Bringing Comic Book Panels to Life
Last week’s episode of Limitless featured some pretty exciting comic-book style animations. Protagonist Brian Finch, his mind turned genius by miracle-drug NZT, begins to see another character’s story as comic book drawings, and the viewer sees the story through his eyes.
To begin we altered the existing title sequence to include these new comic book animations:
For these scenes we began with artwork from several accomplished comic book artists including Annie Wu, Robbi Rodriguez, Babs Tarr, Andrew Robinson, Joe Suitor, Mark Bright, and Nick Pitarra.
“We had about a week and a half to make these animations,” says The Molecule’s Animation Supervisor Chad Sikora, “but it was easier to animate in such a short time frame because we started with such awesome artwork.”
One of the biggest initial challenges came from the conversion of the artists’ Photoshop project files into After Effects project files. “The difference in technique needs to be overcome between comic book art and Motion Graphics,” says Chad. Because there were files coming in from different artists, each with a very unique organizational structure, we needed to do a bit of reshuffling to conform their artwork to be manipulated in After Effects.
From there, the show’s producers had a very clear idea of what they wanted from the scene, right down to camera position guidelines.
At a few points we animated the details in the artists’ panels, and our artists were able to add their own personal touches. Motion Graphics Artist Melissa Peralta talks about the money she animated for the stripper panel we received. “Our goal was to have fun with it. For the stripper panel, we made it rain and added lighting so that it felt like where we actually were: a strip club.”
In addition to Chad and Melissa, Animators Kit Lam and Chris Bruffee rounded out the team for this scene, adding in their own unique details to their shots.
The Molecule’s Ezra Christian is our VFX Producer for this series, and Chris Hayes is our Motion Graphics Producer.