Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Download: Behind the Scenes of Our April Fools’ Animation

We celebrated April Fools’ this week by enlisting the help of some of our favorite mysterious creatures. A UFO, the Loch Ness Monster, and the Yeti all pitched in to create Motorola’s surprise stop-motion animation for users who powered up their phones on April 1 (it will be available for 11 more days!). But the story of our boot up began with a creative animator and a vision to bring the art of stop-motion to the new medium of phones. For this week’s Download, we want to give you a behind-the-scenes look at what it took to bring our latest Motorola Boot Services animation to life.

With Motorola phones, we are always working to deliver highly personal experiences customized for you. And that meant starting from the very beginning: the time you start-up your phone. If you haven’t noticed, we like to change these boot-up greeting animations often to make them timely and seasonal for you.

“We said, how about we give a life to the boot up, make the animation richer, and tie it to what our users care about,” said Motorola product manager Meet Jariwala.

Ultimately, it took 192 frames—that’s the number of individual pictures used to create this week’s April Fools’ stop-motion animation start to finish. It’s a beautiful, centuries-old craft that involves masterfully stitching together a series of photos to create a story.

“For this project, stop-motion was a fun choice,” animator Kirsten Lepore said. “It had a handmade feel for the canvas of the phone, and you could really develop things like fur for the Yeti. It’s always more fun when you can see small details.” Stop-motion gave the animation a human touch and fit the personal nature of phones, which are always updating.

It began with developing the characters in 2D sketches then creating each of the characters as 7-inch puppets by hand. Then Kirsten designed a set for the puppets and, frame by frame, took pictures of the puppets to make the animation.
“As a stop motion animator, you almost have the job of a director because you have to capture the performance of the puppet,” Kirsten said. “So you give personality to it in the way it moves and acts.”

Want to meet each of the characters? Kirsten introduced us.

The Loch Ness Monster - 6” x 2” - “The Loch Ness Monster is very happy. He’s also playful because he sticks his tongue out as we zoom up, almost teasing the audience. The Loch Ness Monster was clay because I knew he would move a lot, and clay is very flexible.”

The Alien - 6” x 6” - “The Alien is mischievous. He smiles a little wider before he shoots his alien beam. I actually laid LEDs into the Alien ship so that he could light up, and it gave more dimension to the puppet, especially since the rest of the material was reflective.”

The Yeti - 7”-tall - “He looks tough, but he’s also kind of a scaredy cat when he gets caught in the act and runs away once the spotlight is on him. I built the Yeti more rigid because he’s more human, a little stiff, and intimidating. He chickens out in the end, so I also made him furry. I applied all the hair on him by hand. I gave him a clay face to make his face very expressive.”

Watch these characters come to life with the latest Motorola Boot Services from Google Play Store when you restart your phone. And be on the lookout for more exciting start-up animations to come.

Just another week of software updates. Stay tuned for more, and let us know what you think on our Google+Twitter, and Facebook.

Posted by Punit Soni, Product Management

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