Season 10 MythBusters!

Alrighty, the first few episodes have aired and I can safely reveal all! I especially want to talk about the Indiana Jones episode, because: a) it’s my favourite and b) it was the first Season 10 episode I worked on, and was my great big guinea-pig for the new graphics style I had half-formed in my head.

Fans of the show will be familiar with the old cut-out puppet animation on a blueprint background:

From Supersonic Pingpong

From Supersonic PingPong

From 'Fire In The Hole'

From ‘Fire In The Hole’

From 'Jato 3'

From ‘Jato 3’

This was a pretty versatile style. The blueprint acted as a nice sky texture, and the white-outlined caricatures became very recognisable as the ‘MythBusters Style’. I started on MB nearly 3 years ago, so I inherited this style and did my best to stick to the jokey, cute nature of it. But for Season 10 I was asked to completely reinvent the animations, to make it less childish and more informative.
A bit daunting, but I already had an idea which way I wanted to go: something of a technical-drawing or ikea manual. (With plenty of inspiration from Portal and, weirdly enough, a Dove commercial)

This is the animation I tackled first:

And here’s the half-dozen storyboards I made for it. Usually I don’t get into this much detail or colour for storyboards. But this was all super-tentative, and neither I or the bosses knew for sure what we wanted yet.

Grey BG, white figures

Grey background, white figures

Gradient background

Gradient background

Gradient background, coloured figures

Gradient background, coloured figures

Bit of a themed look & title

Bit of a themed look & title

Themed 'parchment' look with coloured figures

Themed ‘parchment’ look with coloured figures

Trying out blue gradient or the old blueprint. Icky.

Trying out blue gradient or the old blueprint. Icky.

So, as much as the parchment background appealed to me the decision was to go with #3. We wanted something consistent, a look that would stay similar throughout an episode (and season). I ended up re-using the old blueprint as a light grey texture – it added something nice to the background. Adam-as-Indy and his accessories were all hand-drawn because drawing is fun (I’m selfish) and to better resemble the old 70’s tech manual art. The action was less slapstick too. I found a lot of opportunity for more subtle humour in the captions & drawn objects.

And 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 ‘Temple Run’ scenario, where I needed to highlight the step-trigger and poisoned darts.
Here’s some work in progress if you like seeing roughs:

TempleRun 1
Indy inked in:
TempleRun 2
And the final beast, with a temple environment inspired by Adam’s scale model.

Thanks for reading, folks. And I hope you’re all enjoying the new MythBusters. I personally really like the new science-focused take on the show. These days it’s actually difficult to make a TV show that doesn’t dumb everything down, grab you by the hand and rush you to the next explosion. There’s a lot of pressure from external forces to make everything more of a spectacle.
Don’t get me wrong, there WILL be plenty of boom and mayhem this series. But I like watching closely how Adam and Jamie make their contraptions, and there’s definitely more time spent on that now than before.
Catch ya later.

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