There’s a term in theater, film, cartoons, etc… maybe it’s better to just say ENTERTAINMENT™ called “Blocking”. Blocking is a sometimes-necessary step in productions where you map out the where and when of characters as they move through a scene. Doing a blocking pass on a scene is ESPECIALLY helpful when you have a lot of characters doing a lot of actions between shots. Working as a storyboard artist with multiple directors with different styles, I found it handy to have maps of a lot of the locations in Camp Camp to help maintain consistent positions of environments for storyboards AND to make all of Camp Camp’s places feel more real.
For The Mask Vs. Deadpool we wanted to make the final part of the fight SUPER dramatic with three different kinds of lighting. Lightning strikes, gunshots, and a nuke blast all timed to music. SO, when making the backgrounds for it I made an ON and OFF version of each of the backgrounds to let animators do things Like control lighting/intensity, and move things like clouds out of the way for the super wide shot of the explosion. You can watch the last part of The Mask Vs. Deadpool fight here:
Some of the backgrounds I made for Episode 13 Season 4 of Camp Camp “Campfire Tales” Which you can watch here. These are from Dolph’s story where he imagines himself as a graffiti-artist in East Berlin. The idea was to have a lot of fun surfaces that I separated out so a painted character could run and act behind the brick texture, you can watch the effect starting at 7:12 in the episode.
Here are some more backgrounds I made from Episode 17 Season 4 of Camp Camp “The Butterfinger Effect” Which you can watch here. These are from a couple moments where Nurf first triggers the change in personalities and when everyone starts to return to normal around sunset. Engineering a bunch of tent flap layers to make the transitions between interior and exterior shots in the campsite area was a lot of fun.
Here are some more backgrounds from Episode 18 Season 4 of Camp Camp “Time Crapsules” Which you can watch here. The first one is from the scene where Mr. Campbell is looking for his long lost deposit box. The second is from the scene where Max tries to set up Gwen with her high school crush. A fun part of background-crafting in general is finding ways to preserve continuity of layout without having to make too many new assets. Keeping the spacing of things on the table consistent without having to remake the plate or candelabra saved a bunch of time plus the multiple camera angles make the mess hall feel like a real 3-dimensional space.
Going from storyboard to backgrounds can give you a deeper understanding of what information boards need to help ease the workload later in the animation pipeline. It especially helps you figure out what details matter in a storyboard frame that will often act as an initial layout for a background artist.
Recently, I worked on a project aiming to make a massive multiplayer game to help LGBT teens in isolated areas connect and relate to their peers going through the same thing. The basic premise is to help people who typically feel excluded to have a place to fit in. Players can fully customize their characters and have the opportunity to change genders or races at level ups to gain perspective. The game takes place in a futuristic super city where players go on quests to help improve the city. Gameplay is centered around elemental future-magic powered by a character’s wardrobe, accessories, and apartment decorations. I wanted to have “stylish” clothes that evoked elements without beating players over the head with obvious imagery. I stuck to basic geometry to make it seem more like a legitimate clothing line rather than a kitschy brand that printed flame icons on everything.