This is a Happy Birthday mo-graph piece for celebrating Japanese choreographer Rikimaru Chikada's birthday on the second of November.
The overall concept was inspired by his passion toward neon objects, and the futuristic cyber punk music videos his group had in 2020.
Here is the first rough for the animation. The idea was quite simple, Rikimaru walked into the frame and stopped, jumped to close up, using glitch and abstract shapes to add layers for the animation. When he kept walking toward the left side of the frame, his outfits would changed rapidly between some of his iconic looks.
However, the result was too simple, not having enough celebration vibe for a happy birthday piece (and the walk cycle was horrible.) I decided to cut out the close-up, leaving the walk cycle, and using these loops as assets in AE.
Before I made up my mind to cut off the close-up, I did finished the walk-in animation. Later on I would use it as the foundation for all the other walking loops.
Above are all the walk cycle in different outfits.
The first part is based on cel animation, which consumed the most of the time. After the parade-like opening, a huge "Rikimaru Chikada" popped up in the middle of the frame as the film title. I also played with pop art color palates that inspired by Andy Warhol for squares above and below in the scene.
At this point, I already knew that the ending would be a rather simple black solid with neon sign glowing the name, date, and "happy birthday" slogan for the artist, but still, I wished to elaborate the date, November the second, for the birthday. Therefore I decided to add few seconds between the title and the ending scene.
I tried out several versions for the November second scene, but the result felt too much like an old-school sci-fi or stock market motion.
Honestly, it was quite stressful process, I only had about 18 days for this project and spent too much time on cels. I wouldn't say I'm 100% happy with the final finished piece, but the pressure and deadline definitely stimulated my hidden strength.