My first Slimetime task was to make this really gross slice of pineapple/peppermint pizza and animate it to slap into the camera lens. Yummmmmmmm. Then I updated it for the Superbowl to be a "Peanut Butter and Jellyfish" slice of pizza. Even better!

 

At the beginning of 2023 I was able to help out with the toolkit and preparation for the Nickelodeon Slimetime Superbowl, one of the biggest live events Nickelodeon has ever done. As a card-carrying organization nerd who loves finding ways to make workflows and pipelines smoother and easier to navigate, this was a pretty exciting task for me. I'd never gotten a chance to work with the Slimetime team before, but after getting walked through the system they normally use, I dove in and started developing an After Effects toolkit that would hopefully cut out some of the friction and make finding and using assets easier than ever for them. This included a lot of After Effects scripting, but also a lot of 3D modeling, texturing and rendering in order to fill in the gaps in the toolkit and make sure there was plenty of fun stuff ready to go for the big game.

 

All told, I created a few different tools for this game.

  • Type Tool

The first was an After Effects template that allowed animators to 'live type' their tags and have it translate into the 3D alphabets that our designs called for. This helped the team save a LOT of time, because we were having to iterate tens if not hundreds of different tags, and the 3D alphabets had not been created as live type, so that meant that every tag had to be hand-typeset in Cinema, then animated and rendered. With my tool, they could simply type in the tag they needed in After Effects, it would translate that into the 3D alphabet they needed, and the letters had a canned animation on them in AE which they could easily update inside of After Effects, meaning that no part of versioning had to happen in 3D. It still needed to be hand-kerned but I'm working on a way to automate that for the next version of this tool. 🙂

  • Asset Toolkit for Live Augmentations

While many elements and cut scenes were prepared ahead of time, there were still a lot of people working live during the game to add elements in semi-realtime to gameplay footage. I created an After Effects toolkit of all of the assets that we had for the 'live' team to use, sorted into comps based on how certain assets were used, i.e. dressing up players, adding atmospheric set dressing, 'football replacers' for replacing the football with something goofy, or adding impact particle bursts. Within this toolkit I used Essential Properties and some simple rigging expressions to create easy dropdowns and switches for turning, flipping, and switching between props. The hope was that this would cut down on the 'search' time for specific elements by consolidating, for example, every angle of every hat into one element, so if an animator wanted to add headgear to a player all they needed to do was grab the "Headgear" comp and then they could easily choose between every option of hat that we had, and every asset had the same exact set of angles rendered so you could easily swap between different assets if you wanted to.

Asset Modeling
I also created a bunch of assets to add to the toolkit! Here's a few, you'll probably recognize a few (a lot) of them if you're a Spongebob fan:

My alarm clock also got animated by animator Jennah Park in a fun way for a countdown spot (I'm pretty sure she also used my type tool for the type)!