Domo - Big In Japan

I haven't heard of Domo before but apparently this cute little monster (he's the one with the big, red gaping mouth and sharp teeth) is big in Japan.

My research reveals he started out as station mascot for a popular Japanese TV network and has kind of spring boarded into other things from there including ads for the shopping variety store, Target.

Domo has his own web site called Domonation where you can learn more about him and his friends, Mr Usaji (Grey Rabbit), Maya and her son Mario (the two bats), Tassanna (yellow 17 year old female weasel) and others.

The Domonation site has partnered with GoAnimate to create a section where you can create your own animations, using the GoAnimate Application, called Domo Animate. It's completely separate from GoAnimate's main site but works exactly the same (except that you can't upload your own custom props, backgrounds or sounds).

I was recently invited by GoAnimate staff to join the site and contribute to some already great content created by other highly regarded GoAnimate members so that the site would have plenty of inspiring content for its official launch.

After watching a few of the official Domo Animated shorts that can be seen on the homepage of the Domonation web site I got the impression that Domo's popularity has been garnered through thirty second short 'gag' animations. Hence this is what I decided to produce after noting that many of my contemporaries had gone the 'how Domo came to be' angle (possibly because they weren't that familiar with the character either?).

My first animation latches on to the idea that Domo just loves watching television. He's so addicted to it he'll even get interested in the snow between channels...

DomoNation.com: Channel Changer by etourist

Like it? Create your own at DomoNation.com. It's free and fun!

My second animation is an attempt to recreate an actual Domo Animated Short where Domo and Mr Usaji are playing baseball with Tassanna watching on. In the short Domo gets hit in the head with Mr Usaji's pitch...

DomoNation.com: Batter Up! by etourist

Like it? Create your own at DomoNation.com. It's free and fun!

My version does differ in that the story is changed slightly due to not being able to have a sports commentator narrating the scene... hence instead of the concluding slow motion replay I have Domo chase a smug Mr Usaji for hitting him in the head.

The actual challenge of creating the baseball animation was editing the pitch of the baseball so it looked much cooler than a simple side view. I think I achieved a much more effective and dynamic pitch of the baseball.

My final animation is using that old classic 'fart' humor. Let's face it, a well timed fart is funny. Since Domo farts when he's nervous I figure he'd probably be very nervous about appearing on the very first episode of his cooking show...

DomoNation.com: Domo Cooking (Internally) by etourist

Like it? Create your own at DomoNation.com. It's free and fun!

I actually don't like the Domo Cooking animation a heck of a lot because I would rather have done much more of a cooking show (as opposed to a fart joke). Unfortunately there are so few props, sound effects and character voices in the Domo Studio Library that I hit the limitations of the site really quickly.

At the moment that is the problem with the Domo Animate site. Not being able to upload your own props, backgrounds and sounds means that, creatively, you hit a wall of limitations very quickly. This is some what off putting but at the same time presents a challenge for how to get around the limitations and still be able to tell the story you want to tell.

For example, in my first animation, Channel Changer, I used Mr Usaji's ears as his arms to change the channel on the TV remote because there is no animated sequence for him even picking up the TV remote let alone using it.

However if you are a Domo Fan who wants to create your own Domo Animated Shorts then Domo Animate is probably the only place you'll be able to do it. I don't imagine a Domo Theme will be added to the original GoAnimate site since that would, ultimately, make Domo Animate obsolete.

Chroma Keying Go Animate Characters to Video

I was laying in bed one night and I had this brainwave of chroma keying GoAnimate characters with live action video. I was sure it could be done but how effective would it be? Obviously there are many limitations with this idea but for the moment have a look at my very rough experimental video below and I'll get onto explanation after.



Firstly if you are not familiar with what Chroma Keying is then you may be more familiar with the concept of green screening in relation to movie special effects. The terms are almost interchangeable. Both record their subject against a single background colour, usually green, which is then keyed out and replaced with another video image.

In the case of my video above I created a GoAnimate Animation which animated GoAnimate's character, Kate, on a green background. See the animation below.

GoAnimate.com: Chroma key test by etourist

Like it? Create your own at GoAnimate.com. It's free and fun!

I then used CamStudio to screen capture the animation to an AVI video file (which I later had to convert to an MPG file due to compatibility problems with my editing software. Somewhere in this conversion the colours of the animation were corrupted hence the greenish tinge on Kate in the final video).

Finally I used video editing software that supports Chroma keying to combine my animation with the video footage of myself and the frog van I shot earlier.

I'm not pretending this animation is fantastic. It's just a very rough test that I put together in a couple of hours. Call it a proof of concept. This can be done.

It's nowhere near as good as Roger Rabbit and never will be since there's no scope for adding shadows and shading to GoAnimate's pre designed characters. However as an idea it opens up another possibility for GoAnimate's platform and those of us who like to go beyond the boundaries and not settle for just what we're given when we tell our stories.

I'm not sure if I'll expand on this idea into a fully finished animation. When I first thought of it, the idea of doing a Willie Nelson Music video with myself and GoAnimate's Willie Nelson theme had a lot of appeal (The Extraordinary Tourist staring in a Video of Willie Nelson's song On the Road Again perhaps?).

If you are a GoAnimate Animator and you can see the potential in using this technique then give it your all. I'd love to see someone try this who can do it much better than me. Please let me know if you do.
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