Behind the Scenes: Illustrating "Priced Out"

"Priced Out" Lead Illustrator Fred Noland Gives An Inside Look at How It's Done
Joseph Smooke, Dyan Ruiz | 11/27/2018


I'm Fred Noland. I'm the lead illustrator on Priced Out.

This is the guide sketch and this is all the reference photos that went into just the opening scene that will be seen for about 10 seconds perhaps. So it's quite a bit of work to boil down to a little bit of time.

So you can see the pencil lines still in there that are just the guides that I drew up, and then the two characters in the center, to use as a guide. And then we transition to this to the final rendering where I have the original pencil drawing in the background as a guide that I drew over. So you just multiply that process by about 100 thousand. And then you have like this frame.

And all of this is done on 40 different layers. If you take a look at the armature, you can see, it's a lot more complicated than it looks. The animation itself is built in several layers for different scene transitions. And to place the different characters in their own isolated environment so you can manipulate them. Each one of these is a different color field. Any one of those is just a flat color. So to get her dyed hair on top of her other hair, you have a couple of layers at work.

If you go in, each one of these drawings is composed of several different lines. This just shows if you look at the-- you might not be able to tell-- but if you look at the armature here, if you look at the outline of the illustrations, each one of these carries a different aspect of the illustration like a highlight for the glasses, the basic color, the framing. And the reason we break them out like this is so the animators can go in and again, move them around as they need to.

So normally this process is split among a team of, I don't know, five to 10 people, apparently, I wasn't actually aware of that. I've always been a very DIY kind of person. So in my production when I was doing comics, when I've done animation before, I've just always done all of it. So I wasn't too intimidated by the process. Thankfully, I didn't know quite how much it would involve at the start because I might of been.

But once you're in the middle of it, it becomes very sink or swim and you just kind of go with it. And it does allow me to have greater control over the whole look and feel of the project versus having to delegate to different people. I'm not a great delegator. I'm much more of a hands-on kind of person. So the process works for me.