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Making the most of ARKit with some RamJam experiments

Making the most of ARKit with some RamJam experiments

This week it has been all about ARKit. Keen to see what this new bit of tech from Apple can do and fuelled by skittles and haribo, we decided to have a bit of fun with it.

May we introduce to you, VR Jackson. Modelled on Tom, VR Jackson has been drinking beer and eating birthday cake as well as reading Viz on the toilet all in AR.

He’s really getting around our new, temporary home at The Skiff and making quite the name for himself.

These are early stages of what can be done with ARKit, but key for us was being able to test the tracking stability, introduce animation within the scenes as well as giving them that unmistakable RamJam finesse.

App development diary – animation techniques

App development diary – animation techniques

This week we’re focusing on the animation in our app – inspiration, techniques and challenges.

We’re working towards completing a prototype of our app and have been concentrating on animation experiments with one of our characters, a toilet monster.

The idea is that each monster is made from objects you’d find in a house and associated with the room they’re in. We wanted to make sure the movement of the monsters’ was as fluid as possible to really get their character across so we tried out different animation software packages including Spriter, Puppet 2D, Smooth Moves and Spine. We finally settled with Spine –  it allows us to make the monster’s movements fluid with plenty of dynamic control and integrates well  withUnity 3D.

Animation techniques
One of the best things about Spine are the mesh warps – they allow us to distort polygon meshes of the characters’ elements making the animation feel more fluid while keeping the file size to a minimum. The skeletal animation and IK system allows the bones to move in a very natural way, the character can pose, bend and jump around with a lot of freedom.


Without the need to redraw sprite frames it makes the animation file size in the app a lot lighter.

Apart from the characters, we’re also animating other elements in each scene. In here we have water running in the sink (animated with Spine) and also liquids spill on the floor (a PNG sequence animated with After Effects).

Don’t miss our next post…’Developing with Unity 3D’

App development diary – concept & inspiration

App development diary – concept & inspiration

This summer we revealed details about the app we’ve been working on. If you missed our post then you can still read it here.

We’ll be posting regular updates on the app here so you get an idea of how the it’s developing – sharing challenges, inspiration and helpful tips. In this post we’re going to go through the concept behind our app and what’s inspiring us right now.

The app’s Idea
Having a good idea for an app is important, but not the only thing that matters. In fact, the idea for the app has evolved a lot from our original concept. Initially we wanted to create an educational app for kids based around dinosaurs (teaching them basic information about them). We soon realised that there are loads of apps covering very similar topics,  LOADS, especially in the under 6 year old market.

If you’re thinking of developing an app do insightful research; research as much as you can! The kids app market is pretty saturated and you want to make sure you get your concept nailed.

After many brainstorming sessions, we decided we wanted the app to feature dinosaurs but push the focus more towards fun with an underlying educational aspect. So we changed our concept quite drastically – out went trying to teach kids about dinosaurs and history, in came dinosaur kid characters that inhabit a world familiar to kids; the family home. The dinosaur kids mission would be  to rid the house of the destructive ‘Mess Monstas’ that have possessed various objects in each room. The underlying soft learning aspect means they tidy up the house and learn how to recycle on the way 🙂

Creative Inspiration
Creatively we were inspired by Adventure Time (love their animation style), the Toca Boca apps (for clean simple playfulness and great production) and the app Nighty Night (for the simplicity of the concept).

As for the dinosaurs, they have evolved (pardon the pun) quite a lot since our early sketches…

Thoughts on character design #1

Thoughts on character design #1

We’ve been designing and animating characters for a while now. We won’t bore you with stats and figures on how incorporating a character to your brand will make you richer and more successful (which we believe, can happen!), we just wanted to share our thoughts and show you some of the characters we’ve brought to life.

For us, characters are an extension of a brand and can often become more recognisable than your logo. They embody your company’s values and help you get noticed – as well as being remembered, like these little guys:

Although we didn’t design the above characters ( otherwise we’d be blogging this from a yacht in the Caribbean 🙂 ) we think these characters show what works – with iconic looks, ear-worm catch phrases and distinctive, bold design. They should embody your ethos, have a unique personality – and above and beyond, they should be MEMORABLE. If you want to measure a successful character design just look at their longevity, they can often be remembered long past a product’s shelf life that they were originally associated with.

The challenge lies in finding the core essence of that character, its soul, and build a unique personality around it. It should represent your brand but also appeal to your audience’s emotions, so they can identify themselves with your brand. If they can be a bit fun, friendly and humorous even better.

Characters are also great marketing assets. You can add them to your website, promo videos, email campaigns, games, adverts, print or even merchandising (good old plush toys!) – the possibilities are endless.

These are some of the characters we’ve done to suit specific projects. You’ll see they are different styles, from animals, people to more abstract figures, but they all have their own personality. If you’re thinking of incorporating a character into your brand and want some ideas, we can certainly help.

Launching Little Bo Beep 2014

Launching Little Bo Beep 2014

“Little Bo Beep has lost her digital sheep
Now where were they uploaded?
Please search them out as quick as you can
Before their data gets corroded” 

We’re very excited to launch ‘Little Bo Beep has lost her (digital) sheep’ – a fun community game we’ve organised for this year’s Brighton Digital Festival (September 1-28, 2014) in collaboration with BANG!.

The game (think treasure-hunt kind of fun) has been awarded by The Brighton Digital Festival Grassroots Fund, and runs across Brighton and Hove throughout the duration of the festival, from September 1st – 28th. Little Bo Beep allows you to discover the work of local animators and local artists and win prizes while having fun!

RamJam is running the logistics and production of the game as well as the creative direction. For this occasion we’ve developed the entire creative concept based on polygon-art, with an apocalyptic sheep as the main character. We’ve also designed and developed the game’s parallax website, posters, flyers and the stickers that will be spread around the city during the Brighton Digital Festival.


Creating the look and feel for our dino app

Creating the look and feel for our dino app

We’ve been working on the look and feel for a dinosaur-inspired app we’re developing for kids.

We can’t reveal full details (yet!) of what the app’s about, but wanted to show you some work in progress so you get an idea of how things are coming along.

It’s great to see how the characters are evolving, from abstract geometric dinosaurs into more kid-friendly ones.

Dino app

dino app