Update 01.28.2011 – Click on the link to see the finished animations for God Speaks Through Creation and God Speaks Through Scripture.

Since December, one of the projects Greg Nunamaker and I have been working on are animations that will be played in an upcoming message series. It’s always fun to work with Greg on these projects. (Previously, we collaborated on the Jonah, Joshua and Defining Moments animations.)

When I started working on ideas for the animations, I had nothing to go on other than the series name, God Speaks, and message titles.
  • God Speaks Through Creation
  • God Speaks Through Scripture
  • God Speaks Through Jesus
Because of the Christmas season, it was hard to get any more direction on the project because people were on vacation or busy with Christmas-related projects. I just started coming up with verses that I thought would be good source material for the animations. What can be daunting is you start work on the project, but then find out later that the source material you picked is not what leadership wants. Greg and I didn’t have the luxury of time, though. We started working. Here are some behind the scenes pics of the animation process so far.

An early draft of the script for the first animation.

One of the visual looks I had in mind with the animation was inspired by the game Braid.

Greg and I away from the office so we can storyboard the first animation without interruption.

An idea I had for one scene, in the first animation, came from Wall-E.
Greg and I both like the end credits to A Series of Unfortunate Events. It was something we looked at again, with this animation, as we developed concepts and ideas.

We started to hear that the message series will probably have a name change to Hello, This Is God. Somewhere in the process, when we were offsite working, I joked with Greg that we needed to reference Lionel Richie’s song “Hello”.*

*It’s been a running joke between us as we continue to work on these animations. We end the animation with God singing the classic line, “Hello, is it me you’re looking for?”

We submitted the storyboards for the first animation. We still didn’t have much to go on with the other animations, but I needed to start work on them. I chose a familiar passage for the second animation’s source material, the opening of the Book of John.

Working away at Scooter’s.

I’m a fan of Superman Returns, and there was a shot from the opening of it that inspired a scene in this second animation.

Greg and I were trying to figure out a good way to end the second animation. We were brainstorming ideas and came up with one that was based on this video.

Greg and I turned in the storyboards. We thought the idea was solid, but it was rejected. It’s not that leadership thought the work was bad, they just wanted to use different source material. Completely understandable since these animations are a lead-in to the message. It has to work with it.

We knew this could be an issue when we started working on these animations, but we didn’t have time to wait to see what source material they wanted to use. Creating and producing animations takes a lot of hours, and if they were going to be good quality we needed to get a jump on them.

Part of the reason for working ahead was due to us outsourcing the animation part of the process. We contracted Scott Rutz to help us out, so Greg and I wouldn’t be putting in the ridiculous amount of hours that we normally do with animations. We wanted to give him plenty of time with animating.

Here’s the storyboard for the second animation that didn’t work out. Greg drew up some amazing storyboards.

Greg and I went back to work on the second animation.

Greg and I’s “desk” as we work offsite again at Scooter’s.

In the redo, we joked about using an iPad in the animation to show the scripture. It seems to be the thing to do to try to reference an iPad unnecessarily.

The new storyboard was approved by leadership, and we’re currently working on the third one.

What we’re also doing is recording the voiceover for the animation. We had something recorded initially, but after listening to it a few times we weren’t sure it was the best fit with the overall feel of the animation. So, we drafted Gavin Johnson to help us again with voiceovers. A much better fit for this series of animations.

Gavin in our makeshift studio, the choir room.

That’s a little bit of what’s been going on with the animation work. I’ll be posting the finished animations here once they play in the services. The message series begins January 23.

Thanks again to Scott Rutz for his animation work on the project.

2 thoughts on “Behind the Scenes: God Speaks Animation

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