Saturday, September 16, 2006


In 2002 I teamed up with two Swedes to create a virtual pop band in the vein of Gorillaz, but aimed at a pop-loving audience. Well, that's a little misleading. The Swedes had already created it. The music was in production and the characters were being designed.

Sasan and Mike though, for all their talents and strong jawlines needed a hand to bring the characters to life.

A meeting was swiftly assembled - Ikea-style if you will - and I began to sculpt Sasan's characters in 3D. On a computer of course.

Sas had established a strong, distinctive style (above) and we were keen to keep the look when we came to animating them. The band consisted of Kurano (lead singer), Ninni (diva) and The Plot (the mastermind behind the music).

At the time, this cell-shaded 'cartoony' look was seldom seen in 3D animation and the drugs needed to inspire A Scanner Darkly had yet to be swallowed by a drug mule on her way to the United States.

The above image shows an early version of Kurano before the cell-shading.

The music itself was Britney Spears-inspired and aimed to be as over-the-top poppy as possible. Although later in the track there is a bit of a Daft Punk moment. We were going for a young audience which is also why the characters are so simple. The original brief stipulated that a child should be able to draw them.

For the video, I devised a scene in which Kurano, the lead singer was trapped in a wind tunnel. The wind tunnel was also something of a sports arena, with large markings on the gym floor surface.

Kurano had to battle against a giant fan at one end before being helped by a large speaker playing his song at the other.

In experimenting with the cell-shading, I also exported some test movies in Flash format, using a plug-in called Swift 3D.

was an early practice at lip-synching.

Getting Kurano to strut with the attitude of a rock/glam star was also key. Take a look at the walk cycle.

So, after all that... here's the final video. You'll note it didn't quite get finished. This was a drawback of being an out-of-work amateur animator who shortly after starting the music video started getting paid to work. Rest assured in the end Kurano was sure to defeat the fan and it would blow up or at least break down sufficiently to allow our hero to straighten his strange red hair.

And what came of all this? Not much.
I did get a phone call from Shane Walter, keen to show it at onedotzero film festival two years ago, but my excitement quickly ended as Shane asked me: "Can you finish it?".

I couldn't finish it, but here it is anyway. I hope you enjoy it, or at least you dislike it enough to make your day more interesting.


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