Final Film

Come on down to CliffSide to enjoy this pilot episode proof of concept! Thanks to everyone who worked on the film!



Waylon - Liam Vickers

Cordie - Joelle Jacoby

Jo - Tess Rimmel

Yannis - Carolyn DiLoreto

Background Street Crosser - Gavin Laing

Creator/Director/Writer/Animator - Liam Vickers

Score - Jesper Ankarfeldt

Sound Supervisor/ADR Recordist - Bethany Sparks

Sound Designer - Gavin Laing

Sound Mixer - Hannah Kubat

Additional BG Art - Chan Ha Kim

Death Itself Gets Spooky

The process of bringing Death Itself to "life." Har har, get it?


Some Comps

Some early comps showing characters in their environment. Goal is to make the characters look like they belong in the world, while clearly standing out against the BGs.

And here are the rough storyboards they were based on:

Refining BG Style

Some final BGs for the film. We're going for a grungy "Gravity Falls" look here. Edgy Disney Channel, if you will. All BG elements will rely heavily on a specific grunge texture and dark silhouettes to enhance the overall feeling of continuity. We'll have a strict no lineart policy as well to allow our outlined characters to stand out.

Cordie Gets Cuter

Altered Cordie's design at the last minute to make her character model a bit more appealing before heading into animation. Large pupils added to irises (hollow, yellow eyes looked fine in boards, but not so much in practice). Hair altered a bit to fit her personality better.

Building the Town

Unlike all other BGs, the town of CliffSide will be modeled in 3D so I don't have to murder myself over complex perspective shots. Score.

Characters Rigged for Animation in Toon Boom

Translated loose initial character sketches to finalized colored puppets for animation later on. Characters are a bit more anatomically correct (not a lot, lol) than earlier designs, and large pupils have been shrunk considerably to allow them to emote better (keeping stylized highlights, however).

Eye (blink, narrowed, raised lower lid, etc.) and mouth shapes (vowels and consonants for lip syncing) have been built in our animation library. Parent hierarchy (W_Head is connected to W_Neck, which is connected to W_Torso, etc.) has been constructed as well. We'll avoid deformation chains and bones for the most part, instead opting to hand draw limb movement when needed. The exceptions to this will be Yannis's neck (as her facial range is limited, we'll try to emote more with head movement) and tail which WILL be mapped to deformation chains.

New Villains

Meet Yannis, and Death Itself. Yannis is a modern ancestor of Pterodactyls (technically Pterosaurs - please don't hurt me dinosaur nerds) with an attitude, and Death Itself has been redesigned to be more menacing in his new role as main antagonist. They're both "cool" monsters, the kind of monsters that would never let Cordie sit at their lunch table.

Some Props

A few examples of props from the film. Revolver was designed in CG for easy turnarounds (as it is the most widely used and complex prop). Tree technically wouldn't be a prop if it weren't for the fact it has to bend in half when a giant pterodactyl lands on it. Ya know, classic stuff.


Made a screening form to harass my friends, family, and classmates with. Objective was to emulate a professional screening (though obviously with a much smaller sample size). This was for version 7 of my animatic - the first fully complete story. Super helpful in allowing me to collect a wide variety of responses and adjust accordingly (despite the fact it kinda made me look like a tool, haha). Thanks everyone who put up with this XD


Backgrounds (First Pass)

Wanted the BGs to have no lineart to contrast with our characters and was initially thinking of an extremely overstated blue palette with limited shading or texture.


Two villains, Death Itself (Sheriff of CliffSide) and Blueberry Bill (Waylon's dad and initially a large part of the narrative) were integrated into the story.


Expression Sheets

Figuring out a bit more about the actual volumes of our characters and how they might emote.

Characters (First Pass)

Our three main characters. Wanted something resembling 1920's cartoons - big black eyes with stylized highlights. Wanted them to be super cute to contrast with what was initially going to be pretty dark subject matter.

Character Inspiration

Wanted mostly accessible western cliches for our mains, but something a bit more sporadic or anachronistic about the monsters . . . like things trapped in time, or from a place where time doesn't mean the same thing.

Assorted Initial Work

Some required of me (aka a story map before I had any sort of story nailed down) and a workflow thingy I definitely didn't BS my way through at allllllllll . . . ;) Some initial attempts at logos and possible symbols I wanted showing up now and then.

More Inspiration

So rad. So spoopy. Really wanted to somehow capture the scale of wilderness and the mysterious nature of the cliffs. Also gotta have constant fog. MOOD.

Early Designs (While Bored in Class)

Definitely wanted a little kid cowboy, and a monster as well (pretty quickly narrowed that down to spider) . . . wanted a good chunk of the series to be their relationship - but other than that LOL WHO KNOW.