I recently had the chance to catch-up with Tyler Jacobs, our awesome animator, about the inspiration behind his recent work on our Liquid Blanket beer video. If you love Scooby-Doo, Inspector Gadget and other animated classics, you’ll love reading about Tyler’s process in creating this animation.
Colin: Hey, Tyler! The Liquid Blanket video you made was our spookiest animation yet. How did you approach the project?
TJ: The logo design got me all excited because it brought so much to my mind. I love drippy letters and with the spooky creature hands added, it immediately brought to my mind so many things that were delightful and nostalgic to me: schlocky 70s horror movies, garage punk bands, You Can’t Do That On Television, Garbage Pail Kids, and so on. I knew I was going to have a lot of fun with this one.
C: Unlike your other videos, the main character in this one has no face. We only see their hands and feet. How challenging was that for you in terms of conveying a fun tone without showing facial expressions?
TJ: Well, the team agreed early on that we didn’t want to show too much of the swamp creature and would leave it up to the viewer’s imagination. Again, pulling from my childhood references, I was trying to emulate the mystery of characters like Dr. Claw (Inspector Gadget), Nanny (Muppet Babies), and Yukk (the ugly dog from the Plastic Man Comedy/Adventure Show). But, if it were to have a face, I would imagine it would have been some gross, but groovy, beast along the lines of Rat Fink or Topps Ugly Stickers Cards.
C: How did you decide to use the techniques you chose for this animation?
TJ: I wanted to do something completely different from the Lazy Dog beer animations I had done prior to this, which were all very bright and flat. So, imagining a creepy swamp with layers of depth, I automatically thought of the rich backgrounds from Scooby-Doo Where Are You?. With that in mind, I did a bit of research and found a folder of Scooby-Doo backgrounds I got off the Internet many years ago and paid close attention to color palettes, visual textures and composition. When it came time to put (digital) brush to (digital) paper, I built it all out into several transparent Photoshop layers instead of one big flat piece. That way, I could push in to the establishing shot of the swamp with the layers moving at different rates. I was trying to mimic the multiplane camera technique that Disney made famous on so many of their classic films like Bambi, Pinocchio and so on. It gave me a lot of creative freedom to move the layers of bushes and tree branches around for different shots. In fact, if you look closely, you’ll notice that there’s only the one background used for the entire piece. I just scaled and repositioned for different shots!
C: So cool! And what about those drippy letters?! That was my favorite part. How’d you make the letters move like that?
TJ: That’s one of my favorite parts, too! I broke the letters of the word “BLANKET” into individual objects and manually hand drew each drip into five frame loops. I had to pay attention to how each drip would grow and fall and how they would affect the others. I also wanted to make sure there was constant movement and that no part of the letters was ever standing still. Then, I made the letters for “LIQUID” sort of float and drift around. Finally, I animated a slight zoom into them and put a glowing filter on the whole title. It was a bit time consuming, but in the end, I think it definitely paid off.
C: I have to ask, was that your voice behind the swamp monster? How did you land on what kind of voice to give this creature?
TJ: Haha, yeah that’s my voice in there. I actually do all the voices on the animations. I really enjoy doing character voices. Once I read the entire Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone book to my son using different voices and accents for each character. That was a lot of fun, and it helped to remember back to the movie for reference. For this swamp monster, though, I guess it just came intuitively. I mean, that’s just how the swamp monsters in my head sound. So… many… voices…
C: Since Halloween’s right around the corner, I’ve got to ask: favorite Halloween candy?
TJ: How much time you got? Haha, I love Halloween so much! It’s my favorite holiday by far. It’s so hard to narrow it down to just one favorite Halloween candy. I might say Twix, but everyone knows all those premium chocolate bars are at the top of the candy food chain. But, I personally also love underdogs like Bottle Caps, Pixy Stix and Smarties - not the British chocolate button Smarties of course, but the chalky tablets that come in rolls. Smarties rule! The worst would have to be Bit-O-Honey or dried fruit. That’s not a treat, that’s a punishment.
Whatever candy you decide to go with this Halloween, be sure to enjoy it with our Liquid Blanket IPA, with hints of citrus, pine and medium malt build, available on tap at all Lazy Dog restaurants.
Have a safe and happy Halloween, everyone!
Words by Colin Liotta
Logo design by Rebecca Simms
Video & Animation by Tyler Jacobs
Questions? Comments? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org