Building off of the initial story, the three of us brainstormed on where the animation could go. Ultimately we decided there would have to be some significant changes but for the most part it would follow the same story arc of the book. From there we got right to storyboarding, first in pencil on index cards and then I took it into Painter for the digital treatment. I spent a lot of time working out the best compositional choices I could for the story so there would be little changes later.
digified storyboard.During this time I had to suffer through actually thinking about how all of the characters would actually work and look from every angle, including the spaceship, dubbed the S.S. Goldfish by Ben. Wan-chan got a pretty severe makeover since I wasn't really pleased with him when I was painting the book and I just hadn't had the time to figure him out then.
While Ben and Stephen were still modeling I began doing UV maps, a very new concept for me, and it took a couple of tries to start understanding how to get things to look the way I wanted them to. Robo-san and Wan-chan had about 40 maps each, the goldfish had just a few less, some of which I just finished today.
All of this is about a month and a half's worth of work (in addition to some Mario Kart and Super Smash Brothers). 75+ frames into the storyboard and I'm still not quite done yet, but it has taken us at least to the point where Ben and Stephen can begin working their magic and start animating. There's a lot more to do, for now, I'll leave you with the title screen concept.