Field Trip : A Knockout! Two Days of Cuphead

I’ve been following the development of this little independent game called Cuphead. I got to play an early demo way back in 2015 at a Microsoft Xbox event. The first thing you will notice off the bat about this game, IT’S BEAUTIFUL. Many video games resort to visuals that’s 3D rendered, or pixel art. However Cuphead visuals are a homage to the classical hand drawn animation from the 1930s. I figured it was 3D polygons with some kind of cel shading trick; I was wrong.

Recently my brother and I attended an Artist Talk at OCADU in Toronto. Along with 300+ guests we crammed into a lecture hall to hear from members of Studio MDHR; the creators of Cuphead. They shared the behind the scenes stories on the creation of Cuphead. We heard from 2D Animator Tina  Nawrocki, background artist Caitlin Russell (she wasn’t there) and stop motion backgrounds Ali Morbi. It’s so amazing the attention of detail to replicate that 1930’s rubber hose style of animation.

On another day I took in an animation workshop with Tina Nawrocki at the Toronto Animated Image Society (TAIS) studio. I got to learn about traditional animation techniques and character design. This was the 1st time I got to use those traditional animation disk desks. We watched some old 1930’s cartoons learning about rubber hose techniques, and did some brief acting exercises on movement. My character I developed was a seal who was a sailor. I liked how this character was developing, I actually want to finish it and clean it up.

I’m currently playing Cuphead on PC and while I’ve gushed about the beauty of this game, the gameplay is insanely hard. You can watch the game trailer below

Day 1 – Cuphead Artists Talk at OCAD

Day 2 – Cuphead Character Design Workshop at TAIS

Update: Recently TAIS has posted the full artist talk session on their YouTube channel. You can watch it below there, enjoy. 🙂

-JD