Office Space Enters Xtranormal's Contest

Office space is a series I started on DIY animation site, Xtranormal, featuring two office workers, Steve and Vicki. Steve is a Waste Management Executive on the rise and Vicki is his some what jaded personal assistant. You can see episode 1 and 2 on my original Xtranormal post.

Episode 3 picks up just after Steve has presented his report to the Top Brass. He confronts Vicki with a number of issues...



Episode 4 (below) is the latest episode which I've entered into Xtranormal's first animation contest. The theme is relationships in celebration of Valentine's Day. There is a US$1000.00 dollar prize for the entry with the most views on Xtranormal's Youtube channel. The competition ends February 28th, 2011 so please help me out by sharing this animation as far and wide as you can.

In this episode Steve has another chance to present his report but Vicki is some what distracted from getting the job done. This one is a little more racier than previous episodes so parental guidance is recommended.

GoAnimate, Lil' Peepz, Lil' Bat Flash and Jokester

Lil' Peepz Jokester, Bat Storm and Bat Flash.
The Lil' Peepz theme arrived on GoAnimate in a big way back in July of 2010 (can you tell how behind I am on updating this blog?) with it's own custom character creator it's been going from strength to strength ever since. To the point where nearly all the other themes on the site have paled by comparison.

The first thing you notice about the Lil' Peepz is their complete lack of arms or legs. Their hands and feet just kind of float around their body (or if you prefer, in the case of their feet, their body just kind of floats above them). This makes them relatively easy for GoAnimate staff to add new costumes and most recently, action packs.

Adding new actions, for the most part, appears to be just repositioning the character in the poses required without having to create any new drawings. Well maybe a new hand position here and there but not too much else I imagine.

At around the time of the release of Lil' Peepz I fired up their character creator and attempted to recreate some of my Bat Storm Cast (pictured above). There wasn't as wide a selection of outfits back in July of 2010 and, as of writing this, still no superhero style, cowl like masks - I had to improvise with black hair and head bands.

Of the three I think Jokester is probably the only one I wouldn't change. The other two I'm hoping to update at some point as GoAnimate CEO, Alvin Hung, took on board my suggestion of adding some superhero costumes to the Lil' Peepz character creator and said that was definitely something they'd do in the future (it just seems logical as a lot of the action packs feature superhero like powers).

Below is a really quick animation I threw together just to show off my characters back in July of 2010. Bat Storm isn't included because I hadn't made him at the time.

Lil' Bat Flash by etourist

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

Lil' Peepz Restaurant background.
Notice the isometric perspective in the entrance carpet,
valet stand and police car but the flat eye level
perspective in the three quarter view of the buildings.
Unusually the animation above features a road 'prop' that is in perspective from the Lil' Peepz theme (also those lights, city backdrop, moon and clouds are from the theme too). Unusual because almost all of the Lil' Peepz props are drawn with a slightly top down isometric perspective that I don't like much at all. Either that or the props are drawn at eye level with no real perspective - just flat (see the image on the right).

That aside, if you don't mind the isometric nature of the props it has enabled a much wider range of custom made scenes to be created just from the props available.

As I said the theme's been going from strength to strength with more costumes being added to the creator by the truck load. You can create anything from ancient Egyptians, early American pilgrims right through to futuristic cyborg warriors and demons.

GoAnimate's thrown so much development behind Lil' Peepz that I'm almost confidently predicting they'll be phasing out all the other themes eventually. Most recently they've given the characters the ability to lip sync with their voices.

Personally I hope I'm wrong on that prediction. At the very least I hope they won't phase out the Comedy World theme - which I use for Bat Storm... and GoAnimate just wouldn't be the same without Happy Bunny and Star Trek.

I do like the actual character design of the Lil' Peepz. The lack of arms and legs takes a little getting used to and sometimes those arms and legs are posed just a bit too far away from the characters body that they look daft but over all they're a lot of fun. There in lies the problem.

They look a little childish. I'm sure you could use them for more serious and mature stories but those big feet and floating hands take some time to overcome. Not to mention the isometric 'looking down' view of many of the backgrounds that makes the viewer feel like they're looking down at children.

I'm sure some skilled GoAnimator will come along and prove you can tell serious stories with them - after all a skilled animator can tell a serious story with stick figures if they really know what they're doing. Until then (or until I decide to give that a try) I think I prefer the Comedy World theme for my animations.
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