MythBusters Bullet Baloney

MythBusters animation with a difference! Here was my big chance to introduce some classic ol’ frame-by-frame animation to the show.

This was great fun, if bloody hard work. Eight solid weeks of this beast consuming my life, and I don’t mind telling anyone who is or isn’t listening.

Anyway, I’ve got some work in progress here, starting from when I first got the ‘Wild West’ brief and worked on what A&J would look like in cowboy garb.

Adam Bandit

Adam Bandit

Jamie Lawman

Jamie Lawman




















This is of course the fun bit, when it’s all potential and no all-nighters yet. The next step was thumbnails. They’re super messy, but you can see the ideas starting to come together (and the bits I ditched. Can’t believe I thought shooting Jamie in the butt was a great idea.)
Wild-West Thumbnails 1

Wild-West Thumbnails 1

Wild-West Thumbnails 2

Wild-West Thumbnails 2

WildWest Storyboard 1

WildWest Storyboard 1

Wild West Storyboard 5

Wild West Storyboard 5

Then came the storyboards. The composition of the action, ideas about the background and firmer character designs came out of these. They also were pretty important for the editor (hi Evan!) as he cut these images together to the music, and could show Discovery channel what we were thinking. The animatic he gave back to me was my bible – I needed to know exactly how long each shot was, because this is old-school animation and I’m drawing every frame.
I’m sad that Kari shooting the bandit was bumped from the final animation. I’ve got a bit of a soft-spot for cowgirls (shock). I got as far as inking her movements, before Evan and I agreed time-wise it wouldn’t fit:

KariShoot The bit that melted my brain the most was when Grant grabs the shotgun from Tory, and I decided throwing a camera spin in there would be fun. I started to regret that decision pretty much straight away when I was doing first-pass rough animation. Everything’s moving and shifting perspective – the gun, the hands, the faces.

Tory and Grant But because of some madness I stuck with it, throwing in some smears on the faces for some faux-motion blur (and because sticking to a face model got very hard). As usual, it’s over so quick and most viewers will never realise how much cursing it took! I like it though, it was a good learning experience.

Bent Barrel Oh, Tory has such a delicious face for caricature.
Let me know if you want to see any work-in-progress for the other scenes. Big thanks to Josh Bramley for painting the background environments, thanks Ian for constantly posing for reference videos, and thanks Red Dead Redemption for all the inspiration.

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  1. […] y’know the best bit about this new look? Hand-drawn animation! You’ll know from Bullet Baloney that I’m a sucker for that stuff. The next animation needed for Indiana Jones was the […]



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