“Moe and the Unexpected Bully” is a digital storybook app based on the New Zealand Children TV series The Moe Show by Pop Up Workshop. It features all the characters from the show: Moe the friendly Monster, Fern the Fairy, Frank the Fantail and Gilbert the Gecko on their first venture into a digital storybook format.
I was approached by Jeremy Dillon, the creator of The Moe Show on his plan to bring the characters from the show with a new story that is suitable to be told in a storybook form. The first time I got introduced to his creations got me really excited, and I became a fan of the show with all the loveable characters straightaway. And that’s one of the main thing that really motivates me to work the storybook app.
The storybook app was developed and animated by Josh Preston and his team at Kiwa Digital whom has experience in bringing digital storybook apps to life.
The Storybook App was released for both iOS and Android devices on 5th November 2016. And it’s all been made possible thanks to NZ On Air’s Digital Innovation Fund.
The process starts with interpreting the puppets into storybook characters to a stage where we’re both happy with how they look. One the challenge was to make sure the characters didn’t look like a hand puppets, but can stand on its own as a living characters - while still maintaining the charm of the original puppets. It was great experience as I got a chance to visit Pop-Up Workshop to get a better understanding of the character puppets and the background set that they use on the TV show. Even watching the show itself to understand more of the characters and their world was a enjoyable thing to do.
STORYBOARDS & REFINED SKETCHES
I then looked into the story and develop the storyboards starting from the early script that Jeremy wrote down. From that I split the scripts and explored the different scenes and viewpoints that would be suitable for different part of the stories. Because the whole story mostly takes place inside the treehouse, I need to make sure there are variety of compositions happening. Other things that also important are how well the compositions working together with the placement of the text box which will be showing within the limitation of the screen size for tablet devices.
The next process was bringing the original storyboards into a more refined sketches where I spent time more on crafting the characters, expressions and their environments.
COLOR & FINAL ARTS
For the final stage, I developed the approved sketches into a full-color final arts. I started with the last frame in the story (the scene where everyone is sitting outside) as a tryout to get the color, feel and the overall atmosphere of the whole book. Once that one approved, I then continued working on the rest of the artworks, while keeping in mind on what works well on the first one that I did.
While this is a storybook app rather than an fully interactive one, some scenes will still have some simple animation in them. For that reason I also need to create assets for some animated parts for some of the characters, to accomodate simple movement or changes in expressions to support the storyline. While most of the artworks were already done by the time before the developer started, later in the process I've provided the developer with some more assets like the app's icon, Gilbert's Guide to Big Words box, and also some assets for a mini-game that also developed into the app by the developer.
Once my role was done, all I did next was just making suggestions and tweaking some artworks where needed to improve the look of the overall app, while the developer updating us with the test built of the app. Until eventually the whole app was ready to be publish onto the app stores.
FINISHED APP SHOTS
Story: Jeremy Dillon
Illustrations: Stevie Mahardhika
App development & animation: Kiwa Digital
The Moe Show, its characters and the artworks done for the app © Pop-Up Workshop