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A note on the importance of collaboration

Posted by Zombie-Pimp - October 31st, 2012

Sup newgrounds, first off, Happy Halloween! If you haven't yet, please take the time to check out my SPOOKY halloween animation Cadaver:


I wanted to take the time in this post to discuss the crucial role that collaboration has always played in my work on newgrounds. From House of 1000 Cats, to my most recent animation, Cadaver, collaboration has always been the key. Especially recently, with my time being eaten up so much by school and other commitments, the only way I can complete projects is to collaborate. I've never been the best artist, or animator. But my most consistent strength is my ability to ask for help when I need it.

House of 1000 Cats:
Back almost 5 years ago, and still my most ambitious project to date, in terms of scale. I was very lucky to have Afro-Ninja and Eronn on my team for this one. Remember how awesome the intro screen was, with the bloody metal, and the scene select? Afro Ninja was responsible for all of that. Not only was it functional, but it looked so much more professional and appealing than I could have made it. Interface design is a huge weakness of mine, but Afro Ninja has mastered the art. And remember the 'introduction' with all of the screenshots of previous flashes scrolling through? I simply explained the idea to him, sent him the screenshots, and he made it happen. It's important to realize that if I were to do this scene myself, I would have had to individually tween each screenshot one by one. With my lack of knowledge, this is the only way I could have done it. It would have taken me weeks, but with Afro Ninja's AS3.0 knowledge, he was able to make the entire thing in a day, and he made it look more precise and impactful than I could have. Not to mention Eronn, who animated the flashback scene and the dialogue between Tom Fulp and Justin Timberlake, scenes which I otherwise would have had to cut out completely due to time restraints. The flashback, in particular, ended up being possibly the most successful and important scene in the entire animation. Eronn did such a good job with it, and wasn't afraid to bring a fresh style into the mix. FInally, with newgrounds celebrities Luis and Mindchamber voice acting, the animation was further enhanced.

Pico Portal Party: This collaboration was Fleckogold's idea from the beginning. He wanted to assemble the best animators possible to have Pico represented in many different 'genres' unique to Newgrounds. That April I had a brutal exam schedule, and it was a year where my grades were particularly important, so I couldn't animate much. The collaboration was perfect for me, because it gave me the opportunity to make something small but not have it stand alone, and instead be seen alongside some great animations. On its own, my animation that year was pretty weak, but as a piece of the whole collaboration, it was greatly enhanced.

Pico Pinata Party: Again, Afro Ninja provided the title screens, buttons, etc. Again, he did a great job. The interesting part of this flash was the dynamic of the collaboration between myself and Hulalaoo. The way we set it up, not only made it possible for me to finish the flash, but it played a huge factor in the motivation. This again was a difficult year for me in terms of school, but the motivation I got from working with Hulalaoo was invaluable. Failure to complete animation was NOT an option for either of us, since we were both relying on each other for our animations to come together. This goes to show the importance of collaboration not only to improve quality, but also to encourage eachother to keep working and making time to animate.

Cadaver: My most recent animation, and another example of how important collaboration has been for me. Firstly, working with the musician Chris Yenney was incredible. I usually manage to find some really good stuff on the audio portal, but it takes months of sorting through crap, and it's rare to find a 'perfect' song. I usually have to settle on something that's 'good enough'. But to have a score that was perfectly synced to my work gave me more freedom as an animator than ever before. Not only that, but the fact that I HAD to get the animation done in time for him to score it put the pressure on me to stay on top of my time management to get it done in time. Finally, the inbetweening provided by Jaxxy (from Yotta Studios) made it possible to get this flash done. All I had to do was send her the keyframes, and she filled in the extra frames perfectly. Without this help, entire scenes would have had to have been cut from the final flash, or they would have just looked choppy, because I only have so much time myself.

I have always been lucky that when I ask for help, I manage to find people so perfectly skilled for the tasks I need, that the final results of my projects represent the strengths of each contributer. Newgrounds is an incredible hub for networking between independent artists, so that together we can combine our strenghts to make things that would never have been possible otherwise.

One type of collaboration that I've wanted to explore further is working together with programmers on games. Jungle Destruction with EviLudy was a great success, in my opinion, but I have been unable to find consistent, dedicated programmers to collaborate with since that project, almost 4 years ago. If there are any programmers who want to work with me, please contact me :)

How has collaboration affected YOUR work as an artist?

Comments (9)

Collaboration on NG is behind most of my life-long friendships and successes.

In 2001 I made games with MindChamber, DanPaladin and Zeebarf - all guys I'm still close with today. In 2002 I made two games with Rog from I-Mockery and we are still super-close and hang out at conventions when we can. I also made a game with Luis that year and HE'S HERE RIGHT NOW in the office. That was also the year I worked with Dan Paladin to make Alien Hominid, which resulted in the Behemoth which resulted in Castle Crashers which had a HUGE impact on my life.

Heck just this year at PAX I met Motech for the first time in-person. He did the backgrounds and enemy art in Samurai Asshole back in 1999.

When you collaborate with other people don't just make better stuff, you make better friends and a better life for yourself!

Right now I'm working with JohnnyUtah on both a web game and a console game.

I couldn't agree more. Everyone I mentioned above (except Hulalao, who doesn't seem to like me very much lol) are people that I keep in touch with, and who I always hope to see at Pico Day events. Afro Ninja is a good friend, and let me stay at his place last Pico Day. Sometimes it goes the other way: you make friends online, and then you want to work together. For example, Mindchamber and I have known eachother for years, he was the person who first introduced me to Newgrounds, but we've yet to formally collaborate on anything together. We always talk about it, but stuff keeps coming up, hopefully I'll get my chance to work with him this year finally.

I wouldn't mind collaborating with others, but many of the people I want to collab with are either busy or haven't been on here in years.

thats too bad man :(

Lol, my review was borked, I wrote "that was pure shock and gore", I meant wasn't ... :/ Also completely agree in terms of collaboration. <3

really?? Damn I liked your review :( I knew you meant "wasn't" lol.
Why don't WE collaborate some time? :O

I'd love to collab more....I've been saying it for years and I'm so glad we got to work together. :) Feel free to bug me anytime, dude.

Man I'd be sooo down, maybe next time you can direct :)

I've been collaborating with the rest of the guys that make up Toonwerks for about 2 years now, and it's been one of the most rewarding things I've done for my work. We're able to work to our strengths and we're able to bounce ideas off each other to produce a much better final product. So I don't have to worry about drawing assets and can focus on things like animation skills and "cinematography".

Sure there can be heated discussions, disagreements, and the such. But it always works out in the end and we're always proud of what we end up with.

Thats great! Keep up the good work, guys. As far as 'disagreement' goes, people just need to remain humble and trust each other, and realize that one's own ideas aren't always the best.

Hah, collaboration is something the Staff is always trying to promote with all these convienent new ways to work together and host project files. It's always great to see a submission with a shit load of authors on the side of the page, to see people just getting together and having fun with it.

Can't say I've done too many collaborations myself, but it's something I've always wanted to branch into since I've got so many weaknesses myself. I would feel great if someone can cover my faults and I cover there's. But I think need to get a couple of decent flashes under my belt before anyone wants to team up with me, hahah.

Your flashes are pretty good man! You just need to keep at it :) And obviously it's in the website's best interest to provide tools for collaboration, since it means better content for the website :)

Also, I'm with ya with searching through the Audio Portal for just the song you're looking for. Takes a long time to weed through the dub step and trance madness before finding something almost right.

lol yeah, if I ever need a dubstep song I'll have no trouble finding one on the audio portal :P

1000 cats <3


lol That was deep!
sadly a consistent programmer is very hard to find. The trick is to find one that has even a little abit of artistic talent. They understand the process, and are less likely the bail on you. the rest can go throw themselves in a fire.

and hulalaloo is just trolling, he pretends to be tough and not like people. lol