Global Mechanic has completed a series of five IDs for Nicktoons, Nickelodeons digital channel for animated hits. Global Mechanic was hired to design the character, concept the ideas, animate and score the music for the spots. The five spots: MARTIX, BUSBY, MARATHON, OUTA SPACE and GIANTS all feature a hip 3D cat in its "title" situation. Animated entirely in 3D Maya, the IDs are based around simple music driven scenes and take their cues from musicals and the music video world.
This project was one of those proverbial love fest projects, said exec producer Matthew Charde, Nicktoons saw our reel and liked it enough to ask us to pitch them a few ideas in whatever style, technique or genre we wanted. We sent a couple of treatments along to them and. Shazam! Next thing you know we are in production.
The MATRIX spot takes its cues from '80s computer motif. Blinking cursors fly through space and a grid of floating cubes each hold a dancing cat. Cats dance on a floor plane covered in blinking pixel dots. The spot ends with the camera flying out to reveal logo displayed in glowing dots on the floor.
The BUSBY spot is a mandala of dancing cats inspired by the Busby Berkely choreography in musical films of the '40s and '50s. The cats dance in concentric rings viewed from above like synchronized swimmers. The camera captures parts of the action, then cuts to a wide shot to reveal them forming the logo to resolve the spot.
The MARATHON piece features up-tempo chase music and starts with a paw entering frame as the camera zooms out to reveal a cat running down city street. Running along and joined in frame by a second identical cat, the viewer sees its a race. The camera follows action and quickly cuts to a shot from above we see two cats running through frame followed quickly by a hundred cats, which pass by the logo plastered onto telephone pole.
OUTA SPACE shows cats dancing in a small blue galaxy, with abstracted curving background design elements. The camera floats and whips through the environment framing scenes: a single cat dances in the foreground, with three backup dancers, a cat runs to the beat on top of a spinning sphere, a line of cats dance around the rings of Saturn slightly off-tempo creating a zoetrope-like effect. The camera whip-zooms out to reveal the Nicktoons logo on the planet.
GIANTS revolves around a group of cats that are dancing on a large blue curved surface the camera does a whip zoom out to reveal that they are microscopic and dancing on a gigantic version of themselves. Zooms continue to the beat of the music revealing layer upon layer of different scales for the dancing cats. Zoom out to reveal cats are dancing on the logo. A Cat sticks its head into the frame and blinks, wiping the frame to black.
Staff director Nathaniel Akin directed the animation for the spots. Akin and Global Mechanic staff animator Ian Godfrey did the key animation and Tina Ouellette was the producer. Global Mechanics creative director is Bruce Alcock. Nicktoons supervising producer was Christina Vann with Thomas Markert serving as creative director.
Nicktoons 24-hour schedule features a roster of animated hits from Nickelodeon's library, including THE ANGRY BEAVERS, RUGRATS, AHHH! REAL MONSTERS, SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS, THE FAIRLY ODDPARENTS and AS TOLD BY GINGER. Nicktoons is part of the MTV Networks expanded suite of channels available for digital distribution.
Global Mechanic (www.globalmechanic.com) is a bi-coastal animation and live-action production company that makes television commercials, independent films and music videos. Techniques include design-based animation, mixed-media, stop-motion/ motion control, drawn, and live-action/ special effects. Canadian studio headquarters are in Vancouver, B.C. with U.S. offices in Boston.