Tag Archives: adult swim

How Adult Swim cartoon “TIGTONE” gets animated

Animation is not just drawing the same thing again and again to make a flat picture look like it’s moving. What it really comes down to is problem solving. Sure, you could repetitively doodle the same person jumping up and down, but how do you do it efficiently and convincingly?

One of my favorite new Adult Swim cartoon shows is “Tigtone”, originally created by  Andrew Koehler, Benjamin Martian, and Zack Wallenfang (the latter of whom is not involved in the current series but was part of the pilot). It combines “Dungeons & Dragons” fantasy settings with the insanity of your typical inane Adult Swim humor. It’s everything I love and more.

The element that absolutely drew me in the most was the animation style. It looked like nothing I had ever seen before, and if you don’t know what I am talking about – take a look at the pilot episode in the video below:

It’s clear to see why this got picked up by Adult Swim. It looks like someone took an illustration from a fantasy book or a Magic the Gathering card and somehow enchanted it so that it would become an 11 minute cartoon. Much like how Tigtone needs a quest, I too need one, and today that quest has been discovering how the heck they animate this show! After I saw the first Adult Swim episode aired, I started digging around but was unable to find much. Eventually, I found a video not from the creative team behind it, but from RedLetter Media AKA the home of everyone’s favorite curmudgeonly review, Mr Plinkett. Check out this video below to see a little of the behind-the-scenes production process:

This video revealed that the VO actors often perform their lines with the producer present, and do a very unique motion-capture. Clearly, that is just the first step, but it’s certainly a very big clue to what they are doing.

More recently, Adult Swim released the video below, likely due to folks like myself and readers like you who have been endlessly googling “How do they animate TigTone”?

All that SEO analytical data paid off, and we got more of an official look at how the hometeam produces their mo-cap sessions, involving a piece of apparatus that resembles a medieval torture device that I honestly would not be surprised to see in an episode.

The next big question was how do they take these mo-cap sessions and add it to the artwork?

The clues we got from the video was that they seem to be using Adobe After Effects, a very powerful (and accessible) app that you can get fairly easily if you don’t mind paying a monthly subscription fee.

I started to dig deeper, and stumbled upon this Youtube tutorial by Creativid Studios who seems to be doing something very similar to what the animators behind “Tigtone” are doing.

This form of AE motion capture combines a recording of the actors face with a series of masks, combining an illustration of the cartoon characters face with some holes in it to let the actor’s eyes and mouth peek through.

Once you have those features removed, you then use a Face Tracker that is built into AE to recognize a face, and then creates key frames to track the mouth as it moves. It’s easier to watch the video then have me explain it all, so take a look and see what you think.

Of course, this begs the question – why animate this show in such a time consuming way? In an interview with Little Black Book Online, Benjamin Martian and Andrew Koehler addressed those thoughts, and had this to say:

Andrew: An enormous part of what makes the humour work is the fact that the presentation takes itself seriously. It NEEDS to look like epic, hand painted, exquisitely detailed art in order for the total farce of the writing to work. 

Benjamin: Also the style and process came out of necessity and resourcefulness. When we realised we couldn’t produce these fantasy scripts live-action, Andrew used what he had at his disposal to make something work. That something was this 2D motion capture technique. Also, damn all convention.

They went on to discuss how this process came to be, and the hardships that ultimately led them to the one of a kind aesthetic that “Tigtone” has:

Andrew: It was a lot of trial and error, research and development, hurry up and wait, and blood, sweat, and tears. But really it was all about figuring out the practicality of it all – how do I warp his face without distorting his hair, how do I keep the teeth from floating around, etc. The answer always involved a lot of math and a lot of rendering. 

Benjamin: Andrew was like MacGyver, digitally duct-taping this process together with different programs and plug-ins. When we started production at Titmouse, the animation studio that produces the series, we had to completely reinvent the production process to accommodate this bizarre technique.

The famed “Torture Chair” with a DSLR ominously hovering above it

That same article also gives us some of the most exact specifics we have seen on the internet so far about the steps taken to animate in this style:

Benjamin: After we have all the lines recorded and cut into the animatic (animated storyboards) we isolate every line for each character and categorise them by shot angle. We then glue pearl craft beads onto our faces at specific points to track the movement of the entire face. For example, we put three dots over each eyebrow to capture the way the eyebrows bend.

Then we strap ourselves into our motion-capture bench with a camera mounted overhead. We play back every single line on a loop and perform the line, trying to perform in sync with the line.

After that, the motion of each dot on our face is attached to the corresponding dot on the characters’ face to create the motion. Then the animators do a TON of work to hone in the performances – so it’s not just our faces doing all the work.

One of the most important things about doing this with their “torture chair” is making sure the people reading the lines and being filmed are perfectly still. The mo-cap data must precisely match the angles of the characters being animated in order to register with the tracker. If they don’t – back to the torture chair for them to reshoot the scene.

Either way, it seems the technology is in your grasp, and now you too can attain that unique look with your own cartoons! If you give it a try, let us know how it came out and feel free to post it in the comments!

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Rick and Morty Roll the Dice with Dungeons & Dragons in upcoming comic

Announced today at C2E2, IDW, in partnership with Oni Press, is bringing two of the most popular properties in the world, Adult Swim’s hit series Rick and Morty and Dungeons & Dragons, together in a brand-new four-issue comic book series. Taking the reins of these two iconic properties is the superstar creative team of writers Patrick Rothfuss (The Kingkiller Chronicles) and Jim Zub (The Avengers, Wayward) along with Eisner-nominated artist Troy Little (Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas).

Debuting this August, the mini-series will throw Rick and Morty into a high-fantasy adventure blended with the wit, humor, and intelligence the show is widely celebrated for.

“I love Rick and Morty with a powerful love, and I’ve played D&D since the 5th grade,” said Patrick Rothfuss. “So when they approached me about writing a story with both of them together? That’s some serious you-got-chocolate-in-my-peanut butter $#!& right there. I’m in. I’m all the way in. I’m gettin’ that chocolate all up in the peanut butter. Like, deep in. All the way in. It’s going to be sticky and delicious.”

In this summer’s biggest comic book crossover, Morty goes to Rick for help to learn about Dungeons & Dragons, the game all the cool kids at his school are playing; naturally, things go horribly wrong as Rick, Morty, and the whole Smith family find themselves on an epic quest with no escape in sight.

“The Dungeons & Dragons crew is letting Pat and I open a Pandora’s Box of insane adventure material and iconic creatures from the granddaddy of all tabletop role-playing games,” said Jim Zub. “I wish I could say we’ll take good care of it, but, the simple truth is, this is Rick and Morty we’re talking about. No fantasy world or otherworldly plane of existence is safe.”

Each issue will feature variant covers that fans of both series will love, including character sheets, and more! Dungeons & Dragons comics from IDW by Jim Zub are available now wherever books are sold. Oni Press’s Rick and Morty comics are also available where comics and books are sold.

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Rick & Morty Spaceship & Garage Construction Set Review AKA The Rage

Matthew and Andrea wrap up their extensive look at the Rick & Morty construction sets, finishing with the largest set – The Spaceship and Garage Large Construction Set . Note the optimism and smiles at the start of the video. Those won’t make it to the end. Neither did our souls. Mostly Andrea’s soul….

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McFarlane Toys “Rick and Morty” Smith Garage Rack Construction Set Review

I’m Mr. Meeseeks! Look at me! Look at this video review of McFarlane Toys “Rick and Morty” Smith Garage Rack Construction Set! I’m Mr. Meeseeks!

Don’t worry, I don’t do that much in this review… at least after the first minute or two when Andrea got so mad that she was going to stab me with the TIE Fighter in the background. So don’t be a Jerry – watch this review.

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McFarlane Toys “Rick and Morty” Scary Terry Construction Set Review

You can run, but you can’t hide from our review of McFarlane Toys “Rick & Morty” Scary Terry construction set review. And as a bonus, here is our interview with the voice actor behind Scary Terry, Jess Harnell, who talks about the role and if we might see a return of this character in the future.

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McFarlane Toys “Rick and Morty” Ants in My Eyes Johnson Construction Set Review

You’ve got to have ants in your eyes to not watch our review of McFarlane Toys “Rick and Morty” Ants in My Eyes Johnson Electronics’ construction set. Is this deal a scorcher or will you feel all the pain that Ants in My Eyes Johnson can’t if you buy this? Find out in this video.

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McFarlane Toys “Rick & Morty” the Discreet Assassin Construction Set Review

Oooh weee! Welcome to the first episode of many as we review McFarlane Toys construction sets of everyone’s favorite intoxicated scientist and his nebbish sidekick, Adult Swim’s “Rick and Morty” on Cartoon Network.

In episode one, we check out the Discreet Assassin Construction Set, featuring Krombopulos Michael ( #KMichaelKills).

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Kidrobot & Adult Swim Release Collectible Rick and Morty 7-inch Vinyl Figure

Kidrobot, the world’s premiere designer and online retailer of limited edition art toys and apparel has partnered with Adult Swim to release a new collector figure based on the hit show, Rick and Morty.

Wubba Lubba Dub Dubbs! Adult Swim and Kidrobot present the collectible Rick and Morty Medium Figure. Featuring everyone’s favorite familial inter-dimensional travelers Rick and Morty, a portal and bureaucratic bug, this squanchy figure clocks in at 7 inches tall.

The collectible Rick and Morty figure will be available for order on Kidrobot.com and in select retailers on Tuesday, May 16th, 2017 at 10am MST. The Rick and Morty figure will retail for a price of $49.99.

“As fans of the show, Kidrobot was honored to partner with Rick and Morty on this deluxe vinyl interpretation of one of their portal jumping adventures,” said Allen Richardson, Vice President of Product and Marketing at Kidrobot. “Now throughout 2017, Kidrobot and Adult Swim fans can enjoy an entire collection of Kidrobot x Adult Swim designs true to the shows fans know and love.”

Along with the new Rick and Morty figure series, fans can also enjoy additional Kidrobot x Adult Swim items including medium figures and mini series launching throughout 2017.

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Hey California! Check out this Kidrobot x Adult Swim x 3DRetro Toy Release Party & Signing

Kidrobot has partnered with art toy and collectible store, 3DRetro, for an official Adult Swim mini series release party and signing event this Friday, April 28th, 2017 6pm-11pm PDT at 3DRetro in Glendale, California.

The fan event celebrates the release of the new collector figures based around several of Adult Swim’s hit series. The release will include the new medium sized Rick and Morty figure as well as the new Adult Swim Blind Box Mini Figures which features characters from Rick & Morty, Venture Brothers, Samurai Jack, Fish Center, Robot Chicken, Squidbillies, the smash viral hit Too Many Cooks and everyone’s cult favorite mobile game Robot Unicorn Attack.

Cast and creators from Rick and Morty, Robot Chicken and other special guests from Adult Swim will be on hand during the event to sign figures for fans!

The collectible Adult Swim Blind Box Mini Series will be available for order on Kidrobot.com and in select retailers on Friday, April 28th, 2017 at 10am MST.

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