In February of 2016, I had the honor of helping out on season 5 of Genndy Tartakovsky’s “Samurai Jack”. My assignment was to use Genndy’s awesome thumbnail sketches and translate them into production boards which included adding more animation keys and breakdowns. His drawings were super fun to work from since they already conveyed a lot of energy and perfect compositions. I unfortunately only had enough time and energy to freelance for one episode in my off hours, but I’m just grateful I was even able to do just a little bit work on this incredible project. Genndy is amazing to work under and I learned a lot from my short time on “Jack”. I can’t wait to see the rest of the series. It has already been simply ground breaking in all the ways.
It’s time for another Hiveswap development team interview!
Hey there, Hiveswap and Homestuck fans! Ash here once again, and as promised, it’s time for another interview with the talented folks on Hiveswap’s development team! And don’t worry – if you missed the first interview, with our environment art director Rah, you can find it right here!
Who’s in the hot seat today? Why, it’s Adrienne, our lead animator! She can tell you far more about her work on the project than I ever could, so without further ado, I’m going to hand things off to her – after reminding you all to take good, long looks at the wonderful examples of her work peppered throughout this interview. Take it away, Adrienne!
Introduce yourself to the fans! What is your specific role on the Hiveswap team?
Hiya! My name’s Adrienne and I’m the lead animator for Hiveswap. I work together with Angela, the animation director, on roughs, cleanup, background and cutscene animation – anything that moves!
When and how did you get your start on the Hiveswap project?
I was hired full-time in January 2016, but I started doing some sprite conceptualization in late 2015 in tandem with [S]:Collide work (I animated sprites for the main big bads and did thumbnails for some of the sequences).
Tell us a little bit about your career background! How did you get your start in animation? Do you have any advice for others looking to enter this field?
Homestuck is basically my career background, ahaha.
I drew a lot of fan art for Homestuck after I finished catching up in late 2012. I got some attention from my work and I was asked to do comic pages for Paradox Space. Then I did work for the Homestuck calendar. Then I just became more involved in the comic after that by doing thumbnails, sprite animation, comic pages, snapchats… and now I’m working on the game… it’s been a wild ride from fan to full-time fan.
But as for how I got started in animation, a lot of it was influenced by anime and then DeviantArt while I was growing up. I grew up with Naruto and loved Norio Matsumoto’s work in it (he did the key animation for the best episodes!). And on DeviantArt, I liked following OCTs (Original Character Tournaments) and was particularly inspired by Unknown-Person’s work.
My general advice would be to value learning and exploration, and have less expectations of what life should hand you – it makes a lot of circumstances feel like a pleasant surprise and a good opportunity to learn something new. That’s how I felt when I stumbled into this field anyway, haha.
We’re making a video game, so of course the question must be asked: what’s your favorite game of all time, and what games are you playing currently (if any)?
Agh, what a difficult question. My most-played genre is colorful multiplayer shooters like Team Fortress 2, Overwatch, and Splatoon.
I finished Nier: Automata recently and now I’m working through Persona 5. But when I’m not working through that game, I play Breath of the Wild (most of my time is spent riding my horse around Hyrule – it’s very calming).
Are there any games that you currently use or have used as inspiration for your own animation work here on Hiveswap, or just in general?
I generally use Homestuck flash animations as an inspiration for Hiveswap sprite animations.
When I’m working on cutscenes, I look to Professor Layton stuff. I love how they integrated cutscenes with gameplay in that series.
As an animator, you must have some favorite cartoons and/or anime – tell us about them!
My recent favorite is Mob Psycho 100. The raw and rough quality of the animation for that one is my jam and the main cast is really inspiring. Avatar: The Last Airbender is still my top favorite for its epic storytelling and world-building. Naruto always has a special place in my heart since it’s one of the earliest things that inspired me to study animation.
Other big influential works for me were Princess Mononoke and How to Train Your Dragon.
What’s your workstation like? Do you like to listen to any particular kinds of music while you work? If so, tell us about it!
Here’s a picture of my workstation! If you squint at the bottom screen closely, you can see me taking the picture. But anyway… yeah. I am a little embarrassed for people to know how saturated my workstation is with inspirational quotes (there are papers of handwritten motivation on the walls behind me), but that’s just how I deal when the anxiety gets a little rough.
When I want to focus (usually for rough animation and concept art), I pull up an electronic or classical playlist on YouTube (and recently Spotify) or have no music playing at all. But for everything else (cleanup, in-betweens, etc.), I dig into different genres once in awhile but Imagine Dragons and Americana/folk stuff are my go-to. Acoustics sound really nice in these speakers.
Favorite Homestuck character?
Egh, this is impossible… I’m gonna say it’s between Rose, Jade, Roxy, Kanaya, Terezi, and Vriska… um…
Favorite Homestuck ship?
Rose/Kanaya has never once failed me! c: (I think John/Terezi is really funny too.)
Favorite Homestuck flash?
Urgh… I don’t know, there’s so many that I love. In terms of like… cool and creative setup, [S] Cascade probably? [S] GAME OVER is cool too, because everyone died and the stakes just got so much higher. Oh! I just remembered [S] Make her pay as well!
This question is impossible.
(In the above animation timeline, the first frame is held for 4/24 of a second, the second frame for 2/24 of a second, the third for 2/24, and so on.)
Do you have a personal message you’d like to relay to all the Homestuck and Hiveswap fans out there?
Thank you for all your support, and for your patience in making it through the Giga/Mega/Omegapauses intact!
Where can people find more of your work? Link us to your own little corner(s) of the Internet!
If you want to see more of my stuff, my Tumblr is the place to be!
Thank you, Adrienne! Well, folks, I hope you’ve enjoyed this second Hiveswap development team interview – and don’t worry, there are still plenty more to come!
Now that we’ve gotten things rolling, from here on out we’ll be bringing you a new interview every Wednesday, so be sure to check back every week for a new behind-the-scenes look at the development of Hiveswap and the talented people behind it!
I’m working on a lil’ animation of Count Olaf. I took the audio from an interview with Patrick Harris as Olaf. Here are the tie-down key drawings. The next step will be to breakdown the eases to set what follows and what leads and make sure everything is smooth and fluent, then, the most crucial step, breakdowns that defines the secondary movements and arcs. Oh boy.