Cai’s approach stood out because not only is her illustrative style highly unique, she deftly incorporates elements into the art direction that reflect the pulpy, edgy and sometimes NSFW elements of the adult animation shows being featured. The FXX team wanted the IDs to feel like an integral part of the brand, and the humorous take was an approach that felt very authentic to FXX and married it with a cheekier and edgier version of itself, perfect for late night.
Carol Cai concepted and art directed the :10-second IDs, all packed to the brim with the subversive humor the original had been ideated on. This humor came through in the initial ideas she explored including a vortex wormhole and a group soak in a hot tub where several of our famous characters can be found. Walking the line between comedic and edgy gave us a fun space to play in with our illustrated style; we used a lot of liquids and some ambiguous close-ups.
After prepping the :10-second spots, we then handed them off to Peter Schmidt, an illustrator and cel animator, who began the process of drawing the spots frame by frame. We were able to facilitate this process even more by having Senior 2D Animator Casey Drogin streamline some of the bigger illustrated moments in After Effects. This includes elements like the hot tub bubbles that would be intensively time consuming to draw frame by frame.
The creative process led to many memorable moments, including the sound effects Cai created to accompany the ‘tub buddies’ spot with bubble noises and splashing water. We ended up not doing the final sound mix, but included our post-edits in our package to FXX.
We kept our nose to the grindstone drawing all day every day to turn this package around for FXX and were thrilled with how the IDs turned out. The feeling must have been mutual, because before we knew it, we were back to the drawing board, concepting and branding a new block focused on a Family Guy marathon due to debut over the holidays.
The, ‘Avoid Your Family, Family Guy Marathon’ aired over the holidays, but we didn’t want it to feel too specific to Christmas. Snowflakes, Stewie dressed as an elf, gingerbread sweaters…there are elements of holiday cheer but the overall focus of the spots remains on the key Family Guy characters and builds up anticipation of the marathon. We managed another speedy turnaround and these holiday specific IDs hit the air ahead of the 368-episode marathon.
The FXX team was great to work with because they’re so willing to explore a vision and give us the amount of creative freedom to really take things to the next level. We all had fun riffing on ideas back and forth, and their notes helped guide our ideas and keep us on brand AND on air by making sure we just toed the line of risque while keeping the spot’s sense of humor intact. Overall, our team of artists made quick work of the complex process of hand illustrating and then cel animating these four IDs. It's a testament to both the expertise of our artists and a great working relationship with our client that we were able to nail the creative and the humor of the IDs and look forward to the next round!