MoSoMoS studios has added a new director to their team and he goes by the moniker, Gnarly Ghost. This week, we spoke with Drew Shields, aka Gnarly Ghost, about his director’s reel by the same name. Shields said, “Gnarly Ghost is about a reanimated skeleton just trying to enjoy their life to the fullest!” And enjoy it he does, rising up out of a sorcerer’s brew in a dark castle only to hop on his skateboard and tear off into the night.

“Definitely a hint of optimistic nihilism to the iconography,” Shields continued, “who among us can’t identify with the gaunt image of death riding out a window on a cool skateboard? The necromancer embodies the hope that our creations might be awesome beyond our expectations, jump across a pit of serpents and escape into the night.” More than just a wild ride for the viewer, the piece serves as an incarnation of Shield’s creativity itself, promising more good things to come from him at MoSoMoS.

When we asked about the technical process, Shields told us, “This piece utilized numerous animation techniques including stopmotion, 2D and 3D digital. It’s a pretty mixed media project. There are several traditional set pieces we created practically, including the drawbridge and tower, but a number of the shots featured puppets composited into digital environments. This allowed us to create larger and more elaborate sets than we would have otherwise had time for.

“For several of the shots we used MoSoMos’ ‘cube’ motion control rig to fly the camera around puppets/through practical sets for some pretty awesome dynamic sequences. From there we exported that camera movement to a digital file, using it to add some awesome effects and atmosphere to the practical shots.

“For the puppets we found a material that allowed us to hand build/color all the puppets without making any casting or anything like that. I come from a freehand sculpture background so that was pretty great for me.” Puppet-building, however, was not all a walk in the park. “Midway through the piece we had to do major surgery on the hero skeleton puppet! We’d made a backup model, but somehow they didn’t have the same personality as the first. We ended up transferring the head onto the backup puppet’s body, thus preserving their charming smile.”

We’re looking forward to more coming up from this team. Presently Shields is working on a 2D animated piece with the working title of Wizard Punks about a group of rowdy magic users racing hover bikes through a sci-fi/fantasy city. “Think Akira meets Sam Bosma’s Fantasy Sports with a dash of Shonen Jump,” Shields said. “You know, pretty highbrow stuff. In all seriousness we’re just trying to stay playful and make some awesome stuff in interesting ways.”

Keep it up guys, we’re fans for sure.

For more on the making of Gnarly Ghost, see their bts video here: