Behind the Scenes of Pirate101 Puppet Shows
Yarrr, Pirates! Have you ever wondered about the makings of the Pirate101 puppet shows? They’re one of our favorite aspects of the game, and today artist and animator Robert Lovelett is here to share the makings of puppet shows.
My name is Robert Lovelett (Donkey Hotay in the forums) and I am the lead artist and animator for the puppet shows in Pirate101. I am thrilled when fans tell me that the puppet shows are one of their favorite things about the game. I hope that they inspire people to use animation to tell their own stories.
The first stage is called pre-production. Writers create a script, and I meet with them to offer my input. After we agree on a script, the puppet show goes to sound to record the rough audio, which I then put in the animatic. An animatic is an animated storyboard. It helps me figure out what works visually for the puppet shows, from scene composition to the rhythm and timing of the animation. I use a program called Adobe Flash to create the puppet shows.
After I get feedback and approval on the animatic from the writers and art director, I move on to the production stage. Production involves cleaning up my initial sketches with final lines and adding color. The production stage can be very tedious, but it pays off in the end. It is very rewarding to see an idea go from script to a refined, moving illustration.
The last stage is polish. By this point, I get the final audio from sound with the official voice actor combined with sound effects and music. If necessary, I tweak the animation’s timing to match the final audio and make minor visual changes. The key thing about the polish stage is that it is optional, but can really add to the quality of the animation. One of the biggest examples where polish paid off is the Armada puppet show. Initially, it had a saturated color palette, but after consideration, it was changed to a palette that shifted to grey and monochromatic, to match with the shift in tone from humorous to grim.
I hope this gives you a glimpse into how the puppet shows for Pirate101 are made. You would be amazed how many resources are available on the Internet to learn animation. If you have an interest, I urge you to explore these resources to learn as much as possible about animation!