How To Make a 2D Background

With only a few exceptions, the majority of Atomic Robo: Last Stop is old school, hand drawn 2D animation. Even though we use computers to draw, paint, and animate, we are still using a fairly traditional workflow to make our short.

This week we’re gonna look at ¬†making one of the backgrounds to a shot, from start to finish.

We start off with a storyboard of a shot. The storyboard gives a rough idea of where the camera is and where everything is positioned in the frame. In this case, we are looking down at a traincar.
A background artist interprets this into a quick sketch.

Once the sketch gets approved…

The artist cranks out a more finalized digital painting.

The main traincar is actually a separate element. Notice only the exposed portion of the floor is painted out.

Out of the 150 or so shots in the 12 minute short, only a few of them have similar backgrounds that can be reused in more than one shot. ¬†We’re talking over a hundred unique paintings before we’re done with Atomic Robo!

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