Indie band Tomode decided to create a music video for the upcoming release of their new single named Golden Retriever.
The video follows our hero Labrador on a journey to finally transform into a shiny Golden Retriever and join the stars in the sky. 

I was approached by the amazing Karolin Gu who directed and spearheaded the project.
My job was assisting in animating the hero character throughout the story by use of cel animation and then frame by frame in After Effects.
Styleframes by Karolin Gu
Character design by Karolin Gu.
I started off with simple cycles in Photoshop, then exported them to After Effects where they could be traced with shape layers guided by the illustrator files created by Karolin of course!
The run cycle was tricky, the reason being that I wanted to use the same run cycle for both the Labrador and the Golden Retriever. The characteristics of both breeds are, as you might know, somewhat different. In the end, we used the same pattern with a less bushy tail. 
The hardest part was mainly animating the different accelerations.

It's one thing animating a simple loop, but a different challenge creating a seamless transition from the walking state of a dog into a running one (and vice versa).
There also had to be a transformation from Labrador into the Golden Retriever in one part of the video.
I created a shortened version with different speeds and accelerations. You'll no doubt notice the disappearance of tail and snout in a few frames. Those are sacrifices I made during production, my focus was entirely on being quick and clearly indicating where the body parts were located in the frames.  
During the beginning of production, there was a wish that our hero jumped out of a bush before commencing his/her journey. This created yet another sequence to be animated.
In the end, it was cut out.
Animatic by Karolin Gu
I, however... didn't realize the sequence was cut out.
And (like an idiot) proceeded to pour precious hours into a (to me) difficult sequence.

Note to self, always ask before committing to a difficult scene :)

Another fail.

Though partly included in the final version.
Having cut out the scene where our hero looks up at the stars before starting his/her journey, we were left with the question; how will the hero first be introduced?

There was something interesting in having our hero look up at the stars wishing to ultimately join them. Our hero was after all a star him/herself and felt a strong attraction to the cosmos. 
SO, I tried to animate a version where our hero stops and looks up at the sky. Seeing as the camera kept moving forward, though, I had to somehow catch up to the center of the scene. If we stopped the camera it disrupted the flow of the song. 
We ended up with a quick motion of looking back precisely when the hero is introduced because of time constraints. But I really wish we'd have had more time to explore this scene!
Ultimately, our hero was always a star and was bound to join the rest of them in the sky. Having reached the end of his/her journey our hero leaps into the sky and transforms into a shooting star. 
Animatic made by Karolin Gu.

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