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<p><a href="">Amp | X-Games</a> from <a href="">three legged legs</a> on <a href="">Vimeo</a>.</p>

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Amp | X-Games

BBDO and Three Legged Legs team up once again to create three action packed spots for Amp energy drink. Watch as these X-Game heroes narrowly escape the clutches of environmental villainy. We’re bringing the heat with our first foray into full traditional animation. Be sure to check out the extensive behind the scenes breakdown to get a glimpse of how they were made, Legs style.

Life’s a Pitch

We had been sitting around the office idling, just hanging out on the internet looking for inspiration. Suddenly, these boards are in our laps. They were straight fire. We had a chit chat with the boyos from BBDO and we clicked immediately.

Just like any project, we jumped right in and started blasting out concept work and style frames. With few words exchanged amongst ourselves, the visual style took form very quickly. We’ve wanted to do a fully traditionally animated something for a while, and this was the perfect opportunity. Strong dynamic 2d characters against a deep, richly textured backdrop was the stylistic mantra. Mix in a dash of photographic elements, and live action textures and you’ve got yourself a nice little piece of animation.

“oh man, just wait ’till that thing is moving!… yeah and then the smoke will like PESHOOOO… the fire monster could slip and SPAKOW! right off the cliff into the river!… ya and Zeus’ beard is made of lightning… YEAH!!”

The Internet

The style was locked in, and our approach approved. Our main concern was to revise the characters, making them more dynamic and less “beavis and butthead”.

We found Scott through his blog, We loved his style, and got in touch with him. He had no choice but to drive down from San Jose and hang out with us for a week. We got into the groove immediately. He had banged out tons of amazing preliminary design work before he came down, so that week we had him face to face was just to flesh the hell out of things.

It was lots of drawing and joking, and climbing on rooftops to pose for pictures. One thing we learned about him is that he knows everyone… and everything. It was scary actually. He could construct elaborate webs of connections showing how he knew these people, and who they know. If we stumped him, he would disappear for a moment, and return with an extensive knowledge of the subject. Within a few days, we only referred to him as “the internet”.

I Can See Your Doodle

Then we built our crew. Kids straight outta school, those still in school, and seasoned animation veterans alike… we had quite a mishmash of people working in a little room adjacent to our office. Four people made up the animation team, and 4 interns made up our rag-tag layout department. Everyone clicked, and the vibe was great. While struggling with technical difficulties (note: tablet PC’s kinda suck for traditional animation), the crew started to generate an overwhelming amount of preliminary character exploration and animation studies. Day one… and we saw the entire spots laid out before our eyes. It was the end of that first day that we knew that this ragtag crew was going to destroy the shit out of this project.

Lil’ bit o’ the ol’ meet ‘n greet

“Juice popsicles. I’m confused on case [study] stuff.” – The Internet

“Most people think diversity means hiring people of color or different gender or culture or transsexuals… But 3L is really open minded: they hired somebody OLD like me!” – Kathleen

“The enthusiasm was friggin awesome. The walls of TLL ooze good vibeness. No one is afraid to push it to the EXTREME! Just when I thought I hit the highest level of EXTREME, you guys took me up six flights of stairs to a room full of EXTREME, falling out of boxes labeled EXTREME. It was good.” – Erik

“Working with Tucker was a pleasure.” – Dylan

“The future!!!” – Jahmad

“And maybe next time I shouldn’t be the DJ because I think I kinda sucked at it lol.” – Monica

“Did you see that one skateboarder that fell friggin’ 50 ft after doing a 720 during x games! Friggin Siiick. And he got up after!” – Thomas

“Our names and pictures are on the skateboard ramp! Nice.” – Wendy

“Um….I think my favorite thing was ‘zoom shits’, and Thomas’ amazing noises.” – Matt

Digital Is The Neue Paper

From there it was fancy times. We got the computers setup, and everyone was jamming. We taught everyone the software in a day, and it became pretty natural. We were seeing extremely dynamic nearly finished animation in the first few days. It was great. Because of the time and nature of the project, we needed to go paperless. No wasting time on scanning or any of that shit. Using ToonBoom, we were able to see animation tests as we animated, and were able to color and render the finished animation very quickly.

All the while, the intern kids were knocking out preliminary layouts at a ridiculous rate. Some great thinking was present in the first few days. We were really happy with the stuff they were bringing to the table.

Wicked Polished Animatics

We had developed the animatics. It was a challenge to fit all of the ideas into such a small time. Everything else we had was much longer format, so we were into it. “It’s going to be a high octane, no holds barred action fest.”, we told ourselves. “The pacing in these spots will be like several punches in the face.”, we told the world. Peep the first pass animatics, and compare them to a rough ‘work in progress’ cut from later in production.

Fire Monster, Bad Ass

We knew fire dude was going to always be a challenge. How much animation… how much real fire? There were times when it became real challenge, but in the end we got the look we were going after. We threw a lot of compositing magic over the rough line drawing. Layer after layer of practical fire, smoke, explosion, sparks you name it we used it to make this dude breathe fire. And we didn’t use any 3d for this badass monster.

Lay the Eff Out

Back in layout land, everything was golden. They took our initial parameters and really stepped it up a notch. They tossed out ideas, things like subtle angle changes, that really heightened the drama for the shots. It was great to see the interns putting their all into it. Soon we had these really developed super rich layouts that were really kicking ass. Take a look at the full size layouts in the raw straight outta photoshop.

Stretchy Frames

Stylistically, one thing we really wanted to push throughout each of the spots was this extreme stretching. Most of the animation was on two’s, so we were constantly pushing the team to really exaggerate the poses. It was all about finding the most dynamic extremes, then get from point A to B really quickly. Those in between frames became these abstract torn sharp smears. Here’s a few examples.

The End

By the end of the production, we were just totally astounded. We were constantly patting ourselves on the back. Thanks and cheers and hooting and hollering was made towards the crew. It was just awesome. We were really proud of the spots. It is our hope that you enjoy them as much as we do. Go back to the main page and watch them shits again!!!