bend.


I found several tutorials online in order to learn some new techniques to develop the system which later was put into the characters in are final rigs.  The most valuable source i found was a PDF on developing a automated arm bend to give a cartoon effect which can be found here:

From this i was able to learn a good deal about vector math in order to achieve some of the deformations seen below.

The method above is a combination of vector math being applied to a joint hierarchy which is then driving two flexi planes to give the animator as much control as possible. The mesh itself is then skinned to the flexi plane joints rather than the typical three joint system of shoulder elbow and wrist. The one issue that has popped up is that the wrist/hand tends to look stiff when deforming the arm.

Above is the render test of my arm rig with Hannah Turkingtons early filter applied to try and achieve a vintage cartoon look. We wanted to see early on if we were able to achieve some of the animation ideas such as wavy arms and stretchy limbs before getting to deep into the project. This side of development required a a lot of back and forth communication with the rest of the team in order to cater the rig to the team.


During the pre production stage we decided early on that we wanted Kimmy to have a flat shader applied to her in order to give that cartoon feel. One of the things that we talked about was rednering are aniamtion in Cinema 4D due to its nice looking shaders for this.

Hannah Turkington was the lead on this side of the project.

we looked at pieces of work by Eran Hilleli and the animtions called Bill Block and Paper man in order to help use develop a style that we think would suit are animtion best, drawing inspiration from these pieces.

In the end we decided to pull the plug on Cinema 4D as although it would of gave us a nice result we felt we could achieve the same result within Maya without adding that extra level of problems. We felt that with such a heavy animated piece and with us having such a long run time it would be impractical use of are time to export and import everything into Cinema 4D in time to finish all of our renders.


Story Development

The story development process began like aways by firing ideas onto a white board until interesting stories arise. The one interest that the entire team seemed to agree on from the get go was to develop something funny, we didn’t want to spend twelve to fifteen weeks developing a story that we weren’t going to fun with or while making. This in itself brought a lot of problems due to the fact that it would actually have to be funny and make people laugh in order to achieve what we really want.

A great piece of inspiration that we found was the work of Buster Keaton and his use of camera to help along his gags. We wanted to follow what we had achieved and make it so that whatever was on screen was all the character was able to see.

Public Safety Announcements

This visual style led us onto looking at black and white footage and more specifically public safety announcements. This was the first public safety announcement we came across.

We decided on creating a episodic animation, hoping to complete 2/3 episodes. The animation itself would be a PSA based on a girl from the 1950s being zapped into the 21st century and dealing with the issues of today. We thought about different ideas for series such as dealing with the internet or modern trends but in the end decided to base our series on student life in the 21st century.

Short Gags

Another key piece of inspiration that we drew from was the animations we found online such as Dead Moon Walking and Death in Space.

As a team we really enjoyed the idea of a silly sense of humour within are short, having unexpected outcomes and somewhat morbid endings and this is where are story developed from.

Development of the Story

As a team we knew what we wanted to achieve in terms of a public safety announcement and are first series of episodes would be aimed towards student life but we weren’t quite sure what actually to put in each story.

We thought about developing it on the trends of today and things students might be interested in such as

  • Social Media
  • Student Housing
  • Lack of Money/Food
  • Latest trends (Pokemon Go, Duck Face etc)
  • Binge watching tv and being lazy
  • Hipsters

We played around for a while on the ideas of basing it on a animation student dealing with Maya, work crashing and not saving, the sleepless nights and  team disputes. Although this seemed like a good idea at the time we talked to the tutors and they advised us to take animation out of the situation as it wouldn’t appeal to a wide audience who are not animators.

Instead we taught that most of those issues still apply to many students, such as deadlines and not saving work and that is where the story of Kimmy came from, the quite 1950s girl that is sent into the modern world to become a student of tomorrow.

The Story

Episode 1

The story begins with are character Kimmy back in her own time, she is then zapped into the 21st century and experiences what its like for a student of today, she is given her assignment and a deadline in which to complete it. Just like the average student of today she leaves the work to the last minute and decides to cram it all into a a few days. During this time the world outside passes her by, a monster attacks the city while the government responds with a nuclear attack. Upon finally completing the assignment she realises she has forgotten to save the work just as the computer crashes. Kimmy reacts how anyone would by reaching for a can go gasoline and lighting herself on fire.

Animatic: Matt McDyre

Episode 2

After the assignment and the nuclear fallout Kimmy is living outside. The episode is base on university students walking up in the morning, it opens with Kimmy waking up in her ideal world only to be sudden cut short from this dream by her annoying anthropomorphised alarm clock shouting at her from her waste land bed room. The next morning Kimmy tries to work around this by unplugging the alarm clock, this only makes the clock more angry as he is only trying to do his job. This causes the clock to sprout arms and legs and walk into shot with jimmy holding a baseball bat, he then proceeds to beat her over the head until she is awake.

Animatic: Matt McDyre


Script : Matt McDyre