Lame Theme Park: July’s Rubber Onion Battle



Whenever there’s a new topic for the RubberOnion’s animation battle, I usually spend a few days brainstorming and trying to come up with something somewhat original. What defines a “lame” theme park?

I quickly got rid of all the ideas I had that involved equines with limbs missing, or some legs shorter than others. Then my mind wandered into Russian bard music territory, and I thought that a small child would probably feel pretty bored at one of those “author song” evenings, especially if they were all “grown-up” songs. I even did a few sketches of a little girl dragged along by her mom in my morning pages sketches:


It was a little too specific though. Most people who might’ve seen my animation would probably have no idea what Russian bard music is. I had no idea how to tie someone playing guitar badly and singing off-key with a theme park. I thought about just having wooden crates with really lousy bards singing to the rats and passers by, but I still had no idea what songs would be playing and why. Besides, with most of the audience for these things being English-speaking, the idea grew less relevant by the minute.

I was stuck with the “let me sing it myself!” itch though. I last attempted my own animation music in November 2016, so I decided it was safe to try again.

The main idea behind the theme park song was that it would be pretty lame if the whole theme park smelled like dead fish. I think one of Eli’s favourite counting songs was on at the time, so I just started singing along making up my own words, and then jotted them down on top of the morning sketch so as not to forget or lose it. The song clearly had to be blasting out a big loudspeaker, and some character would wander about the weird (possibly abandoned and creepy) park.

I decided that the character should be Boonka, since I felt guilty about not having done much progress on that project, plus animating her would be good exercise. That and possibly exploring a style/look for that project as well. I also knew that I wanted to start it by showing five little fish swimming along mechanically.

The next big step was to somehow make the song. It needed music, and the voice had to be recorded without annoying room echo. I ended up doing a similar thing and making a musical loop with the help of the free bits on SoundTrap, and then recorded myself singing under a blanket with Adobe’s Audition. (The blanket really helps make it sound better if your closet isn’t big enough to record in, by the way.)

I’m lucky enough to have a friend who happily lends me her eyeballs, so I tested the full animatic on her. It was after her questions and suggestions that I added the little fish umbrellas (since I really didn’t want to animate the fish riding some tiny bicycles). I drew them the following morning:

07-2017-july2017-aug5 089

I then worked a little on the animation daily, but I’d only have under an hour here and there, so I think I only had the very first shot done before the last weekend of the month. That’s when my computer started blue-screening and crashing randomly, so between backing up months of computer stuff and running around in a panic, I hurriedly finished the rest of the animation in two and a half nights. I remember having to stop for a bit in the middle because my right wrist was hurting from drawing too much. That hadn’t happened to me in a while!

Either way, I’m pretty happy with it over all. I would’ve liked to do the animation properly, and animate the crowd a little bit, and work on the timing more (and do the last shot properly, and not cheat with a poorly done flip) but I didn’t want to take the chances with a dying computer and the deadline at the tip of my nose. I’m a little less worried about animating Boonka now (last time I “animated” her was for another RubberOnion Battle and there was basically no animation) and really glad I built that doll of her 🙂

You can see all the other entries (and vote for your favourite) here:
And here:

I think this covers it. August’s theme is “Food Fight” and I already know what I’m doing, although as usual, skeptical if I’ll have time to finish it 😛

2 thoughts on “Lame Theme Park: July’s Rubber Onion Battle

  • Wow! I like it! I like the colors! And the cheat jump is not bad at all!!! Looks organic and absolutely normal. I would like her to slide further though, in a whooosh ))) Boonka looks perfect, one can see that you played with the character before ))) But I’d like to have a better look at the crowd… It runs too fast, I had to stop in order to have a better look at them all (it was worth it!) But do I remember correctly that they were supposed to back to the line? Or I missed the punchline?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, the general idea was a never ending line loop, but I ran out of time and abandoned that concept, I think it works without it as well. The crowd runs fast on purpose, so that you don’t notice how much I hurried there as well >.>


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