Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Christmas in L.A.

So about a month ago, I got the awesome opportunity to work on the music video for The Killers' new Christmas single "Christmas in L.A." Mostly doing character design and a little rotoscoping alongside the students in BYU Animation.

Today, the video came out on youtube

Before I say anything else - This video was made to promote the Killers' song. ALL of the proceeds from that song (literally 100% of the money) goes to R.E.D.'s AIDS relief. The video was shot on a miniscule budget, the artists worked for free, and the celebrity aspects of it were all done for charity. That being said, please consider buying this song.

Now you're probably wondering - hey Kendall, what parts did you do? Here is some of the work I put into it:

Early on, I got an email from the director Kelly Loosli asking for some designs of Owen Wilson in the style of Robert Valley - all of the animation was going to attempt to imitate him

Although my designs for Owen didn't get used, I started off doing mostly character designs for the video. Brandon Flowers acquired the rights to use Warren Zevon's image in the video and asked us to include him in it, so while other artists worked on background characters, I designed Zevon. 

These were my first two passes at Warren, each one getting warped a bit to try and play around with Valley's style. We ended up going with the top one and you can see the full-body version of it in the music video (at 3:46 Owen Wilson is in an audition line and to the far right is Zevon). 
I did a few more shots of Zevon - one of him that was used in the church scene (at 2:34 you can see him blurred on a pew behind Owen) - and one that was supposed to be animated of him playing guitar on the street but due to time restrictions did not appear in the video.


They had me do two versions of Zevon on the guitar - one in Valley's style and one more realistic. While the animation was meant to be heavily stylized, Flowers wanted Zevon to look more life-like. 

A few more characters I was asked to fix design problems on were the woman with the sunglasses (at 2:54)

the family in the Christmas photo (at 3:09)

and the drunk guy in the Santa hat (at 4:00)

Obviously for the video they cut out alot of the details I drew to make things easier to animate.

I also took on designing the Killers as background characters in the video. The images were never used, but it was alot of fun and they look really good. Brandon Flowers is even wearing his favorite jacket.

One other thing I contributed was to the video's rotoscoping (tracing animation over live footage). At about 2:16 Owen is double-taking in his car when he sees himself walking around the city. I did the initial rough rotoscoping of the close-ups of his face in that sequence. Some of the work I did was used, cleaned up, and colored, but alot of it was thrown away or replaced. In the end, I learned that I hate animating and am content to stick to concept design.

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