Behind the Scenes Cookiewatch Video Shows How Stop Motion Was Accomplished
Learn how the Cookiewatch came together using the power of practical effects, editing, and problem solving to create the wonderful stop-motion short.
Overwatch’s Senior Animation Artist Justin Rasch talks through the behind the scenes creation of the Cookiewatch stop motion short video that premiered before the holidays.
In Cookiewatch, Reaper attempts to steal Santa’s cookies with Tracer stopping him and Doomfist being delivered as a present and proceeding to destroy the last cookie. Reaper does get a cookie from Santa, while Doomfist and Tracer receive mismatched sized ugly sweaters.
Justin mentions the idea of stop motion is intertwined with the holidays, probably due to films such as The Nightmare Before Christmas. Justin had the idea of Reaper desiring Santa’s cookies since he eats at his desk and has a Reaper statue overlooking him. Justin collaborated with his partner Shel Rasch on Cookiewatch, as the two always do for projects. Reaper and Tracer were picked due to their opposing personalities. Michael Chu and Craig Harris were also involved in the process of stop motion with the latter being the source of the storyboard for the short.
There were two sets used for the video, both next to each other and identical. There are many easter eggs in the video for people to spot, one shown being a photo of Jeff Kaplan. The ornament explosions were practical effects. This was accomplished by placing ornaments against a green screen and shooting them with an airsoft gun. When Doomfist breaks the cookie plate it is actually swapped for pieces of the plate instead of actually breaking apart. When Tracer jumps up and down on the couch they placed a pin in the cushion that when attached to a wire allowed them to pull the cushion inward to create the effect that Tracer was actually pushing the cushion down.
The general emphasis on the stop motion sections were that it is all about problem solving, coming up with ways to create effects in reality for things that could be done in post-production but would look better if actually accomplished phsyically. Speaking of post-production, it was a major part of his video as it is for most modern stop motion works. Since stop motion is accomplished by shooting single frames each frame has to have consistent effects done to them and there were many effects in this video from small things such as some blue highlighted effects when Doomfist hits the table to larger things like Tracer’s blue afterimage. This won’t be the first stop motion feature from the Overwatch team, as Justin closes out the video saying they will probably be doing this sort of video again next year, and even closes the video with a brief stop motion section featuring Doomfist interacting with Justin.