Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – 2012

tmnt_appicon_512When I was 7 years old I would run to the television set after school and watch my favorite show
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. So imagine my excitement when I was told we would be working with nickelodeon to produce a promotional app for their new TMNT cartoon series, I remember doing a jump of joy at my desk that day.

But like all great project, this one had its hurdles.
The delivery of assets from the client was delayed causing us to worry about our own release date.  As the creative lead I was asked to make a decision:

1. Wait for the client to deliver the game assets, which would create a funnel in the pipeline.
2. Build the game characters from scratch, and hope the client approves our reproductions.

What would you have done?

so…I decided to build from scratch. I have to admit my love for this franchise and making my very own turtle did play a role in the decision…So I put myself in a position where I had to lead a team of four artists in 3 weeks to model, texture, rig and animate 4 characters and get Nickelodeon to approve our assets. There were times when myself and others thought I might have went down the wrong path, but I was determined not to fail at this project, what would master splinter have said if I did?

I decided the best route for character integrity was to build a template. Then I would pass this turtle on to the other artists to manipulate the individual turtle proportions based on the same edge flow. This would be much more easier with texturing because they share the same UVs, this way paint layers can be shared.  Rigging was also more efficient since all four shared a similar edge flow. I collected some blurry T-poses scanned from a loose leaf nickelodeon style guide and created this template:

With some luck, a great team, and hard work the risk paid off. The template method was a sucess and it ended with great results. Ad-dispatch managed to fulfill deadlines, create mobile performance ready game assets and got client approval.

Here are some of the character animations I worked on:

 

Alas, the victory was short lived. Like many great projects of the past this one was cancelled before it was released. Having cancelled projects is a frequent occurrence in the animation/game industry. Now looking back on this project if it was released it may have slipped into the recesses of my memory, like so many do, but because it was cancelled I will never forget it.

RIP TMN AR App???

 

 

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