2.5d pixel art animation
the bizarre adventures in the crypto universe
I have been working on a series of short animations for The New Tag, an English startup that operates in the world of cryptocurrencies.
Young bitcoin investors, generally interested in the development of cryptocurrencies and crypto art.
The script was provided and the plot was based on memes and specific language of the cryptocurrencies world. For instance, the Bear is a symbol for the 'bear market', which is a crypto-financial crisis, while the Bull stands for the 'bull market', which is an upward trend. The TNT is a reference to the company The New Tag itself, and the icon of the TNT is an element of their logo.
I also extracted parts of the animation and created 3D collectible cards, that were auctioned by the client as NFTs and sold out immediately.
ANIMATION & MUSIC
The initial plan of The New Tag team was to create a traditional pixel art animation, but they enthusiastically approved my idea of a combination of the 2D pixel art assets with 3D environments, to achieve a 2.5D style.
The process included the following steps:
1) I created the character in Illustrator and then imported them into After Effects, where I rigged them using a combination of plugins (a.k.a. Duik Bassel, Joystick & Sliders, Rubber Hose).
2) After animating them, I imported the files into Asprite (a great pixel art software) to clean up everything and add some hand-drawn animations.
3) Then I imported the sequences of images into the 3D environments that I modeled in Blender and animated the camera.
4) I used Davinci Resolve for postproduction and to add music. I added sound effects and adapted the tracks from an 8-bit royalty-free music channel called Pix. This is their Youtube channel:
a note about the unexplored potential of pixel art
- the art of nostalgia -
I am personally very excited about 2.5D pixel art for several reasons.
Pixel Art is an art style in pixels by choice, not to be confused with the 8-bit art that was pixelated because of technical limitations on the resolution of games two decades ago. Pixel art is a high abstraction medium, where all the shapes are deconstructed and reconstructed in squares.
It is still great for creating complex scenes that are relatively light on the hardware thus suitable for independent creators and one-man studios. By adding 3D elements, it is possible to enhance the sense of tridimensionality and create a very interesting contemporary look.
This art trend is young but because of its origins in the 8-bit games, it is particularly well suited to expresses the sense of nostalgia, especially felt by millennials (BBC News talks about this in a video titled 'Are millennials the most nostalgic generation?').
The millennial generation is growing up into adults that are now creating a demand for entertainment and influence the market in general.
This pixel art medium is commonly used in the game industry at the moment, but it hasn't been fully explored in fiction and advertisement yet. However, we are seeing the gap becoming narrower: some big companies (for example Shopify) have started creating pixel art ads and some pixel art games have become more story-focused.
As a millennial artist, I want to contribute to the entrance of 2.5D pixel art into mainstream culture and create pieces of art that help my generation process emotions and build entertainment that reflects us.