Monday, August 3, 2009

Futureboy Backgrounds

A while back I posted an entry about Futureboy, a character I created about ten years ago while working at a small animation company. You can read all about him here.

I made a couple of very short (2 minutes or so) Futureboy animations in Flash. They turned out OK, so with those projects under my belt, I decided to hatch an even bigger plan: I was going to create a series of Warner Brothers-esque short cartoons that would play in movie theaters before the main feature, just like in the old days.

The fact that you've never sat down in a theater and watched a Futureboy cartoon should tell you what happened. It was a cool idea, but one that was far too ambitious for both me and the company. It would have taken months, maybe even years to single handedly write, animate, voice and direct an entire 7 minute cartoon totally by myself. Futureboy's big screen debut died before it ever got off the drawing board.

I did get far enough into the project to create some Photoshop backgrounds for an animation test.

OK, this one's techically not a background, but I included it anyway. This is an alien ship that lands in the spaceport. Drawn in Photoshop on a ton of layers. All these backgrounds were drawn with the mouse too-- I didn't have a graphic tablet back then, so I should get extra points for difficulty.

In my story outline, a brand new alien species comes to the Spaceport where Futureboy worked. His nervous boss, Mr. Feeny, foolishly put Futureboy in charge of greeting this previously unseen race, and escorting the alien ambassador to the auditorium where it was to give a speech.

As the ship lands, a small green blob slithers out of the ship. Futureboy assumes this is the Ambassador and grabs it and attempts to usher it to the auditorium, running into all sorts of complications along the way. Eventually he delivers the blob to the podium, only to discover it's not an alien at all, but a glob of sewage that plopped out of the ship's waste chute.

Charming, eh? Looking back, maybe it's just as well it never got made after all.

Here's an interior shot of the spaceport, looking out at the alien ship landing on the platform. Note the Jetsons-like flying cars. Somebody's really been waxing that floor!

Just for the heck of it, here's the same view of the spaceport interior sans alien ship.

Here's the exterior view of the council chamber where Futureboy was to deliver the alien ambassador. That's one futuristic looking door!

The most impressive thing about these backgrounds (if I do say so myself) is that they were drawn sans graphic tablet. Every pixel was drawn with the mouse. Don't ask me how.

Who knows, maybe somewhere in a parallel universe people are sitting in a theater watching the finished version of this cartoon before the movie starts. I'm also rich, powerful, 14 feet tall and coated with gold in that universe as well.


  1. i remember that. seems like you had some ships animated too. i thought most of the hard work was done. you ought to dust it off and get it going again.

  2. I believe you must be thinking of one of the shorter 2 minute Futureboy cartoons I did. Those were completed and one had spaceships in it. This one never got any farther than you see right here.

    I also don't have Flash anymore, which kind of puts a crimp in finishing it.

  3. YOU NEED TO GET FLASH AND FINISH THIS! these backgrounds are fabulous!

  4. Thanks! But even if I had Flash, it would take me a year at least to finish it in my spare time. Probably longer!

    Plus there's that pesky "Futurama" to think about too. There's no way I could top what they've done.

    I think Futureboy's future, if he has one, lies in children's books.

  5. Fantastic backgrounds particularly considering that you were armed only with a mouse!

    "Futurama" is one of those shows that has its fans, but I was never one of them. I would rather see "Futureboy."

  6. the top green-goo-filled ship looks like a giant mask with eye holes and nose notch. if a giant came along and smashed off the glass bubble part he could wear this ship on his head. it would be funny for a giant to wear a mask to hide his identity, especially if he were the only giant on the planet.

  7. Kind of like when the Thing (from Fantastic 4) briefly wore a bucket-shaped helmet on his head to hide his identity. He's a guy who looks like he's made of orange river rock! Hiding his face ain't gonna help!


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