How We Did the Special

Using Old Techniques and Some New Ones

I’ve shared this in a few interviews, but doing the Rocko Special “Static Cling” had us reaching back for the old methods and some new to try and replicate what the old show looked like.

Of course we storyboarded it the old fashioned way with panels and post its up on a board drawn with pencil to show the progression of the story and to map out gags. Also to do some editing. That was Cosmo Segurson, Dan Becker, Tom Smith and I doing the storyboarding.

Then after we had locked down the story the real fun begins.

All of our backgrounds were done exactly the same way it was done in the 90’s version. That Nick Jennings, Tim Barnes and Adrianna Galvez would do. Hand drawn and hand painted on strathmore board with Dr. Martin Dyes. Obtaining the dyes proved a challenge as nobody really carries them anymore.

With color of the characters, I had dug out the old color guides with numbers of cel vinyl paint. I still had an old chip guide and Jessica Yost our color stylist was able to match the color digitally to the closest it was on painted cels.

Next, take a trip to Korea where Cosmo Segurson and I would talk with the overseas animation studio to make sure the animation was hand drawn and the pencil line was digitally captured. ( One of the original directors on the 90’s series was our director in Korea on the special) Their current process was not capturing the texture of the pencil line as much as Cosmo and I had wanted ( Cosmo really championed this!) They either brought out an older machine or bought a new one, but the line improved dramatically.

George Chialtas who was a timing director back on the 90’s version was the timing director, using pencil and sheets to time out the special ( hardly ever done anymore)

When we first started getting film back, it was obvious to me that the HD version of Rocko was not going to cut it. We took the final cut and dirtied it up a bit and even added cel shadows in some scenes  like it had been painted and shot on cel.

When animation historian Jerry Beck ,who was monitoring a panel on the special, questioned whether we had used cels and shot it on film. I knew we had done a good job. Of course none of this would matter if we didn’t have a good story which Doug Lawrence and Martin Olson helped me with.

Any questions?

4 Responses

  1. Wow, amazing! Thank you for posting this! It’s amazing the amount of detail, passion, and care you put into your work! It really pays off, and Static Cling is proof!

  2. What animation program did you use to make it old fashioned btw im a huge fan of the show. Again great job and congratulations on the new movie and success of it. I cant belive you reused stephen hillenburgs animation to do this the eyelids and eye movement and the way the entire thing was created. Do you use the same application to make lets go luna and other shows? Let me know joe thank you
    Andrew Cinque commack new york

  3. Joe I am a huge fan as I was born in 1992 and grew up with Rocko along with two older brothers. You and your team did an AMAZING job, I am so glad to learn you were hands on with it as well. It’s been a long time but I followed your blog back when you were doing the Frog in a Suit shorts. Your passion for animation is truly inspiring. I am not an animator and I can’t draw worth crap. I’m more of a music guy and my day job is going to be electrical engineering once I finish up my degree shortly. I think any artist is quick to recognize the raw talent and effort put into it regardless of their field.

    Thank you!!

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