December 2nd, 2013
Last Thursday, the Guardian featured OZMAT via a guest post written by Dr. Elias Lipton, the the fictional hero of the web series. In the science-leaning article, Dr. Lipton makes an impassioned case for scientific advancement and OZMAT:
In many ways, 2013 has been a wonderful year for humankind. The Higgs boson has been identified. We are discovering ever more habitable planets across our Milky Way galaxy. Just today I read that a team led by Mike Thewalt at Simon Fraser University held a fragile quantum memory state at room temperature for 39 minutes. Thirty-nine minutes! That shatters the world record! The head tingles at the ways in which ultrafast quantum computing could change our world in the not-too-distant future.
Alas, I now fear that such major technological breakthroughs will be few and far between in the coming years. We may in fact be heading toward a period of prolonged stagnation in scientific advancement. No, I’m not talking about fewer young people interested in mathematics and science. And no, I’m not talking about a sluggish world economy slowing down research. I’m talking about a future without OZMAT.
Read the entire article here and be sure to check out some of the comments at the bottom of the post. OZMAT was created and produced by CloudKid.
November 11th, 2013
The gaming world was taken by storm this fall with the release of Rockstar Games’ Grand Theft Auto V. Gamers had been left without a new major installment of GTA since 2008 (Grand Theft Auto IV), but we’re pretty confident to say it was worth the wait. And we’re not the only ones: GTA V broke gaming records in its first day alone, selling $800 million worth of units, and going on to earn $1 billion in just the first three days. A billion dollars. In three days.
So, how’d they do it? We took a look and created for your viewing pleasure the “3 Simple Steps to Creating a $1 Billion Masterpiece – GTA V Edition”.
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October 31st, 2013
Throughout the OZMAT story, we meet a handful of bizarre creatures who live at the underground facility. Our team was tasked with bringing these lovable specimens to life through a series of “Creature Tests”. The animation process was challenging and laborious, proving to be a different “beast” than our usual straight-forward Flash pipeline. Some of the challenges included combining photo/live action elements, using 3D/CG backgrounds, and working with non-speaking animated characters. Moreover, these segments were storyboard driven and didn’t rely on scripts like most of our other animated content. In the end, though, we think the results were well worth the demanding process that we’ve outlined below.
1. Boards: Since the physical comedy of each character is at the heart of our creature tests, we wanted the gags to be driven by the artists rather than scripts. To start, each artist created and pitched a handful of rough storyboards of different creature tests that highlighted the creatures’ personalities and powers. We then chose which boards were working best (and got the most laughs) and started to tie them into the overall OZMAT narrative.
2. Animatics: Once the storyboards were polished, we moved into the animatic phase. In this stage, we locked down timing, pushed acting and the character poses, and started adding rough photographic props and temporary CG background renders.
3. Animation: Once the animatics were finalized, our team moved onto character animation. The animators used the character model-sheets and began animating the characters, using as much traditional animation and “redraw” as possible. We really wanted these characters to come to life, so the animators pushed themselves and each other to make the comedy and personalities shine through.
4. Effects/Post: Finally, animators made a props and “effects pass” in Flash, adding and animating all the photographic items as well as effects such as electricity, water, smoke, fire, etc. This final animation step was a laborious one as all the creature tests had lots of photo props and complicated effects. Once all the animation work was completed, the tests were finally ready for another complicated process – post production. Stay tuned for a complete article on post production where we added several effects passes and audio design. In the meantime, check out the final product below! You can also check out the rest of the content from this report here.
October 21st, 2013
Over the past year, we’ve mentioned lots of exciting projects we’ve been hard at work on, most of which have included loads of animation. We’re excited to finally show you some highlights in our updated reel. The revamped cut includes new clips from our client work as well as more from our own original properties. Check it out!
October 16th, 2013
Last week, we gave you a sneak peek from OZMAT, our upcoming web series. Now, it’s time for us to divulge even more info about this exciting project. While the 1981 Informational Video answered “What is OZMAT?” in the fictional sense, we wanted to give you all some intel about OZMAT the web series.
Back in the summer of 2012, we were in the process of wrapping several long-term client projects and Negative Nimbus. We decided to scale back client work and focus on a large internal project that would provide creative freedom and new storytelling/ technical challenges. After many brainstorm sessions, the idea of producing a web series that utilizes a variety of media formats (live action videos, animations, documents, audio clips and photos) emerged. OZMAT, the story of a lone researcher who must save his top-secret government agency, was born, and we’ve been excited about our mission to push the boundaries of storytelling ever since.
It’s been a long ride, and we can’t wait to finally share OZMAT with the world. Leading up to the October 23rd launch, and as we roll out content, we’ll be giving you more behind-the-scenes looks into the production process. In the meantime, be sure to check out the teaser above and help spread the word by liking and sharing our Save OZMAT Facebook page.
October 7th, 2013
We’ve been subtly teasing our self-produced web series, OZMAT, for a while now, and we’re so excited to finally share a sneak peek. Check out the “1981 History Video” above for some general info on the top-secret government agency we created for this narrative. The web series will officially kickoff on 10/23, but stay tuned for more previews and behind-the scenes posts here. In the meantime, you can also follow our social campaigns on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, and share with your networks. We can’t wait to show you more!
October 3rd, 2013
We’re so excited to announce the launch of the website and app we produced for PBS Kids’ latest show: Peg + Cat. We’ve been hard at work producing the transmedia suite for this math-focused preschool series for almost a year and had previously created a pilot site and games in 2011 for the property. It was a pleasure working with our partners at 9ate7 Productions, PBS and the Fred Rogers Company on this project, for which we created the Big Gig app, an HTML5 website, and 11 games and activities (a mix of Flash and HTML5). We hope you all enjoy checking them out! Stay tuned for more behind-the-scenes posts on our interactive production process, and make sure to tune in for the show’s premiere on Monday October 7th!
September 25th, 2013
We’re sensing some similarities in what we’re all digging this month, centered around a trend that we are not only seeing a lot of here at CloudKid but also hearing a lot about in the media: digital content. As more and more digital content becomes available through providers like Amazon, Netflix, and Hulu, it is becoming commonplace to watch old and new favorites online. It seems that Cartoon Network isn’t thrilled with the amount of viewers they have been losing due to digital alternatives, but everyone here is quite happy watching the library of properties available on a moment’s notice. Here’s what those of us here at the ol’ CK HQ have been watching online lately. Enjoy!
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September 18th, 2013
Big news from our block in Brighton!
A while back, we collaborated with our friends and neighbors down the street at WGBH on converting some Peep and the Big Wide World Flash games to mobile apps. We were excited to help them bring this content to a new generation of users and were so happy to hear the news today that five of the apps we ported have been honored with Parents’ Choice Awards. Check out the reviews, and the apps if you have a chance!
August 30th, 2013
This summer we have been in the thick of production on our two Nickelodeon digital pilots, and while we can’t spill the beans quite yet, we wanted to give y’all a sneak peek into our environment and background design process:
1. Reference Field Trip
Back in May, we took a field trip to the sunny shores of Marblehead and Swampscott. We walked around, took pictures, ate local cuisine… we immersed ourselves in a setting we were hoping to bring to life.
2. Concept Sketches
After the trip, a couple artists spent some time exploring concept sketches so we could get a better feel for the setting and key locations.
In the thumbnail phase, our writers and director planned out the shots that were needed to tell the story. Background sketches were built out based on the rough storyboard.
4. Color Script and Keys
A color script was created to give the directors and background artists a sense of the lighting and mood for the entire short. Once completed, the colorist did a series of “color keys” that locked down the color and lighting for each shot.
5. Final Backgrounds
The background artists referenced the sketches and the color keys and worked their wonders to digitally paint the final polished backgrounds.
It’s a labor-intensive process, but we think the results are worth it in the end!