Wednesday, January 2, 2013

"Superman's Best Friend" production art

I sent "Superman's Best Friend" onto the internet back at the end of July, 2012, but I though I would post some of the art and ideas leading up to it.

The idea was completely inspired by watching my dog Lakota take a massive, steamy crap in the snow, which sunk straight down into the drift. At the time (Winter 2011), I was trying to come up with ideas for my thesis, and the basic outline of the short came together pretty quickly. However, since this was going to be a thesis, I needed to create something I could own outright, and I doubt if DC Comics or Warner Brothers would have made the rights available to me. Plus, I kind of wanted to take a brief break from poo jokes, so I ended up making the incredibly uplifting Threadbare instead. Probably a smart move.

But that didn't stop me from putting together a few character sketches. Not that I really needed to, I have doodled Superman a ton over the years (case in point).

There really isn't much to the story, so the idea was pretty simple and not much changed from the start. Here are some rough storyboards that I would later expand upon.

I did a quick style frame, to get the essence of Superman taking his dog out for a poop.

I moved on to character sketches that I would later expand upon to figure out how Superman and Krypto would look and move. Superman designs were heavily a combination of Max Fleischer and Bruce Timm era Superman.

Krypto designs were easy since he was based on my dog, a white boxer named Lakota, whom I had illustrated before.

Back in August 2011, I did a quick hand drawn animation test in Flash and After Effects.

Superman's Best Friend from Brett Underhill on Vimeo.

It was months later (Spring 2012), when I finally had some down time and was looking for a project to work on that I decided to put it into production. Since this was just a silly poo project for myself and the idea was pretty simple and concrete, my production art is pretty simple and rough.

Those simple sketches were rendered in more detail, creating expression sheets and pose studies.

The story was always pretty clear in my head, but the rough sotryboards were rendered more clearly.

A couple of months of production, and it was all done.

Superman's Best Friend: The Short Animated Movie from Brett Underhill on Vimeo.