Replete with monsters and robots, our new video shows how social maps are, and how they are part of everything mobile.

For starters, I hashed out a storyboard. Visually representing the points we aimed to highlight took some trial and error, so everything started on paper - specifically notecards on which we had quickly drawn the ideas for individual shots.


The shots were arranged into cohesive scenes that flowed from one to another. Once the story was locked down, I got to start doing my favorite part of an animated project: everything.

More specifically: designing characters.

Colorful, furry monsters? Yep. Beer drinking robots? Sure. Mustachioed, tie-wearing aliens? Uh, of course. Ask a creative person what work they’re most proud of, and I can almost guarantee they’ll tell you about projects where they were given free reign to go nuts and make something fun. I hope it was obvious from the video, but that was certainly the case here.

characters #1

Initial sketches become refined assets (vector assets in this case), refined assets become characters, characters are digitally puppetized, allowing me to manipulate their arms, legs, tentacles, etc., over time, otherwise known as animation.

robot phone holder

Seeing your characters come to life through the animation process never ceases to excite me. Sure, it’s labor-intensive, but most projects you take pride in usually are. I mean, you are giving perceived life to a bunch of static elements. It’s a labor of love kind of thing.

AE scene

Each scene was constructed, animated, watched, adjusted, rewatched, readjusted, and then cut together. Timing is crucial - it’s one of those underlying principles that typically goes unnoticed unless it’s not quite right, so almost everyone at MapBox had a look at the video before it was released. I added the audio (cut specifically for this project by our own Ian Villeda), pushed the ‘render’ button, and cracked a beer.